St Peter, Eastham, Worcestershire

Feature Sets (4)

Description

The church, built of tufa with ashlar facing both inside and out, comprises a 12thc. nave and chancel, both without aisles. The chancel was extended in the 14thc., and in 1825 the W nave wall was replaced by a brick tower. According to the church guide, the tufa comes from a deposit four miles to the E. The VCH records restorations to the fabric in 1864 and 1889. Romanesque sculpture is found in the S doorway of the nave, in the arcading above it and on the font. There are also two carved panels inset into the E nave wall inside, and two panels reset into the S nave wall outside.

History

The manor was held by Ralph de Todeni in 1086. There was a priest at this time. The advowson is first mentioned in 1277-78, when it was conveyed with the manor to Ralph de Sodington. (VCH 4: 272)

Features

Exterior Features

Doorways

S doorway, nave

Round-headed, two orders. Set in a projection 0.13 m deep, with blind arcading above (see para. III.3(b) (i) below).

Dimensions
h. of opening 2.56 m
w. of opening 1.19 m
L capital:
h. incl. necking 0.2 m
h. without necking 0.18 m
max. w. of E face 0.23 m
max. w. of S face 0.23 m
First order

Plain square jambs, no capitals but chamfered imposts, cut back on L. Arch decorated with two rows of chip-carved saltires on the face.

Second order

Detached nook shafts on eroded moulded bases. Plain cushion capitals with a roll at the angle and plain neckings. Chamfered impost blocks with one groove on the face, with major losses. Single fat nook roll in archivolt. Flat label with five rows of incised lozenges.

Exterior Decoration

Arcading

Arcade above S doorway

Above the S doorway is a blind arcade of four bays supported on five columns with detached shafts, round chamfered bases and shallow cushion capitals with plain neckings. The capitals support two orders of arches, the first round-headed and chamfered, the second intersecting. The bases rest on a chamfered sill, decorated with chip-carved saltires above a groove on the face. Above the arcading is a plain chamfered cornice. The whole ensemble is badly weathered; only the two R blocks of the sill have decoration remaining.

Miscellaneous

Carved panel

In the S wall of the nave at the level of the window heads is a reset rectangular carved panel, within a gabled niche. The surface is too weathered to enable the subject to be identified.

Reset carved panel

Slightly to the W of (i), at a similar level, is an approximately semicircular reset panel, carved with a badly weathered centaur facing R.

Interior Features

Interior Decoration

Miscellaneous

Carved panel

Below (i) is a roughly rectangular panel carved with a pair of affronted quadrupeds joined at the neck, with a single horned head facing forwards and with tails curling over the backs.

Carved panel with inscription

High in the E wall of the nave, on the S side of the modern chancel arch, is a roughly squared panel with an Agnus Dei carved in relief on a recessed circular field, framed by a plain roll-moulding. The background bears an incised inscription: [to be supplied]

Furnishings

Fonts

Plain cauldron-shaped bowl, with a fillet at the rim and a cable moulding at the foot. Modern stem.

Dimensions
ext. diam at rim 0.91m
h. of bowl 0.45 m
int. diam. at rim 0.66 m

Comments/Opinions

Stratford in Pevsner 1968 (p.45) dates the Romanesque fabric to the second quarter of the 12thc. Blind arcading also appears over the doorways at Bockleton, Knighton-on Teme and Stoulton, and there are angle rolls on cushion capitals at Stockton-on-Teme. Carved panels bearing the Agnus Dei also occur at Stockton-on-Teme and Hanley William. Doorways set in a projecting bay, as here, occur in a number of churches in the county (see Preface to Worcestershire).

Bibliography

  • Eastham, SS Peter and Paul n.d. (Guide book)
  • The Victoria History of the Counties of England. Worcestershire, vol. I, 310; vol. IV. London 1924, 270-72.
  • C. J. Bond, 'Church and Parish in Norman Worcestershire' in J. Blair (ed.) Minsters and Parish Churches: The Local Church in Transition 950-1200, Oxford University Committee for Archaeology Monograph 17. Oxford 1988, 119-58, 149.
  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Worcestershire. Harmondsworth 1968, 45, 139-40.

Location

Site Location
Eastham
National Grid Reference
SO 657 687 
Boundaries
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Worcestershire
now: Worcestershire
Diocese
medieval: Hereford
now: Worcester
Dedication
now: St Peter and St Paul
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
G. L. Pearson