Grid Ref: SK 028 379
5 Sept 2003 & 28 September 2015

Tower spacer St. Mary's
St. Mary's, tower and porch   St. Mary's from the South East in 2015
East Window   South Side
East Window   South side windows.
Crosses   Crosses
Saxon Crosses, 2003  

Saxon Crosses, 2015

Arrow Sharpening?   War Memorial
Arrow sharpening marks?   War Memorial


On the day I visited Checkley in 2003, a wedding was in progress and so I did not go inside the church; in September 2015 the church was locked. The exterior is not easy to photograph because of the many substantial trees around it. They also put the Saxon Crosses in shade. The scratches in the stone once thought to be arrow sharpening marks are controversial. A correspondent who has studied such marks at several churches notes that in many cases the stone is not of a type suitable for sharpening metal and that the marks are more likely to be the type made on beams in houses which were supposed to repel witches.

The south arcade of the nave dates from the late 12th century but may have been increased in height in the 17th century. The clerestory and porch were added and the exterior walls of the nave on the north and south sides date from this time. The north arcade of the nave is 13th century and the chancel dates from about 1300. There is a carved Norman font. There are some early 16th century stalls and effigies of a knight of the early 14th century and of Godfrey Foljambe, who died in 1560. The remains of two highly decorated Saxon crosses are to be seen near the porch.

Pevsner describes the church as puzzling because the work that appears to be in the Perpendicular style may have been done or redone in the 17th century. However, he states that the south doorway is from about 1300.

In the course of walking on the same day to Hollington, a hamlet two mile north east of Checkley, we searched for the cross marked on the OS map at SK 058 390. We did not find it and the few locals we encountered were mystified by the reference. Could it be that this cross was moved to Checkley and is the stone shown at the extreme right of my photograph? Pevsner mentions that in addition to the two Saxon crosses there is an undecorated fragment. Does anybody know the answer?


The Old Parish Churches of Staffordshire, by Mike Salter, Folly Publications, 1996, ISBN 1871731 25 8
The Buildings of England, Staffordshire, by Nikolaus Pevsner, Penguin, 1974, ISBN 0 14 071046 9


Index button

Strolling through Staffordshire
©  Craig Thornber, England, United Kingdom    Main Site Address:

W3C XHTML 1.0 1.0 Strict W3C_CSS