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St Nicholas, Earl's Croome, Worcestershire

(52°4′34″N, 2°11′27″W)
Earl's Croome
SO 870 420
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Worcestershire
now Worcestershire
medieval Worcester
now Worcester
  • G. L. Pearson

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Built of grey coursed rubble, the church consists of a 12thc. nave and chancel, both without aisles, and a 19thc. tower inserted into the W end of the nave. Romanesque sculpture is found in the S and N nave doorways, the latter now blocked, in a window and string course on the E chancel wall, and in the chancel arch; there are also some carved fragments inset into the interior chancel wall. A 19thc. sketch records the appearance of the Romanesque W front, which was moved to the vicarage grounds when the W tower was built.


In 1086, Earl's Croome belonged to the manor of Ripple; one hide was then held by Ordric, a tenant of the Bishop of Worcester. The bishop held the estate in demesne in the early 12thc., and a hide at Croome was given to Adam de Croome by Bishop Samson (1096-1112); Adam's son Simon held the landc.1182. The advowson of the rectory followed the same descent as the manor. The church was a chapel of Ripple.


Exterior Features



Exterior Decoration

String courses

Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Interior Decoration


The same workshop seems to have been responsible for both the doorway and the chancel arch. Pevsner 1968 (138, fn.) notes that carved panels flanking capitals are also found on the N doorway at Ribbesford, on the chancel arch at Rock and in work of the Herefordshire School, while similar interlace occurs at Beckford and Halesowen. Stratford in Pevsner 1968 points out (p.46) that the foliage of the capitals of the chancel arch and N doorway is of a type unique in Worcestershire, and dates the work toc.1155-60. Local enquiries revealed that stones from the old W front (see para. III.3.b above) were once in a barn by the vicarage (now a private house) but that they have now 'probably been used as hard core'. It is possible that the corbels in the chancel could be survivals from the W front; the short section of shaft, which could come from blind arcading, may also have originated there. An architect's sketch of 1812 shows a W front that includes the timbered top stage of a tower but no trace of arcades, so its destruction must predate the Prattinton drawing.

The Victoria History of the Counties of England. Worcestershire, vol.III. London 1913, 316-19.
B. Burt, B. Northend and B. Willcox, Church Guide.
C. J. Bond, 'Church and Parish in Norman Worcestershire' in J. Blair (ed.) Minsters and Parish Churches: The Local Church in Transition 950-1200. Oxford University Committee for Archaeology Monograph 17. Oxford 1988, 119-58, 150.
N.Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Worcestershire, Harmondsworth 1968, 46, 138.