The small church stands near the crest of a hill, surrounded by houses of the village of Old Edlington on three sides, with fields to the N and NW. To the N in the valley are the village and estates of New Edlington. The church consists of a nave, chancel, tower and a N aisle.
The chancel, nave and lower part of the tower are Romanesque, with a Perp. tower and the majority of the windows. The S doorway, chancel arch and corbels are fine examples of Romanesque carving. This was the first church to be vested in the Redundant Churches Fund [now Churches Conservation Trust]. The roof was removed by the diocese in 1966 when the building was subject to constant vandalism. A demolition order for all but the tower was recommended at vesting [in 1971] (Anon., 1990). Fortunately this was avoided and the church is now roofed and well maintained, although past and present damp remains a problem.
The Romanesque sculpture is chiefly on doorway, corbels, a window, chancel arch and string course. There are corbels on the N and S walls of both nave and chancel; they are in their original position but the walls have been heightened above them for the battlements. The corbels on the N side have been covered since the building of the N aisle (c.1200) and N chapel (date uncertain; possibly late 13th c.). An unusual feature of the corbels at Old Edlington is that several of the animals are gagged with a sausage-shaped soft-looking pad, rather than being muzzled (though there are muzzled examples).
The vill is in Domesday Book but no church is mentioned. The vill was in 1086 held of the Percies by Malger, ancestor of the Vavasours. The advowson of the church is mentioned temp. Henry II (Thompson and Clay 1933, 106) and by 1249-50, if not before, part of the advowson was in Vavasour’s hands (Raine 1872, 108).
|Height of opening||2.12m|
|Width of opening||0.90m|
|Height of opening to modern step, additional 0,155m exposed to base||2.12m|
|Width of opening||1.01m|
This is continuous from base throughout, with no indication of capital or impost. Plain in the soffit. On the face, a bold chevron roll; a row of hollow chevron; an arris and a less prominent chevron row then plain to the second order. On the angle, a row of prominent balls cut into rounded units, probably grape; few of these remain except at the top of the arch.
This is broad and flat, edged outside with billet moulding. The main face is unusually highly-carved, and altogether this was not a very practical hoodmould to shelter the rest of the doorway. The pattern is a row of medallions and ellipses, the spaces between these larger units filled with sprays of foliage. In the medallions is a ring of beading, then a ring of cusps and then a roundel with a raised conical centre. The ellipses have their long dimension on the radius of the arch; they contain a symmetrical leaf with round-tipped leaflets arranged up the mid-rib. Ellipses seem to be placed particularly to make up the space at joints in the long stones; medallions are not split. The sprays have 3 pointed leaves to both inside and outside, and are bound in the centre with a strap. Label-stops are remnants of what are likely to have been two pairs of men’s heads; a detail of an eye remains on the inner head on the R side.
First order to nave and chancel: Plain and square plinth; round bases convex below, concave above. Coursed half-column. Plain roughly-rounded necking. The capitals, of a very simple shape, are covered with delicate patterns. The L capital has larger and smaller beaded interlaced semicircles with symmetrical fluted foliage in every space; the R capital is a shade more sophisticated, with only large reeded semicircles and very elegant symmetrical foliage patterns. Impost with plain (or slightly hollow in some cases) chamfer; two quirks a little above the bottom of the upright. Impost continues to N and S walls in chancel. In the arch, in the soffit, a row of hollow chevron; on the face, a row of centripetal chevron of which the outer margin is bounded by a double row of centripetal arrises of arched outline. This produces unusual movement in the pattern and forms.
Second order to nave only: Plinth and bases as before. Detached shaft. L necking perhaps once cable pattern? L capital has symmetrical foliage patterns similar to those used on the adjacent capital of the first order. Imposts as before. R necking plain, capital a double scallop with darts between the cones. Impost as before, it continues to the side walls on both N and S. In the arch, in the soffit as for first order. On the face, a row of centripetal chevron, with narrower rows of hollow chevrons and chevrons outside that. No label.
Anon., Churches in Retirement: a gazetteer. Redundant Churches Fund. HMSO, London. 1990.
F. Henry and G. Zarnecki, ‘Romanesque arches decorated with human and animal heads’, JBAA 20-21 (1957-58), 1-34.
J. Hunter, South Yorkshire, Deanery of Doncaster 1. Nichols, London.1828.
C. E. Keyser, ‘The Norman Doorways of Yorkshire’, in T.M. Fallow, ed. Memorials of Old Yorkshire, 1909, 180-1.
G. Lawton, Collectio rerum ecclesiasticarum de diocesi Eboracensi; or, collections relative to churches and chapels within the Diocese of York. To which are added collections relative to churches and chapels within the diocese of Ripon. New edition, London, 1842.
J. E. Morris, The West Riding of Yorkshire. 2nd ed. (1906) 1919.
N. Pevsner, Yorkshire: West Riding. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth, 1959, 2nd ed. revised E. Radcliffe. 1967
J. Raine, The register, or rolls, of Walter Gray, Lord Archbishop of York. Surtees Society 56. 1872
A. H. Thompson, ‘The village churches of Yorkshire’, in T. M. Fallow, ed. Memorials of Old Yorkshire, 127-8. 1909.
A. H. Thompson and C. T. Clay, ed. Fasti parochiales 1 part 1, Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series 85 [Deanery of Doncaster part 1]. Leeds 1933.
A. H. Thompson and C. T. Clay, Fasti parochiales 1 part 2, Yorkshire Archaeological Series 107 [Deanery of Doncaster part 2]. Leeds 1943.