St Laurence, Oxhill, Warwickshire
- Site Location
- National Grid Reference
- SP 317 455
now (or name of monument): St Laurence
- Type of building/monument
- Parish church
II General Description
The church is aisleless with a 15thc. W tower and an essentially 12thc. nave and chancel. 12thc. sculpture is found on N and S doorways, on two windows in the chancel and one in the nave, and on the chancel arch and font.
III Exterior Features
(i) N doorway, nave
Round-headed, of three orders. Protected by a 15thc. porch.Yellowish `Cotswold' type stone. Above the label is a re-set corbel head (see 3. d. (i))
|w. of opening||to be provided|
|h. of opening||1.44 m|
|Second order, L capital h. incl. necking||0.20 m|
|Third order, L capital h. incl. necking||0.20 m|
|Third order, L capital h. not incl. necking||0.17 m|
Plain and continuous save for the narrow, shallow-chamfered impost, with a groove along the upright, which continues to the third order. The door jambs have a slight chamfer.
The arch is plain.
Square plinths, no bases apparent, supporting detached nook shafts. Above these are elaborate foliate capitals with plain, slightly squared, necking. The capitals are integral with those of the third order, as is the impost.
L capital: Four stems rise from the necking at the angle, and are clasped by a double reeded band before they bifurcate, forming two fluted leaves with scalloped edges. This form is replicated on the outer angles, although only half of the design is possible. On each face of the capital is a tall, pointed fern-like leaf with fluted lobes and scalloped edges.
R capital: A human mask ("Green Man" ) with large,bulging eyes issues four stems from his mouth, two upper and two lower, forming a essentially symmetrical pattern. The lower stems, the L beaded and the R with nailhead, descend to the necking where they are clasped by beaded (L) and nailhead (R) bands; rising, they open out into fluted leaves with scalloped edges. The upper stems rise to the ear level of the head where they too are clasped before terminating in fluted leaves as above.
The arch is plain.
As second order, except the capitals.
L capital: The inverse of the second order L capital. A pointed fern-like leaf with fluted lobes and scalloped edge lies along the angle, with half-leaves of the same type on the outer angles. On each face lies a single beaded upright stem, terminating in a leaf with fluted lobes and scalloped edges which touches the leaf on the angle.
R capital: Similar to the second order R capital. The "Green Man" however, has a smaller face and more lenticular eyes and the stems do not issue from his mouth, but lie just beneath his chin. They may have been attached to a vertical beaded band on the angle. This may be issued by the Green Man, but the mouth area is damaged so it is not possible to be precise.
The arch is plain.
The label is chamfered with label stops but these are too mutilated to read. The L has a fluted projection rising from the damaged area.
The interior is plain with a chamfered label, which is the continuation of an interior string course along the N wall of the nave.
(ii) S doorway, nave
Round-headed, of three orders. In elevation, the distance between the inner face of the first order jambs to the inner face of the third order jambs is approximately the same (0.56 (L), 0.58 (R)) but the S face of the first order R jamb is wider than that of the first order L jamb and the S face of the third order L jamb is wider than that on the R jamb and the third order L capital is correspondingly wider. Above the doorway is a short length of corbel table (see 3.d. (ii))
The stone of the doorway is brown and shell-bearing with severe spalling .
Chevron 1: no. of petals 8; no. of nailhead mouldings c. 24
Chevron 2: no. of petals 10; no. of nailhead mouldings 27+
Chevron 3: no. of petals 8; no. of nailhead mouldings 19
Chevron 4: no. of petals 10; no. of nailhead mouldings 26
Chevron 5: no. of petals 4; no. of nailhead mouldings ?
Chevron 6: no. of petals 6; no. of nailhead mouldings c. 20
Chevron 7: no. of petals 8; no. of nailhead mouldings 16
Chevron 8: no. of petals 8; no. of nailhead mouldings 28
Chevron 9: no. of petals 5; no. of nailhead mouldings 14 (estimate)
Chevron 10: no. of petals 10; no. of nailhead mouldings 22 (estimate)
Chevron 11: no. of petals 5; no. of nailhead mouldings 12
Chevron 12: no. of petals 8; no. of nailhead mouldings 20
Chevron 13: no. of petals 8; no. of nailhead mouldings 18
Chevron 14: no. of petals 8; no. of nailhead mouldings 30 (estimate)
Chevron 15: no. of petals 8; no. of nailhead mouldings 24 (estimate)
Chevron 16: no. of petals 8; no. of nailhead mouldings 17
Chevron 17: no. of petals 8; no. of nailhead mouldings 24
Chevron 18: no. of petals 8; no. of nailhead mouldings 22 (estimate)
Most having eight petals and 18 nailhead mouldings.
At the apex of the arch, one rosette, wider than average, has ten petals and an indeterminate number of nailhead mouldings, and its neighbour, has five petals. The latter has been cut down in order to fit the arch and part of the nailhead around the rosette is missing.
The outer edge of the chevrons lie flush with the outer edge of the R capital, but more centrally on the L capital, owing to the wider capital. There is no label, but on the E side of the arch there are three packing pieces between the 15th and 16th and the 19th voussoir and the adjacent ashlar
Interior: Plain with a chamfered label which continues as a string course along the N wall of the nave.
|w of opening||to be provided|
|h. of opening||1.46 m|
|Second order, L capital h. incl. necking||0.20 m|
|Second order, L capital h. not incl. necking||0.17 m|
|Third order, L capital h. incl. necking||0.20|
|Third order, L capital h. not incl. necking||0.17 m|
Plain and continuous save for the impost, which has a roll on the angle and a smaller incised roll along the upright. This continues to the third order.
The arch is chamfered.
Very worn monolithic plinth and bases of uncertain profile supporting detached nook shafts.
L capital: A tall, pointed fern-like leaf with fluted lobes and scalloped edges, lies along the angle, with half-leaves of the same type on the outer angles. Between these are similar, smaller leaves, inverted. Just below the impost is a row of large pellets. Plain necking.
R capital: A triple-scallop capital, with hollowed shields. The cones are hidden by three fluted leaves with a row of beading representing the central vein. There is a pointed fern-like leaf with fluted lobes and scalloped edges on the angle. The S face is less well defined owing to erosion. Plain necking.
The arch has lateral, centripetal chevron to face and soffit, meeting point-to-point on the angle to form lozenges. The profile of the soffit chevron is fillet-roll-hollow while that of the face is fillet-roll-fillet.
As second order except for the capitals.
L capital: a crudely carved face with a square nose and wide, open mouth flanked by pointed leaves, which are a poor imitation of the leaves on the N doorway capitals.
R capital: a human mask on the angle with a pair of of stems emerging from under the chin, curling upwards and inwards and teminating in fluted scalloped leaves on either side of the head. A corresponding pair of leaves furl from above, not quite touching the lower leaves. There is a further row of short leaves growing from the plain necking. This capital has fragments of plaster adhering to it.
In the arch three rows of centripetal chevron carved frontal to the soffit, of the profile fillet-roll-fillet-roll-fillet-roll-fillet . On the face each voussoir is carved with a recessed rosette with fluted petals, within a band of nailhead. The springers are plain. There are variations in the details of the rosettes as indicated below (from E).
(i) Nave, N wall
To the E of the N doorway. The window has an arcuated, deep lintel, carved with a irregular single row of chevron lateral to the face with a row of nailhead outside this and wedges in both inner and outer triangles, the wedge at the apex is set within a semi-circular surround. On the R, the last arm of the chevron roll forms a return, this is lost on the L. The details are obscured by erosion and lichen. Internally the window is plain with a chamfered label.
(ii) Chancel, N wall, W window
The exterior is plain with a slightly pointed head. The window is not flush with the outer wall, as is the case with the similar window in the nave, but a small reveal has been cut, thus providing a larger window aperture than the original.
The interior is plain and splayed. the label is carved with a single rowl of chevron lateral to the face, comprising a roll followed by an angled fillet, with narrow wedges on the inner edge forming cogwheel edge and broader wedges on the outer edge. ?much renewed.
(iii) Chancel, E window
The exterior is plain and round headed.
The interior is as (ii).
3. Exterior Decoration
c. Corbel tables, corbels
(i) Corbel Head
Over the label of the N doorway is a small human head corbel, possibly cowled, with a round face, pointed chin and bulging eyes which are drilled in the centre. A tiny hand is raised to a grimacing mouth.
(ii) Corbel Table
A re-set corbel table is located one course above the apex of the S doorway. It comprises seven heads suspended between slightly irregular round arches, which each have an round billet (end facing) suspended from the centre. The heads are generally in poor condition and are covered in lichen. From L:
1. A large human head with a deep chin, very eroded and spalled.
2. A human head, smaller than 1., with a round face, large nose, and bulging eyes with drilled centres.
3. A human head with ear length straight hair, a longer face than 2. with small, close-set, bulging eyes, long nose and small mouth.
4. A beak head, squared at the top with large, sloping lenticular eyes, the "beak" a triple chevron. The lower part of the head is damaged.
5. A human head, quite large. This has a long face with large bulging eyes, a long nose, and small, low-set mouth.
6. A human head, slightly smaller than 5. with a wider face, bulging eyes and a long narrow nose. Spalling makes the features difficult to read.
7. A human head, large and round with downward slanting lentoid eyes, pronounced cheeks, a straight nose and open mouth.
Head 1. is on one block, while heads 2 - 5, and 6 - 7 share a block.
IV Interior Features
a. Chancel arch/Apse arches
(i) Chancel arch
Pointed arch of two orders to E and W. Some features have been chiselled away, possibly when a screen was fitted. (Smith, 1989).
First order, shared
Double-bulbous bases on square plinths, supporting half-round responds.
The carving on the capitals is almost entirely chisled away, except for small area on W face of S side where a vestige of a scallop capital, of the same type as the second order N capital, remains. The chiseling is a crude attempt to effect the transition from the half round respond profile to that of the stepped chamfered arch. No impost. The arch is skewed indicating the transition from round to pointed arch, and there is a change in chamfer angle on the west face.
Second order, W face
Double-bulbous bases on integral plinth supporting detached nook shafts. The capitals have thick, plain necking. There are traces of red and white pigment on the shafts.
L (N) capital: Triple-scallop with sheathed cones and plain shields.
The impost, which only survives on the N face, is hollow-chamfered with a small roll on the upright followed by a row of zig-zag. Part of the W facing section has been cut away.
R (S): Triple scallop with recessed shields and with a row of nailhead along the length of each cone. There are two cones to each face and one on the angle. That on the angle has two scallops, one on each face.
The impost is hollow-chamfered with a roll on the angle followed by a shallow roll on the upright, part of the N facing section has been cut away.
The arch is, plain except that the lower 11 or so voussoirs on both sides are unchamfered, whereas those above are. There is a vestige of a label on the S side of the arch.
Second order, E face
No bases, plain jambs. The impost is hollow chamfered and continues a short way along the W wall.
Tub-shaped. The bowl is carved with eight intersecting arcades which have simple bases and capitals. The arcades form 16 panels, which are carved with variety of figurative, geometrial and foliate subjects. Carved from light brown stone with cement repairs around the rim. The hemispherical interior is lead-lined.
Details, from E facing section.
1. Eve, standing on a square plinth, naked with long hair and arms crossed before her body, covering her genitals.
2. Tree with two symmetrical sets of downward facing furled leaves, fluted with scalloped edges, and with a palmette at top which has three lobes, flanked by a volute. A serpent twines up the stem of the tree, its head directed towards Eve.
3. Adam on an irregular plinth, naked with short hair, hands crossed before his body as Eve.
4. Tree, similar to 2. with two symmetrical sets of downward facing furled leaves, but with bifurcating roots and, at top, a small cluster of berries in a pod with two, fluted scalloped leaves below.
5 Geometric design consisting of intersecting mandorla-shaped mouldings.
6 Geometric design consisting of three sets of two crossed stems, one above the other, the ends of which turn inward toward the point of intersection and terminate in a single, tri-lobed leaf.
7 Scroll with scalloped leaves with fluted edges.
8 Three tri-lobed leaves, one above the other, with bifurcated stems which attach to the pilasters.
9 A tree with bifurcated root, with two scalloped leaves with fluted edges on either side at mid-height. The stem bifurcates just above this and then terminates in below; a tri-lobed leaf and above; a pointed single-lobed leaf.
10. Scroll with scalloped leaves with fluted edges.
11. Four rosettes, one above the other,gradating in side from top to bottom. The uppermost rosette has six petals, the others have four.
12 Two interlacing stems forming two and a half mandorla shaped cells. The upper two contain a donward pointing tri-lobed leaf. the lowest. the half-mandorla contains a small upward facing pointed tri-lobed leaf.
13 Three rosettes, one above the other. The uppermost is the most elaborate, with six petals and with a second six-petalled flower carved within. The other two rosettes also have six petals, but have a recessed boss in the centre.
14 Two stems, one on either side of the panel. Each produces one large, downward-facing leaf and then terminates in a shared tri-lobed leaf at the top of the panel.
15 A tree with a trifurcated root, with two sets of upward pointing leaves and, at top a pod with berries set into a lily-like flower.
16 Three mandorla shaped pods within four-petalled flowers, one above the other.
|exterior diam.||0.71 m|
|interior diam||0.54 m|
There has clearly been some readjustment of the third order arch of the S doorway. VCH suggests that the jointing of the arch indicates there was a hood-mould, and a display in the church suggests that the two packing pieces on the E side of the arch are also given as evidence. In the author's opinion, more packing pieces would have been expected to replace a label. It seems more likely that the arch slipped, creating gaps that had to be packed.
The font is said to have been removed from the church in 1817 and used as a water-tub, and then as a flower pot at Ettington Hall! It was restored to Oxhill in 1879 (information from display inside church). Eve is "Very thin and pitiful" according to Pevsner.
- Betty Smith, Oxhill, reprinted 1989
- VCH 5:126ff