St Michael and All Angels, Mansell Lacy, Herefordshire

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Feature Sets (4)


Mansell Lacy is a village in central Herefordshire, 6 miles NW of Hereford. The church is in the village centre, and consists of a 12thc nave with a S aisle 3½ bays long, with the half-bay at the E end, pierced by what appears to be a reset 12thc doorway. The aisle and arcade are of the late 13thc. The chancel is long, and has a N vestry of 1878, and there is a W tower, unbuttressed and seemingly 13thc in its lower parts, heightened in the 14thc and given a pyramid roof. The church was restored by John Clayton in 1859-60. In its present arrangement, executed by Rod Robinson Associates in 1996, the nave is screened off at pier 2, and the 1st bay of the arcade is screened from the aisle, leaving a liturgical space at the NE, and a community space consisting of the entire aisle and the W part of the nave (although it does contain a liturgical outlier in the font, at the W end of the S aisle). The font is Romanesque, as are the arch in the arcade wall, the S nave doorway (protected by a 15thc porch, a blocked N doorway, and corbels and carved stones reset over the nave arcade arch and the S doorway.


Mansell Lacy was held by Godric in 1066 and by Gruffydd ap Maredudd in 1086. It was assessed at 4 hides. It subsequently passed to Roger de Lacy.


Exterior Features


Nave N doorway

A doorway with square jambs carrying a monolithic lintel of irregular shape on chamfered imposts, not projecting from the wall face. The doorway is blocked, and has been obscured in its E parts by a later medieval buttress, so that only the W jamb and the W half of the lintel are now visible.

Height of opening above sill 1.98m
Width of visible opening 0.51m
Max. height of lintel 0.52m
Max. visible width of lintel 0.85m

Nave S doorway

Single order with plain square jambbs carrying a heavy trapezoidal lintel with a thicker lower section and curved lugs to L and R. The lintel is carried on chamfered imposts that do not project from the wall surface and are decorated on the inner faces with a pair of horizontal grooves.

Height of opening 1.88m
Width of opening 1.05m
Max. height of lintel 0.41m
Max. width of lintel 1.42m
Thickness of lintel 0.19m

Reset doorway in S arcade wall

In the wall of bay 1 of the S nave arcade, its E jamb formed by the E wall of the nave alongside the chancel arch, is a doorway. The W jamb is plain and square and a rectangular lintel is carried on heavy quadrant moulded corbels. In the centre of the lintel on the nave side is a grotesque corbel, apparently a later insertion, that is treated separately as interior decoration.

Exterior Decoration

Corbel tables, corbels

Corbel reset above S doorway

A sandstone head, perhaps the face of a corbel, set high above the centre of the S nave doorway. It has catlike ears, bulbous almond-shaped eyes, and apparently a short curved beak, so may be intended for an owl.


E niche head above S nave doorway

The head of a round-headed niche framed by two half round mouldings following the outline of the curve, the outer one continuing into a spiral termination at both sides of the same height.

W niche head above S nave doorway

As the E niche head. 

Interior Features

Interior Decoration


Reset corbel above arch in S arcade wall

In the centre of the N face of the lintel of the doorway in the S arcade wall is a quadrant-moulded stone and on top of this is set a corbel or beakhead voussoir with a foxlike head gripping a slender roll in its teeth. The snout is long and slender, and the eyes bulbous and quite round.




At the W end of the S aisle stands a roughly-formed cup-shaped font bowl on a short, bulbous cylindrical stem with a concave band between bowl and stem. Bowl and stem are apparently carved from a single block. The stem stands on a chamfered drum base, and that on a drum plinth and a thin step, largely hidden by the modern floor-covering. The font is lead lined, and the rim's upper surface is generally damaged and filled with mortar.

Height of bowl and stem 0.57m
Height of chamfered base 0.18m
Height of drum plinth 0.17m
Overall height of font above step 0.92m
External diameter of bowl at rim 0.67m
Internal diameter of bowl at rim 0.51m


According to RCHME, the N doorway is the only surviving fabric from the 12thc church; the S doorway is there dated to the 13thc, ontemporary with the aisle wall. The font is dated to the late-12thc, and the corbels etc. to the 12thc too. Pevsner agrees with most of this, ignoring the font as is to be expected. Brooks dates this c.1200. For the present author the similarities between the N and S doorways cannot be ignored, and both are dated to the 12thc, along with most of the reset carved stones, except for the niche-heads reset above the S doorway which may well be older.  Window heads similar to these niche-heads are found e.g. at Aldbrough (Yorkshire, East Riding), where Wood convincingly dates them to the 11thc.


  • A. Brooks and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. New Haven and London 2012, 502.

  • Historic England Listed Building 149736

  • G. Marshall, “Fonts in Herefordshire”,  Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists’ Field Club, II (1950), 44-45.

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. Harmondsworth 1963, 249.

  • RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, 3 North West, 1934, 145-47.

Exterior from SW
S arcade from NW
Interior from S aisle, looking NE


Site Location
Mansell Lacy
National Grid Reference
SO 426 456 
now: Herefordshire
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Herefordshire
medieval: Hereford
now: Hereford
now: St Michael and All Angels
medieval: St Michael (pre-Reformation)
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
04 September 2012