This page provides a brief history of both parish churches. The information has been reproduced by kind permission of Bridget Wheeler and her father who each have produced a more in depth history.
ST QUIRICUS AND ST JULIETTA, TICKENHAM – A BRIEF HISTORY
Tickenham Church Aerial Flight
We have been given permission to feature the following aerial flight of our church, please click here (this will open a new window outside this website).
The following text is condensed from the booklet “A short guide to the history of this ancient Parish Church” which is available from the church itself or from the Benefice Office.
The parish church of Tickenham has the unusual dedication of St Quiricus & St Julietta. Julietta was a widow travelling with her three-year old son Quiricus in the year 304 AD when, in Tarsus, she was recognised as a Christian, arrested, taken before the Governor Alexander, and invited to recant. This she refused to do and was being tortured for her beliefs while her small son Quiricus was held on the knee of Alexander. Quiricus attempted to reach his mother, and in doing so scratched the face of Alexander. This angered the Governor who threw the boy down on the stone steps, killing him. Thereupon, Julietta thanked God for granting martyrdom to her son. Alexander was infuriated and ordered that she be beheaded. This joint dedication is only found in a few churches in this country, for example at Luxulyan in Cornwall, where the church is dedicated to St Cyriacus and St Julitta or in Newton St Cyres in Devon to St Julitta and St Cyriac.
The Church, situated on a rocky outcrop on the upper North Somerset Levels, can be dated definitely to the late 11th century by its early Norman chancel archway, but the nave walls may well be of Saxon origin due to their height and narrowness.
The north and south aisles were added during the 13th century with the Lady Chapel, or Bave Chapel, a little later. The chancel, entered through the 11th century archway, was extended in the 13th/14th century, which is why the East window appears off-centre when viewed from the nave. The original short tower of the 13th century was heightened in the 15th century and the present parapet and spirelets date from the end of the 19th century with statues representing the story of SSs Quiricus and Julietta. The belfry houses six bells, the oldest dated 1632. The main church door is 13th century, the stone step being worn into a deep hollow over the centuries.
The pulpit is 17th century. Above the pulpit is the doorway to the narrow and steep spiral staircase built into the wall of the Lady Chapel, probably constructed to reach the rood above the chancel arch but taken down at the Reformation. The Victorians removed the deteriorating plaster from the walls of the church, revealing the rough stonework of all shapes and colours of natural stone from the district. The contribution added by the current generation, at the millennium, is the welcome addition of two modern toilets constructed off the old Vestry!
This is indeed a brief history of Tickenham Church. We have to keep the church locked unfortunately on recommendations from the police, but in the porch is a telephone number you can ring for an appointment and the church is open on Saturdays and Sundays during August for guided tours.