Sunday, 3 April 2016

Selborne Church - Templar Tombs

Greetings Gentle Readers,

In the last few days I had the opportunity to visit Selborne Church in Hampshire, As well as being the resting place of the 18th century naturalist Gilbert White, the church also contains two extremely old stone coffins, which can be found at the rear of the church. Each has inscribed on them a longsword, with elaborate pommels and quillons, a sign that they probably once housed the bodies of Templars.

Templar tombs are quite rare, so I was surprised that these were tucked away, and not on display in some museum somewhere. Whilst in poor condition, the sword carvings can be made out if viewed from the right angle, or with the aid of a torch held at an acute angle to the surface.

I had to move some stacks of chairs to reveal the slab above, whilst the sarcophagus below was hidden away in a far corner of the church.

I enjoy visiting churches, mostly from an historical point of view - pilgrims marks, medieval artwork and civil war damage etc., and thankfully in this part of the world we have many fine examples. Unfortunately Selborne Church, whilst extremely scenic from the outside, was very cluttered within, and these two tombs were really the saving grace of the visit. It's a shame they aren't more widely-known, and indeed better displayed, I am sure they would attract more visitors if they were.

Until next time..........

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