St Mary, Stratfield Mortimer, Berkshire

Feature Sets (2)

Description

Stratfield Mortimer is 6 miles south of Reading and a mile north of the Roman road called the Devil's Highway.  The Roman town of Calleva is 2 miles to the SW.  This village itself is no more than a few houses and a pub alongside the Foudry Brook which rises near Baughurst and joins the Kennet in Reading. Stratfield Mortimer was the old centre, but the main settlement is now Mortimer, a mile to the west. The present church of Stratfield Mortimer was built by R. Armstrong in 1869. It contains an important inscribed Anglo-Saxon tomb slab (not described), and a severely eroded font basin, no longer in use, which could date from the 12thc. and is described below.

History

The manor was held by two thegns, Cypping and Edwin, under Edward the Confessor, and was then assessed at 6 hides. In 1086 it was assessed at 3 hides and was held by Ralph of Mortimer.  Half a hide of Ralph's land was held by a knight, who had a church with 4 bordars. Ralph's descendants held the manor in chief of the crown until the accession of Edward IV. At some stage before 1291 the advowson of the church had passed to Clatford priory, a cell of the abbey of St Victor in Caux.  It was therefore taken into the kings hands as a possession of an alien house in 1348.  The church is now part of the parish of Stratfield Mortimer and Mortimer West End with Padworth

Features

Furnishings

Fonts

Font

Octagonal tub font basin on floor at W end of S nave arcade. The font has no signs of carving except for a cross scratched in the bottom of the basin. It is severely eroded, and shows marks of lock damage on two opposed sides of the rim. It is not lined.

Dimensions
Ext. diameter at top 0.73 m
Height of basin 0.31 m
Int. diameter at top 0.61 m

Comments/Opinions

The polygonal form of the font suggests a date after 1200, but this is not certain.

Bibliography

  • A. Mee (ed.), The King's England: Berkshire. London 1939, 176-77.

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. Harmondsworth 1966, 229.

  • G. Tyack, S. Bradley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire.  New Haven and London 2010, 388-89.

  • Victoria County History: Berkshire III (1923), 422-28.

Location

Site Location
Stratfield Mortimer
National Grid Reference
SU 668 641 
Boundaries
now: West Berkshire
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Berkshire
Diocese
medieval: Salisbury
now: Oxford
Dedication
now: St Mary
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
19 August 1998