Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Stafford (District Authority)
High Offley
National Grid Reference:
SJ 78351 26161



HIGH OFFLEY, St Mary's Church

(Formerly listed as: Church of St Mary)



Parish church of C12-C15 with C19 restoration.

MATERIALS: Local freestone and rubble sandstone, tile roofs.

PLAN: Nave with slightly lower chancel, south aisle under a separate roof, west tower, south-west porch.

EXTERIOR: The three-stage tower has early C13 lower stage with clasping buttresses and C15 upper stages with rustic-looking embattled parapet with pinnacles. It has a C19 tall round-headed west window and small second-stage windows in south and west walls below north and south clock faces. The 2-light belfry openings are under square heads. The unbuttressed chancel has a restored 3-light C14 east window with reticulated tracery, and a 3-light late Perpendicular window and blocked doorway in the north wall. In the nave, which has full-height buttresses, is a 3-light window similar to the chancel and 2-light square-headed window with cusped lights, both restored. A tall round-headed chamfered doorway is at the west end, probably C19. The south aisle, which is the same length as nave and chancel, has buttresses with offsets and c1300 3-light east window of uncusped lights. In the west wall the roof line of a former lean-to against the tower is visible above a round-headed window. It has three C19 south cross windows with lozenge intersections. The south-west porch has pilaster buttresses and double-chamfered entrance.

INTERIOR: There is no chancel arch. The junction of nave and chancel is marked by a change in the roofs. The finely-detailed and well-preserved probably late C14 cradle roof of the nave has small bosses of grotesque heads and foliage, and moulded braces with carved feet. A later beam across the west end of the nave, dated 1726, was probably associated with an C18 ceiling (since removed). The chancel has a cambered tie-beam roof with moulded ribs, probably of C15 date, and its 2-tier wall plate is carved with intersecting arches. The pointed tower arch is double-chamfered on polygonal responds. The C13 5-bay south arcade has round piers, moulded capitals and stepped round-headed arches with single chamfer. The eastern respond is carved with heads and volutes. The south aisle trussed-rafter roof is C19, plastered above collar and behind rafters. Walls are unplastered, revealing a blocked round-headed doorway and a window in the nave north wall, and blocked round-headed windows either side of the east window, all of which are C12. The floors are plain tiles, with parquet floors below pews.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: Fixtures are mainly C19 and C20. The octagonal font of 1887 has a floriated cross on one facet. The timber pulpit with large fielded panels is C20, as is the carved timber reredos of 1910. Nave benches have square-panelled ends. There are several C18 and C19 wall monuments, including to Gerrard Skrymsher (d 1700), which has Tuscan pilasters and broken pediment, and to James Skrymsher (d 1724), which has pilasters and achievement. The three north windows have mid-C20 glass by Morris & Co, one dated 1949.

HISTORY: Evidence of blocked windows and doorway visible inside the church reveal a C12 core to the nave and chancel, which also had a west tower by the C13. The aisle was added in the C13, with the round arches used elsewhere in the district at that period (e.g. Adbaston). Fenestration of nave and chancel is late Perpendicular of C15-C16, as are the upper stages of the tower and the nave and chancel roofs. C19 restoration was low-key, except for alterations to the south aisle, and subsequent addition of a porch.

SOURCES: Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Staffordshire, (1974) 145

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: St Mary's Church, High Offley, is designated Grade I for the following principal reasons: * The church is outstanding for its retention of several phases of medieval fabric, including the tower, C13 arcade, and late-medieval roofs * The nave roof is an outstanding and well-preserved work of late-medieval carpentry


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 02 Aug 2005
Reference: IOE01/14430/29
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Clive Shenton. Source Historic England Archive
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