A fine carved solid oak early 16th century Tudor bench/pew end from St. Mary’s Church in Croscombe, Somerset made at the end of the reign of Henry VII (1485-1509) or during the reign of Henry VIII (1509-1547).
In the England Thousand Best Churches by Simon Jenkins, published 1999 it states that: St Mary’s Church contains some of the richest Jacobean furnishings in England and the gift of the Fortescue Family. Woodwork of this period is on all sides of the church and the roof, and date from circa 1616, the date on the pulpit.
In fact the Jacobean woodwork has replaced the first few rows of pews in the Nave, the earlier bench ends having been removed. The carving on these box pews is similar to the decoration on the pulpit and would date from the early 17th century. Behind the box pews are the original bench ends, with gothic tracery and very unusual poppy heads, probably peculiar only to this church, and date from circa 1500-1530. They were probably moved and relocated in the 17th century, many having had additional blocks of wood at the base to give them more height. Ironically, the box pews seem to have had the original bench seats re-used with them, up to three inches in thickness in riven oak; whilst the earlier benches, having later seats are much thinner. The carving of all the early bench ends is of a similar design, whilst the poppy heads all vary, but are completely different from any other poppy heads on bench ends.
This bench end would have been removed, probably when the pews were fitted in the 17th century. The photograph of the reverse side shows where the original seat slot has been fitted, it is three inches wide.
We have photographs of the interior depicting simialar pew ends. These can be photocopied and posted on request.
The whole has a fine colour and patination.