Tower repairs ... headsThe stonemasons who built the tower in the 1820's incorporated a number of carved heads into the decorative mouldings. These were not designed to be readily seen from the ground, but they are possibly intended to depict local church leaders, officials and parishioners of the day. There is even one unhappy looking figure who seems to have been a victim of an industrial accident during the construction.
The latter-day stonemasons have continued this carving tradition. Our verger, who is amongst the longest standing members of the church, will keep a watchful eye over the building and churchyard from his vantage point on a high pinnacle for decades to come.
... and tails!
The stonemasons found two George III silver "five shilling dollars" dated 1804 embedded in the masonry near the top of the tower at the north-east and south-west corners. Five shilling dollar coins were originally Spanish coins imported (or looted) into this country. They were re-issued in 1804 by the Bank of England in response to a shortage of high value coins. The original design was erased and they were over stamped with a portrait of King George III on the obverse (in full Roman Emperor regalia) and with the inscription: GEORGIUS III DEI GRATIA REX. On the reverse was an image of a seated Britannia with shield, spear and olive branch with the inscription: BANK OF ENGLAND 1804 FIVE SHILLING DOLLAR.
Interestingly, it turned out that the coins, although contemporary with the building of the tower, were counterfeit. Why they were placed there, by whom, and whether that person knew they were counterfeit, are all mysteries!