St Mary, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire

Feature Sets (3)

Description

The church was extensively restored in 1865 but contains medieval features, including a 12thc. W tower. Romanesque sculpture is found in the three windows of the tower and on some loose fragments used as plant pots near the porch.

History

According to Heming, Tenbury was held by the monks of Worcester until the Danish invasions. In 1086 one priest is recorded at Tenbury. It was held by Osbern Fitz Richard, who had inherited it from his father, Richard Scrob; the Clifford family subsequently became tenants. The abbey of St Mary, Cormeilles, founded by William Fitz Osbern, held half a hide at Tenbury. Until 1304, the descent of the overlordship followed that of Wychbold in Dodderhill.

Features

Exterior Features

Windows

W tower, N face

As S and W faces, but the central shaft of the first order is thicker, chamfered and perhaps coursed and carries a plain hollow-chamfered capital lacking a necking (?eroded). The twin arches both bear nailhead on the edge.

W tower, S face

Round-headed, two orders.

First order: twin round-headed light with chamfered arches carried on chamfered responds with plain chamfered impost blocks and a central colonnette with ?polygonal monolithic shaft, plain necking, capital carved with one row of leaves and a plain straight impost.

Second order: plain jambs and arch; plain chamfered impost blocks.

W tower, W face

As S face, except for the capital of the central shaft. This bears one row of leaves, but more elaborately carved than the S face capital. L jamb eroded.

Loose Sculpture

Fragments

There are three sculptural fragments, now used as plant pots, near the S porch. They are roughly octagonal in section and appear to be trumpet capitals (two of them inverted), but lacking bells and probably cut down.

Comments/Opinions

The sculpture in the W tower bell openings could not be examined closely. Pevsner records a trumpet capital from a respond and smaller waterleaf capitals outside the church, but these now appear to be missing, unless the waterleaf capitals are in fact the fragments here identified as trumpet capitals.

Bibliography

  • The Victoria History of the Counties of England. Worcestershire, vol. I, London 1901, 299; vol.IV, London 1924, 365-71, 368-70.
  • C. J. Bond, 'Church and Parish in Norman Worcestershire' in J. Blair (ed.) Minsters and Parish Churches: The Local Church in Transition 950-1200. Oxford University Committee for Archaeology Monograph 17. Oxford 1988, 119-58, 127-28, 129, 141.
  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Worcestershire. Harmondsworth 1968, 277–278.

Location

Site Location
Tenbury Wells
National Grid Reference
SO 594 684 
Boundaries
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Worcestershire
now: Worcestershire
Diocese
medieval: not confirmed
now: Worcester
Dedication
now: St Mary
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
G. L. Pearson