Past Remains

A view of yesterday from today

The Old Chancel, Sidmouth, Devon

I was walking along the path skirting the bowling green, somewhere I hadn't been before, when I noticed some unusual towers from a distance. Intrigued, I decided to investigate, finding this delightful and quirky building. From a distance, and against the background of the forested Hill behind, I had the impression of a Bavarian Schloss. Those of you in the know are probably laughing your socks off about that...after all, I've never been to the country where such buildings exist, and it certainly isn't in the same league as the photos I've seen. Nevertheless, that was my first thought! ;)

However, close to is quite a different matter, and the accent is definitely Gothic in nature...with a fascinating piece of history, as I later found out.

As it's a residential building, my photo shoot entailed taking photos of the bits that I could see looming above the high walls, peering through hedges and walking around and as near as I could get to...much to the amusement of the bowlers on the green. I aim to entertain! ;)

Finding the front entrance, I saw the sign 'The Old Chancel', which gave me something to work on. The photo below was taken from the end of Coburg Terrace, oddly enough...although the connection is tenuous at best, and no connection at all really!  However, the original owner lived in the last house of Coburg Terrace and built this in his garden, eventually moving into it as his home.

The local antiquarian and historian, Peter Orlando Hutchinson, was part of the committee to oversee the restoration of the parish church in 1864. Apparently, he was so horrified to discover that the restoration was to be more of a rebuild, leaving only the original tower intact, that he set about saving whatever he could and re-erecting the chancel, together with it's 18th century window, in his garden. The rest of the house was added later, which he then occupied.

A Grade I listed building, it is built of old stone and also incorporates original Mediaeval pieces from the church.

As well as the lovely church remains, the building comprises several odd and wonderful features, such as the chimney stacks, weather vane and a gargoyley-looking grotesque or chimera. Sadly, the chimera doesn't show up on my photos as I couldn't get a near enough shot. The tablet, seen through the hedge, above, contains a monogram and is dated 1864.

Above, the 'Bavarian Castle' has changed into a moorish-looking building from Spain with the inclusion of a nearby palm in the photo! Below is a rather clumsy enlargement of the house taken from a long shot, showing the hills behind.

And, in the foreground, the delightful addition of a rather hairy Nessie stalking the fringes of the bowling green. 

A few more photos, along with these, can also be viewed in the Photo Gallery album.

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