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Bishops Lydeard - The Sanctuary

Bishops Lydeard is a large village about six miles north west of Taunton in Somerset. At the heart of the village one can find the parish church of Saint Mary the Virgin.


There has been a church on the site since Saxon times. However the oldest part of the current church dates to the end of the thirteenth century. The church was heavily restored in Victorian times and was further embelished by Sir John Ninian Comper during the twentieth century.


This picture shows the chancel and sanctuary of the church. This part of the church was furnished and re-ordered by Comper after the First World War as a War Memorial. The High Altar with its riddel posts surmounted by winged and guilded angels, with curtains to match the altar frontal in the liturgical colour of the season, is in the style Comper advocated as the traditional altar. Above the altar is a square baldacchino, sometimes called a tester or canopy, which is similar to the one Comper erected over the altar of the Lady Chapel at Downside Abbey. The guilding around the East window, with the figures of seraphim is also part of Comper's scheme.

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Taken on April 19, 2012