Posts Tagged ‘Potterne’

The Churches at Potterne and Bishops Cannings in Wiltshire

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Potterne in Wiltshire has but a walk on part in the  ‘fine of the month’ for March 2011.  It was from his manor there that the bishop of Salisbury, Robert of Bingham, on 17 February 1236, issued the charter assigning the money from various amercements imposed by the king’s judges to the fabric fund of Salisbury cathedral, next day travelling some  fourteen miles north east to have the charter confirmed by the king at Marlborough. Then in 1241 it was from Marlborough, perhaps after a visit by the bishop,  that Henry III made a gift of deer to stock the episcopal park at Potterne.

Last Saturday (26 March), my wife, Jane, and I went to Wooton Basset to pick up some Doulton Yorktown china we had bought on ebay. In the afternoon, we went to look at Potterne and another Salisbury episcopal manor at nearby Bishops Cannings.  Both have wonderful thirteenth-century churches, probably the work of Bingham’s predecessors, churches  large and imposing  with transepts and great square towers, precursors of that at the cathedral. They testify to the material wealth and spiritual power of the bishop, yet they are very different in tone. Potterne internally is quite austere, almost Cistercian in its lack of decorative motifs.  Bishops Cannings, on the other hand, abounds in  mouldings, shafts and stiff leaf foliage capitals, all the things one associates with thirteenth-century architecture at its most profuse and engaging.