Pauntley is in the Leadon valley in N Gloucestershire, immediately S of the Malvern Hills and 10 miles W of Tewkesbury. The parish is centred on the church and Pauntley Court; beyond this settlement is dispersed. The church has a Norman chancel (the E window splay survives) with a S chapel, a 12thc nave with a N porch, and a W tower. Romanesque sculpture by the Dymock School sculptors is found on the S doorway and the chancel arch.
Pauntley was held by Ansfrid de Cormeilles in 1086, and by Wulfhelm and Alweard in 1066. Pauntley was assessed at 1½ hides, but it was grouped with Kilcot, Ketford and Hayes to form a total holding for Ansfrid of 4½ hides.
Round headed, 2 orders with tympanum.
|Height of opening||2.23m|
|Height of tympanum and lintel||0.75m|
|Thickness of tympanum||0.19m|
|Width of opening||1.12m|
|Width of tympanum (with lugs)||1.60m|
Plain square jambs carrying a tympanum with an integral lintel. The tympanum is in two blocks. The upper part is a segment of a circle, while the lower is a monolithic block that includes the lintel, decorated with a row of chip-carved diamonds in circles, and the enclosing arch springers, which are projecting lugs, as well as the tympanum itself which is decorated with an overall pattern of overlapping fishscale ornament. The arch, otherwise made of voussoirs, has a row of heavy beading between an angle roll and a face roll.
Engaged nook-shafts on worn, tall attic bases carrying volute capitals of the characteristic Dymock school type, having a large volute on the main angle with a leaf with stepped edges suspended from its tip. The volute is flanked by three vertical striations to each side, running the full height of the capital, and small bilobed leaves rise from the necking to either side of the main angle. The imposts are hollow chamfered with an angle roll above the chamfer and two further rolls on the vertical face. The arch is carved with lateral, centrifugal chevron on the face, consisting of an angle roll, a quirked hollow, and a thinner face roll towards the extrados. There is a cogwheel inner edge. The label is quirked chamfered with a single row of roll billet on the chamfer.
Round headed, 2 orders to E and W
Engaged half-columns on spurred roll/hollow bases of which only the S is original. They carry volute capitals of the standard Dymock school type (see S doorway) but both are modern replacements. The imposts, also replaced, are hollow chamfered with a row of cusping on the face.
Engaged nook-shafts on spurred roll/hollow bases, carry capitals carved with large, grotesque masks with pointed ears, drilled, almond-shaped eyes with surrounding lids, broad noses and wide mouths with tongues projecting. Stems issue from the corners of the mouth, forming a symmetrical tangle terminating in furled leaves. Neckings are plain rolls and the imposts as the 1st order.
The arch is carved with lateral, centrifugal chevron on the face, consisting of an angle roll, a quirked hollow, and a thinner face roll towards the extrados. There is a cogwheel inner edge. The label is quirked hollow chamfered.
E. Gethyn-Jones, The Dymock School of Sculpture, London and Chichester 1979.
M. Thurlby, The Herefordshire School of Romanesque Sculpture, Logaston 1999, 20-23 and passim.
Victoria County History: Gloucestershire 12, 2010.
D. Verey, The Buildings of England. Gloucestershire: the Vale and the Forest of Dean, London 1970 (2nd ed. 1976), 320-21.
G. Zarnecki, Regional Schools of English Sculpture in the Twelfth Century: the Southern School and the Herefordshire School. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of London, 1950, 223-28.