Thurlbear, St Thomas Church
Thurlbear, St Thomas Church
At first glance the west tower of Thurlbear's church seems oddly out of touch with the rest of this country church. The tower is 15th century, and rises in three stages to a battlemented top. It is built of pale limestone, while the low nave and chancel are built of reddish stone, giving the whole building a peculiar two-toned effect.
The first church at Thurlbear was an impressive Norman building with a strong central tower, nave and aisles. No trace of the Norman tower remains, but the elegant Norman oillars dividing the nave and aisles are a testament to how impressive that first church must have been.

Annother reminder of that early building is the Norman font, as is a section of a 12th century window incorporated into a lancet in the chancel. A squint pierces the wall of the south aisle to permit a view of the main altar.

When the new west tower was added in the 15th century the aisles were narrowed, suggesting that Thurlbear had become much less prosperous as the Middle Ages went on.

In the churchyard stands a cross dating to the 15th century while the old manor house and tithe barn stand nearby. St Thomas fell out of use in the late 1980s and has since been in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.