More about Lympsham

Yesterday I wrote about meeting some people in the pub who came from the next but one village to us, Lympsham. Here’s something I wrote a couple of years ago about the pretty village:

Lympsham, the Somerset village not far from the River Axe,  was originally called Lymplesham when it was first recorded, the Abbey of Glastonbury, the Abbot of which owned the land where the village was. Where the name actually came from no-one is quite sure, but it most probably derives from the name of someone, a name like Lin plus ham meaning village. There is a suggestion that it might have meant a pool where lime trees grow.

The railway line from Bristol to Exeter runs through, but it is still a very peaceful and attractive place. It has always been in the middle of farming area, since the land was drained, probably during Saxon times; at one time it was renowned for the quality of its cheese, and there are still many dairy farms in the area. At one point however, the rural peace was likely to have been shattered as there were plans for a big wharf to have been built there, to attract cross-channel traffic. However, it did not come to much although ketches brought goods, mainly coal up the Axe to Lympsham, to what is known as Jefferies Wharf.

Ann unusual thing, maybe a unique thing, is that the same family were vicars in the little church, St Christopher’s for 103 years, (except for a seven-year gap) This history began in 1809, with Joseph Stephenson. He sounds an incredible man; he had a great social conscience and was very concerned for the education of the village children. thirty-five years later his son, also Joseph took over as rector and he too served the parish well and for a very long time, fifty-seven years. Like his father he was concerned about the welfare of his parishioners. Many of them lived in extreme poverty, in housing which was little better than slums. This second rector named Joseph built  seventeen stone houses with tall chimneys and with the letter S set into the stonework. He also built the school and the village hall, which are both still in use.

… and something else I wrote:

St Christopher’s church in the little village of Lympsham, is most unusual, especially inside. I’m sure the tower leans, but as it is over five hundred years old it may be allowed to do so! it was dramatically restored in the nineteenth century and inside is cool and light, with texts from the Bible elegantly written around the walls. There is some nice stained glass too.

There is some connection between the church and two nearby churches, and the parish is called ‘the parish of three churches’; as well as St Christopher’s there are St. Mary the Virgin’s in East Brent, and St. Michael’s in Brent Knoll.

DSCF6519

The churchyard was carpeted with gold, spring flower everywhere! There were some very interesting graves, and some very interesting lichen! I was fascinated by the grave to a frmer called Ferdinando Hicks Bennett he was born in 1827 but I can’t find any reason why he was given such an unusual name…

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