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St Leonard, Ribbesford, Worcestershire

(52°21′49″N, 2°18′51″W)
SO 787 740
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Worcestershire
now Worcestershire
medieval Hereford
now Worcester
  • G. L. Pearson
10 November 1992

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Built of red sandstone ashlar, the church has a nave with N and S aisles, the former rebuilt in 1877 but with some 12thc. masonry, the latter of timber and dating from the 15thc., a chancel, also rebuilt in 1877, and a timber porch dated 1633. Romanesque sculpture is found in the S and N doorways, the former reset, and on various carved fragments, reset in the S nave wall inside the church, and as lintels in the exterior chancel wall.


Two manors of Ribbesford are mentioned in the Domesday Survey, both berewicks of Kidderminster and belonging to the Crown. They were granted to the Mortimers of Wigmore, and thereafter only a single manor is mentioned. Walter de Ribbesford was the tenant in the mid-12thc. Simon de Ribbesford, Roger Mortimer's steward, held the manor in 1176. The advowson belonged to the manor.


Exterior Features


Exterior Decoration


Interior Features

Interior Decoration


Panels carved with birds appear at Earls Croome, among other places; according to Stratford in Pevsner 1968 (249, fn.), this is a Herefordshire motif. There are also affinities with work at Rock (cf. the scrolling foliage on the reset fragments with imposts on the Rock chancel arch). The reset fragments could perhaps come from the dismembered S doorway, from a chancel arch (the curved fragments (i) and (ii), see para. IV.5.c above) or from the E bays of the N nave arcade, rebuilt in 1877 but said to be 'Norman' (VCH, 4:313). According to the VCH the sections of shaft decorated with overall three-stranded plaiting (para.IV 5c. (iii) above) came from a stone altar, lying beneath the pavement by the N aisle E window. Similar shafting appears at Shobdon and Kilpeck.


The Victoria History of the Counties of England. Worcestershire, vol. 4. London 1924, 306, 312-13.

C. J. Bond, 'Church and Parish in Norman Worcestershire' in J. Blair (ed.) Minsters and Parish Churches. The Local Church in Transition 950-1200, ed J. Blair, Oxford University Committee for Archaeology Monograph 17. Oxford 1988, 119-58, 149, 154.

C.E. Keyser, Norman Tympana and Lintels. London 1904, xliii, 37, fig. 68.

N.Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Worcestershire. Harmondsworth 1968, 45, 249.