Corsham, St Bartholomew's Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: 15th century stone screen and memorials
Rebuilt in its current form around 1465 by Thomas Tropenell of Great Chalfield, Steward to the powerful Hungerford family. Tropenell became a landowner in his own right and an MP. At the north eastern corner of the chapel is a table tomb to Tropenell's son Christopher, and it is interesting to compare the style of carving between the two. I'd say the father had more disposable income than the son!
The chapel is separated from the north aisle by a stone screen. This is quite unusual in a parish church, where most screens would have been of wood. Traces of two altars can still be seen on the outside (aisle side) of the screen. The most interesting feature in the chapel is Thomas Tropenell's memorial. Though faded now, it was originally brightly painted. Aside from the Tropenell tomb, the Lady Chapel has memorials to the Fuller family of Neston Park.
Built by the Methuen family of Corsham Court during the Victorian restoration. The transept served as the private family pew, and it contains three striking memorials. The oldest is to Alice Cobb (1627). The memorial was brought to Corsham from Adderbury, Oxfordshire, in 1899, and reassembled like a large jigsaw pzzle. To the right is a memorial to Constance Methuen (d. 1849). Constance was just 2 years old when she died, and she is represented poignantly by a sleeping child. The third memorial is that of Eleanor, Lady Methuen (d. 1958). Lady Methuen was a gifted artist, and at the foot of the memorial is a depiction of her at her sketch pad. The contrast between the three monuments, each from a different era, is very striking.
The easternmost bay of the chancel, now used as a sanctuary, is 15th century, but it was completely rebuilt in 1880 as a memorial to the first wife of Lord Methuen. The white marble angels are thought to have been carved in Lady Methuen's likeness. The highlight of the chancel is the eat windowm featuring superb stauned glass by Victorian master CE Kempe (look for Kemp's familiat wheatsheaf symbol). The south chancel is separated from the south aisle by a stone screen meant to be a copy of the 15th century screen oposite.
Other interior features include the 15th century font, carved with Tudor roses. Over the doorway is a royal coat of arms to William and Mary. The south porch, by which you enter the church, is 15th century, and over the door is a mural tablet to William Tasker (d. 1684), who, we are told, chose 'to be a door keeper to the house of his God then to dwell in the tents of wickedness'. There is an odd-looking 17th century annexe to the porch built to house a stair to a gallery in the south aisle.
St Bartholomew's is a lovely historic church, with an abundance of interesrting tombs. Well worth a visit, especially if you can combine it with Corsham Court next door, and the Corsham Almshouses about 5 minutes walk away. There is a small parking area outside the church, at the end of Church Lane. Usually open daylight hours.
THE METHUEN CHAPEL
Address: Church Street, Corsham, Wiltshire, England, SN13 0BY
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: Immediately beside Corsham Court, at the end of Church Lane. Small parking area shared with Court visitors. Usually open daylight hours.
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Corsham Almshouses - 0.3 miles (Historic Building)
Corsham Court - 1.6 miles (Historic House)
Sheldon Manor - 2.4 miles (Historic House)
Lacock Abbey - 3.1 miles (Historic House)
Great Chalfield Manor - 4.6 miles (Historic Building)
Great Chalfield, All Saints Church - 4.7 miles (Historic Church)
Three Shires Stones - 4.8 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Leigh Delamere Church - 5.5 miles (Historic Church)
Nearest Accommodation to Corsham: