St Matthew, Salford Priors, Warwickshire

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Feature Sets (3)


An originally 12thc. church consisting of chancel, narrow nave, W tower with clasping buttresses and nave S aisle. The S aisle was added in the late 12thc., the arcades formed by cutting through the S wall leaving rectangular piers. The S wall of the aisle has since been rebuilt. Surviving 12thc. features are the N doorway, three bays of the nave S arcade, and the lower part of the W wall of the tower which incorporates two round-headed windows, one of which is decorated.


There was a priest at Salford Priors in 1086. The church was granted with the manor to the canons of Kenilworth by Henry I and confirmed by Simon, Bishop of Worcester.


Exterior Features


N doorway, nave

Round-headed, of one order with tympanum. Enclosed by a porch.

The tympanum consists of one lower stone (now fractured) which extended from jamb to jamb, and two upper stones, the R considerably larger than the L. The carving is in distinct bands. Three rows of recessed scale ornament lie below two rows of chip-carved eight-point stars in squares. The upper row of stars is larger than the lower. These stars are bisected by the horizontal division of the tympanum which occurs here, and are slightly out of sequence. Above this are tightly packed six-petalled flowers or rosettes within recessed circles

h. of opening 2.05 m
h. of tympanum 0.59 m
w. of opening 1.06 m
w. of tympanum 1.22 m
R Capital
h. incl. necking 0.19 m max.
w. 0.21 m
L Capital
h. incl. necking 0.20 m max.
w. 0.19 m
First order:

Worn, bulbous bases, supporting detached nook-shafts L nook-shaft: spiral carved with alternating shallow rolls and hollows separated by alternating fine single and double rolls. R nook-shaft: A series of point-to-point lozenges lie along the length of the shaft. Each lozenge has a plain central panel edged by a fine double roll, this is followed by a shallow roll and a hollow separated by thin single rolls.

L capital: above roll necking the capital is decorated with three, four and five-strand interlace. Some strands terminate in spirals, those in the upper angles mimic volutes.

R capital: above roll necking, a double scallop capital with sheathed cones. The recessed shields are outlined by a fine double roll and each contains a small, inverted palmette, or foliate form, in relief.

The imposts are hollow chamfered, with a shallow roll on the upright. Above the shallow roll on the N face of the L impost geometric, chip-carved ornament is carved and, on the W face, shallow saw-tooth decoration. This impost also incorporates a fine roll between the chamfer and the upright.

The arch has four rows of chevron lateral to the face, of the profile roll/hollow/roll/hollow.

The label is chamfered on inner and outer angles.


Tower, W wall

Round-headed lancet, 2.30m above ground level, with a pronounced continuous angle roll over jambs and arch followed by a second, smaller roll in the jambs, which becomes a fillet in the arch. The lower part of the jambs has been restored. Severely eroded imposts and mock capitals. In the arch simple, flat, undecorated beak-heads extend across the angle roll. Flattish cable-moulding lies between the beakheads.

The label is shallow with vestiges of single chevron incised into the surface.

h. of glazed opening 1.90 m
w. of glazed opening 0.62 m

Interior Features



S arcade

S arcade. Of three bays, with multi-scallop capitals supported by plain rectangular piers.

E respond capital: plain cones and shields.

Pier 1, capital, E face: cones at a steeper angle than those of the E respond.

Pier 1, capital, W face: trumpet scallop with keeled mouldings between the cones.

Pier 2, capital, E face: Similar to pier 1 capital, W.

Pier 2, capital, W face: as above, but with smaller cones which have a more pronounced outward curve. A vertical incision has been made through the centre of the capital to receive the glazing of a modern screen. W Respond: as above, but a modern copy. Similarly cut to receive glazing.

The arches are pointed and of two plain, square orders. A chamfered label is found on the N side only and each has a small carved human head set at the apex.

Average size of head 0.11 m x 0.09 m
h. of arch from floor 3.90 m
h. to top of impost 2.30 m
w. of bay between piers 2.38 m (average)
Pier 1, E face
h. inc. necking 0.26 m
w. main face 0.92 m
Pier 1, W face
h. inc. necking 0.26 m
w. main face 0.88 m
E respond
h. inc. necking 0.27 m
w. main face 1.03 m
Pier 2, W face
h.inc. necking 0.28 m
w. main face 1.00 m(approx)
Pier 2, E face
h. inc. necking 0.26 m
w. main face 0.92 m


The church is built largely of light grey lias limestone, a locally available stone. It is a friable material and cannot be carved. It is significant therefore that 12thc. elements such as the N doorway, the arcade piers and capitals are in a shelly toffee-coloured limestone reminiscent of the liassic ironstone of Edge Hill or Hornton, several miles to the east. It is possible that the stone for this early work was transported from some distance.


  • VCH 3:161-165
  • Pevsner
General view from NW.


Site Location
Salford Priors
National Grid Reference
SP 077 510 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Warwickshire
now: Warwickshire
medieval: not confirmed
now: Coventry
now: St Matthew
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Harry Bodenham