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Listed Building
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Statutory Address:

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

Wychavon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SO 94785 45789


SO 9445; 648-1/5/93


Abbey Church of Holy Cross with St Edburgha

(Formerly Listed as: Abbey Church of Holy Cross)




Abbey, now parish church. Founded C7; present building C11-C13 with some later-medieval remodelling; some C17 buttressing following Dissolution; major restoration 1860s by Giles Gilbert Scott; further alterations early C20. MATERIALS: mainly of limestone ashlar with parapeted plain tile, stone-tile and lead roofs. PLAN: apse; chancel with choir aisles, N and S transepts and crossing tower; the nave demolished at Dissolution.

EXTERIOR: C19 apse has narrow lancets with continuous hoodmould; diagonal buttresses with offsets; corbel table; and steeply pitched roof. Chancel N aisle has moulded single-light windows; continuous hoodmould; plain corbel table; moulded plinth; offset buttresses which have moulded strings and crocketed pinnacles with geometric blind tracery and rise as flying buttresses extending to clerestory. N clerestory has single-light windows with deep moulded embrasures surmounted by continuous hoodmould; lombard frieze and embattled parapet; polygonal E end surmounted by crocketed pinnacles. NE chapel has coped gable with apex stone and Perpendicular tracery to its E window. S chancel aisle similar to N aisle with Perpendicular E, SE and S windows; clasping buttresses, some incorporating slender 3/4 round shafts; blocked pointed and moulded arch to former S transept chapel with clustered shaft piers and remains of springing to vaulting. South transept: mostly Romanesque. Its E wall has two further attached moulded pointed arches with blocked round-arched features; adjacent are three bays of C13 crocketed blind arcading of former sedilia and piscina, with quatrefoil mouldings; embattled parapet with lombard frieze incorporating grotesques. South transept S wall: chevron-moulded blind arcading to gable, interspersed with single round-headed lights; cable-moulded string course; remodelled triple lancet window; roofline of former monastic buildings visible; central pier and blocked doorway.

South transept W wall: similar lombard frieze; roofline of former nave S aisle visible, and blocked aisle round arch with adjacent 3-light Perpendicular window and lancets to corner stair turret. West wall has blocked round-headed crossing arch with relieving arch above; remains of nave and arcade walls have Romanesque piers with cushion capitals; heavily moulded former S doorway of six orders with stiff leaf capitals to E; inserted W window and door; the W wall all now heavily buttressed. North transept: remodelled and reinforced, but retains blocked round-headed arch to former N nave arcade. Tower: of four stages, completed 1330; four octagonal pinnacles, embattled at base, surmounted by large crockets with weathervanes; ringing chamber has four windows to each side, of two lights with geometric tracery, each central pair louvred and flanked by blind outer windows; ballflower-moulded string course and parapet; third stage has embattled string course with ballflower mouldings at base and 2-light windows with trefoil-headed tracery; on W side, former nave roof-line is visible and small blocked round-arched window; on E, N and S sides, former chancel and transept roof-lines interrupt 2nd-stage windows; lancets to staircase corner turrets.

INTERIOR: comprises apse and former chancel of five bays, now used as church, and crossing with nave truncated at W arch. E apse, built C19 in Early English style on site of former Lady Chapel, is 5-sided with three narrow lancets to E end flanked by triple-arched blind arcades, all with narrow pointed moulded arches, stiff leaf capitals and detached shafts, some of Purbeck marble; vault has heavily-moulded ribs and central boss. Chancel: rebuilt following fire in 1223, has polygonal E end with pointed E arch of six orders with roll mouldings supported by stiff-leaf capitals above clustered piers of detached or 3/4 round shafts, some of Purbeck marble; similar, unmarbled, piers to chancel arcades; combined triforium and clerestory, rising above moulded string course, incorporate single pointed lights within triple pointed-arched arcades of tall clustered shafts with stiff-leaf capitals, blind at E end; tierceron vaults have ribs rising from stiff-leaf corbels and stiff-leaf bosses. Aisles: slender attached piers of clustered shafts with stiff-leaf capitals and quadripartite vaults with roll-moulded ribs; N aisle lancet windows are all moulded with shafts and stiff-leaf decoration. NE chapel: moulded piscina in S wall and trefoil-headed shallow niche on E wall; S aisle has mainly Perpendicular windows; SE chapel has medieval floor tiles and moulded piscina in S wall.

North transept: blocked Romanesque arch with moulded capitals to N choir aisle; above this, a later adapted opening, a blocked opening, and former roof-line; taller Romanesque arch with cushion capitals to former nave N aisle. South transept: mainly Romanesque; roll-moulded arch with cushion capitals to S choir aisle; wider arch to former E chapel, now blocked and with inserted later-medieval blind arcading of eight bays of cusped tracery surmounted by coving with leaf motifs; a deep, splayed, moulded round-arched window; blocked doorway above; remains of bead-moulded blind arcading, now shaftless, extends around SE and S walls; above is a Romanesque triforium arcade with heavy capitals rising from partly-moulded string course; similar clerestory arcade above with four pierced quatrefoils in S wall; round arch to SW staircase turret; blocked tall S nave aisle arch, as N aisle arch; cross-vault with moulded ribs and leaf bosses incorporating shields along ridge rib. Crossing has tall round arches with double 3/4 round shafts and some figurative, but mainly cushion, capitals; above, in tower, are 2 tiers of trefoil-headed arcading with heavily-moulded and partly-embattled string courses, part blind and part incorporating 2-light tower windows with trefoil heads, set back behind detached shafts; unusual bellcage erected 1864 by Gilbert Scott. FITTINGS: Romanesque font at NW with seated figures under billet-moulded arcade; replaced lower pedestal and cover. Benefaction board to Henry Smith and others, 1626, on NE tower arch, has a painted inscription on painted boards within moulded wooden frame. C18 hatchment over N entrance, of painted canvas with motto Resurgam; further hatchments in SE transept with inscriptions Morses Omnibus Communis and In Coelo Quies.

MONUMENTS: freestanding effigies in S transept include: to E, an abbot, possibly William de Harvington or Abbot Hert, on tomb chest incorporating quatrefoils; to W, a cross-legged knight in chain mail, possibly Sir William de Harley, C13; on SW wall, painted Haselwood wall monument commemorates Thomas, d.1624, Elizabeth, and Sir Francis, and comprises one recumbent and 2 kneeling figures, a blank inscription panel within cartouche to rear, 3 free-standing piers supporting elaborately-carved arms, and chest with strapwork panels and scagliola decoration; further monument to Fulke and Dorothy Haselwood has 9 children in relief; other modest C18 and C19 wall monuments; in S transept, free-standing war memorial with cast bronze figure of Immortality by Alfred Drury; many ledger slabs in floor throughout. Parchment inspeximus of the Royal Privileges of the Abbey of Pershore, 1453, in metal case fixed to crossing S wall.

C19 wallpainting in medieval style to W wall of crossing; traces of medieval wallpainting on crossing piers. Section of late-medieval woodcarving incorporating inscription in NE transept; late-medieval wooden chest against W wall. STAINED GLASS: includes windows by Clayton and Bell, Hardman and Co and Kempe.

(BoE: Pevsner N: Worcestershire: Harmondsworth: 1968-; Wilson M: Pershore Abbey: Much Wenlock: 1994-).

Listing NGR: SO9478845793

This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 27 October 2017.


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

Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Worcestershire, (1968)
Wilson, M , Pershore Abbey, (1994)
War Memorials Online, accessed 27 October 2017 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 27 October 2017 from


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

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 05 May 2003
Reference: IOE01/04410/32
Rights: Copyright IoE Mrs Ann Vint. Source Historic England Archive
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