SWYNNERTON

Grid Ref SJ 853 356
12 July 2002 and 2 September 2003.

St. Mary's spacer Norman Arch
St. Mary's, Swynnerton          Norman arch between the base of the tower and the nave
Tower   Nave
The view from the west   The Nave, north arcade and screen
Hall   Cottage
Swynnerton Hall as from the road   Thatched cottage in the village

 

The entrance to the church is through the 12th century base of the tower at the west end. The current belfry was built later. The doorway between the tower and the nave has a Norman arch. The nave has a north and south aisle added in the 13th century according to Salter. The chancel is late 13th century and to the south of it is a chapel dating from the early to mid 14th century. The latter has a defaced sedilia and piscina. It contains an effigy thought to be of Sir John de Swynnerton who lived in the middle of the 13th century. Pevsner dates it as early 14th century and Arthur Mee speculates that the figure may be a Swynnerton who was Constable of the Tower of London in the 14th century. The north aisle was rebuilt in the 19th century and the south porch was added at that time. The church is known for its seven foot high statue of a seated figure of Christ made about 1260 to 1280. Arthur Mee gives the story that it may have been brought from Lichfield Cathedral to save it from destruction during the Civil War and Pevsner states that it was probably made in Reims. The church is not normally open during the week but I was fortunate to gain access when volunteers were preparing the church for the weekend.

Across the road from the church, one sees the back of Swynnerton Hall, built for Thomas Fitzherbert in the 1720s by Francis Smith of Warwick. An earlier house was destroyed during the Civil War; the Fitzherberts were Royalist. My picture of the front of the hall is taken from the road beyond the village. Adjacent to the hall is the Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, built 1868/9 by Gilbert Blount. I give a brief account of the Fitzherbert family on my Celebration of England site in the article on Norbury just over the boundary from Staffordshire into Derbyshire.

Sources:

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

 

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