St James, Thorley, Hertfordshire

Feature Sets (3)

Description

The church has chancel, nave, W tower and S porch. The nave and chancel are 13thc. and the tower is 15thc. the S porch and vestry are 19thc. Romanesque sculpture is found on the S doorway and the font. The exterior of the church is rendered, but beneath this has flint walling. The church was restored in 1854 by J. Vuillamy.

History

According to VCH the church belonged to Walden Abbey which was founded by Geoffrey de Mandeville before 1144.

After the Conquest William Bishop of London had bought the manor from the King but at the time of DS Geoffrey de Mandeville still held it. The Bishop of London seemed only to have been able to claim one half-hide.

Features

Exterior Features

Doorways

S doorway

Round-headed, of two orders in the jambs and three in the arch. Re-set. The impost seems modern.

First order

Plain with chamfered impost, with shallow square blocks inserted between the impost and tympanum.

Second order

No bases. Cylindrical plinths support the detached spiral-carved nook shafts. The simple bell capitals have cable necking (a thick and a thin strand intertwined). On the angles each capital has a pointed leaf. A frurther small leaf is carved on the outer angles of each face. The pointed leaf on the angle extends into the abacus, whichis indicated by a fine incised line.

The imposts continue from the first order.

The arch has two thick rolls of chevron, carved lateral to the face, of the profile: roll, hollow and with cogwheel edge. The individual voussoirs are carved centrifugally.

Third order, arch

The imposts continue from the first order.

The arch has two thick rolls of chevron, carved lateral to the face, of the profile: roll, roll and with cogwheel edge. The individual voussoirs are carved centrifugally.

Tympanum

Plain, composed of seven individual stones arranged symmetrically. The lower edge is curved.

Furnishings

Fonts

(i)

The font has a deep, square bowl supported on a chamfered block of the same stone. The rest of the supports are modern. Each face of the font is carved with five tall, shallow bays of arcading. The bowl and support are Purbeck Marble.

Dimensions
approximate d. of bowl 0.27 m
h. of bowl 0.40 m
total h. not including modern supports 0.51 m
w. of bowl 0.75 m

Comments/Opinions

According to the church guide, the font was brought to the church in 1855 after it was found in a local farmyard where it was in use as a water trough! It is likely that it would originally have had a central columnar support and colonnettes at the angles.

Bibliography

  • Domesday Book: Hertfordshire, Ed. J. Morris, Chichester, 1977,
  • The Victoria County History: A History of the County of Hertford, London, 1912, 3:375.
  • N. Pevsner and B. Cherry, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, Harmondsworth, 1953 (1977), 362-3

Location

Site Location
Thorley
National Grid Reference
TL 476 188 
Boundaries
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Hertfordshire
now: Hertfordshire
Diocese
medieval: Lincoln (Dorchester to 1085)
now: St Albans
Dedication
now: St James
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Hazel Gardiner