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St John the Evangelist, Pauntley, Gloucestershire

(51°57′28″N, 2°22′0″W)
SO 749 289
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Gloucestershire
now Gloucestershire
medieval Hereford
now Gloucester
  • Ron Baxter
6 June 2009

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Pauntley is in the Leadon valley in N Gloucestershire, immediately S of the Malvern Hills and 10 miles W of Tewkesbury. The parish is centred on the church and Pauntley Court; beyond this settlement is dispersed. The church has a Norman chancel (the E window splay survives) with a S chapel, a 12thc nave with a N porch, and a W tower. Romanesque sculpture by the Dymock School sculptors is found on the S doorway and the chancel arch.


Pauntley was held by Ansfrid de Cormeilles in 1086, and by Wulfhelm and Alweard in 1066. Pauntley was assessed at 1½ hides, but it was grouped with Kilcot, Ketford and Hayes to form a total holding for Ansfrid of 4½ hides.


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Pauntley belongs to the school of sculptors that was first examined in detail in George Zarnecki’s thesis under the name of the Bromyard Group, but was more fully analysed by the Rev. Eric Gethyn-Jones, who renamed it after Dymock (qv), which stands at the centre of the main geographical distribution of its output. At Pauntley the S doorway tympanum with lugs forming pseudo-voussoirs at the lower sides, is a typical feature of the School, as is the distinctive type of volute capital with striations flanking the main volute and a stepped leaf.

Gethyn-Jones dated the work at Pauntley to c.1125-45. Zarnecki dated the school as a whole to the early second quarter of the 12thc, perhaps shortly after 1120. Thurlby is largely interested in the school as it relates to the better-known Herefordshire School, which which it shares such technical features as the form of the tympana.


E. Gethyn-Jones, The Dymock School of Sculpture, London and Chichester 1979.

M. Thurlby, The Herefordshire School of Romanesque Sculpture, Logaston 1999, 20-23 and passim.

Victoria County History: Gloucestershire 12, 2010.

D. Verey, The Buildings of England. Gloucestershire: the Vale and the Forest of Dean, London 1970 (2nd ed. 1976), 320-21.

G. Zarnecki, Regional Schools of English Sculpture in the Twelfth Century: the Southern School and the Herefordshire School. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of London, 1950, 223-28.