Touching Place

ST ANDREW, MELLS, SOMERSET

The setting of Mells church is memorable, approached along New Street, designed and built as a whole, c.1470, by Abbot Selwood of Glastonbury.

The fine Perpendicular tower, building around 1446, is more restrained than later Somerset builds; likewise the two-storied porch, with its ogee arch. Don't enter the church yet; walk across to the east wall of the churchyard and examine the graves. In an age of imitation marble and reconstituted stone, the stones at Mells are something different; those of Sir John and Lady Horner the work of Sir Edwin Lutyens, a family friend, and the stone of Mark Horner is by Eric Gill.

Nearby, you will find the graves of Ronald Knox, Siegfried Sassoon, Christopher Hollis and Lady Violet Bonham Carter (nee Asquith). Now enter the church, and find Raymond Asquith's memorial under the tower, a wreath by Lutyens and lettering by Gill; like Asquith, Edward Horner is buried in France, but his memorial dominates the chapel at the end of the north aisle. The equestrian statue is the work of Sir Alfred Munnings, the plinth by Lutyens.

Katharine Asquith, nee Horner, inherited the estate - her family lived here for 400 years - after the death of the heir, her brother Edward, killed in Flanders in 1917 (her husband Raymond died on the Somme in 1916). Katharine Asquith became a Roman Catholic, and Ronald Knox was to spend the last ten years of his life at Mells as her chaplain, completing his translation of the Bible. Remember in prayer all those who are bereaved, that they be consoled by the Church's message of new life after death, in the Resurrected Christ.

Pray for the work oft he Guild of All Souls, in prayer for the dying and the departed, encouraging Christian burial, and in promoting the doctrines ofthe Communion of Saints and the Resurrection from the Dead.

Simon Cotton

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