St Michael and All Angels, Harnhill, Gloucestershire

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Feature Sets (2)


The unaisled nave, the square undecorated S doorway and the rectangular tympanum or lintel above, are 12thc century fabric. The chancel, S porch, and the W wall of the tower are later additions.


In Domesday Book Harnhill (Harehille) is held by Roger from Ralph de Tosny.


Exterior Features


S nave doorway

Above the S nave doorway is a tympanum, monolithic but incomplete, depicting St Michael. The saint, with nimbus, wears a short belted tunic with long close-fitting sleeves; his right arm is holding a sword raised over his head, his left arm holds a small oval shield. Both he and the dragon have large feathered wings and large bulging eyes. The recumbent dragon has a long coiling tail, a protruding tongue and pointed teeth. The bottom edge of the tympanum is carved in cable moulding. The stone is pink in colour beneath a coat of limewash.

Depth of stone 0.23 m
Height of stone 0.51 m
Width of stone 1.10 m


The carving of the tympanum may exhibit some influence from the Herefordshire School: the exceptionally large feet of the dragon, the raised offside forepaw, and the bulging almond eyes. St Michael also has large bulging eyes, large hands and long fingers, but his draperies are unlike the idiosyncratic draperies of the school. The stone is pinkish in colour, similar to the tympanum at nearby Driffield.


  • Frances Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications: or, England’s Patron Saints, Volume 3, London 1899, 142.

  • Charles E. Keyser, 'Notes on a Sculptured Tympanum at Kingswinford Church, Staffordshire, and other early representations in England of St Michael the Archangel', Archaeological Journal, 62 (1905), 137-146, 143.

  • Charles E. Keyser, A List of Norman Tympana and Lintels with Figure or Symbolical Sculpture..., 2nd ed., London 1927, 153-54.

  • David Verey, The Buildings of England, Gloucestershire: The Cotswolds, Harmondsworth 1970, 269.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SP 069 005 
now: Gloucestershire
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Gloucestershire
now: Gloucester
medieval: Worcester
medieval: St Michael
now: St Michael and All Angels
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Jean and Garry Gardiner 
Visit Date
06 June 1998