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St Nicholas, Mavesyn Ridware, Staffordshire

(52°44′58″N, 1°52′47″W)
Mavesyn Ridware
SK 082 169
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Staffordshire
now Staffordshire
  • Ron Baxter

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Feature Sets

The church and the manor house alongside it were foundedc.1140 by Hugo Malvoisin, also founder of Blithbury Priory. All that remains of the medieval manor house is the timber-framed gatehouse ofc.1400. By the end of the middle ages, the church had a nave with N and S aisles and a S porch, a chancel and a W tower. In 1782 it was described as 'very damp and ruinous', and was taken down and rebuilt except for the N aisle and the tower. The present eccentric confection is the result. The church as it stands today has a broad, brick nave with a W doorway, a coved plaster ceiling, and small polygonal apse at its east, both dating from 1782. On the N side of the nave, and at a slightly lower level, is the Trinity aisle, or Cawarden Chapel, separated from the nave by a 14thc. arcade of three bays. The aisle is older than this, retaining 13thc. lancets in its E, W and N walls. In the chapel are collected a large number of memorials of the Mavesyn, Cawarden and Chadwick families, including two 13thc. effigies of knights. There are also contains hatchments and reliefs, largely retrospective and dating from around the time of the 18thc. rebuilding. The Perpendicular W tower (actually NW of the nave) is the only other medieval fabric, and both this and the N aisle are of grey ashlar. Romanesque interest centres on the foliage-ornamented font.


In 1086 the manor was held by Earl Roger de Montgomery, and Azelin from him. No church or priest was recorded at that time. By the 1130s it was in the hands of Hugo Mauvoisin, founder between 1130 and 1160 of a priory at Blithbury. He founded the church in 1140, and also erected the manor house and parsonage, one son, William, inheriting the lordship of Ridware, and another, Hugo, becoming the first parson. The lordship remained in the male line of this family, styled Mauvoisin or Mavesyn in a variety of spellings, or simply de Ridware, until 1403. In that year, Sir Robert Mavesyn died fighting for Henry Bolingbroke at Shrewsbury, and the lordship passed to the Cawardens through marriage to Robert's daughter Elizabeth, where it stayed until the 17thc. In 1611 John Chadwick became lord through his marriage to Joyce Cawarden, and the Chadwicks retained the manor until 1883, when John de Heley Mavesyn Chadwick became bankrupt through gambling.

Benefice of Mavesyn Ridware, Hamstall Ridware and Kings Bromley since 1981.





Winchester acanthus of various forms appears in the county at Chebsey, Swynnerton and on the tympanum at Ipstones, but this is distinguished by its very broad stem and by the beading on the leaf shoots. A date in the first quarter of the 12thc. is suggested.

Anon., St Nicholas Church Mavesyn Ridware. Some notes on Mavesyn Ridware - the name, the family and the church. Church guide. Derby, undated (post 1995).
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Staffordshire. Harmondsworth 1974, 203.

Ridware History Society. The society maintains a website at http://www. kmaone.com/rhs/index.htm

S. Shaw, The History and Antiquities of Staffordshire. 1798-1801. 2 vols. repr. 1976.