St Eata, Atcham, Shropshire

Feature Sets (2)


Atcham is a village at the crossing of the River Severn, 3 miles SE of Shrewsbury. The church is alongside the river and consists of an aisleless nave and chancel and a W tower. There is with late Saxon or early Norman masonry in the N nave and chancel walls. There is a small, plain, round headed window in the N wall of the nave. The lower stages of the tower are late 12thc. and the top stage is 15thc. The early W doorway of the tower is the only feature with Romanesque sculpture.


The church was dedicated to the Anglo-Saxon saint St Eata the Confessor, who was abbot of Melrose in 661, becoming abbot of Lindisfarne in 664 (Eyton 1859, 244). This is the only church in the country dedicated to St Eata. The village was the birthplace of the historian Orderic Vitalis, who was baptised here in 1075.

The manor was held by Godebold from the church of St Alkmund, Shrewsbury in 1086. It was assessed at 1 hide.


Exterior Features


W doorway

A curious round-headed doorway, with deeply splayed jambs and arch. The 1st order is plain and continuous with a chamfer, but thereafter the jambs are flat and splayed with a low plinth carrying 5 en-delit shafts on each side with low double-roll waterholding bases and tall concave-belled capitals with low leaves at the top. Thes in turn carry a single impost like an entablature on each side, with a quadrant profile, the curve facing upwards. The arch is simply splayed, forming a sector of a cone. It projects slightly from the wall face, forming what must be called a simple label. Construction is of red sandstone.

Height of opening 2.95 m
Width of opening 1.62 m


Pevsner  considers the W doorway very ambitious" but notes that it is much renewed, considering the capitals and shafts not to be original. He may be right about the capitals, but the shafts and most of their bases do indeed seem to be original, although there has been some modification of the design around the impost level.  It has much in common with the change from stepped to flat embrasures seen towards the end of the 12thc in the Ile-de-France, e.g. at Sens.


  • J. C. Anderson, Shropshire: Its Early History and Antiquities. 1864, 164-5.

  • R. W. Eyton, Antiquities of Shropshire, 8, London: J. R. Smith, 1859, 239-46.

  • Historic England Listed BuildingĀ 259242

  • J. Newman and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Shropshire. Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 2006, 124-126

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Shropshire. London 1958, 66.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SJ 541 092 
now: Shropshire
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Shropshire
medieval: Lichfield (to 1075); Chester (to c.1086); Coventry and Lichfield (to 1541)
now: Lichfield
now: St Eata
medieval: St Eata (pre-Reformation)
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Barbara Zeitler 
Visit Date
23 June 1999