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Stagsden Church Architecture

 

Stagsden church from south-east September 2007
Saint Leonard's from the south-east September 2007

Saint Leonard's church dates back to at least the early 13th century, since it is known that Reginald de Stacheden [Stagsden] was vicar in 1229. Similarly the earliest parts of the surviving building are of a similar date. Given that Stagsden is mentioned in the Domesday Book it seems reasonable to suppose that there was a church here long before the 1220s, however.

male head in Stagsden church porch December 2007female head in Stagsden church porch December 2007
Heads in the south porch December 2007

The church is built from coursed limestone rubble with some ashlar. The chancel and nave are 13th century, although the south door is of the same date but seems to have been moved in the early 14th century, a hundred years or so after it was first installed, given the date of the work in the south aisle and porch around it. Interestingly the Department of Environment, when it listed the church in 1964 as Grade I (of exceptional interest) considered that the fabric chancel is Norman.

Z50-107-34 church interior
The church interior about 1900 [Z50/107/34]

The arcade of the south aisle has five arches, the piers are low and the arches themselves double-chamfered. There is no corresponding aisle on the north side of the nave but the Decorated windows are, again, 14th century. The rood screen is Perpendicular and so likely to be 15th century with four lights.

Z50-107-6
St.Leonard's from the east about 1900 [Z50/107/6]

In the late 14th or early 15th century a north chapel was added. It contains a brass memorial plaque to John Coche and his wife dated 1617. The arcade of two arches is transitional between Decorated and Perpendicular. A clerestory was added to the top of the nave and niches carved in the south aisle in the 15th century.

Z50-107-11 church from Vicarage garden
Saint Leonard's from the Vicarage Garden about 1900 [Z50/107/11]

The tower is 13th century. The upper parts, however, are Perpendicular and probably 15th century, as is the rather short lead covered spire.

Stagsden church from the south December 2007
Saint Leonard's from the south December 2007

The square font is 14th century, being Decorated in style. It has chamfered corners and in two panels small single figures which were added much later, somewhere between the 16th and 18th centuries. There is ballflower decoration on the underside.