Church of St. Hypolite, Ryme Intrinseca. Grade 2* listed. NGR: ST 58179 10825. Lat: 50.895381, Long: -2.5960178. Lead Author: PS.
The church is dedicated to Saint Hypolite, a 3rd-century theologian in the Christian Church of Rome and distinguished for his learning and eloquence. He was elected a Bishop by a schism group which held rigorous views on ‘sin’. The group came into conflict with the Bishop of Rome, Pope Callixtus when he extended absolution to Christians who had committed ‘grave sins’ such as adultery. This led to Bishop Hypolitus’ exile to Sardinia where he died in 235AD. His body was brought back to Rome and interred in a cemetery on the Via Tibertina. Some twenty years later he was elevated to martyrdom status after the schism group was accepted back into the main Church.
The church, consisting of a chancel and nave, was built of local Forest Marble stone by the Beauchamp family, the local Lords of the Manor in the 13th century. Ham Hill stone from the Beauchamp quarries in Stoke-sub-Hamdon, Somerset was used for the quoins, window and doorway dressings. The south wall of the nave (Photo 2) has retained an original 13th century Ham Hill stone double lancet window (Photo 2). The east wall of the chancel was rebuilt in the 17th century.
The significant renovation of the church in the 17th century included the addition of a tower, a south porch (Photo 3) and the installation of a trefoil window in the nave wall specifically to light the pulpit (Photo 4). The stone used in the additions matched the original i.e. Forest Marble and Ham Hill stone.
Whilst the church roof has largely been replaced by modern materials, some original Ham Hill stone tiles have been retained in the lowest two courses of the nave and chancel (Photos 5a, 5b and 5c). They are of particular interest as the use of hand split Ham Hill stone tiles for roofing dates back to Saxon times. They were a means of using hard thin layers of surface stone of little use as building blocks.
The interior (Photo 6) has plain plaster walls and is largely undecorated apart from several memorials. The chancel has a 13th century lancet window on each side of the nave (Photo 7). The font (Photo 8) dates to the 15th century and is made of Ham Hill stone. The monuments and floor slabs were not investigated.
Text and images by PS, April 2018.