St Bertoline, Barthomley, Cheshire
- Site Location
- National Grid Reference
- SJ 768524
Lichfield to 1075
; Chester to c.1086
Coventry and Lichfield to
now: Chester from 1541
now (or name of monument): St Bertoline
- Type of building/monument
- Parish church
II General Description
St Bertoline's is a 15th-16thc. Perpendicular church with chancel rebuilt by Austin and Paley in 1925-26. It has a four-bay nave with aisles and clerestorey and a N porch; a chapel (the Crewe Chapel) of c.1528 on the S side of the chancel and a vestry on the N, and a Perpendicular W tower. The oldest feature, however, is an elaborate 12thc. doorway, now blocked and reset in the N chancel wall, trimmed to fit the narrow gap between the vestry and the end of the aisle. Construction is of red sandstone blocks, generally eroded.
III Exterior Features
(i) Chancel N doorway
First order: the tympanum has a large circular medallion in the centre, with a double-roll border and a large flat field suitable for painting. Apart from this the only carving is a groove around the tympanum face, just inside the edge. It is supported on plain square jambs, largely of replacement blocks.
Second order. En-delit nook-shafts, probably replacements, without bases. The capitals have roll neckings and narrow square abaci. That on the E has an oval head on the angle, with oval eyes, damaged nose and a thin horizontal mouth, all features indicated by simple grooves. There is a large loss on the R of the jaw. In the place of hair, six long curving fluted leaves issue from the crown of the head, symmetrically disposed. The W capital has projecting volutes at all three angles, these rising on flat stems from a triangular mound on each face. Between the volutes on the E face is a simple bud between two leaves.
The imposts are chamfered and carved on both face and chamfer with deeply cut snaking foliage stems with leaves and spiral shoots issuing from the main stems. The arch has a heavy angle roll and five rows of lateral chevron on the face, centrifugally carved and consisting of three slender rolls between two thicker rolls. The triangular fields at the intrados have triangular fillet borders. The label is chamfered with a row of billet on the chamfer. Construction is of red sandstone, with a thin wash of light grey paint applied to parts of the imposts and label, presumably to discourage lichen growth, possibly at the same time that the drainpipes were painted.
|h. of opening||1.88 m|
|w. of opening||0.83 m|
|diam. of tympanum||1.28 m|
|h. of tympanum||0.63 m|
|thickness of tympanum||0.16 m|
St Bertoline was an 8thc. prince who became a hermit after the death of his wife and lived on an island in the River Sow in Staffordshire. In 1086 the manor was held of Earl Hugh of Chester by William Malbank. No church was noted at this time.
Pevsner describes the doorway as 'rather raw'; the capitals as 'primitive' but this does it an injustice. The imposts are elaborately carved and the chevron arch and capitals are at least precisely designed. A date in the 1130s or 1140s is suggested.
- N. Pevsner and E. Hubbard, The Buildings of England. Cheshire. Harmondsworth 1971 (repr. 1978), 71-72.
- R. Richards, Old Cheshire Churches. London 1947, 43-47.