St Peter, Maer, Staffordshire

Feature Sets (2)

Description

The village of Maer is in the Staffordshire uplands, in the NW of the county. On Berth Hill, half a mile to the N, is an Iron Age hill fort, and the settlement has presumably moved down the hill towards the lake or mere that gives the village its name, and that is now in the grounds of the hall. The entire area was heavily wooded, but clearances must have begun before the Conquest, and by the time of the Domesday Survey there was land for two ploughs as well as woodland a league square. Church and hall are very close together; the road that now separates them originally ran behind the hall but was diverted in the 19thc. so that it did not divide the hall from the lake. Despite their proximity, the precipitous slope on which the church is built raises it high above the hall. The effect of this slope on the architecture of the church is best seen inside the building. Nave and chancel share a single (horizontal) roof, but the chancel floor is four steps above the nave. There is no chancel arch. The nave has a late-12thc. S doorway under a porch (of which more below), and a N aisle with a two-bay arcade, perhaps 15thc. in date. The chancel has a N organ chamber with a vestry to the E of it, both dating from 1877, and the W tower is 13thc. with a battlemented parapet and stumpy pinnacles added, perhapsc.1600. They may, indeed, belong to the rebuilding known to have taken place in 1610. Two drawings of 1838 and 1843 show the S porch with a room above it, entered by an external staircase (William Salt Library, SV VII 62a and 62b). By 1875, when an early photograph was taken, the tower was entirely overgrown with ivy. There was another restoration in 1877, when the ivy was cleared, the porch was reduced to a single storey, the entire church was re-roofed, the old organ loft and gallery were removed and the present organ chamber and vestry were added. The E window also dates from this restoration. The only Romanesque work described here is the S doorway.

History

Maer was held by Wulfgeat immediately before the Conquest, and afterwards he still held it, but from Robert of Stafford. The manor in 1086 was mostly woodland, but included arable land for two ploughs. No church or priest was recorded. In the early 13thc. Eudes de Mere gave his quarter share of the manor to the Priory of St Thomas, Stafford, and within a few years his co-parcenors had done likewise, so that the Priory held the entire manor. Eudes share included the hall and half of the advowson of the church. By 1281 there was a manor house at Maer, owned by William de Mere. The present hall was builtc.1680 and was the home of Josiah Wedgwood II, son of the famous potter, from 1807-43.

Benefice of Chapel Chorlton, Maer and Whitmore.

Features

Exterior Features

Doorways

S nave doorway

Pointed, of two orders. The doorway is very heavily restored; the only original parts being the capitals and impost blocks of the outer order, and perhaps the nook-shafts.

First order: Plain with chamfered arch and jambs separated by worn chamfered imposts blocks, vertically chamfered on the angle.

Second order: Slightly tapered cylindrical en-delit nook-shafts on cylindrical chamfered bases standing on chamfered plinths. The W capital is tall and flares out at the top, with the tips of flat leaves on the angles and notches between them. The necking is a plain roll. Only the upper part of the E capital is original. The capital is a simple tall flared block. Imposts are hollow chamfered. There is a plain, double-chamfered label.

Dimensions
h. of opening (ignoring step) 2.81 m
w. of opening 1.35 m

Comments/Opinions

The doorway is not shown on the 19thc. drawings (being hidden under the porch) so it is impossible to know whether the restoration is accurate. The pointed arch and tall flaring capitals indicate a date at the end of the 12thc.

Bibliography

  • Staffordshire County Council, Staffordshire Views Collection nos SV VII 62a and 62b. Available online at http://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/portal/page?_pageid=47,71124and_dad=portaland_schema=PORTAL
  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Staffordshire. Harmondsworth 1974, 200-01.
  • S. Shaw, The History and Antiquities of Staffordshire. 1798-1801. 2 vols. repr. 1976.
  • J. K. Wild, Maer. undated church guide.

Location

Site Location
Maer
National Grid Reference
SJ 793 384 
Boundaries
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Staffordshire
now: Staffordshire
Diocese
medieval: Lichfield (to 1075); Chester (to c.1086); Coventry and Lichfield (to 1541)
now: Lichfield
Dedication
now: St Peter
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter