St Michael, Hamstall Ridware, Staffordshire

Feature Sets (2)


Church and Hall originally formed a group, with the Hall to the W, and this is shown in two views by Stebbing Shaw (1798-1801) in the William Salt Library (SV VIII 62a, 62b). Nothing is known of the Hall before the early 16thc., and such remains as survive today are of that period or later. St Michael's has a W tower with an octagonal spire behind a plain parapet, and a long nave and chancel in one, with no chancel arch, a single roof and a continuous clerestory. J. C. Buckler a produced a SE view of the church (1839), now in the William Salt Library (SV VIII 61a), looking much as it does today. The separation between nave and chancel was once by means of a rood-loft reached by a spiral stair on the S side, which remains in part. The present position of the chancel is marked by a step, and there are three nave arcade bays to the W of this and one similar chancel arcade bay, plus a smaller bay to the E. On the N side of the chancel, both arches give onto a chapel, now containing the organ and a vestry. On the S the smaller E arch acts as the canopy of the Cotton tomb ofc.1500, and the chapel is still used for its proper purpose. There is another vestry to the E of the S chapel, so that overall the S chancel aisle extends to the E end of the church, while the N aisle stops one bay short. The nave is 12thc., and its upper W window survives in part, along with traces of another on the N side of the chancel, and masonry to either side of the tower at the W end. The tower and chancel are 14thc, and the arcades and clerestory Perpendicular. The church is of grey ashlar inside and out; the interior apparently recently cleaned and looking very bare. The church has three fonts, or at least three bowls, two 12thc., one inside and one out, and the third the 19thc. piece that is actually used. Curiously, Pevsner mentioned only the less interesting of the Romanesque fonts.


The Domesday Survey lists three holdings in Hamstall Ridware in 1086, none of them large. Three virgates were held by Herman from Robert of Stafford; one virgate was held by Walter from Earl Roger and one virgate by Godric from the church of Saint-Remi, which had received the land from Earl Aelfgar before the Conquest. The manor, however, was held by Asser Geun, a Saxon thane whose family subsequently took the name de Ridware. It passed to the Cotton family in the 1370s, for want of a de Ridware heir, and then to the Fitzherberts through the female line when the male Cottons died out. In 1601 it passed to Sir Thomas Leigh of Stoneleigh, and Lord Leigh is now the patron of the benefice in alternation with the Bishop of Lichfield and the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield cathedral.

Benefice of Mavesyn Ridware, Hamstall Ridware and Kings Bromley since 1981.




Outside the nave, to the E of the S porch is a hexagonal font bowl in use as a planter. The interior is circular and apparently unlined. It has plain faces, a chamfered upper rim, and nook-shafts carved in the angles, with capitals and water holding attic bases. The shafts are described from left to right (anticlockwise) starting at the E:

Shaft 1 (E): Double-strand cable moulded shaft and triple-scallop capital with conical wedges between the cones. The abacus is lost.

Shaft 2: Plain shaft and triple scallop capital with recessed shields.

Shaft 3: Plain shaft and triple scallop capitals with wedges between the cones and chevron on the abacus.

Shaft 4: As 3, the W face is damaged.

Shaft 5: As 3.

Shaft 6: Chevron decorated shaft and triple scallop capital. The upper part of the abacus is mostly lost, but signs of chevron decoration remain.

ext. diam. (across angles) 0.86 m
ext. diam. (across flats) 0.75 m
h. of bowl 0.69 m
int. diam. at rim 0.58 m

Located in the S aisle opposite S doorway. A cup-shaped 12thc. bowl standing on a low modern cylindrical shaft and plinth. The bowl is lead lined and presumably useable, and is decorated on the bowl with 15 intersecting beaded rings below a loose and irregular two-strand interlace.

ext. diam. at rim 0.81 m
h. of bowl 0.51 m
int. diam. at rim 0.54 m



  • Anon., The Church of St Michael and All Angels, Hamstall Ridware. Undated (post 1990).
  • Staffordshire County Council, Staffordshire Views Collection nos SV VIII 61a, 62a, 62b. Available online at,71124and_dad=portaland_schema=PORTAL
  • Ridware History Society. The society maintains a website at http://www.
  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Staffordshire. Harmondsworth 1974, 139-40.
  • S. Shaw, The History and Antiquities of Staffordshire. 1798-1801. 2 vols. repr. 1976.


Site Location
Hamstall Ridware
National Grid Reference
SK 106 194 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Staffordshire
now: Staffordshire
medieval: Lichfield (to 1075); Chester (to c.1086); Coventry and Lichfield (to 1541)
now: Lichfield
now: St Michael and All Angels
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
G. L. Pearson, Ron Baxter