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St Peter, Martley, Worcestershire

(52°14′9″N, 2°21′31″W)
SO 756 598
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Worcestershire
now Worcestershire
medieval Worcester
now Worcester
  • G. L. Pearson

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Feature Sets

Built of red and white sandstone ashlar, partly laid in different coloured bands, the church comprises a 12thc. aisleless nave continuing directly into a 13thc. and 14thc. chancel, which widens slightly towards the E. Red sandstone W tower of the 15thc., angled slightly to the N. Medieval wall paintings, none Romanesque, were found during the restorations of 1909. Romanesque sculpture is found in the S and N doorways, the latter now blocked.


Martley may have been a chapel of St Helen's, Worcester. It became a mother chapel in its own right, with chapelries at Arley Kings and Doddenham. Under Edward the Confessor, Martley was held by Queen Edith. It was subsequently given to William Fitz Osbern, Earl of Hereford, but his lands were forfeited to the crown by his son Roger in 1074, and at Domesday the manor was surveyed with the king's lands in Herefordshire; it remained in the king's hands until 1196. In 1086 the advowson belonged to Cormeilles Abbey in Normandy, a gift of William Fitz Osbern.


Exterior Features



According to Stratford in Pevsner 1968, 45, the sculpture at Martley was executed by the same team of masons as at Stockton-on-Teme, Eastham and Knighton-on-Teme, in the second quarter of the 12thc. Like Eastham, Grimley, Knighton and Stoulton, the doorways are set in a projection. See Preface to Worcestershire.

The Victoria History of the Counties of England. Worcestershire, vol.IV .London 1924, 292-96, 293-95.
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, 130-32, 145, 149.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Worcestershire. Harmondsworth 1968, 45, 220.