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St George, Edworth

(52°3′1″N, 0°13′9″W)
TL 222 406
medieval Lincoln
now St Albans
medieval St George
now St George
  • Toby Huitson
14 Oct 2017; 16/6/2018

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Edworth is a small hamlet near the Great North Road about 2 miles SSE of Biggleswade and adjacent to Hinxworth, just inside the Bedfordshire county border. The church of St George has a 13thc nave, 14thc aisles, chancel and west tower, and 15thc porches. The chancel was shortened in the 19thc but the church is otherwise unrestored. The church has been redundant since 1976 and is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. Unexpectedly perhaps for a Gothic building with no 12thc history at all, Romanesque material survives in the form of a re-set pillar piscina and two ex-situ capitals.


At the date of the Domesday Book Edworth contained two manors. Of these, the principal, Edworth manor, formerly belonging to Alestan of Boscombe, was held in 1086 by two knights under William d'Eu; its extent was 7 hides 3½ virgates, and its value £8. The first record of the church is the grant by Roger Burnard, between 1175 and 1181, of its advowson to the priory of St. Neots. St Neots held this until at least the late 14thc. The first recorded priest is in the early 13thc. The church appears in the 1291Taxatio, where the rectory is valued at £6.


Interior Features

Interior Decoration



Piscinae/Pillar Piscinae


The Romanesque material pre-dates any other archaeological or documentary evidence at the site. However, there is no reason to suppose that the sculpture does not have a local origin. Barnes notes the existence of a nearby moated site and the likelihood that the settlement at Edworth dates from well before the Conquest. Possibly the two ex-situ capitals were from a former doorway, and the pillar piscina from the Romanesque high altar. That the pillar piscina has some Early English forms, such as the base and tightly-curled prototypical stiff-leaf, probably makes it exceptionally late for this type of fitting. The fact that it must have been deliberately retained by being re-set in the 14thc aisle is noteworthy. This formed the basis for a paper about the re-use of Romanesque sculpture in later medieval contexts in the CRSBI panel at the Leeds International Medieval Congress (IMC) in 2018.


A. Barnes, St George's Church, Edworth, Bedfordshire, Churches Conservation Trust, 2005.

C. O'Brien and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire and Peterborough, London and New Haven 2014, 157.

W. Page (ed.), A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 2, Victoria County History, London 1908, 223-26.