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St Leonard, Ipstones, Staffordshire

(53°2′56″N, 1°58′28″W)
SK 018 502
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Staffordshire
now Staffordshire
  • Ron Baxter

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Feature Sets

St Leonard's has an aisleless nave, chancel and W tower. The nave is broad and has a S doorway under a porch and a battlemented parapet. The chancel is the same height and width as the nave, and shares the same roof and parapet. It has screened-off vestries to N and south, the S vestry now housing the organ. The tower has two storeys and angle buttresses. There are pinnacles rising from the bottom of the upper storey and a battlemented parapet. The church is of red sandstone ashlar and was begunc.1787, although the style is largely ofc.1300-50, to judge from the window tracery. It was commissioned by John Sneyd of Belmont Hall, who had quarrelled with the incumbent of the old church of St Leonard. The argument was resolved, and the old church became Chapel House. The present church was restored by Giles Gilbert Scott jr in 1877. The chancel was rebuilt in 1902-03 by Gerald Horsley, who was also responsible for the screen. There are three 19thc. drawings in the William Salt Library, two by J. C. Buckler dated 1841, before Scott's restoration. All show exterior general views, in which the church looks much as it does today except that it has no S porch. During the 18thc. campaign a 12thc. figural tympanum was discovered by the builders, in use as infill for the walls of the old church. This was salvaged, and is now installed in the S interior nave wall, between the middle pair of windows. It is the only Romanesque feature.


Ipstones is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey. The land was apparently held, with Rushton, by Ranulph Earl of Chester (1129-53). In the early 13thc. Rushton, Longsdon and Ipstones were held by Nicholas de Verdun from the Earl of Chester. By 1242, Nicholas's daughter and heir, Rose, held Rushton, Longsdon and half of Ipstones in exchange for service to the Earl in providing a knight for the garrison of Chester Castle.

Benefice of Ipstones with Berkhamsytch and Onecote with Bradnop.


Interior Features

Interior Decoration


The foliage border of the tympanum is a simplification of a type of rhythmic vinescroll not dissimilar to that found on the font at Mavesyn Ridware, and overall a date in the first quarter of the 12thc. seems likeliest.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Staffordshire. Harmondsworth 1974, 157.
Drawings in William Salt Library, Stafford, nos. SV V 40; 41 and 42a, the first two by J. C. Buckler of 1841. Available online via the Staffordshire County Council, Staffordshire Views Collection webpages at Staffordshire County Council, Staffordshire Views Collection. Available online at http://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/portal/page?_pageid=47,71124and_dad=portaland_schema=PORTAL
Victoria County History: Staffordshire. VII Leek and the Moorlands, (1995), 219-23.