The village of Hallaton, eight miles north-east of Market Harborough, occupies a sloping site with a stream to the south and to the west what may have been a 12thc motte and bailey castle built to protect iron works (VCH, V, 121-33; Pevsner and Williamson, 1984, 171-72). The imposing church of St Michael lies on the south-west side of the village, half a mile below the castle site. Although the exterior of the church, including the dominant W tower, is largely 13thc and 14thc, Romanesque elements are preserved in the aisled interior. Notably part of the N arcade is late 12thc; otherwise it was extended in the 13thc when a new chancel was built. Most importantly for this Corpus a sculpted tympanum detached from its original doorway is now reset in the N porch. For Pevsner, this tympanum depicting St Michael fighting the Dragon was 'the best Norman tympanum in the county' (Pevsner and Williamson, 1984, 171-72).
According to The Domesday Survey, Hallaton with 6 carucates, had belonged to the Saxon Tochi, but by 1086 it was held by a Norman under-tenant from Geoffrey Alselin. The demense encompassed 2 ploughs and 2 serfs, 19 villeins, a socman, a freeman, and 2 bordars with 6 ploughs. Although no church is mentioned in The Domesday Survey, the parish was associated with Leeds Priory early in the 12thc. when Daniel Crevequer of Leeds (c. 1130-1177) granted the advowson of half the rectory to that Priory, which had been founded by his father Robert in 1119 (VCH, V, 1964, 121-33). The Priory appointed one rector who divided the income equally with the second rector.
The lands reverted to the king in 1155, and in 1171 King Henry II granted them to Thomas Bardolf on his marriage to Rose, the heir of Ralph Hanselin; she was probably a descendant of the family who had held Hallaton at the time of The Domesday Survey. Their son married Beatrice, the heir of William de Warenne of Wormegay. (VCH, V, 1964, 121-33)
|Depth of capitals||0.75 m|
|Height of capitals||0.32 m|
|Height of W respond capital||0.32 m|
|Width of capitals||0.75 m|
|Width of W respond capital||0.55 m|
C. E. Keyser, A list of Norman tympana and lintels: with figure or symbolical sculpture still or till recently existing in the churches of Great Britain, London, 1904, VIII, LXXI, 18, fig. 141.
J. Nichols, The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester, II part 2, facsimile of 1815 edition, reprinted with an introduction by Jack Simmons, Wakefield, 1971, 603, pl. c111.
N. Pevsner, G. K. Brandwood, E. Williamson, Leicestershire and Rutland, London, 1984, 171-72.
Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological Society, XIII, Part 1 (1923), ff.138.
Victoria County History: J. M. Lee and R. A. McKinley, 'Hallaton', in A History of the County of Leicestershire, V, Gartree Hundred, London, 1964, 121-133. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/leics/vol5/pp121-133 [accessed 13 November 2016].
G. Zarnecki, English Romanesque Sculpture, 1066-1140, London, 1951.