Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Norman Carved Heaven! St Chad's Church, Stafford

Please click on images in order to enlarge
Arriving at St Chad's church in central Stafford, and gazing upon the Victorian west front, designed by the ubiquitous George Gilbert Scott, I had absolutely no expectation that I was about to witness something quite remarkable. 

Imagine, then, if you will, my astonishment at the site of a sumptuous late Norman chancel arch, adorned with a plethora of period carvings - the like of which I have never seen before.

I mean, all the works on British churches focus on the likes of Kilpeck - and with justification. However, surely St Chad's is a 'type site' church for late Norman ecclesiastical carving. Surely it deserves to be put on the map of anyone with an interest in medieval churches. 

I have done my best to convey a little of the splendour therein, but photographs will only offer so much. There is no substitute for visiting and seeing it for yourself. If you do want to make such an excursion, make sure you contact the church in advance to check when it is open. It just so happened that, on the day I visited, the church was open, due to the generosity of a delightful man - a retired librarian who gives his time to enable the public to enjoy access to the building. I wish I knew his name, because he deserves the respect and recognition this would imply. 

Anyway, here is the link to the church's website:
St Chad's, Stafford 


  1. Great church. When the French came over in 1066, they brought with them a from of philosophy hitherto unseen on these shores. It was called 'Norman Wisdom.

    1. Summer hues of blue and yellow
      You're a japing rib-tickled fellow...
      Isn't it

  2. Dear Mr. Tom Stephenson,

    It is believed that the patron of this church was William Fitzgrimsdale. Apparently, due to a series of inexplicable mishaps during construction, the church took an age to build.

    1. I believe that the Normans demolished most of them whilst rolling around on a board of fuses attached to barrels of gunpowder, whilst laughing hysterically. This may be a myth, innit.

    2. Indeed! Recent research also shows that, due to the delays to the building programme caused by the unruly behaviour of one individual in particular ('Pip' I think his name was), the Normans developed a form of punishment unique to him. They drove a wooden stake into the ground, tied him to it and invited the whole community of Stafford to come and slap him round the chops with a wet kipper. This practice later became known as, 'slap stick'.


  3. Replies
    1. Norman Wisdom is still practiced in Albania, so I am told.