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St Helen, Overton, Lancashire

(54°0′37″N, 2°51′21″W)
SD 440 575
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Lancashire
now Lancashire
medieval York
now Blackburn
medieval unknown
now St Helen
  • James Cameron
08 May 2016

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Feature Sets

Overton sits rather isolated at the end of the peninsula of Morecombe. The church is confusing, for a relatively enormous N 'transept' of 1830 (added to provide extra seating), disorientates the perception of the building. An apse (discovered in 1902 during restoration by Austin and Paley) and the original Norman fenstration were destroyed in 1771. The only Romanesque, and indeed medieval, fabric remaining is the impressive S doorway.


Overton was a chapel of Lancaster and is very poorly documented in the Middle Ages. When a perpetual vicarage was ordained at Lancaster Priory, the church of Overton became his responsibility. A document of 1430 shows he sent a chaplain to serve there each Sunday, which required the purchase of a horse for said chaplain's use.


Exterior Features



The third order looks as if it could be heavily eroded beakheads, but since this motif is unknown in the North West, it is more likely that an abstract clasping motif, such as at Tatham, was originally carved here. The three-banded chevron of the second order is also extremely similar to the single voussoir fragment at nearby Melling.


C. Hartwell and N. Pevsner, Lancashire, The Buildings of England, New Haven and London, 2009, 451-52.

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8, Victoria County History, London 1914, 61-64.