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St Mary, Edstaston, Shropshire

(52°52′59″N, 2°43′5″W)
SJ 518 320
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Shropshire
now Shropshire
medieval St Mary
now St Mary
  • Barbara Zeitler
  • Ron Baxter
  • Barbara Zeitler
  • Ron Baxter
31 December 1998 (BZ), 22 August 2023 (RB)

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Edstaston is a small village at the north of the county, 12 miles N of Shrewsbury. The church stands in the village centre, and is a single-cell church, nave and chancel in one, with a S porch and a vestry on the N side of the chancel. Apart from the two last named the building all belongs to the late-12thc. There is no tower but a 19thc double bell-turret on the W gable of the nave. The porch was added in 1710 and remodelled in 1875, when the W wall of the nave was rebuilt. There was a restoration by G. H. Birch in 1882-83.

Only two of the original 12thc windows survive; the rest being replaced with larger 14thc and 15thc windows in nave and chancel. Both sides of the church have late-12thc corbel tables with trefoil headed arches carried on simple roll corbels. The church is distinguished by its three elaborate doorways: the N and especially the S have fine late-12thc carving and even the Priest's doorway is grander than usual. All retain their original doors, decorated with ironwork. Apart from the features mentioned above, there is a 12thc recess in the nave.


The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book, when it was held by Earl Roger as overlord and from him by William Pantulf. It was assessed at 2 hides in 1086, with woodland sufficient for fattening 60 pigs. The church was founded as a chapel of ease to Wem, but it has little recorded history before the 16thc.


Exterior Features



Exterior Decoration

Corbel tables, corbels

Interior Features

Interior Decoration


The dogtooth ornament on the jambs of the priest's doorway and the bellflowers in the label of the same doorway are similar to those found on the Processional Doorway at Lilleshall Abbey. These flowers also occur on the S doorway at St Mary's, Shrewsbury and elsewher in the county at Wroxeter, Munslow, Neen Savage, Halford and on a loose stone at Burwarton. There is a strong possibility that it derives fron a Roman motif also known as husk ornament. The triple shaft ring on the nook shafts of the priest's doorway recall those found on the shafts of the lavatorium arches at Haughmond Abbey.

The face at the angle of the capital of the 4th order of the S doorway recalls the faces at the angles of the impost pier of the S nave arcade at Shawbury. The variety of chevron and related work on the S nave doorway is remarkable on a national scale and includes hyphenated variants of chevron and fret in point-to-point forms as well as the unusual back to back variant seen on the S nave doorway of Lilleshall Abbey and at Lilleshall St Michael's. The form of point-to-point chevron seen in the 2nd order of the S doorway is also seen on the Prcessional cloister doorway at Haughmond Abbey. The presence of crocket capitals, dogtooth and indications of stiff leaf as well as the extremely classicizing heads suggest a date at the very end of the 12thc, perhaps 1190-1200.


D. H. S. Cranage, The Churches of Shropshire, Part 8 (1906), 682-85.

L. Garner, Churches of Shropshire, Shrewsbury, 1994, 65-67.

Historic England Listed Building, English Heritage Legacy ID: 427772

J. Newman and N. Pevsner, Buildings of England. Shropshire, New Haven and London, 2006, 260-61.

N. Pevsner, Buildings of England: Shropshire, Harmondsworth, 1958, 126.