Friday, 23 October 2015

St Hugh's Church, Charterhouse

St Hugh's Church on the top of the Mendips in the hamlet of Charterhouse was built in 1908-9 Reverend George Menzies Lambrick.  It was designed by William Douglas Caroe.  The building was originally the Welfare Hall for the local lead miners, which had been built in the 1890s.  It is decorated inside in the Arts and Crafts style.  The church was ready for use by St Hugh's Day - November 17th - 1909.

St Hugh (c1140-1200) became the prior of the first English Carthusian house at Witham Friary in Somerset  c1175-79. It was founded by Henry II in reparation for the murder of Thomas a Becket in Canterbury Cathedral.  Hugh became the Bishop of Lincoln in 1186.  He is often depicted with a swan or goose because one became devoted to him when he was in Lincoln and followed him everywhere.  Charterhouse on the Mendips was originally a satellite of the Carthusian house at Witham Friary and it remained linked to it until 1913 when it joined the parish of Blagdon as a result of petitioning by the Rev George Menzies Lambrick.  The Carthusians were an enclosed order of monks who lived silent solitary lives in individual cells.  The order was founded in France in 1084 by St Bruno of Cologne and is named after the mountains of Chartreuse near Grenoble.  Charterhouse is the English word for a Carthusian community.

St Hugh's is open to the public on summer Sunday afternoons when it is staffed by volunteers.  I have visited it twice and on both occasions I have been the only visitor.  It is a real gem and well worth a visit.  There is a guide explaining the history and interior features of the church that you can read while you are there but there weren't any for sale the day I visited, which is a shame as there is very little detail about the interior of the church available online.  In fact I am amazed how little I have been able to find - so much for those who say everything is available online nowadays!
 

 The simple exterior gives no clue to the beautiful interior

 Looking towards the altar


 St Hugh and his goose on the right hand side of the reredos

Octagonal font

 15th century style rood screen

 Left hand side of the reredos.  I can't remember who this chap is.

 Stained glass west window by Horace Wilkinson
Left to right St Michael, Jesus, St Martin and St George

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