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St Peter, Alstonfield, Staffordshire

(53°5′41″N, 1°48′10″W)
SK 133 553
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Staffordshire
now Staffordshire
medieval St Peter
now St Peter
  • Ron Baxter

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St Peter's has a clerestoried nave with four-bay N and S aisles. The S arcade is 14thc., while the N and the square-headed clerestory windows date fromc.1500. The nave has N and S doorways, both under porches. The S doorway is 12thc. work and its 13thc. porch is now used as a store for building materials; the N doorway is 16thc. The chancel arch is also 12thc., while the chancel includes three 13thc. lancets in its side walls. The chancel was rebuilt in 1590 (inscription) and restored in 1870. The W tower arch is tall and Perpendicular. The tower has a 16thc. W doorway, diagonal buttresses and an embattled parapet with crocketed pinnacles at the corners, but the Y-traceried bell-openings are stylistically ofc.1300. The nave bases are concealed by the present floor, and in the chancel the piscina is very low in the wall, both features indicating that the original floor level was lower than it is now. Construction is of coursed rubble including roughly squared large blocks of ashlar. There are Anglo-Saxon fragments built into the stonework around the N porch and others loose at the W end of the N aisle. The Romanesque features described here are the S doorway and the chancel arch.


A church at Alstonfield was dedicated by Oswald, Archbishop of York in 892. In 1086 Alstonfield was held by William Malbank from Roger, Earl of Shrewsbury. William Malbank was one of the earl's principal tenants in Cheshire, where he held the barony of Wich Malbank (later Nantwich). Alstonfield passed to William's son, Hugh, founder of Combermere Abbey, and Hugh gave half the vill to the abbey as a foundation gift in 1133. After Hugh's death in 1135, and subsequently that of his son William in 1176, the remainder was divided among William's daughters, Philippa, Aenora and Alda. The church remained in the hands of Combermere Abbey until its Dissolution in 1538, and the advowson remained with the crown until 1599, when it was sold to John Harpur. Thereafter it descended with Alstonfield Manor until the last century.

Benefice of Alstonfield, Butterton, Ilam, Warslow with Elkstone and Wetton.


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

The heavy scallop capitals of the chancel arch and fat rolls there and on the S doorway point to a date early in the 12thc.

Victoria County History: Staffordshire. VII Leek and the Moorlands, (1995), 1-27. Text available online at http://www.british-history.ac.uk/source.asp?pubid=102
Staffordshire County Council, Staffordshire Views Collection no. SV 1 41a. (drawing by J. C. Buckler, 1839). Available online at http://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/portal/page?_pageid=47,71124and_dad=portaland_schema=PORTAL
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Staffordshire. Harmondsworth 1974, 54-55.