St John the Baptist, Hagley, Worcestershire

Feature Sets (3)


The red sandstone church has an aisled nave, a chancel, a W tower and a S porch entrance. The chancel was rebuilt in 1754, the N aisle and arcade were added by Rickman in 1826, and the church was largely rebuilt in 1858-65. Fragments of Romanesque voussoirs have been reused as corbels beneath the guttering of the modern porch, and in 1984 a carved stone panel was found under the plaster of the E wall of the S nave aisle.


Godric, a thegn of Edward the Confessor, held the manor before the Conquest. At DS it was held by William Fitz Ansculf; there was a priest at Hagley at this time. The manor was later a knight's fee of the barony of Dudley.


Exterior Features

Exterior Decoration


Voussoir fragments

Seven voussoir fragments have been reset under the eaves on the E side of the modern porch.

E1: eroded, unidentified carving

E2: voussoir carved with chevron, a hollow and a roll, the latter with a projection over the point, possibly the tip of a beakhead.

E3: a roll clasped by a tapered beaded strap.

E4: similar to E3.

E5: beakhead, eroded.

E6: similar to E2.

E7: similar to E5, but less eroded, with large circular eyes outlined by grooves and with horizontal ribs above.

d. 0.216 m
max. w. 0.184 m
min. w. 0.14 m
d. 0.216 m
max. w. 0.165 m
min. w. 0.127 m
d. 0.216 m
max. w. 0.19 m
min. w. 0.152 m
d. 0.254 m
max. w. 0.21 m
min. w. 0.165 m
d. 0.216 m
max. w. 0.203 m
min. w. 0.21 m
d. 0.241 m
max. w. 0.216 m
min. w. 0.178 m

Interior Features

Interior Decoration


Carved stone panel

Inset into the E wall of the S aisle is a rectangular stone panel carved with an animal, probably a quadruped but with damaged legs. The beast has a curly mane, pointed ears and bared teeth, and a grooved tail emerging from beneath the hind legs and curving over the back; its foliate terminal comprises two scrolled leaves on either side of two small pointed leaves with chip-cut surface.

h. of panel 0.34 m
w. of panel 0.47 m


The voussoirs resemble those of the S doorway of St Kenelm's, Romsley. Some aspects of the surface carving of the panel can be compared with the tympanum at Pedmore and the fragment set in the porch at Chaddesley Corbett, but the heavily cut foliation is not found at either of these sites. The trefoil tail terminal has a generic resemblance to that on the tympanum of Moreton Valence, Gloucestershire. From a photograph, Professor G. Zarnecki dated the panel to the years 1100-20 (verbal communication).


  • The Victoria History of the Counties of England. Worcestershire,vol.III. London 1913, 132-135.
  • P. Barker and T. Pagett, 'Romanesque carvings from St John the Baptist Church, Hagley, and Dudley Priory', Transactions of the Worcestershire Archaeological Society, 3rd Series, Vol.XI, 1988, 27-34.
  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Worcestershire. Harmondsworth 1968, 176.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SO 921 808 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Worcestershire
now: Worcestershire
medieval: Worcester
now: Worcester
now: St John the Baptist
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
G. L. Pearson