St Augustine, Dodderhill, Worcestershire

Feature Sets (2)

Description

The present church comprises a 14thc. chancel, the N wall of which is clad in brick, a massive sandstone tower of 1708 on the site of the S transept, which replaced a crossing tower said to have been demolished in the 17thc., and a N transept rebuilt in brick in the 19thc.; the original nave has disappeared and the crossing now serves this function. Restorations were begun in 1845. Romanesque sculpture is found in the chancel and crossing arches.

History

In 1086, Wychbold, the main manor, was held by Osbern Fitz Richard; before the Conquest it seems to have been claimed by Earl Godwin, and in 692 it had been granted by King Ethelred to Worcester priory. (Dodderhill is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey.) Osbern granted the advowson to the priory of Worcester, and his gift was confirmed by Bishop Samson (1096-1112). The church was granted to the nuns of Westwoodc.1158, but returned to the monks of Worcester in 1178. It was dedicated in 1220 (VCH).

Features

Interior Features

Arches

Chancel arch/Apse arches

Chancel arch

Pointed, of three orders on each face. With slight variations, the capital types are also found in the tower arches.

First order, shared

Keeled half-shaft responds on water-holding bases; plain neckings; trumpet capitals with decorated shields (see below) and hollow-chamfered imposts with a narrow roll below the hollow and a rolled upright above, the L impost with a repair at the SW angle.

L capital: the shields are each outlined by a U-shaped fillet, the arms of which curl inwards to join a plain semicircular motif echoing the shape of the shield (Type (i)). At the angles are two affronted S-scrolls, forming a small ball at the top.

R capital: the shields are outlined by fillets, each forming a horseshoe shape, linked at the junctions of the shields and enclosing a plain disc (Type (ii)). Plain chamfered arch.

Second order, E face

Keeled nook shafts on water-holding bases; plain neckings, trumpet capitals with decorated shields (see below), and imposts similar to first order.

L capital: Type (ii), but the fillets loop around small discs at the junctions between the shields. Tapered angle rib.

R capital: Type (ii), but with a lily at the junctions between the shields. In addition, small projections descend into the recessed shields from a horizontal fillet at the top. Keeled nook roll in the arch.

Second order, W face

As second order, E face, except for the decoration of the capital shields, as follows:

L capital: Type (i), but with a plain leaf with central rib and scrolled tip at the angle, with a small volute above.

R capital: Type (ii), but with small trefoils at the junctions between the shields and a linked row of spade-shaped leaves with central tapered ribs above the necking. Keeled nook roll in the arch.

Third order, E face

Continuous, with pseudo-colonnettes. Rolled label.

Third order, W face

As third order, E face. Rolled label. The arch is spreading outwards, causing the supports to buckle and pushing the imposts inwards.

Tower/Transept arches

N arch

Pointed, three orders on each face, as chancel arch, but capitals decorated as follows:

First order

L capital: Type (ii)

R capital: similar to L capital of first order, S tower arch, but the central shield on the main face is slightly lower than the flanking pair.

Second order, N face

L capital: Type (ii), but with tapered angle rib.

R capital: Corinthian-type, thus differently carved to all the other capitals. At the angle are two leaves, a plain, pointed one superimposed on a longer leaf with furled tripartite tip. Crossing these diagonally are two stems with trefoil leaf terminals, ending at the upper L and R corners of the block. Rim of bell visible.

Second order, S face

L capital: Type (ii), but with tapered angle rib.

R capital: Type (ii).

S arch

Pointed, three orders on each face, as chancel arch except for the decoration of the capital shields, as follows:

First order

L capital: the central shield as Type (i), but with a spade-shaped leaf in the centre. The other shields bear fillets continuing into plain furled leaves, arranged in mirror image around the angles and axes of the minor faces.

R capital: Type (ii) but more schematic.

Both capitals may be copies.

Second order, N side

L capital: Type (i), but with spade-shaped leaves, indented at the top. Projection at angle.

R capital: similar to Type (ii), but each shield is self-contained, the fillets forming a complete circle around a central disc. Tapered angle rib and projection above at the top.

Both capitals may be copies.

Second order, S side

L capital: Type (ii), but with tapered angle rib.

R capital: Type (ii), but the fillets slightly narrower, leaving the central disc more isolated, and with tapered angle rib.

W arch

Pointed, three orders on E face, as chancel arch except for the decoration of the capital shields, as follows. (The arch is now infilled with masonry, containing a large traceried window.)

First order

L capital: similar to Type (ii).

R capital: similar to Type (ii).

Second order

L capital: Type (i), with tapered angle rib.

R capital: similar to Type (ii), but each shield is self-contained, the fillets forming a complete circle around the disc, like R capital of S tower arch, second order, N side. May be a copy.

Comments/Opinions

Pevsner dates the work to the late 12thc., or to the early 13thc. According to the VCH, parts of the crossing arches have been renewed, possibly in the late 17thc., when the crossing tower was removed.

Bibliography

  • The Victoria History of the Counties of England. Worcestershire, vol.III (London 1913), 58-67, 65-67.
  • C. J. Bond, 'Church and Parish in Norman Worcestershire' in Minsters and Parish Churches.
  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Worcestershire. Harmondsworth 1968, 47, 131-32.
  • 'The Local Church in Transition 950–1200', ed J. Blair, Oxford University Committee for Archaeology Monograph 17 (Oxford 1988), 119-58, 151.

Location

Site Location
Dodderhill
National Grid Reference
SO 902 637 
Boundaries
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Worcestershire
now: Worcestershire
Diocese
medieval: Worcester
now: Worcester
Dedication
now: St Augustine
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
G. L. Pearson