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St Luke, Hodnet, Shropshire

(52°51′12″N, 2°34′39″W)
SJ 612 286
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Shropshire
now Shropshire
  • Barbara Zeitler
  • Ron Baxter
  • Barbara Zeitler
  • Ron Baxter
26 August 1999 (BZ), 23 August 2023 (RB)

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Feature Sets

Hodnet is a village about five miles SW of Market Drayton. The church lies to the W of the village and consists of a 14thc nave added to the original 12thc S aisle: the S aisle originally functioned as the nave, with N aisle being added in 14thc. Remains of round-headed 12thc windows are found in the S wall of the current S aisle. An octagonal W tower was added to the end of the nave in the 14thc. The building was restored in 1846-7. The only Romanesque surviving sculpture is the octagonal font located at W end of the S aisle.


Hodnet was an Anglo-Saxon settlement with a small church. The Domesday Survey records that in 1066 the manor of 'Odenet' was held by King Edward, and it valued £8; a priest is mentioned here. In 1086 the lordship passed to Earl Roger, founder of Shrewsbury Abbey, and the church was amongst the endowments and the properties he granted to the abbey. The church was dedicated to St Peter and St Paul until 1420. In the early 14thc the Ludlow family acquired the manor.





Nikolaus Pevsner describes this font as 'an interesting example of Norman revival', and dates it to the 17thc. Newman seems to have agreed, describing the foliage motifs, lions and rosettes Norman-looking but the spread eagle and peacock 'cannot possibly be Norman'. The vicar, the Reverend James Graham, informed the fieldworker in 1999 that parts of the decoration are made of plaster, sections of which fell off a few years ago. The damage has since been repaired.

It has been suggested that the core of the font was carved in the 12thc and its present appearance is the result of a 17thc restoration. Any suggestion that the decoration in the panels was a later addition must take account of the fact that the octagonal form of the top of the bowl is part of the original block of stone, as can be seen from the high view shown here. It should also be pointed out that the lions and the eagle displayed are heraldic in appearance, and that the cat shown chasing a mouse appears in the Worksop Bestiary as early as c.1185 (New York, Pierpoint Morgan Library MS M.81).


D. H. S. Cranage, An Architectural Account of the Churches of Shropshire...: illustrated from photographs by M. J. Harding; with ground plans of the most important churches drawn by W. A. Webb, Wellington 1901-12, Pt. 8, 691-6.

R. W. Eyton, Antiquities of Shropshire, 12 vols, London 1854-60, v.9, 326-41.

G. Motherstow, St Luke's Church, Hodnet, 1999.

J. Newman and N. Pevsner, Buildings of England: Shropshire, New Haven and London 2006, 300-2.

N. Pevsner, Buildings of England: Shropshire, Harmondsworth 1958, 150-1.