St Wilfrid, Calverton, Nottinghamshire

Download as PDF

Feature Sets (2)


The church consists of a nave, chancel and W tower with S porch and a 20thc. vestry in the N angle of tower and nave. The building has a somewhat complicated architectural history. The church was rebuilt in the 14thc. using many of the old stones, as can be seen outside on the N wall of the chancel. In 1499 money was left for the construction of a rood loft; the incisions in the impost blocks of the chancel arch may date from this time. Between 1760-63 the nave and tower were largely rebuilt and the windows in both nave and tower replaced with round headed ones. The chancel was rebuilt in 1835. There was a further restoration of the building in 1881 when the nave windows were replaced and the sculptural fragments described below (VI Loose Sculpture) came to light when the floor of the nave was lowered by two feet.


The Archbishop of York's manor of Blidworth had a berewick at Calverton in 1086, with a church and priest. Other holdings at Calverton were Wulfric's, held from Roger de Poitou, and Thegn Aelfric's. Neither of these included a priest or a church.


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Chancel arch

Pointed and chamfered, of two orders to E and W. Probably dates from the 14thc. but incorporates re-set Romanesque work.

Colonnettes: Plain block base and unadorned shaft, neck of a torus roll to the S side, none to the N.

N capital: plain block capital, rising to a single volute. The plain impost block has been cut away.

S capital: badly damaged block, plain capital decorated with the remains of half a volute. Plain impost block partially cut away.

w. 4.45 m
First order (shared)

The base consists of a plain square block. Plain shaft rises to a torus roll at the neck.

N capital: scalloped with two volutes. Between the volutes is a small panel (0.08 x 0.11 m) of a mitred bishop with right hand raised in benediction and holding in his left hand a crosier. Next to him stands a diminutive figure (see VIII below). The plain impost block has been partially cut away.

S capital: also scalloped and of more usual Corinthian type with a volute at the angles but differing from that of the N capital. Between the volutes are two impressed circles with pendent lozenge. The plain impost block has also been partially cut away but not as severely as on the N side.

Second order, E face

Second order, W face

Bases of plain chamfered blocks, with plain column shafts rising to a torus roll neck, N column appears restored or replaced.

N capital is narrower than its column, partially scalloped with two volutes. The impost block is a later restoration.

S capital: partially scalloped with two pronounced volutes at the angles. Later impost block. All capitals have traces, to a greater or lesser extent, of whitewash.

Interior Decoration


Carved panels

Ten small carved sandstone panels are reset in the W wall of the tower, nos. 1-9 at third storey level and no.10 in the ringing chamber at second storey level. From N to S they are:

1. A rectangular panel of a man seated at a trestle table with a flagon, a boar's head, a fowl and one unidentified object. The man is seen in profile, holding a knife in his left hand and drinking from a horn held in his right hand. A bird is perched on the end of the left hand side of the table.

2. A rectangular panel set on its side and divided into two. On the L hand (upper) register is a figure on a horse with a bird on his left raised arm. In the R hand (lower) register is a dog with an object in its mouth.

3. A rectangular panel showing to the L a hooded figure seated on a chair facing to his R holding out a hand and his feet before a fire, a bird and a tree to the R.

4. A nearly square panel of a figure facing to his right holding a knife in his R hand whilst grasping a plant with his L. The plant has three branches with, from the bottom up, two tendrils, a fruit and two leaves.

5. A rectangular panel of a figure hoeing.

6. A square panel of a figure moving to the right brandishing a flail, and in the bottom L of the panel some wheat.

7. A rectangular panel with a hatted figure bending to the R grasping some wheat (?) in his R hand whilst applying a sickle to it with his L hand. In the top L hand of the panel is what appears to be sheaf of wheat.

8. A square panel set on its side with a figure holding aloft a flail and moving to its L (possibly a pair to 6).

9. A nearly square panel showing two figures facing each other, the one on the L brandishing in each hand ball like objects on sticks. The panel is very badly worn having been for many years set into an outside wall and only brought inside fairly recently.

10. A rectangular panel, probably a portion of a larger one, showing a figure with a pole of some sort under his arm, perhaps in the action of digging. The panel is set on its side.

Panel 7:
h. 0.20 m
w. 0.26 m
Panel 6:
h. 0.18 m
w. 0.21 m
Panel 10:
h. 0.23 m
w. 0.11 m
Panel 8:
h. 0.18 m
w. 0.19 m
Panel 1:
h. 0.19 m
w. 0.21 m
Panel 3:
h. 0.19 m
w. 0.27 m
Panel 5:
h. 0.21 m
w. 0.12 m
Panel 2:
h. 0.19 m
w. 0.32 m
Panel 9:
h. 0.24 m
w. 0.19 m
Panel 4:
h. 0.21 m
w. 0.21 m

Loose fragment

Carved with blind arcading.

h. 0.12 m
w. 0.26 m

Re-set voussoirs

Set of seven voussoirs re-set over an internal door under the N side of the tower in 1962. Each stone is carved with a head, from E to W: eagle, rabbit, horse, man, ox, cat, crow. The underside of the ox head is carved with a man's head.

h. (all) 0.20 m approx.
w. 0.15 m
w. 0.17 m
w. 0.15 m
w. 0.16 m
w. 0.18 m
w. 0.16 m
w. 0.19 m


The small figure in the sculpted panel on the chancel arch is identified by Pevsner as St Wilfrid, to whom the church is dedicated. The figure to his side is usually identified as a newly baptised convert. However, as the freeing of slaves was a distinguishing feature of the bishop's career it could be that the bishop is shown in the act of manumission.

The reused voussoirs could well have come from the old Norman W door. The carved stone panels may well represent the remaining portion of the seasons. Their original purpose is uncertain. Du Boulay Hill suggests that they might have formed part of a doorway, though their shape would seem to preclude them from being set in an arch.

The loose fragment could well have been part of the bowl of a font. The font currently in use in the church is 19thc. and of similar design.


  • A. Du Boulay-Hill, 'Calverton Church', Transactions of the Thoroton Society, 12 (1908), 31-36.
  • J. C. Cox, County Churches: Nottinghamshire, London, 1912, 53.
  • T. O. Hoyle, A Guide to Calverton Parish Church, n.p. n.d.
  • N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, The Buildings of England: Nottinghamshire, 2nd ed., London, 1979. Reprinted (with corrections)1997, 88-89.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SK 618 492 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Nottinghamshire
now: Nottinghamshire
medieval: York
now: Southwell and Nottingham
now: St Wilfrid
medieval: St Wilfrid
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Simon Kirsop