Ridgeway – Day 4 (St. Mary, North Stoke)

The thirteenth century church of St. Mary in North Stoke is the only churchyard which the Ridgeway actually crosses, so we thought that it would be rather pleasant to go inside. We were delighted to see on approaching the door that it was open.

After I had failed to open the door, Steve and Dave decide that they’ll use their wit and initiative to enter. It soon transpires that the church is unfortunately locked, despite the open sign on the door. This doesn’t stop Susanna, she finds a phone number on the church noticeboard and calls the church warden, a pleasant man who comes rushing over to open the building. His efforts were much appreciated, as the interior of the church meant that a stop here was certainly worthwhile.

Susanna enjoying the beautiful interior of the church, with the nave dating to a slightly later period to the chancel.

The font dates to the early English period, probably thirteenth or fourteenth century, although the cover appears to be much later.

One of the earliest of burials in the church, which is located in the chancel. The chancel itself dates from around the early thirteenth century, and this grave appears to be contemporary to that date or just after.

This path is the official route of the Ridgeway, which cuts across the churchyard.

Some of the wall paintings, which are relatively very well preserved. They date to the fourteenth century and one includes the killing of Thomas Becket in the late twelfth century.

I hadn’t heard of her at the time, and I didn’t take a photo of the grave, but Dame Clara Butt is buried in the churchyard. Susanna knew of her and was particularly excited at the news.

This lychgate dates to 1923 and uses some of the oak from the old Goring bridge which had been constructed in 1837.