St Mary Magdalene, Campsall, Yorkshire, West Riding

Feature Sets (4)


A large church with at least two main phases of 12th-century building identifiable: at first it had a cruciform plan; later, nave aisles enclosing a west tower were added. Pevsner 1967, 154, says Campsall church has ‘the most ambitious Norman west tower of any parish church in the Riding’. Subsequently, alterations have been made to the aisle arcades, windows, chancel and south doorway. The church was restored between 1871 and 1877 by G. G. Scott (Borthwick Institute Faculty Papers 1871/2 with plan) and piecemeal after. Restoration of stonework on the tower was in progress in 2005. Romanesque sculpture is on the west doorway and tower; one chancel window (inside and out); arches at the crossing; and numerous loose and reset fragments.


Hunter 1831, 460, says 'Campsal church was the joint work of the Lacis, the chief lords, and the Reineviles, the subinfudatories. It exceded [the churches of Bramwith, Owston and Burgh] in magnificence as much as it did in the extent of country that was attached to it' [this included Norton, Sutton, Askern, Moss and Fenwick].

The manor thrived after the Conquest, rather than retracting, and was largely owned directly by Ilbert de Lacy (Hunter 1831, 463).

There were originally two rectors, one appointed by each family; this continued until about the time of Henry III (Hunter 1831, 463).


Exterior Features


West doorway to nave

Round-headed of four orders and label. The doorway is set between two buttresses on the face of the contemporary west tower. The left buttress is coursed with the rest of the masonry and presumably original, the right buttress is enlarged.

The doorway was subject to heavy restoration by Scott (1871-77), work which was criticised by J. Fowler (Fowler 1879-81). The watercolour referred to in Fowler’s paper is not in the Society of Antiquaries library.

Some details of the label and the imposts are vaguely reminiscent of work at Aughton and Goodmanham (YE).

First order:

The bases have square plinths, convex and concave torus with slight a overlap between. Engaged half column in reveal, plain on face. Capitals renewed, double scallop on reveal, single on face and plain outside it.

Impost (throughout) is chamfered below and upright above, both surfaces being moulded. Below, with a convex and a concave moulding; on the angle a convex moulding; on the upright two plain zones.

In the arch, all is renewed. In the soffit, there are two rolls one of which is shared with the chamfered angle; the angle is chamfered so it has shared angle rolls with soffit and face, there is an arris between them; on the face the angle roll, a half-round roll and a fillet against the second order.

Second order:

The bases as before, but with free-standing shafts. Second order capitals: double scallop with an angle tuck. Imposts as before. In the arch, in the soffit, four zigzagging steps of curved outline nipping a row of chevron on the angle. On the face, the chevron row is centrifugal and paralleled by five further steps against the third order.

Third order:

Shaft and capital as second order. In the arch, in the soffit, two rows of chevron with an arris inside them. These are straight chevrons in the normal manner, but not bold ones. On the angle, a row of bolder centrifugal chevron; on the face, two more rows of the less bold chevron with steps. 

Fourth order:

Much of this is original but wearing, the bases and capitals as before. In the arch, a similar pattern on soffit and face. There has been partial renewal. Each face has a lozenge made of the less bold moulding used for chevrons. These meet point to point on the angle. Along the joint between voussoirs, the lozenges abut, that is, the mouldings appear to continue straight though they must turn slightly here with the curvature of the arch. Inside the lozenge is a slightly raised pyramid. Between the sides of the lozenges on the angle is a fan of flutings producing a depression on the joint. Outside the lozenge on the face against the label, and on the soffit against the third order, the voussoir is plain. For this pattern, see Comments, Comparisons in Yorkshire.


A chamfered and plain label of normal dimensions is cut throughout with the same pattern on both faces. This is a chip-carved rectangle with one raised diagonal.

The capitals all renewed except those of order 4.

1st order, left capital, height including necking 0.2m
1st order, left capital, height without necking 0.18m
1st order, left capital, maximum width east face 0.205m
1st order, left capital, maximum width south face 0.115m
1st order, right capital, maximum width south face 0.115m
1st order, right capital, maximum width west face 0.21m
2nd order, left capital, maximum width east face 0.205m
2nd order, left capital, maximum width south face 0.2m
2nd order, right capital, maximum width south face 0.19m
2nd order, right capital, maximum width west face 0.19m
3rd order, left capital, maximum width east face 0.21m
3rd order, left capital, maximum width south face 0.19m
3rd order, right capital, maximum width south face 0.19m
3rd order, right capital, maximum width west face 0.2m
4th order, left capital, maximum width east face 0.19m
4th order, left capital, maximum width south face 0.19m
4th order, right capital, maximum width south face 0.185m
4th order, right capital, maximum width west face 0.195m
height of opening 2.9m
width of opening 1.18m


Window-head in north transept north wall

Retained above a later window, this blocked window head is of a similar form to the window in the chancel north wall. There are the remains of a double scallop capital on the right side. First order plain, second order has centrifugal chevrons. The label is again flat and wide with decoration, perhaps a circumferential moulding with cable pattern.

Window in north wall of chancel

This window has sculpture inside and out. It is an area of the church which would have been near the altar, which may account for its extra decoration. Compare Birkin (YW).

First order plain. Second order rises from the string course which is a little higher than the bottom of the window. Plain square plinth, worn or remade base; restored free-standing shafts. Left capital triple scallop, with the scallop on the angle overhanging the cone like a volute. Right capital a double scallop with the cone continuing on both faces. Impost blocks are decorated. Left side, partly restored, has a plain chamfer. Above a groove, the upright has fluted foliage on a wavy beaded stem. The chamfer on the right side has a series of raised semicircular arcs either side of a raised horizontal double line. On the upright (restored) two rows of a similar pattern are separated by horizontal bands. In the arch, plain in the soffit; angle roll; on the face a hollow with ridges either side.  

The label to this window is also highly carved, and restored. The profile is unusual, it is flat with a slight chamfer to inside and outside edges, perhaps compare the loose fragment described below, Priest’s Room number 1. The carved design is based on a zigzagging division with fans of fluted foliage in each triangle.

The interior face of this window is shafted, this order set back from the splay, and plain in the arch. The plinths are square. They are both carved with a man’s head which is tilted upwards but that on the east is damaged or worn. The left base is marked horizontally into two zones by double incised lines; another pair of lines at the top. The right base has three horizontal mouldings, the upper one is widest and has cable pattern. The shafts are free-standing. The damaged left capital is double scallop with darts, and incised curve; the right capital is undamaged, double scallop with darts; the shields are not incised.

Windows of tower

The windows are involved with blank arcading at all levels.

On the west face of the tower there are windows at three levels: at the first level, a west window; at second level the north and south faces of the tower have openings; there are belfrey windows on all four faces.

Window above the west doorway: This is in arcading. The first order is blank; there is a chevron moulding on soffit and face in the second order; label plain and chamfered.

Windows lighting second stage of tower: These windows are shafted. First order plain, second order plain plinth and torus in one block; free-standing shaft; double scallop capital with angle darts. Impost plain on face, with chamfered and plain profile in reveal. In the arch, a roll on the angle and plain, flush with the wall.

Belfrey windows: A pair on each face with arcading between. The openings are louvred. Each pair has a central column with double scallop capital and an elongated impost extending for much of the depth of the wall. First order: inside each single opening, a single scallop capital to the outside and the central impost support a plain arch. Second order: on the face, the central impost supports an angle roll which is continuous round the head of each opening down to the base on the outside of the pair of openings (not visible from the ground). Above a pair of openings is a plain tympanum. Third order: this arrangement of the paired openings is enclosed within free-standing shafts, double scallop capitals and an arch with an angle roll. On the face of the arch is a ridge making a double line. The arch is flush with the wall. The pairs of belfrey windows stand on a chamfered and plain string-course which has a groove near the bottom of the upright.

Exterior Decoration

Ornamental columns on chancel

To the east or left of the south section of chancel wall, a slim column marks the angle where the presbytery ended. There is a plain square plinth, then a narrow, collared base and then a slim engaged column, lost after six courses where a later window has been inserted.

In the angle between the north wall of the chancel and the north transept is a heavier column. It is coursed in with the chancel. At the top is a double scallop capital which has a dart between the cones, and shields which are hollowed out in an ‘inverted mushroom’ shape. Compare capital on west face of arch between south transept and nave. The upper straight edge and the lower curve of the hollow have beading

On the south wall of the chancel are two stepped pilasters which have a slim engaged column on each angle. There is no base or capital.  

Plinth on chancel

Plinth runs at the bottom of the west half of the north chancel wall, the same section of wall with the window described above. At the east end the plinth turns into the present wall to make an angle (perhaps there was an apse); at the west end the plinth supports a small column in the angle to the transept. The profile is a chamfered and plain course, then a second course with upright which is plain and then rounded; chamfered at the top.

Romanesque label reused

In the south chancel wall, the label of the pointed doorway uses two short lengths with a Romanesque pattern at the bottom of its label, reproduced in the four large slabs of later work above. This pattern would match the label of the window on the north side of the chancel. It is impossible to tell what the two re-used stones, now label stops, were like originally and whether they too were twelfth-century pieces reused. The string course in this area is undistinguished but could be twelfth-century work. See Comments, chancel, below.

String courses


There are string courses on the west tower which are plain and chamfered at the first floor level, and have a groove in the upright at belfrey level. On the exterior north wall of the chancel, there is a string course at sill level or thereabouts, this continues over the pilasters. Profiles are worn but seem to be plain and square over the pilaster, chamfered above and hollow-chamfered below on the wall itself. In this area of the chancel there is also an elaborated plinth


Blank arcading on tower

On west face of tower at two levels.

Above the west doorway: Beside the window are two bays of blank arcading on both sides. They have square plain plinths, upright bases, free-standing shafts, single scallop capitals and imposts which are chamfered and plain with a groove near the bottom, all like the central window. In the arch, the four bays have an angle roll and on the face a rounded moulding of similar diameter central, each with a ridge outside it.

At the belfrey level between the belfrey openings is one bay of a blank arcade. The shafts and capitals are as for the outermost, that is, the third, order of the belfrey windows but, because the opening is narrow, the arch is made of a one-piece windowhead. This has a roll moulding on the angle.

Corbel tables, corbels


There are four corbels reset inside, see Interior Decoration below.

Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Chancel arch

The pointed arch has two orders to both nave and chancel. The south respond was replaced in the later medieval period. Restoration has replaced some original work entirely, for example in the bases. Apart from the pointedness, all original features making up the arch are standard mid twelfth-century forms, and not late ones. See Comments, pointed arches, below.

First order common to east and west on north side has restored plinth and collared base (convex and concave layers); a half round column and double capital with heavy angle volutes with spirals, and further spirals either side of the angles. These overhang cones which are hollow or fluted. Impost (restored) somewhat similar to that used on the west doorway, that is, a chamfered lower section with a horizontal slightly hollow band; a rounded angle; a plain upright with groove near the rounded angle.

In the arch, plain in the soffit; an angle roll to both east and west; on the face on both sides of the arch, a fillet and a broader plain band.

Second order to west or nave: The base is not accessible. The capital is double scallop with ridges between the cones which are scored with upward-pointing vs. About half the height of the capital is above the scallops and is plain. Impost appears to be original. In the arch, an angle roll and plain to the sides.

Second order to east or chancel: The plinth is plain and square, the base tall and collared. Engaged column rising to double scallop capital. This appears to be a copy of the capital on the second order to the nave. Impost as for first order. In the arch, as to the west, an angle roll and plain to the sides.

Tower/Transept arches

North transept arch

Slightly pointed arch of two orders to nave and transept. The plinths are elaborate, having a plain, rounded and chamfered profile, like the upper course of the exterior plinth on the north wall of the chancel. Then follows a plain square slab and the familiar convex and concave torus. The first order, common to both sides, has a half-round column. The ring, capital and impost are continuous onto the second order to north and south. The ring is plain, the capital has a hollow chamfer; the impost has an angle roll, hollow and upright. In the arch, to the nave and transept the arch is plain in the soffit, then has a wide chamfer to north and south. At east and west sides of the arch, the first three voussoirs are wider than normal and of the section section described, but above that the soffits are carved with a single row of chevron frontal to the soffit and sunk within the general surface of the soffit.

The second order to the nave has bases of an more upright form (compare chancel arch) and on the west side the base appears cylindrical, and it has horizontal grooves like turned wood. Traces of a lug on the angle. Engaged column; capital etc, as for first order. In the arch at the west side low down there is a row of frontal chevron to the inside, a roll centrally and a row of centripetal chevron finishing flush with the wall. After six repeats, the voussoirs have the central roll flanked on both sides by a row of frontal chevron, with a fillet against the wall.

The second order to the transept as to nave, except that in the arch it is plain and square.

Approximate width of opening 5m
Height of ring at top of east pier 2.83m

South transept arch

The pointed arch is of two orders to nave and transept.

The east side base and capitals are not original.

West base and plinth restored or later. There is a half round column and the usual double width capital to the first order. This capital is divided by a zigzagging beaded line into five triangular areas each filled with narrow upright leaves, fluted and with rounded tips. Impost is chamfered with a slight hollow; there are two grooves on the upright and a slightly rounded moulding between. In the arch, as for first order in the chancel arch, there is an angle roll with a plain soffit and plain outside the rolls against the second orders on each side.

Second order to the nave has a very upright capital with upright leaves. The lowest leaves are short and in two rows. Then again a triangular division of the surface – but no beading - filled with more upright leaves. Impost as chancel arch. In the arch, in the face, are two rows of centripetal chevron, the outer row slimmer than the inner. On the angle, the heavier row meets point-to-point in the centre of the voussoir a row of chevron in the soffit. Between the two rows, there is a row of projecting lozenges.

Second order to the transept: the ring to the capital is lightly scored with cable. The capital itself has a row of short upright leaves, the double scallop capital has stumpy batons between the scallops. The shields are hollowed out ‘mushroom-like’. Plain above. Impost plan and chamfered. The arch to the transept has an angle roll. Flush to wall.

Approximate width of capital to order 1 0.4m
Height above the floor of ring on west pier 3.1m

Tower arches

The tower is enclosed by the aisles and is narrower than the nave. There are three arches, all round-headed; the fourth side has the relieving arch of the west doorway. Jambs plain and square; impost chamfered and plain with groove at bottom of upright. Plain and square in the arch.

Nave arches

Arch from north aisle of nave into north transept

A round-headed arch of one order to the aisle but with a second order to the transept. The corresponding arch in the south aisle is pointed and not twelfth-century. The amount of decoration on an arch at this point is unusual, and it seems to be facing the ‘wrong’ way, that is, such decoration are usually seen when looking east, not west. Morris (1911) 1923 thought that it was a later compilation, but his reasoning on the building sequence is not coherent. However, there are anomalies which are not explained by the improved story outlined by Pevsner. Might this be what remains of an apse arch once at the east end of the lost chancel?

A blocked window in the west wall of the north transept shows the aisle was added after the first phase of construction in the twelfth century which produced a cruciform church. The arch springs from featureless imposts, the second order from the wall itself. First order in the soffit, three rows of centrifugal chevron either side a faceted lozenge in the centre of each voussoir. On the face, a row of not very competent centrifugal chevrons.

Second order, or label, to the transept. This finishes flush with the wall. The curvature of the first and second orders do not fit exactly but need filling on left and right. On the face, two rows of chevron making a pattern reminiscent of the fourth order of the west doorway but deeper and, of course, better preserved. The rows on the north aisle arch are twined together, each voussoir has one crossing of the two rows. In the central spaces formed by the intertwining are faceted lozenges. The pattern is continued into the soffit, with the lozenge being folded over the angle and the shape of the chevron rows continued by incision.

Approximate total height of opening 3.6m
Width of opening 2.58m

Interior Decoration


Alcoves in Transepts

Interior very miscellaneous and non-sculptural: alcoves in the east wall of both transepts. No sculpture, but alcoves for which a function is not obvious; they are low in relation to present floor levels. Perhaps inserted later, like the sedilia in the south transept.

Width of span 1.62m

Reset corbels

Four corbels have been reset in the south wall, in the first bay of the chancel. This is a disappointingly dark situation. They are in good condition, apart from a few broken corners, noses etc., the surface is well-preserved.

From the left, the first corbel has two figures looking up. The men have their arms round each other and their feet are not in regular or conventional postures.

The second corbel shows the head and two arms of a man with a vielle or rebec. The instrument is held with the left hand turned as now with a violin - the technical term is ‘ventriflexed’. His right hand holds a bow and he seems to be playing. He is also looking up, his mouth is open and perhaps he is singing.

The third corbel shows two moustachioed men’s heads side by side and they are looking about them, a common motif for corbels. Underneath their heads is another head, looking down and not so obviously human: it is probably a muzzled mask.

The fourth corbel shows the head and two arms of a harpist. He rests his head on the right hand, and is looking up. The left hand is round the harp, he is probably stilling the strings. He is listening. See Comments below.

Reset fragments in walls of nave, south transept and south nave aisle

There are 29 fragments re-set in the south wall of the south aisle on both sides of the south doorway and in the south transept adjacent. There are two further fragments in the north wall of the nave.

Pevsner 1967, 154, suggests many of these fragments were reset from the south aisle arch. There are several patterns (equivalent to orders) and surely they must represent more than an arch in such an insignificant position, perhaps the south doorway of the earlier twelfth-century church? Or apse arches for transept chapels (compare Newbald, YE)? They were probably discovered and reset during the restoration in the 1870s.

The guide c. 1965, p. 9, says ‘Other such stones are to be seen in a rockery in the grounds of the Hall adjoining the south side of the churchyard.’ Since publication, the Hall has been demolished and replaced by a housing estate. No stones were known to the vicar.

Most pieces are to the east of the south doorway; to the west of the doorway there was a large noticeboard, and then two more pieces.

1. Fragment with cable pattern, compare no. 9. Width 0.15m. 

2-5. Four voussoirs, soffit side. One has an angle moulding, the others the ridge which would lie alongside a row of chevron on the angle. Total width, 0.54m; height 0.24m. 

6, 7. Two more soffit voussoirs, two ridges before the angle. Total width 0.3m; height 0.245m.

8. Chevrons crossing to make a lozenge, a fillet at the bottom. Width 0.13m, height 0.25m.

9. A row of cable, and second row beneath making scallops. As number 1. Not measured.

10. Similar to number 8. Width 0.14m, height 0.28m.

11, 12. Voussoirs with chevrons not touching the edge of the stone. Three rows of varying width. Total width of stones 0.315m, height 0.24m.

13, 14. Similar to previous. Total width 0.3m, height 0.24m.

15, 16. Crossing chevrons making a lozenge, as before number 8. Stone 16 is perhaps the best-preserved. The variation in width is noticeable, and would make a lively arch if these were all together. Compare north aisle arch and west doorway, order 4, centre.

17. A straight section with two parallel grooves on one side; tooling on the blank area. Width 0.47m, height 0.12m.

18, 19. Two voussoirs similar to numbers 11 and 12.

20. Symmetrical foliage fan within the spandrel of a chevron. The tip of the voussoir is lost. Width 0.16m, height 0.18m.

21. Symmetrical chip-carved star pattern within the spandrel of a chevron. Again, the tip of the voussoir is lost. Width 0.16m, height 0.15m.

22. A figural fragment, efflourescing badly. It seems to be in a darker, sandier stone than generally in use here. The carving shows the lower half of the face and the raised hands and arms of a human figure. See Comments, figure, below. Width at top- 0.21m, at bottom- 0.335m; height 0.2m.

23, 24. Two stones like numbers 11 and 12.

25. Capital, inverted, having darts between scallops. Width 0.205m, height 0.15m.

West of south doorway:

26. Voussoir with four rows of chevron woven together. Width 0.225m, height 0.18m.

27.  Similar to number 26. Width 0.22m, height 0.15m.

In South transept, on west wall:

28. High in the west wall just to the left of the south aisle arch, a narrow stone with zigzag at either end; an indeterminate form between.

29. Voussoir with chevron and two lesser zigzags parallel. 

Two pieces reset in north wall of nave:

30. An inverted column base with lug. The base has a collar round the middle.

31. A double scallop capital with darts between the cones.

Loose Sculpture

Capital fixed at west end of nave

A single scallop capital exhibited at the 1984 exhibition, see Arts Council 1984, 153. This is clamped to the wall on the south side of the east arch of the tower. It has three worked faces, one is blank, the opposite one has a fan of leaves or half a star and the central face has a lion in foliage. The lion has very slender legs and the front ones each have a coil of foliage round them, the back legs are not so clear, but here it seems it is the lion’s tail that coils round the foliage. Zarnecki gives the capital a date of c.1090; dimensions as given in the catalogue. 


Depth of block 0.305m
Height 0.18m
Maximum width 0.2m

Loose sculpture

There are two places where loose sculpture is placed: upstairs in the Priest’s Room, that is in the south west corner of the church, and on the floor in the north transept. Loose sculpture was photographed in 1995 and 2005. 

Sculpture in Priest’s Room:

When seen in 1995, this sculpture was piled up in a fireplace. In 2005 it was not possible to go to that part of the church because of repairs in progress to the tower, but some of the sculpture at least had been moved to the north transept.

The freshness of the surfaces was surprising, with little efflourescence, lots of tooling and setting-out lines visible. Several of the pieces could have been capitals from the east of the south crossing arch, see below, Comments, crossing arch.

1. A length of label with six stars or rosettes on the face and a chamfer with tooling. The profile is perhaps comparable to that used on the exterior of windows in the chancel. Maximum width 0.35m.

2. A beakhead voussoir, width at top 0.16m. One of four, numbers 3-5. A fifth, number 6, was present but in poor condition. Mortar remains – though this may not be original, of course.

3. This would have been very interesting if complete! Two small beakheads seem to grasp a roll, as usual, below which is a small figure – wrapped or with its hands over its body. Is this a corbel? Or a voussoir? Width 0.19m.

4. A scallop capital with the same design on two faces. A row of short upright leaves above a plain ring, short fat cones; shields with a hollowed out ‘mushroom’. Comparable to the second order capital on the south crossing arch, south side. Width 0.19m, height including necking 0.26m, without necking 0.23m.

5. This capital had been re-used, but then presumably set aside and used as rubble. The two faces of the capital are united by a foliage strand having four fluted leaves. This stem is across, or coming from, the mouth of a small head on the angle. Other examples of this motif known to the author (Lythe, YN, and Castle Acre Priory) also at first glance seem to show the stem gagging the man, but there is just a little of a nick in the centre, meaning there are two stems coming out of the mouth. The capital also has short upright leaves above the plain ring. Not measured.

6. Part of a scallop capital. Necking with groove. The cones have upright leaves, the shields are outlined by a curving fillet which has a ball at the cusp. The shields on the best-preserved face are hollowed out and have a square fan round a dome. The shield to the left contains a ball as before.

7. Double capital with upright leaves, damaged. For numbers 8, 9 and 11, see below, Comments, Crossing arch. The right face is plain cushion form, the left has upright leaves. See below, North Transept number 7. Width of main face 0.31m; of left face 0.18m, of right face, 0.18m, height including necking 0.22m.

8. Capital with two faces carved, two scallops on each face. Cones with darts between and dart with tuck on corner. Tooling and setting-out lines visible. Width of main face 0.35m; of left face, 0.3m; height including necking 0.18m; without necking 0.155m.

Loose Sculpture in the North Transept:

Since the first visit in 1995, this area has been emptied of pews and the sculpture rearranged. It can be seen better than before, but conditions are not ideal. Four pieces listed were seen also in 1995 (numbers 1-4). One piece seen here in 1995 was not seen in 2005 (number 5). Two of the pieces listed below (numbers 6, 7) had been in the Priest’s Room. The remaining pieces, three beakheads, probably had not been recorded earlier but are similar to those in the Priest’s Room (numbers 8-10).

1. Corbel with big-eyed human head in cavetto. Mouth a small slit; probably meant to have a moustache.

2. Capital with cleanly-cut pattern of symmetrical fan-shaped leaves, three-stranded trails with beading straps binding them. Ring has bold cable. Height of capital and ring if in wall 0.195m. Maximum dimension 0.375m.

3. A beakhead of the usual kind seen in the Priest’s Room and in numbers 8-10 here.

4. A capital with twisted cones making three scallops on each face. Block was maximum 0.41m by 0.3 high as seen; worked faces approximately 0.185m wide.

5. A beakhead corbel not seen in 2005. The head is lined with parallel grooves, not ‘tiles’ and the face also is grooved. There are feathers behind the head, as if it is a body and perhaps wings. The tip of the beak is broken away with the lower part of the corbel, which is a pity.

6. A damaged double capital from Priest’s Room, number 10. As measured there, width of right face, 0.41m total; width left face, 0.165m; height including necking 0.245m.

7. A double capital from Priest’s Room, number 11. Width of main face 0.31m, height of course 0.225m.

8-10.  Beakheads. These measured approximately 0.25m radially, and were 0.14 to 0.16m maximum width, that is, outer edge of face. The first two listed here were formerly in the Priest’s Room, numbers 2 and 5 above.

Odd basins

A tub in the churchyard with side 0.74m and height of 0.61m and a stone bowl in the Vicarage garden, approximate diameter 0.95m, height 0.35m, are not now thought to be of interest to this Corpus.


Compare particularly Kirk Bramwith for: excavated centre of capital (‘mushroom’), short upright leaves, beakheads, nipping chevrons with folded lozenges, and lugs. See also below, pointed arches. Some of the sculpture, including the chevron orders on the west doorway, foliage on loose pieces, and the south crossing capitals remind me vaguely of Edlington chancel arch.

Arcading at belfrey level; the whole arrangement of the belfrey windows might be compared to architecture surviving at Cluny in the tower called ‘le clocher de l’Eau Bénite’. See Conant 1968, pl. L, fig. 94. The pointed arches and frontal chevrons of the transept arches bring to mind the nave arcades at Malmesbury Abbey (see below, pointed arches). The pattern of chevron bars making lozenges, as on the west doorway in order 4, the north aisle arch and reset fragments in the south wall, occurs at Castle Acre Priory in Norfolk. Considering the local evidence for Cluniac ideas in the content of the doorway at Fishlake, for example, it is not impossible that their architectural forms also might have been brought to Yorkshire.


Original walling remains in situ on the western half of the north wall of the present chancel, but on the southern exterior there are only random pieces which resemble that work. Inside, it can be seen that the chancel extends further south in relation to the chancel arch than on the north, see plan. It is on this side also that the chancel arch respond was renewed. It looks as though the south wall had to be rebuilt, and from rubble, since fragments were available to be re-used. The pilasters with angle columns are not matched by those extant on the north wall, and so they may have come from the east wall (if a square-ended chancel originally) or from pilasters on an apse (which is probably what was here).


The men on the corbels (reset in the chancel) all seem concerned with what might be happening above them. The first pair are disconcerted, literally staggered; the first musician seems to be playing and singing energetically; the two men’s heads watching might be seen as overcoming evil by steadfastly looking heavenward; the second musician is attentive - listening for the last trump? It was remarked to me by Scott Wallace, a maker and player of medieval instruments, how often the musicians on 12th- and 13th-century sculpture are not actually playing, but are preparing to play. Such hints accord with the suggestion that corbels often show people and evil spirits variously expecting, or reacting to the first signs of, the Second Coming.

Pointed arches:

The apex is not very definite or well-made in the chevron arches, but all three arches at the crossing are originally pointed. Compare to the chancel arch at Kirk Smeaton, and the nave arcade at Malmesbury Abbey (Wilts.). Chevron normal to the face is unusual in Yorkshire, but occurs with the pointed arches noted.

Figure fragment reset in south aisle wall:

This fragment might be reconstructed as Christ seated within a mandorla. See reconstruction drawing, which assumes the bottom edge of the surviving slab is at the midline of the mandorla, which would therefore be about 0.6 m high. The figure of St Peter at Shiptonthorpe, East Riding, is not so high as that.

Crossing arch:

Loose capitals numbers 9, 11 and 8 in the Priest’s Room (no. 11 now in north transept, number 7) are very likely to be the capitals of the east respond of the south crossing arch, respectively that to the nave, 2nd order, the double capital of the first order, and the capital to the transept, 2nd order. Thus the blank face of the double capital would have been in the transept, and the ‘mushrooms’ correspond with the 2nd order capital to the transept on the west side of the arch. The head with the foliage (‘green man’) would have been on the north side, nearest the chancel.


  • Arts Council of Great Britain: London, Hayward Gallery, English Romanesque Art, 1066-1200, London, 1984

  • Borthwick Institute, Faculty papers, Fac. 1871/2; Faculty Book 6, 18-19

  • Campsall, St Mary Magdalene guide, The Story of St. Mary Magdalene Church, Campsall Yorkshire, n. p., 1965/1969

  • K. J. Conant, Cluny, Les églises et la maison du chef d’Ordre, Mâcon, 1968

  • J. Fowler, “Note on the restoration of the west doorway of Campsall church” Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London 8 (1879-81), 130-31

  • J. Hunter, South Yorkshire: The History and Topography of the Deanery of Doncaster, in the Diocese and County of York, 2 vols. J. B. Nichols & Son, London, 1828-31

  • J. E. Morris, The West Riding, 2nd ed. London, 1923

  • N. Pevsner, Yorkshire: West Riding. The Buildings of England, Harmondsworth, 1959, 2nd ed, Revised E. Radcliffe, 1967

  • Victoria County History: Yorkshire, II (General volume, including Domesday Book) 1912, reprinted 1974


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SE 544 141 
now: South Yorkshire
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Yorkshire, West Riding
now: Sheffield
medieval: York
now: St Mary Magdalene
medieval: All Saints (1440, Prob. Reg.)
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Rita Wood 
Visit Date
21 August 1995, 11 October 2005