We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.

St Mary, Studham, Bedfordshire

(51°49′56″N, 0°31′37″W)
TL 016 159
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Bedfordshire
now Bedfordshire
  • Hazel Gardiner

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=13215.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.

Feature Sets

The church has chancel with vestry, nave with N and S aisles and S porch, and W tower. The chancel, probably 12thc. originally, was rebuilt in the 15thc. and again in the 19thc. when it was also widened. The aisles are late 12thc. - early 13thc. and were altered in the 14thc. and 15thc. The W tower and clerestory are 15thc. and the vestry and S porch are 19thc. Five of the late 12thc. to early 13thc. arcade capitals are stiff leaf, three are plain, and four scalloped. The scalloped capitals are described below. The exterior of the church is rendered.


The Domesday Survey does not mention a church at Studham, but records that Robert de Todeni held Studham manor. This land passed via his daughter to Robert's grandson Henry and then to Henry's nephew, Hubert. Hubert's daughter Alina, and her husband John Marshall inherited the land and held it until the 1330s. Prior to the Conquest this manor had been given to the Abbey of St Albans by Oswulf and Adelitha, the Saxon land-holders. This was overlooked by William I.

VCH records a second manor at Studham, Studham-cum-Barworth which was held by Dunstable Priory, although the date of the grant is not known.

The church at Studham was granted to Dunstable Priory by Alexander de Stodham in the reign of Henry II. The grant was confirmed by the King, the Bishop of Lincoln, the Archdeacon of Bedford and Pope Innocent III. The Priory held the advowson until the Dissolution (VCH, 432).

A church had existed at Studham prior to the Conquest as records show that Abbot Leofstan of St Albans was applied to to provide wood to build a church. The Annals of Dunstable record that the church was dedicated in 1219 by Robert Bishop of Lismore.


Interior Features



The break in the nave arcades could suggest that only three bays were originally planned and that the four scallop capitals may have been intended as E and W respond capitals (VCH, 430). The capitals of the N aisle, E respond, and S aisle, pier 3, E face, would therefore be in their intended positions. The N aisle E respond capital was reset at a higher level. The walling contained by pier 3 may mark the W end of an original aisleless nave (VCH, 430). The mixture of stiff-leaf, plain and scallop capitals has puzzled architectural historians. Pevsner suggests that an old and young mason working together could account for the mixture of late-Romanesque and Early English styles as the arcades seem to have been built in one campaign.

Domesday Book: Bedfordshire, Ed. J. Morris, Chichester, 1977, 26, 1.
The Victoria County History: A History of the County of Bedford, London, 1912, 3: 426-32.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England, Bedfordshire and the County of Huntingdon and Peterborough, London, 1968, 151.