The cross legged knight

We left the Count House, clean and neat at 9:40 and set off on the long journey home. Our first stop was in Tavistock to stock up on pasties for the long drive. Our next stop was for petrol at the junction of the A30. It was then a long drive before we pulled into MacDonald’s services for a loo and coffee stop. We also ate the pasties. Along with all the other oldies.

Our (now) traditional tea stop was today in the tiny town of Kingsdon. It’s not far from Somerton and Keinton Mandeville, the first place we stayed when we came to the UK to live. The village of Kingsdon is made up of a combination of old grey stone buildings and new grey stone buildings. There’s a general store/PO, a pub and, of course, the church which you are now going to hear about.

All Saints, Kingsdon was first mentioned in 1242. It is built of ‘lias stone with hamstone dressings’. Given the look of the village you’d be forgiven for thnking that means old grey stone with old grey trim. Actually ‘lias’ is a Jurassic stone found on the Dorset coast. Hamstone seems to be a type of sandstone.

All Saints, Kingsdon, Somerset

Also ‘of hamstone’ is an effigy in the north chapel. It is of a cross legged knight – no, he’s not sitting cross legged, his ankles are crossed and he’s lying down. It has been dated 1270-80 and may portray Brian de Gouvis whose family was granted Lordship of the Manor. They, however, had little interest in the village and between the 14th & 19th centuries were rarely there. They apparently saw the village as merely an investment. The effigy was removed from the chancel to the churchyard in the 15th century where it remained until 1521 – I assume it was then brought back into the church.

The belfry has 6 bells in it, the oldest having been originally cast in the late 14th century. The floor of the chancel was originally lower than it is now as it was raised in 1636.

Beyond the churchyard is an intriguing ruin crowded with crows. This was the original rectory which burnt down in 1922 and is now on privately owned land.

After a coffee/tea and a wander round we set off again – retracing our first tentative UK steps. We drove through Keinton Mandeville (which Mirinda didn’t really remember though I did) and then on through to the Podimore Roundabout, turning again down the A303. As usual we hit monstrous traffic just where Stonehenge appears and the lanes are reduced to one. But this eventually cleared, as it usually does, and we were soon zooming along. A quick supply stop at Sainsbury’s in Liphook then, finally, home.

The whole idea of this break was for a rest and the Count House definitely delivered! Highly recommended. And for lovers of the English countryside, the Tamar Valley has it all.

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