"Priest's room", loose fragment, capital, underside of 14/16a

Image of the feature "VI. Loose Sculpture: Loose sculpture" at Campsall.

by John McElheran.

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.