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Church of St Andrew, Caunton

Description: Church of St Andrew

Grade: I
Date Listed: 11 August 1961
English Heritage Building ID: 242732

OS Grid Reference: SK7456660029
OS Grid Coordinates: 474565, 360029
Latitude/Longitude: 53.1322, -0.8870

Location: School Lane, Caunton, Nottinghamshire NG23 6AN

Locality: Caunton
Local Authority: Newark and Sherwood District Council
County: Nottinghamshire
Country: England
Postcode: NG23 6AN

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Listing Text


Parish church built from the C12 to the C15 consisting of nave, north and south aisles, east chancel, west tower and south porch. Restoration and rebuilding of chancel in 1869 by Ewan Christian.

Reason for Listing

The Church of St Andrew, built from the C12 to the C15, and restored in the C19, is designated at Grade I for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: the church has extensive survival of medieval fabric and is an architectural expression of liturgical evolution up to the Victorian period. The C19 restoration was carried out by Ewan Christian, one of the leading Victorian church restorers.
* Interior: the stone carvings, C13 font and ogee arched piscina are important surviving medieval fixtures; and the predominantly Victorian furniture and fittings are of a high quality design and craftsmanship.
* Historic interest: the church demonstrates different phases of continuous community use and worship from the C13 to the present.


The village of Caunton, though not the church, is mentioned in the Domesday Book. The earliest part of the church are the pillars of the north arcade which are typically Norman and probably date to the early C12. In about 1180 the church was reconstructed and enlarged by one bay to the west. Two pillars in the south aisle were reused but given new capitals with stylised foliage. The lowest stage of the tower dates from this period. In the C13 the chancel arch, font, and ogee arched doorway in the south porch were added. At the same time, the south aisle was widened to accommodate a chantry chapel with an ogee arched piscina. The tower was heightened in stages and in the C15 was embellished with a quatrefoil frieze, gargoyles and battlements. It has three C17 bells and three late C20 bells and ringing gallery.

In 1869 the church was restored and the chancel rebuilt by Ewan Christian, Architect to the Ecclesiastical Commission, who designed and restored a great number of churches, over 200 of which are listed. The reordering of the chancel was prompted by the Revd Reynolds Hole who, influenced by the Oxford Movement, desired its layout to accommodate a surpliced choir and to reflect the renewed emphasis on Holy Communion. The chancel and sanctuary were accordingly raised and fitted out for a choir, although the current choir stalls date to 1905. The organ, supplied by the Manchester firm of Edward Wadsworth, was installed on the north side of the chancel in the north aisle chapel in 1871. The late C15 timber cambered chancel ceiling was replaced by a much higher, arched ceiling, and the straight-headed Tudor east window was replaced by three grouped lancets with stained glass by J. W. Powell, matching those in the north and south chancel walls dating to the C12 or C13. At the west end of the nave the gallery was removed and the ground floor converted into a choir vestry to facilitate the robing and procession of the choir down the nave. Other restoration work included the re-cladding of the roofs with Cumberland slate; the rebuilding of the north wall of the nave; the replacement of the medieval windows with copies and insertion of stained glass, although some of the plain glass was reused; the renewal of the floor throughout; and the installation of a pulpit and pews of pitch pine. The clocks, made by J. B. Joyce of Whitchurch, were added on all four faces of the tower between 1887 and 1910.


MATERIALS: the exterior is principally constructed of large ashlar blocks of Triassic Mercia Mudstone, a hard, fine-grained sandstone known as skerry, probably quarried locally. Other stone used includes magnesium limestone in window surrounds and upper stages of the tower; Ancaster limestone for patching as skerry is no longer available; tufa in the south wall of the chancel; and Lias in the south wall. The roofs are clad in Cumberland slate. Most of the interior stonework is magnesium limestone but the dressing stones of the chancel are oolitic limestone, and tufa is used around the arches.

PLAN: the church comprises a west tower heightened in stages from the C12 to the C15; nave with C12 and C13 north and south aisles; C13 south porch; and east chancel rebuilt in 1869.

EXTERIOR: the church has chamfered plinths and rainwater heads dated 1869. The west tower has a moulded plinth and four diagonal buttresses with three offsets to the west and two to the east. It is in two stages, marked by a string course. The first stage has, to the south, three stair lights and a small slit window; and to the west, a C13 roll moulded doorway with hood-mould, and above a C15 triple lancet with cusped heads in a coved four-centred arched surround with splayed mullions. The stained glass was inserted in 1905 and depicts three saints, each with an angel above. Each face of the tower has a C19 clock. The second stage has four C14 cusped trefoil head, double lancet bell openings with splayed mullions, in chamfered and splayed openings with hood-moulds. Above is a panelled eaves band with four gargoyles and a moulded crenellated parapet.

The nave clerestory has chamfered eaves and a coped gable with kneelers and a cross. On each side, it is lit by four C15 double lancets with mullions and rebated square-headed reveals. The north aisle and north aisle chapel has a sill band and a pair of gabled diagonal buttresses with moulded plinths, and single off-sets. The north aisle has three similar gabled buttresses with two off-sets. The west end is lit by a C19 cusped ogee-headed triple lancet in C15 style, with Decorated tracery, chamfered mullions, chamfered square-headed reveal and hood-mould with stops. The north aisle chapel has, to the north, a restored C14 triple lancet with cusped ogee heads, Decorated tracery, chamfered mullions, chamfered square-headed reveal, and a hood-mould with mask stops. To the right are two similar C14 triple lancets, then a C13 blocked doorway with a chamfered reveal and hood-mould with stops, followed by a C14 double lancet with cusped ogee heads, and similar detailing to the other windows. The east end is lit by a restored C14 triple lancet, again with similar detailing.

The south aisle, which has a similar roof to the north aisle, has four bays with the westernmost one being narrower and earlier. It has a pair of gabled corner buttresses and a similar single intermediate buttress, all with two off-sets and moulded plinths. All the windows are ogee-headed with similar surrounds to those already described. From the left, there is a triple lancet window, followed by a porch with diagonal buttresses under a moulded gable which is surmounted by a cross and cross-gabled pinnacles on both corners. It has a chamfered plinth and stone banding, and a moulded, pointed arched doorway. The inner door has a cusped ogee head with head stops, and a plank and batten door with decorative iron strap hinges. To the right are two double lancet windows, the first containing glass depicting St George and the Dragon by Heaton, Butler and Bayne, probably from 1900; and the second depicting St John the Evangelist and St John the Baptist, made by Dudley Forsyth and inserted after 1911. The east side has a C14 triple lancet window depicting Mercy, Peace and Justice, inserted after 1897; the maker is not known.

The chancel has a similar roof to the nave. The triple lancet window on the east side, dating from the 1869 restoration, contains stained glass designed by J. W. Powell and made by J. Hardman of Birmingham, and depicts the Crucifixion with the Last Supper on the left and Christ with the four evangelists on the right. The other four lancet windows of the chancel contain glass produced in the same workshop and inserted between 1880 and 1890. On the south side the windows show St John and St Luke; and on the north side St Mark and St Matthew.

INTERIOR: this has a C19 principal rafter roof with a spine beam and curved braces to the collars. The four bay arcade consists of circular piers with four-sided capitals, one with foliate carving. The C13 chancel arch is chamfered and rebated, and has a hood mould and filleted shaft responds with moulded capitals and bases. A geometrical design painted above the arch, forming spandrels, was added in the first half of the C20, covering a C19 wall painting. The chancel has a panelled dado with an inscription in the memory of Dean Hole, 1905, incorporating a piscina; and on the north side the westernmost arched opening contains an organ in a fretted case, dating to 1871. The south aisle has a C13 piscina with an ogee head, and there is another, much simpler, piscina in the north aisle.

The fittings include a C13 font with an octagonal bowl, tapered octagonal stem with a moulded base and capital; a C19 pierced panelled timber pulpit on a corbelled ashlar base; and a brass and iron lectern, dated 1869, with a conical base, part twisted stem, crocketed capital and iron filigree bookstand. The pews, added in 1869, are of moulded softwood, and the choir stalls in the chancel are of oak with moulded pierced panels, dating to 1905. The softwood communion table and simple oak communion rail supported by ironwork, both date to the 1869 restoration.

There are numerous monuments inside the church, mostly in the form of plaques or tablets, dating from the C18 to the C20. They include a classical marble and slate wall monument with an apron and obelisk crest carrying an urn and torch, to Samuel Hole, 1818, signed 'W & M New'k'; and a classical pedimented marble and slate tablet with a coat of arms, to S. Bristowe, 1818. As part of the C19 restoration, a number of gravestone were relaid in the south aisle, including one dating to 1731 which appears to be amongst the earliest surviving gravestones in Caunton.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.