DILHORNE & CAVERSWALL

Grid Ref: Dilhorne SJ 971 433; Caverswall SJ 952 428
Date: 3 August 2014

 

Our circular walk of six miles from Dilhorne to Caverswall crossed the line of the Foxfield Steam Railway. It was a day of special significance - the day before of the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War. Caversall Church had flower festival sponsored by local businesses, each with a poem about war, some from more recent conflicts. The village had many symbols of remembrance such as poppies and there were more light-hearted decorations including scarecrows.

Dilhorne spacer Dilhorne
All Saints, Dilhorne   The Old Church House, Dilhorne
steam engine   Caverswall Church
Engine approaches on Foxfield Steam Railway   St. Peter's, Caverswall
nave   church door
The chancel decorated with poppies   Caverswall church door

 

All Saints at Dilhorne has an unusual 13th century octagonal tower with the top stage from the 15th century. The interior has late 13th century arcades, a 15th century chancel and a Jacobean communion rail.

St. Peter's in Caverswall dates in part from the late 12th century but Pevsner comments on the circular arches which seem anachronistic; he comments that they may have arisen from rebuilding work in the early 17th century. The tower is described as from the Perpendicular period (late 14th to mid-16th century).

Nearby is Caverswall Castle, which I could not photograph. It had a licence to crennalate in 1275. Arthur Mee relates that it includes a Roman Catholic chapel notable for 14 carving of the road to Calvary. Matthew Cradock built a house into the castle in about 1615 when it had degenerated into farm buildings. He was one of the founders of Massachusetts, where Winthrop was elected governor because Cradock did not arrive to fill the post. Cradock helped the new colony with money and provisions but soon became involved in politics leading up to the Civil War. Cradock declared in the Long Parliament that if Charles I fortified the Tower, he would see to it that London paid no taxes. He died suddently in 1641, a year before hostilities broke out but his house became a fortress for Parliamentary forces. The earliest monument in the church is dedicated to George Cradock.

Arthur Mee, writing in 1937, related that over the chancel arch was the tattered and shot-riddled flag which flew on the steamship Clarissa Radcliffe, torpedoed in the Great War. The German submarine commander ordered the the crew to abandon ship but they refused. The enemy poured fire into her but she remained afloat and eventually made it into port with her flag containing 17 bullet holes. I did not notice if the flag is still preserved in the church.
Sources:

The Buildings of England, Staffordshire, by Nikolaus Pevsner, Penguin, 1974, ISBN 0 14 071046 9
The Old Parish Churches of Staffordshire, by Mike Salter, Folly Publications, 1996, ISBN 1871731 25 8
The King's England, Staffordshire, by Arthur Mee, Hodder and Stoughton, London, first published in 1937.

 

 

 

 

 

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