St Mary Magdalene's Church, Croome D'Abitot

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St Mary Magdalene's Church,
Croome D'Abitot
A stone church seen from the northwest, with a tower containing a porch in the foreground, and embattled body of the church stretching behind it
St Mary Magdalene's Church, Croome D'Abitot,
from the northwest
St Mary Magdalene's Church,Croome D'Abitot is located in Worcestershire
St Mary Magdalene's Church,Croome D'Abitot
St Mary Magdalene's Church,
Croome D'Abitot
Location in Worcestershire
Coordinates: 52°06′13″N 2°10′02″W / 52.1035°N 2.1672°W / 52.1035; -2.1672
OS grid reference SO 886 450
Location Croome D'Abitot, Worcestershire
Country England
Denomination Anglican
Website Churches Conservation Trust
History
Dedication Mary Magdalene
Dedicated 1763
Consecrated 1763
Architecture
Functional status Redundant
Heritage designation Grade I
Designated 25 March 1968
Architect(s) Lancelot "Capability" Brown,
Robert Adam
Architectural type Church
Style Gothic Revival exterior,
Georgian interior
Completed 1758
Closed 30 October 1973
Specifications
Materials Bath Stone
Plasterwork detail in the entrance.
Detail from the Coventry monument: Mary, wife of the 2nd Baron Coventry, who died in child birth in 1634.

St Mary Magdalene's Church, Croome D'Abitot, is a redundant Anglican church in the grounds of Croome Court, at Croome D'Abitot, Worcestershire, England. It has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building,[1] and is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.[2] It stands on a hill in Croome Park.[3] Commenting on the church, the architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner stated it is "one of the most serious of the Early Gothic Revival outside, one of the most elegant inside".[1]

History[edit]

The first record of a church at Croome D'Abitot is in 1283, when its dedication was to Saint James the Apostle. The precise position of that church is not known, but it is thought it was near the present site of Croome Court. In the 1750s George Coventry, 6th Earl of Coventry decided to demolish the Jacobean house he had inherited and replace it with another church on higher land. He commissioned Lancelot "Capability" Brown to design the new house, together with a church, and to landscape the surrounding garden and grounds. He appointed Robert Adam to design the interior of the house and the church, and also to design some structures in the grounds. The church was consecrated and dedicated to St Mary Magdalene in 1763. Little has changed to the church since then, other than moving the pulpit and pews during the 19th century. The Coventry family cared for the church while they lived in Croome court, but they moved to Earls Croome in 1949. Although the congregation arranged for repairs to be undertaken in the 1960s, it was decreasing in size and was unable to maintain the church.[4] It was declared redundant on 30 October 1973,[5] and was vested in the Churches Conservation Trust in 1975.[4]

Architecture[edit]

Exterior[edit]

St Mary's is constructed in Bath Stone.[1] Its exterior is an early example of Gothic Revival architecture,[4] while the interior is in 'pure Georgian Gothic'.[1] The plan consists of a three-bay nave with north and south aisles, a two-bay chancel, and a west tower. The tower is in three stages divided by string courses. The lowest stage consists of a porch which is open on the north, west and south sides.[1] At the entrance to the porch are iron gates, and at the entrance to the church are tall carved doors; these were all designed by Adam.[4] In the middle stage are circular quatrefoil windows, and the top stage has bell openings containing Perpendicular tracery.[1] At the top of the tower is a quatrefoil frieze, and a parapet consisting of a pierced battlement, and crocketed pinnacles.[4] The parapets round the rest of the church are also embattled. The nave has three windows on each side, and at the east and west ends of the aisles are niches. On each side of the chancel are two blank windows and at the east end is a large window.[1][4]

Interior[edit]

The arcades are carried on quatrefoil piers, and the ceilings are plastered and coved. The roofs of the aisles are flat.[1] The nave ceiling is an elliptical vault, with a moulded plaster centrepiece. The church is floored with limestone slabs, decorated with inserts of black slate. The chancel takes up a greater proportion of the church than would normally be expected.[4] This is because it acts as a mausoleum to the Coventry family, their monuments having been brought from the previous church.[2] To the right side of the altar is a black and white marble memorial to Thomas Coventry, 1st Baron Coventry, who died in 1640 and who had been Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. His effigy is shown reclining between statues personifying Justice, holding the Great Seal, and Virtue. Beside this memorial is one to the 2nd Baron Coventry who died in 1661, depicting his coat of arms. Elsewhere in the church is the memorial of the 4th Baron who died in 1687. It shows him reclining on a sarcophagus reaching towards a figure of Faith. This monument was formerly in the crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London, and was brought here in 1915. Adams designed stained glass windows for the church, but these were never made, and all the windows contain plain glass. The font is no longer in the church. It was designed by Adam and made in elaborately carved mahogany. It consists of a bowl with a cover, standing on a tripod base. The font was stolen from the church, but has been recovered and is now in the Almonry Museum in Evesham.[4]

At the east end of the north aisle is a hatchment for George Coventry, 8th Earl of Coventry, who died in 1843.

Bells[edit]

Bell frame, 2008

The six bells at St Mary's, four of which were originally cast in 1651 and 1652 by John Martin of Worcester, form one of the oldest rings in the country. They were restored to working order in spring 2011 and were rung, for the first time in over a decade, on 30 May. The wooden wheels had generally decayed and second-hand wheels were given and used to repair the existing units. They are now regularly rung throughout the year.

Bells of St Mary, Croome d'Abitot[6]
No Mass Diameter Note Founder and date
1 4 cwt 0 qrs 0 lbs 25 3/4 F Thomas Mears I, 1812
2 4 cwt 1 qrs 0 lbs 26 1/2 E John Martin, 1652
3 5 cwt 0 qrs 0 lbs 28 1/2 D John Martin, 1652
4 5 cwt 2 qrs 0 lbs 29 C John Martin, 1651
5 7 cwt 0 qrs 0 lbs 32 3/4 B John Martin, 1651
6 10 cwt 1 qrs 2 lbs 37 1/2 A Abraham Ruddall I, 1699

External features[edit]

The churchyard contains the graves of former servants of the family.[4] The house of Croome Court and its surrounding parkland are owned by the National Trust.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Church of Mary Magdalene, Croome D'Abitot", The National Heritage List for England (English Heritage), 2011, retrieved 13 May 2011 
  2. ^ a b Church of St Mary Magdelene, Croome D'Abitot, Worcestershire, Churches Conservation Trust, retrieved 29 March 2011 
  3. ^ a b Croome D'Abitot, St Mary's Church, Britain Express, retrieved 11 November 2010 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Spicer, Suzanne (2003), St Mary Magdalene, Croome D'Abitot: Information for teachers, Churches Conservation Trust 
  5. ^ Croome D'Abitot, Worcester Branch of the Birmingham & Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry, retrieved 11 November 2010 
  6. ^ The Bells of St Mary Magdelene, Croome d'Abitot, notice in the church, produced by the Churches Conservation Trust

External links[edit]

Media related to St Mary Magdalene's Church, Croome D'Abitot at Wikimedia Commons