All Saints, East Garston, Berkshire

Feature Sets (2)

Description

East Garston is a good sized village in the west of the county, 5 miles north of Hungerford. The church stands at the west end of the village. Externally, All Saints' appears to be a substantial aisleless 12thc. cruciform church with a two-storey crossing tower. A S aisle has been added to the nave, and a 14thc. chapel added to the N of the chancel. There are N and S doorways, the former blocked and the latter under a porch. On the interior, all four crossing arches prove to be replacements, and the S arcade is of 1882 by Ewan Christian. The chancel is of 1875, by J. W. Hugall. Construction is of flint with brick banding on the tower and transepts. A 1684 datestone on the E wall of the N chapel presumably indicates a restoration, as does the 1882 date on the rainwater heads. This report includes the S doorway of c.1200 and the lower storey tower windows, as well as two crudely carved heads reset in the walling. Pevsner also reports a Norman pillar piscina, but its capital is carved with naturalistic foliage forms, and it must date from the later 13thc.

History

The manor was held by Geoffrey de Mandeville in 1086, and by Esger in the time of the Confessor.  Before the Conquest it had been assessed at 30 hides, but it only counted for 10 by 1086. As well as the ploughland there were 5 acres of meadow and woodland for 40 pigs.  The recorded population of 23 villans, 12 bordars and 3 slaves probably represents a total of more than 150. No church was noted, but there were two mills.

Before the middle of the 12thc the manor passed to the family of London of Kidwelly in Wales, and Maurice de London was in possession of bothe Kidwelly and East Garston by 1141.  It descended with that family until the end of the 12thc, the male line failing shortly thereafter. A charter of Maurice de London granted the church to the monastery he fouded at Ewenny (Glamorgan), but the advowson remained with the lords of the manor.

Features

Exterior Features

Doorways

S doorway, nave

Round-headed, one order. Nook shafts with double roll bases support capitals of c.1200; a round trumpet scallop capital with leaves on the shields on the E, and an undercut stiff-leaf capital on the W. Neckings are plain rolls, and imposts have a heavy upper roll with a fillet above an undercut hollow and a slender lower roll — certainly a 13thc. form. In the arch is a keeled roll between two deep hollows with slender rolls at either side. The chamfered label is carved with a row of square billet in the chamfer.

Dimensions
h. of opening 2.41 m
w. of opening 1.14 m

Windows

Tower

Three windows, tower first storey, N, E and W faces (the S face has a clock) Plain chamfered, round-headed openings with chamfered label and square billet on the chamfer. If original, they are heavily restored.

Exterior Decoration

Miscellaneous

Block carved with human head

Head two is set 0.33m above the ground and 0.87m from the SE angle of the transept, on its side. The shape is oval, with signs of hair at the top. The nose is triangular and eyes as head 1, but more worn. The same carving technique was used as head 1.

Dimensions
h. of block 0.14 m
l. of block 0.18 m

Block carved with human head

In gable below sundial. An approximately square block carved with a face with wide brow and pointed chin. The eyes are oval with brows and a pair of wrinkles above, the nose triangular with two nostrils, the mouth like a letter-box. Around the face are worn curls of hair. Carving is technically crude - the face plane has been cut back to allow the features to be carved in relief.

Comments/Opinions

The S doorway must belong to the early years of the 13thc., but is included here since it includes a scallop capital and billet moulding. The tower windows appear to be completely 19thc. work, at least as far as the billet labels are concerned. Finally, the reset heads are so crudely carved that they might have been carved at almost any time.

Bibliography

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. Harmondsworth 1966, 131-32.

  • G. Tyack, S. Bradley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire.  New Haven and London 2010, 280.

  • Victoria County History: Berkshire IV (1924), 247-51.

Location

Site Location
East Garston
National Grid Reference
SU 361 771 
Boundaries
now: West Berkshire
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Berkshire
Diocese
medieval: Salisbury
now: Oxford
Dedication
now: All Saints
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
7 November 2003,