All Saints, Stapleford, Lincolnshire
- Site Location
- National Grid Reference
- SK 886 576
now (or name of monument): All Saints
- Type of building/monument
- Parish church
II General Description
Small church isolated on the edge of the hamlet. Church consists of a stone west tower with a pyramidal roof probably done by C. H. Fowler during restoration of 1903-4. Nave and choir, reconstructed in brick in 1770, of a single, rectangular cell. There is a Romanesque pillar piscina in the sanctuary and a bowl from another pillar piscina reset into the SW corner of the nave.
3. Piscinae/Pillar Piscinae
(i) Pillar piscina
Located in the SE corner of the sanctuary. The pillar piscina is of one piece of stone and is bonded into the corner of the wall. The backside of the pillar is not carved. Base consists of quirk and hollow chamfer. The pillar is polygonal, seven carved sides, with chevron moulding. Traces of red pigment on base and pillar. The polygonal, five-sided, multi-scallop capital has cable mould necking. Shields of scallops emphasized with a deeply incised semi-circular quirk. Polygonal, five-sided abacus decorated with saltire crosses in square fields. The cone and abacus at the angle immediately to the R have been repaired with concrete. Top of bowl is plain and the basin of the bowl is a scalloped rosette. Traces of blue pigment on top of bowl and in basin. Centre drain exits out hole in back of pillar approx. 0.27 m. down from top of bowl. There is an iron dowel affixed into the back of the basin capital by which the piscina is attached to the wall.
|h. (from base to top of capital)||0.79 m|
|h. incl. necking||0.20 m|
|dimensions||0.26 m x 0.275 m|
(ii) Multi-scallop capital from pillar piscina
Reset into the SW corner of the nave 1.675 m. above floor level. No necking. By looking at the bottom of the basin it is clear that it is carved on three sides with scallops though only two sides are now clearly visible. The cones are sheathed and the shields have a single row of beads, which follow the curve of the shields. The E face of the abacus was carved but is now too worn to determine its design. N face of the abacus has a beaded, pointed arch above each shield; within each arch there appears to be a trefoil (perhaps fluted and/or scalloped) upright leaf. Top of capital is plain. The basin is circular and very roughly carved. On the bottom of the capital there are three holes: one drilled straight up through in the centre and two drilled diagonally. One of the diagonal holes exits on the uncarved side of the capital and the other at the SW corner. All three holes meet in the centre drain of the basin.
|h. not incl. necking||0.16 m|
|max. w., E face||0.28 m|
|max. w., N face||0.23 m|
According to Domesday Book, Countess Judith, niece of William I, held possession of the church to which a priest was assigned in 1086. Around 1300 the belfry had to be rebuilt because it had fallen into such a state of disrepair through neglect of maintenance on the part of the parishioners.
The fact that the back side of the pillar piscina in the sanctuary is not carved suggests that it was never meant to be freestanding. The same holds for the reset piscina capital in the SW corner of the nave. According to Pevsner, the nave was rebuilt in 1770 by Cox; this provides a terminus post quem for the date of the resetting of this piscina fragment. Pevsner records this as a 'Norman capital' but its basin and drainage holes demonstrate that it is a capital from a pillar piscina. Of the three holes in the piscina capital, the centre one was probably for a dowel to connect the capital to a pillar. The other two, based on their angle toward the uncarved side of the capital were likely meant to be drainage holes. But why are there two drainage holes? Was there a difficulty with one hole that necessitated an attempt at another? Also, why the roughly carved basin? Perhaps this piece was left unfinished because of a design error in the drain system. If indeed this is an 'unfinished' capital for a pillar piscina, then why is this fragment here? Is it possible that it represents on-site carving at this small parish church?
- Domesday Book: Lincolnshire. 56,9.
- D. Owen, Church and Society in Medieval Lincolnshire. History of Lincolnshire, Vol. 5. 1971 (2nd ed. 1990), 113.
- N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire. London 1990, 716-17.