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St Peter, Rous Lench, Worcestershire

(52°10′40″N, 1°58′46″W)
Rous Lench
SP 015 533
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Worcestershire
now Worcestershire
medieval Worcester
now Worcester
  • G. L. Pearson

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The church has a 12thc. nave with a N aisle, a 13thc. chancel with a N chapel of 1884-85 and a neo-Norman bell turret. There is Romanesque sculpture in the reset S and N doorways, the former with a carved relief within a niche above, in the chancel arch and in the N nave arcade. Numerous carved fragments were discovered during the 19thc. rebuilding work and are now kept in the N chapel, except for the 'Peacock stone', which is in the vestry.


In 1086, the manor was held by Alvred from Urse the Sheriff; there was a priest at that time. Fromc.1062 until the end of the 13thc. it was held under the manor of Fladbury. It passed with the rest of Urse's possessions to the Beauchamps.


Exterior Features


Exterior Decoration


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches



Loose Sculpture


Some of the loose fragments could come from a blind arcade, similar to the one above the doorways at Bockleton and Stockton-on-Teme but with varied decoration on the monolithic arch-head. No fragments of capitals survive. The decoration of fragment VI(vii) above appears to be unfinished, which may indicate that the scheme was abandoned. Fragment VI(viii) could conceivably be the label of an intersecting blind arcade. The relief above the S doorway may date fromc.1140-50; Stratford (in Pevsner 1968, 255, fn.) believes that both this relief and the Prior's Door at Ely, of similar date, have a common source in Northamptonshire. The 'Peacock stone' in the vestry (VI (i) above) appears to be earlier than the other fragments. The low relief and scrolling tendrils recall Scandinavian work of the Ringerike style and it has been thought to be Anglo-Danish in origin, but Zarnecki considers that it is 12thc. and related to the Herefordshire school (personal communication). Its function is unclear. Some features on the loose fragments at Rous Lench may be compared with Ribbesford (cf. incised lines indicating voussoirs on a fragment inset into the S nave wall at Ribbesford).


The Victoria History of the Counties of England. Worcestershire, vol. 3. London 1913, 498-500, 499.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Worcestershire. Harmondsworth 1968, 45, 254–256.

G. Zarnecki, Later English Romanesque Sculpture 1140-1210. London 1953, 26, 42.