Points of interest

South Doorway: One enters through the Victorian porch and the 14C doorway. It is a “two-centred” arch, enriched with four-leaved flower ornamentation which has the heads of knight and his lady on the outside. Scratched inscriptions dating from the 15C and 16C can be seen on the door jams.

13C font: This was restored in 1999. It is described as cup-shaped, with a band of foliage at the top, a circular stem and a circular mounted base. Some Victorian restoration took place using an iron stem-shaft, which expanded with corrosion to cause cracks. We do not know how many were baptised in it before the Reformation, but records have been kept in Registers since 1653.

Arcade of Arches: In front of you as you enter are three 13C arches with clear windows above. Over the east arch are traces of a blocked window. Note the seven carved “grotesque” corbels.

Pulpit and Rood Loft: Over the pulpit, in the side of the arch, is a 15C doorway that would have given access to the former rood-loft. There are “string-courses” or ridges in the stone on both sides of the arch which probably supported part of the former rood loft. The “rood” was a crucifix mounted on a beam or screen across the entrance to the chancel. It was sometimes used before pulpits were introduced as a loft from which to address the congregation.

Rood Screen: A Victorian rood screen existed but it is not the one that is now in the archway to the tower. There was probably a pre-Reformation screen and rood which remained in place until the 19C.

Chancel: Behind the altar is a Victorian window, although the window to the left is 13C with 19C glass. Our unusual altar was imported from Italy by the Rev Bonus who was curate from 1859. On the right of the altar there is a 15C piscina with a stone shelf and holy water drain hole. Next to it is a sedile or seat in strangely grooved stone, which is thought to have been recycled from elsewhere in the church.

Buckland Parish Sewn Map: This beautiful three-section map of the village can be found at the back of the church above the entrance to the tower. It was woven by 96 people between 1994-2002.

Floor-level shafts: We do not really know the purpose of these small tunnels which are either side of the altar. They may have been introduced in Victorian times to ventilate the building or even to ensure a good draft to the fire in the vestry. Maybe there is a crypt and they were windows. Who knows?

Sheela-na-gig: Buckland is one of only 30 churches in the UK to have a Sheela-na-gig, possibly a female fertility carving, on its outer south wall. More information on this can be seen at www.sheelanagig.org .

August 2007