Ashperton, St Bartholomew's Church
Ashperton, St Bartholomew's Church
There was a church at Ashperton as early as the 13th century, but that earlier building was replaced by the current church in the 14th century. The benefactor of the church was Sibilla de Grandison, who lived in the castle (now vanished) a short distance from the churchyard.

One of Sibilla's children, John, grew to become Bishop of Exeter. Another, Katherine, married the Earl of Salisbury. Katherine was accounted one of the most beautiful women of her age and was vicariously responsible for the founding of the Order of the Garter.

In 1344 she was dancing with King Edward III when her garter fell to the ground. The king retrieved it, and, seeing the smiles on the faces of his courtiers, is said to have remarked 'Honi soit qui mal y Pense', which loosely translates as 'Shame on he who thinks evil of this'. The phrase was immortalized as the motto of the chivalric Order of the Garter established by Edward shortly after.

But we digress; both Katherine and her brother were born at the castle and may have been baptized at Ashperton church.

On the wall of the north transept is a carved 15th-century coat of arms known as 'The Defiance' which was moved to the church for safe keeping in 1840.

While one notable historic object was transferred to Ashperton church, another was moved away from it; the exquisite 14th century painted wooden effigy of Walter de Helyon, steward of William de Grandison, was made for St Bartholomew's. In the late 16th century it was moved for safety to Much Marcle while Ashperton church was remodelled. It was never returned, and can now be seen in Much Marcle parish church.