St Mary the Virgin, Stoneleigh, Warwickshire

Feature Sets (4)

Description

The Chancel and W tower are substantially 12thc., but the remainder, including a 14thc. S aisle, has been rebuilt. There is a plain round-headed window in the tower and Romanesque sculpture is found on the font, the blocked N doorway of the nave, the chancel arch, responds in the chancel and at the W end of the nave, and on a blind arcade on the interior E and S chancel walls, the last very heavily reconstructed. The church is of local red sandstone.

History

Stanlei had two priests at the time of Domesday . The church at Stonleya was granted to the Augustinian canons of Kenilworth by Henry I (Abstract) with lands from his own lands, at the request of Thurstan, Archbishop of York (ob. 1140), and confirmed by Roger de Clinton, bishop of Chester (1198-1202).

Features

Exterior Features

Doorways

N doorway, nave (blocked)

Round-headed, of three orders, with tympanum composed of five separate blocks, two below and three above.

The severely weathered tympanum is carved in low relief. The lower panels bear two dragons (with necks twined together?) biting their own tails, with traces of three quatrefoils in the upper L . Above this the central small panel is carved with two intertwining serpents, biting their own tails.

Dimensions
h. of opening 2.25 m
h. of tympanum 0.65 m
w. of opening 1.20 m
w. of tympanum 1.20 m
First order

This is plain, with an arch composed of small voussoirs enclosing the tympanum.

Second order

Detached nook shafts, much restored, on bulbous bases with plain but very eroded torus mouldings. The shafts support double scallop capitals.

L capital: There are narrow rolls between the cones and the shields are slightly recessed, a row of zig-zag runs along the upper edge of the capital directly below the impost on the N face. On the W face, the shields bear a triple arcade terminating in bulbs.

R capital: the two shields flanking the NE angle each bear a sunken bisected circle. The other shields are plain.

The impost is hollow-chamfered with a fillet on the upright defined by two grooves, and above this a row of interlace (L) and inverted intersecting arches (R). The impost continues to just beyond the label on the third order.

The arch has recessed double-cone moulding on the angle (15 cones).

Third order

As second order, but the R base is hollow chamfered. The plain, restored shafts support double scallop capitals.

L capital: this has wedges in the tucks and recessed shields enclosing circles, the latter linked to the tops of the shields by a bar.

R capital: similar to L capital, but severely weathered, as is the impost.

The arch is as the second order arch with recessed double-cone moulding on the angle (21 cones).

The label is carved with a row of 36 raised discs, 0.10 m in diameter, some restored.

Interior Features

Arches

Chancel arch/Apse arches

Chancel arch

Round-headed, of two orders on the E face, and three on the W. Generally in good condition but there is some local damage. The jambs are coursed; of a light red stone

Dimensions
w. of opening 3.30 m
First order, W face:

The damaged L base stands on a rectangular plinth carved on the S face with loose three-stranded interlace; the R base is bulbous and carved with trellis ornament. The shared, half-round responds each have two vertical rows of chevron, carved point-to-point and of a hollow profile. On the W side of the shafts, at approximately mid-height, are two carvings in low relief:

N respond carving: a bird with tongue or object in its mouth.

S respond carving: a snake with interlaced body.

The capitals have plain necking, and sheathed multi-scallop capitals.

N capital: five scallops on the S face, three on E and W faces, the transition between cone and shield is indistinct. Plain necking.

S capital: four scallops on the N face, three on E and W faces, the transition between cone and shield is indistinct and has a slightly convex profile, so that the general outline resembles a block capital. There is a small wedge at the top of the SE angle. Plain necking.

The impost is hollow-chamfered with a small roll on the upright above a groove, followed by a finer roll.

Thick soffit roll in the arch.

Second order, E face:

Plain jambs and arch.

Second order W face:

No bases. The jambs are carved with two rows of chevron on both faces of the profile: roll, hollow, forming gaping chevron on the angle. There are no capitals. The impost continues from the first order.

The arch is carved on the face with three rows of lateral centrifugal chevrons of the profile: roll, hollow, roll.

Third order, W face:

The bases are hidden. The three-quarter angle shafts (the L partly obscured by woodwork) have integral lateral clasps along their length, extending from the outer edges of the order. The clasps comprise tapered tabs containing a row of five discs which diminish in size as they approach the angle shaft.

L capital: damaged multi-scallop capital with tapered rolls in the tucks and recessed shields enclosing discs.

R capital: multi-scallop capital as L capital but with a roll on the angle surmounted by a volute.

The capitals extend N and S from the shafts to the outer edges of the block, by one scallop on the L capital, two on the R.

The imposts continue from the second order, this is severely damaged on the R.

The arch is carved on the angle with recessed double-cone ornament (35 cones) followed on the face by two rows of lateral centrifugal chevron of the profile: roll, hollow and with a cogwheel edge.

The label is carved with W face, carved with round billets, defaced at both ends.

Interior Decoration

Blind arcades

Chancel

Blind pointed arcades of three bays on the E wall and four bays on the S wall. These have been heavily restored and only three of the bases and part of the arch on the E range appear to be original.

Base 1: (from N), round.

Base 2: mounted on plinth, integral double round bases with interconnecting vertical ridge: bases ?toroid with hollow chamfer.

Base 6: single torus, a step and a hollow chamfer.

NE angle, three voussoirs, with lateral chevrons (quirk-hollow-roll-quirk), mounted on octagonal shaft.

Dimensions
d. of plinth (base 2) 0.16 m
h. of plinth(base 2) 0.08 m
h. of shaft (across flats) 1.02 m
radius of voussoirs (approx) 0.50 m
w. of plinth (base 2) 0.48 m

Miscellaneous

Chancel responds

Approximately in the centre of the N and S chancel walls, at a point immediately to the E of the entrance to the Leigh Chapel on the N side of the chancel, are two responds, each comprising a half column with a double bulbous base, plain necking, and a multi-scallop capital with angle tuck; six scallops on the main face, three on the sides. The impost is hollow-chamfered with a small roll contained between two grooves on the upright. Only the springers of a plain arch survive, but immediately to the E of the N respond is part of a scallop corbel, set at a slight angle to the main capital and disappearing into the plasterwork.

Nave responds

At the W end of the nave are two responds, of two orders, but with the upper parts of the capitals and any other associated material lost or concealed in ceiling plasterwork.

First order

Half-round responds on rectangular plinths. Multi-scallop capitals with angle tuck and plain necking; four scallops on the main face, two on the sides, with tapered wedge mouldings between some cones.

Second order

Nook shafts on rectangular plinths. Above plain neckings are multi-scallop capitals with angle tuck. The N capital has tapered wedge mouldings in the tuck, the S capital has sheathed cones, apart from those abutting the angle.

Furnishings

Fonts

A tub-shaped font on a modern base, carved on the bowl with representations of the Apostles. A row of zigzag containing five-lobed palmettes (alternating upright and inverted) within the triangles extends around the lowest part of the bowl. Resting on this is a blind arcade of 12 bays, each bay containing the figure of a haloed and barefoot apostle dressed in a tunic and cloak, the cloak usually draped over the L arm. The shafts separating the figures each have a bulbous base supporting a spiral shaft with foliate capitals above. Each arch is carved with the name of the Apostle represented beneath. Above the blind arcade is a series of arches, each springing from the apex of the arch below. Each arch contains a carving, usually of a head, although a quadruped may be seen in one arch.

White residue in some grooves suggest that the font had previously been painted. There is some damage to the rim of the font and to many of the carved figures.

The figures are described from N to E (L from Figure 1):

Figure 1 is clean-shaven with hair in 'pudding basin' style. He holds a key in his R hand and a book in his L hand, and his tunic has a beaded hem, belt and neckline. Accompanying letters in the arch: SCEP(?)PIE??MOS (St Peter). The shaft to the L of the figure is decorated with upward-pointing chevrons of the profile: roll, hollow, and there is a three-quarter bearded head in the spandrel.

Figure 2 has shoulder length hair and a pointed beard. His R hand is raised with the palm forward and he holds a book or tablet in his L hand. Accompanying letters in the arch: SC(?) AND(?)(?) AD (St Andrew?). The shaft is decorated with upward-pointing chevrons of the profile: roll, hollow. There there is a carved head with a long moustache in the spandrel.

Figure 3 has a short, wide beard and hair in in a row of curls around his head. Both hands are raised with the palm forward, the L holds a scroll. His tunic has a beaded belt. Accompanying letters in the arch: SCE MA(?)H (E?)(A?)(P?)(?)(?)C (St Matthew?). The spiral shaft is decorated with alternating plain and cable-moulded strands (anti-clockwise). There is a carved head in the spandrel.

Figure 4 has long, wavy, shoulder-length hair and a long, forked beard with a single plait. In his R hand he holds the beaded hem of his cloak which is draped over his L arm, in his L hand he holds a book or tablet. Accompanying letters in the arch: SC(?)A(I)(?)O(?)(I?)OM(?). The spiral shaft is decorated with alternating plain and cable-moulded strands (clockwise). There is a beast carved in the spandrel, part of which is missing as a large section has broken off from the rim of the font bowl.

Figure 5 has a pointed beard and hair in 'pudding basin' style. His R hand is raised, palm forward and the L hand holds a ?stole draped over the L shoulder. Accompanying letters in the arch: C (MEAP?). The spiral shaft is decorated with alternating plain and beaded strands (anti-clockwise). A damaged bearded head with shoulder-length curling hair with a pronounced curl at the end (on the L only, the R side is missing) is carved in the spandrel.

Figure 6 has a broad straight beard and straight, shoulder-length hair. He holds a book or tablet in his R hand, the L hand is damaged. His tunic is undecorated. Accompanying letters in the arch 'CE', the rest indecipherable. The spiral shaft is decorated with alternating plain and beaded strands (clockwise). A head with long beard and long curling tresses is carved in the spandrel.

Figure 7 has a pointed beard and hair in 'pudding basin' style. His R hand is damaged, he holds a ?tablet in his L hand. His tunic is undecorated, but the hemlines are frilled. Accompanying letters in the arch: S, rest indecipherable. The spiral shaft is decorated with alternating thick and thin, plain bands (anti-clockwise). There is a carved head (damaged) in the spandrel.

Figure 8 has a forked beard and short hair. He holds a book with both hands. His tunic is plain, but the hemlines are frilled, as Figure 7. Accompanying letters in the arch indecipherable. The spiral shaft is decorated with alternating thick and thin plain bands (clockwise). In the spandrel there is a bearded head with medium-length hair with a curl at the end.

Figure 9 has a short beard and curly, shoulder-length hair. His R hand is raised with the palm forward. Accompanying letters in the arch 'CE', the rest indecipherable. The spiral shaft is decorated with plain, concave bands (anti-clockwise). A head with dense hair and beard is carved in the spandrel.

Figure 10 has a long pointed beard and short straight hair. His R hand is raised with the palm forward, he may hold a tablet in his L hand. His tunic is plain. Accompanying letters in the arch: SC CO. The spiral shaft is decorated with plain, concave bands, (clockwise). A head with curled hair is carved in the spandrel.

Figure 11 has with a short beard and short, curly hair. He holds a scroll in his hands. His tunic is plain. Accompanying letters in the arch: SCE IOHA(?)(O?)SA(P?)E (St John Apostle). The spiral shaft is decorated with alternating plain and beaded strands (anti-clockwise). A head with a beard and hair curled on the shoulders is carved in the spandrel.

Figure 12 has a broad beard and medium length straight hair. His R hand is raised with the palm forward and his L hand holds a book or tablet. His tunic is plain. Accompanying letters in the arch: SCEPAVLO APOSTAL (St Paul Apostle). The spiral shaft is decorated with alternating plain and beaded strands (clockwise). A three-quarter crowned head with a beard is carved in the spandrel.

Dimensions
depth 0.31 m
diam. at rim 0.67 m
diam. of base 0.60 m
h. 0.55 m
internal diam. (eccentric) 0.50 m

Comments/Opinions

The N doorway is heavily eroded.

The light red stone is thought to be from a quarry on nearby Motslow Hill (?source).

The font was found in the farmyard of Maxtoke Priory and moved to Stoneleighc.1865 (Houghton). This Augustinian Priory was founded mid. 14thc. hence the font must have had an earlier provenance.

Houghton suggests that the figures' large heads and protruding eyes with strongly marked pupils may be compared with pre-conquest MSS of 10thc. He also interprets/deciphers the figures as: 1. St Peter, 2. St Andres, 3. St Matthew, 4. St Bartholomew, 5. St Thomas, 6. St James (ma or mi?), 7. St Jude, 8. St Phillips, 9. St Simon, 10. St James (ma or mi), St John, 12. St Paul. Made of grey limestone, damaged and worn.

Bibliography

  • Abstract of the Bailiff's Accounts of Monastic and other Estates in the County of Warwick, Dudgale Society, 1923.
  • F.T.S. Houghton, Birmingham Archaeological Society Transactions, vol. XLIII, 1917, 45.

Location

Site Location
Stoneleigh
National Grid Reference
SP 335 725 
Boundaries
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Warwickshire
now: Warwickshire
Diocese
medieval: Lichfield (to 1075); Chester (to c.1086); Coventry and Lichfield (to 1541)
now: Worcester
Dedication
now: St Mary the Virgin
medieval: St Mary the Virgin
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Harry Sunley