Did St Mary’s church ever have a spire?

These images tend to support the view that it did:- Gough’s 1360 map, drawn when St Mary’s was just two hundred or so years old, and detail from the panel of a 17th century chimney piece in Marlipins Museum (photo Giles Standing). The carving was believed by some to be ‘an inexact but legitimate representation of St Mary’s Church with its nave intact (and spire)’ (Salmon 1903: 237) but many dispute this, quoting a lack of of any evidence of a spire at all in the known records and that the carving was simply a stylised representation of a church in the early 17th century. The same argument is put in the case of the 1360 map.

 

1 Comments
p osborne March 10, 2020
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Very interesting.  Whilst I appreciate St Mary's has been extended and reworked many times, the chimney piece has no distinctive details that tally with St. Mary's - nor with the map sketch. The base to the spire is very stylised and doesn't look to represent the current tower base, nor its location.  This is effectively a different church.   The present tower is unusual and it would be interesting to know if the structure could have supported a spire.  Based on what I can see - I think the idea of a spire is not supported enough by these two represenatations.