St Michael, Abberley, Worcestershire

Feature Sets (2)

Description

All that remains of the 12thc. church is the chancel, and a few courses of the N wall of the roofless W tower. In the 13thc. the chancel was extended eastward, a chapel added on its S side and a S aisle added to the nave - all of red sandstone ashlar. The church fell into ruin and a replacement was built on a new site shortly after 1850. At this time the N doorway of the ruined nave was built into what became the W wall of the old chancel, now kept as a chapel with its 13thc. chapel adjoining to the S. In 1963 the dangerous walls of the old tower and nave were taken down, except for the old S doorway which still stands, supported by a portion of the S wall of the nave.

History

At the time of the Domesday Survey the manor of Abberley was included among the lands held in chief by Ralph de Toeni. It had been held by Wulfmar, who could betake himself where he would, and there were two and a half hides paying geld. It was held in chief as member of the castle of Colwyn by the service of finding one man at Colwyn with bow and arrow for twenty days whenever there should be war in Wales. It followed the descent of the overlordship of Elmley Lovett to Alice de Toeni, wife of Guy Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick.

The chapel serves the modern church of Abberley.

Features

Exterior Features

Doorways

N doorway

Round-headed, of one order, no tympanum. Reset as W door of the chapel.

Dimensions
h. of opening 3.77 m
w. of opening 2.06 m
First order

No bases, engaged (coursed) nook-shafts.

L capital: eroded, but just recognisable as having a scroll volute with reeding. (cf. R capital of S doorway at Ribbesford, Worcs.).

R capital: as L capital

Plain square abacus above a cavetto, incised line on face. On the face of the arch a row of hollow chevron, centrifugally carved, with cogwheel edge. Plain, hollow-moulded label.

S doorway, nave

Round-headed. Badly eroded and partly rebuilt. Originally there probably were three orders with tympanum. This has a segmented lower edge and is uncarved except for an outer border, possibly of cable.

First order

Plain.

Second order

Engaged nook-shafts coursed with the masonry (L jamb only). No bases or capitals but possibly the remains of eroded imposts. Moulded arch, perhaps originally with an angle roll and a hollow and roll on the face.

Third order

Supports as second order and just badly preserved.

The arch appears to be plain, but there may have been an angle roll.

Comments/Opinions

The similarity of the N doorway capitals to one in the S doorway at Ribbesford indicate a date in the early 12thc. Doorways set in a projecting bay, as here, occur in a number of churches in the county (see Preface to Worcestershire).

Bibliography

  • The Victoria History of the Counties of England. Worcestershire, vol.IV. London 1924, 221-24.

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Worcestershire . Harmondsworth 1968, 67.

Location

Site Location
Abberley
National Grid Reference
SO 752 680 
Boundaries
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Worcestershire
now: Worcestershire
Diocese
medieval: not confirmed
now: Worcester
Dedication
now: St Michael
medieval: St Michael
Type of building/monument
Chapel  
Report authors
G. L. Pearson