St Giles, Sandiacre, Derbyshire

Feature Sets (4)


The church consists of a nave, a large chancel, and a tower surmounted by a lower spire at the W end. The chancel was rebuilt in the 14thc. The W tower dates to the 13thc. The church was restored in 1855 and 1866. 

The Romanesque features are the S doorway, the chancel arch, and two nave windows.


At the time of the Domesday Survey, Sandiacre was held under the king by Toli, a royal thegn, with a church and a priest on the manor.  c.1280 the church or rectory was given by Bishop Longespee of Lichfield to a special prebend of his cathedral; from 1342 to 1347 the bishop held this prebendary. The new chancel may have been added at that period or later in the 14thc (Hartwell 2016, 577-79).


Exterior Features


S doorway

Four orders and a label

Height 2.78 m
Width 1.31 m
1st order

Plain and round-headed.

2nd order

Attic bases. Nook-shafts. L capital: a row of vertical leaves above a plain necking; above a scallop on the E face and a volute on the angle. Impost: moulded uprights either side of a row of alternating raised and recessed triangles. Angle roll in the arch. R capitaltrefoil on stalk on the W face; large volute on the angle. Impost as on the L.

3rd order

L capital:  sheathed scalloped capital with grooves outlining the shield; wedge on the angle. Impost as 2nd order. Angle roll in the arch. R capital:  large irregular scroll and volute. Impost, as 1st and 2nd orders.

4th order

L capital: single scallop; plain necking. Impost: E face, as 1st and 2nd orders, S face, chip-carved. In the arch, hollow chamfer and thin roll. R capital: single scallop with a pellet and two wedges on the angle. Label with a lower chamfer.


N Nave window

N Nave Window: this round-headed window was almost doubled in size at a later date by extending the base. Nook-shafts.  L capital: double-scalloped and very weathered. Plain impost and necking. R capital: double-scalloped. Plain impost and necking. Angle roll and cavetto in the arch, and plain label.

On the interior: nook-shafts. L capital: sheathed cone single scallop with a wedge to the L; impost a chamfer and a quirk between the uprights; R capital: double-scalloped, roll necking. In the arch: an angle roll, two hollow chamfers and a plain label.

S Nave window

S Nave Window: later extended from the base as was the N window of the nave.  L capital: double-scalloped with roll necking; impost with two quirks. R capital: scalloped, very weathered, what may have been a head on the angle; impost plain. In the arch: an angle roll, hollow chamfer; billet on the label.

Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Chancel arch

3 orders to W; 2 to E. Round-headed.

1st order (shared)

On half-column responds; attic bases on high plinths.  L capital: multi-scallop with a prominent volute on the R angle, undulating rinceau on the abacus. Impost: row of upright volutes with pellets; above a double quirk, a double row of triangles either side of a row of recessed lozenges. Thick angle roll in the arch. R impost: plain with a quirk. R capital: double-scalloped with foliate decoration on the shields and wedges in the angles; prominent volute on the L angle.

2nd order E

Nook-shafts. Bases as 1st order. L capital (S): possibly double-scalloped but cut back; shares volute and impost block with 1st order. R capital (N): possibly double-scalloped but cut back; plain necking; shares prominent volute with 1st order; the form is almost a beast.  Impost block shared with 1st order, but plain on this face. 

2nd order W

Nook-shafts. L impost, as 1st order, extends across the wall to meet the N wall. L capital: multi-scalloped with grooves around shields; abacus as 1st order; plain roll necking.  In the arch, angle roll and hollow chamfer. Label with double quirk. R capital: double-scalloped with wedge in the angle. Plain roll necking. The impost, as 1st order, extends across the wall to meet the S wall; parts may be replaced.

2nd order W

Nook-shafts. Bases as for 1st order. L capital: multi-scalloped, with abacus and impost as 1st order, but impost decoration cut away. On the angle the volute becomes an animal head with almond eyes, ridged snout and large ears; ridges emerging from its mouth splay to link it to the shaft of this order and across to the necking of the capital of the 3rd order. Angle roll in the arch. R capital: multi-scalloped with the same foliate decoration on the shields as in 1st order; on the angle the inner corner a leaping figure known as 'the Sandiacre Imp; it holds a short foliate rod in his left hand; his right hand is raised; the volutes of the capital form his eyes; his right foot rests on the plain necking of the capital; his left foot reaches to the necking of the capital of the 3rd order.

3rd order W



Gravestone or coffin-lid

A late 12thc gravestone or coffin-lid in the chancel on the floor in the SE angle. Two pieces: the larger section was found under the pulpit in the nave in 1854, and the missing part of the base was later uncovered in the churchyard.  It is carved in relief with two biped beasts with foliate tails flanking the stem of a complex foliate-headed cross; the branches have lobed leaves similar to the animal's tails.


Remarkably rich later Romanesque sculpture is dated by Cox to c. 1160. He also suggested that the 12thc tomb may have marked the grave of the rebuilder of this church in the Norman period. The N abacus ornament on the chancel arch is paralleled in a more simple form at Breadsall.


  • J. C. Cox, Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, Vol. 4, Chesterfield: Palmer and Sons & London: Bemorse and Sons, 1879, 365-76.

  • C. Hartwell, N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, The Buildings of England. Derbyshire, New Haven and London, 2016, 577-79.

  • Historic England. Monument no. 1204475. ¬†Accessed 28 August 2017.

  • N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, The Buildings of England. Derbyshire, London, 1978, 312-13.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SK 479 373 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Derbyshire
now: Derbyshire
medieval: Lichfield
now: Derby
now: St Giles
medieval: St Giles
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Celia Holden, Jennifer Alexander, Louisa Catt, Olivia Threlkeld, Richard Jewell 
Visit Date
07 Apr 1990; 01 Sep 2014