IT WAS an artist, Steve Bower, who first noticed them. He asked
the local historian James Bellchambers about the scars in the red
sandstone wall at the east end of St Mary's, Totnes, in
Exeter diocese. Careful inspection showed some 20
substantial bullet holes, but there was nothing in the church's
history to account for them.
Were they the work of trigger-happy Roundhead soldiers who took
pot shots at the church window during the time that Oliver Cromwell
was in the town for a meeting with Lord Fairfax in 1646? There is
certainly no medieval glass left in the 500-year-old church, which
raises the possibility that it was all destroyed by Roundhead
troops at the time.
Alternatively, in the church register there is the record of the
burial of Toby Amyatt, in December 1659, who had been "shot by
soldiers" in the last throes of the Civil War. Another possibility
is that they are a legacy from the time when the town was strafed
by German aircraft during the Second World War, although that seems
less likely from the way the bullet holes are distributed.
Mr Bellchambers says that he has made enquiries among local
archaeologists about the bullet holes, but so far without any luck.
"We are hoping that somewhere there will be someone who knows about
them and what happened."