Wednesday, 19 July 2017

St Margaret's Church, Middle Chinnock

St Margaret's Church in the quiet hamlet of Middle Chinnock is full of surprises:
  • The arch over the south door is Norman and decorated with zig-zag patterns. The tympanum is decorated with a fish scale pattern.
  • The font is also Norman and has a band of beaded foliage around it.
  • Under one of the bench seats in the porch is part of a statue.  It is thought to be the head of a priest wearing a cope and cap.  It may be a memorial to a 14th century rector.
  • Inside the church is a memorial plaque to the philanthropist Elizabeth Austin (nee Harding), who was born at Middle Chinnock in 1821 but emigrated to Australia in 1841.  She married Thomas Austin in 1845 but he died in 1871 (he is noted for introducing rabbits into Australia, which proved to be a bad mistake, as they soon multiplied out of control).  In 1882 Elizabeth founded the Austin Hospital for Incurables at Heidelberg which is now a suburb of Melbourne.  The original patients were mainly suffering from tuberculosis and later cancer.   The hospital is now called the Austin Hospital and is a big public teaching hospital.

Norman Doorway
Statue under porch seat
Memorial Plaque to Elizabeth Austin
Norman font
Nave and chancel
St Margaret's Church, Middle Chinnock

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