St Lawrence, Frodsham, Cheshire
- Site Location
- National Grid Reference
- SJ 521 773
Lichfield to 1075
Chester to c.1086
Coventry and Lichfield to 1541
now: Chester from 1541
now (or name of monument): St Lawrence
- Type of building/monument
- Parish church
II General Description
St Lawrence's has a W tower, an aisled and clerestoreyed nave with three-bay arcades of c.1180 and a shorter fourth bay on either side at the E end, dating from Bodley and Garner's restoration of 1880-83. The 14thc. chancel was extended eastward in the 15thc. It has a 16thc. N chapel with an organ loft and vestry and a large S chapel. The 1880s restoration is everywhere apparent, even in the arcades (see below) but the 18thc. porches were left alone. Construction is of reddish sandstone. 12thc. stones are reset in the interior S wall of the tower.
IV Interior Features
(i) N arcade
Three round-headed bays plus a short, pointed E bay. The arches are double-stepped to N and S. Only the cylindrical pier 2 and the W respond are original, the octagonal pier 1 and the semi-octagonal E respond are totally of 1880-83. Of the capitals, only those of the W respond are 12thc. The W respond is of two square orders to N and S. The first order capital is square in plan and hollow chamfered in profile with small volutes on the main angles. It has a roll necking and an impost with a scotia between two rolls below a flat face. On the second order to either side is a capital like that of the 1st order but wanting the volutes. Neckings and imposts are as the first order.
(ii) S arcade
As N arcade except that all piers are round. The W respond has the same square, double-stepped form as its counterpart on the N. Original work is found on the capital of pier 2 and the W respond. In pier 2 capital the circular pier transposes to a square impost by means of a simple bell with angle volutes. The volutes are 19thc. insertions, the necking is chamfered and original, the imposts are 19thc., with the same form as on the N arcade, W respond. On the remainder of the bell is carved a series of 12thc. palmettes with fluted leaves, three to each face. The W respond follows the design of the N arcade, W respond, except that it has a palmette between the volutes of the first order capital. This palmette may well be original, but the volutes are not.
5. Interior Decoration
(i) Re-set stones, W tower S wall
1. Rectangular stone carved with a figural subject in high relief. It shows a central frontal figure with a halo, wearing a short pleated tunic and a maniple over his right wrist. Legs and feet are either lost or folded under him. In his right hand he carries a floral staff, and in his left a cross-headed staff, which he is forcing into the mouth of a dragon at lower R of the block. Figure carving is crude and the surface is badly eroded.
3. Irregular stone carved with two figures side by side, shown from approximately hip level upwards. The surface has been deliberately erased.
4. Rectangular stone, part of a grave cover or tombstone with a roll border on three sides enclosing a cross in circle motif.
In 1086 the manor was held by Earl Hugh. No church was noted at that time, but in 1093 Earl Hugh gave the tithes to the abbot of St Werburgh's, Chester.
Chevron of the same design as on stone 2 is found on the S doorway of All Saints, Church Lawton, where it can be seen to be a point-to-point design.
- N. Pevsner and E. Hubbard, The Buildings of England. Cheshire. Harmondsworth 1971 (repr. 1978), 220-21.
- R. Richards, Old Cheshire Churches. London 1947, 157-60.