St Mary's church carving dated

Bridgwater Mercury: The Latin inscription surrounds the figure of a lamb, looking backwards at a staff with a cross and two pennants - the symbol of St John the Baptist. Photo: Dr P E Cattermole. The Latin inscription surrounds the figure of a lamb, looking backwards at a staff with a cross and two pennants - the symbol of St John the Baptist. Photo: Dr P E Cattermole.

“IF YOU look up, you can see some pretty amazing things”, says a Bridgwater historian after examining a 600-year-old carving in St Mary's church.

Dr Peter Cattermole, chairman of the Bridgwater Heritage Group, used a telephoto camera lens to zoom in to the roof of the chancel and capture the detail on this boss carving.

He has since translated the Latin inscription, which reads ‘Father William Patehull Master’.

“Patehull was the Master of the Hospital of St John the Baptist (by the Eastgate) in 1393 until he died in 1416,” said Dr Cattermole.

“This enables the roof to be dated very closely. It's consistent with the information we have from the collection of Bridgwater documents in the Somerset Heritage Centre.”

Dr Cattermole said in 1393, when Richard II was on the throne, Robert Northover was appointed chaplain, with the master and brethren of the Hospital as vicar and rectors.

He added: “In the following year, the records show they spent a considerable sum on building material (for example, ‘4250 stone tiles bought at Rookscastle’) so, it looks like much work was being done on the roofs at that time.”

Dr Cattermole has found a large number of carvings and will give a talk during the celebrations of 50 years of the Bridgwater and District Archaeological Society on Saturday, June 22.

Meanwhile the carvings can be seen Thursday mornings.

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