Volume 12: Nottinghamshire

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Current Display: East Bridgford 1a-b, Nottinghamshire Forward button Back button
Present Location
Stone 1a, having been 'loose in south aisle of church', has now been incorporated into a small credence table against the south wall, towards the east end of the south aisle. Stone 1b is built into the east-facing buttress at the south-east angle of the south transept, about 2 m above present ground level.
Evidence for Discovery

Stapleton says these stones were 'brought to light' during the church restoration of 1902 (1912, 5). Stone 1a seems to have been 'built into the tower' when it was reconstructed in 1778 (Stapleton 1903, 10 — reporting correspondence from du Boulay Hill as incumbent here). It was apparently still visible built-in inside the tower in 1907 (Godfrey 1907, 162–3). Stone 1b apparently came to light during the restorations of 1901–13, when it was discovered 'high up in the east angle of the south aisle' (Stapleton 1903, 113, again quoting Hill 1903). It must have been removed from there when the eastern end of the former south aisle was demolished, late-on during these restorations, and today's south transept was reconstructed on ancient foundations. Presumably it was then re-sited in its present location, but the new situation was not noted by Stapleton in either of his later catalogues of crosses (Stapleton 1911; 1912, 5–6). The earlier south aisle into which stone 1b had been built was considered, very credibly, by Godfrey and du Boulay Hill to have been built when the western tower was rebuilt in 1778 (Godfrey 1907, 156).

However, these two discrete reuses of stones 1a and 1b post-date an earlier reuse. When placed in their correct original relationship to each other (Fig. 16) it is clear that at least half of the entire original monument was reused as a lintel for the semi-circular rerearch of a small loop window, of probable twelfth-century date. We might guess that the window represented by this intermediate reuse probably came from the Anglo-Norman church whose plan was inferred by du Boulay Hill from indications noted during excavations undertaken between 1901 and 1914 (1903, 99–101, pl. 1; 1916a, 196).

Church Dedication
St Peter or St Mary
Present Condition
1a has been trimmed and re-cut, but the fragments of decoration survive in quite good condition. 1b has been trimmed and re-cut, and the visible fragments of decoration are somewhat weathered.

These two fragments are the last remains of a fine grave-cover of mid-Kesteven type (Everson and Stocker 1999, 36–46, table 4); their petrology is identical. The monument represented is reconstructed in Fig. 16. Stone 1a represents a section from the central parts of the grave-cover, whilst stone 1b represents one end (perhaps the head end, though the extent of re-cutting means that it is no longer clear whether the monument was tapered). It retains original interlace decoration, all with an incised medial line, in low relief on faces A and D only, which is clearly legible on both surviving faces of both stones 1a and 1b.

Fig 16: East Bridgford 1a-b, reconstruction

A (top): The decoration on the monument's 'lid' is framed by a thick cable moulding, which survives well on stone 1a, but is very much eroded on stone 1b, though traces are still detectable. The paired runs of cable moulding that divide the end panels from the main decoration, and which are characteristic of the monument group, survive fairly clearly on stone 1b. The end panel of the lid on stone 1b is decorated with a unit of four-strand plait disposed in motif vi (Everson and Stocker 1999, 42, fig. 10).

Evidence for the central cross towards the centre of the original monument's lid is clearly preserved on stone 1a. It is flanked in two of its quadrants with simple runs of three-strand plait, as is typical of the monument type, although the interlace does not sprout from the one surviving cross terminal, as is found in so many other examples in the group. The third quadrant has been destroyed, but the fourth quadrant was clearly decorated differently, and with a motif that finds no parallels with other monuments in this group. The central part of the panel is left blank, though well-finished and, if intentional, might have been intended for painted decoration of some form. Certainly to one side of this panel, however, and possibly to the other — where the surface was damaged when the stone was broken-up — lie some crude-looking strands, which do not interlace properly, though they might be intended to emerge from the frame; another feature of the group. Is the decoration in this quadrant no more than an incompetent and abandoned unit of interlace, then? If not, it is hard to make sense of the sculptor's original intention.

B (long): Lost. Some fragment of original carving from face B might survive on stone 1b, but this is now built in and hidden. It could equally have been trimmed off when the stone was reused as a window lintel in the twelfth century, as seems to have been the case with face B of stone 1a.

C and E (ends) and F (bottom): Split off.
Face F (the original base of the stone) has very clearly been completely removed on both stones, along with some 50 mm of original stone.

D (long): This monument belongs to that group of mid-Kesteven monuments which lack a moulding between the two longitudinal runs of interlace along the main side panel. On this face, the terminal panel is decorated with a unit of three-strand plait (preserved on stone 1b); a unique occurrence in this location, though the motif occurs elsewhere decorating monuments within the group. It is, though, no more than an extended run of motif vii (Everson and Stocker 1999, 42, fig. 10), and its final turn and free end has been removed by damage and re-cutting.

Within what survives of the longitudinal side panel on stone 1a, a 'bull's head' motif is nicely preserved (ibid., 42–3, fig. 11). Its horns develop into a neatly carved three-strand plait. The medial line does not extend down this interlace run beyond the first crossover, in the manner seen in most other members of the group. These medial lines extend onto the 'bull's head', however, and cross above a well-defined, square-cut 'noseband'. The bull appears to have no nostrils, though some slight damage at the critical point might have removed this detail. On this monument, the lower run of interlace beneath the 'bull's head' is of the same width as the interlace in the end panels, and it is of four-strand plait, so makes for a large panel. This last detail, which is unique amongst known members in the mid-Kesteven cover group, suggests that East Bridgford 1 was a large example of the monument type and would have stood relatively high off the ground when in its original location. The four-strand plait of this lower panel is grouped in what were clearly two symmetrical runs, with the free ends joining beneath the 'bull's head' in the centre of the monument.


The monument should clearly be reconstructed as a grave-cover belonging to the mid- Kesteven group (Figs. 8, 16 and see Chapter V, p. 53), but its reconstruction differs considerably from that proposed by du Boulay Hill. He thought that the monument represented was a shaft (1903, 113, pls. 3B & C; 1916a, 200; 1932a, pl. V). With the exception of the atypical monument now in Derby Museum, East Bridgford 1 is the most westerly of this large group of 47 confirmed monuments that comprise the group (Everson and Stocker 1999, 36–46, table 4; this volume, pp. 53–61, Figs. 8–9). It is far from being the most remote from the quarry source in the Ancaster area, however, which is only some 25 km distant. Nevertheless, its transportation by water would have been elaborate, involving a journey along the upper Witham and along the Foss Dyke, followed by probable trans-shipment for the Trent journey, inland again on a larger vessel to a quay at East Bridgford, a few hundred yards below the churchyard. Probably, however, this would have been a preferable journey than transport overland by cart, which would have been lengthy and laborious. Its form, decoration and stone type nevertheless make it certain that East Bridgford 1 belongs to this group of monuments produced in quarries in the Ancaster area, and it was originally a large example of the group.

In terms of decoration, it is a typical example in most respects: motif vii occurs in a transverse lid panel at Burton Pedwardine 3 (Lincolnshire) for example, and a number of monuments in the group have crosses flanked by three strand plait of the type seen here (Everson and Stocker 1999, fig. 9; this volume, Fig. 8, pp. 54–9). The monument is one of only three examples amongst the sixteen that retain some evidence of the 'lid' decoration in which the plait-work surrounding the centrally placed cross does not develop from the terminal of the cross itself: the other two are Coleby Hall and Colsterworth (also Lincolnshire). But the strange quadrant of carving in the centre of the lid panel at East Bridgford has no comparandum within the group. Perhaps this small panel represents an attempt at more ambitious carving that went wrong and was abandoned; or perhaps it was finished as intended, with some tatty strands flanking a finished flat panel, and completion with painted decoration was planned. This remains an open question.

In its micro-archaeology, the re-cutting of East Bridgford 1 during its first reuse, to provide a monolithic lintel for the rerearch over a round-headed loop window, is useful when considering patterns of reuse more generally. The round-headed form of the loop must suggest that this recycling dates from the late eleventh or twelfth century, demonstrating that the monument stood in the graveyard for a maximum of only eight generations (late tenth century to late twelfth century), but it could have been in place for as few as four (early eleventh century to late eleventh century).

Later tenth or early eleventh century
Stapleton 1903, 10, 113; Hill 1903, pl. 3; (—) 1904, 151; Godfrey 1907, 162–3; Stapleton 1911, 119; Cox 1912a, 7, 43; Stapleton 1912, 5–6; Hill 1915, 54–5; Hill 1916a, 197, 200, fig. 2; Guilford 1927, 36; Hill 1932a, chap. XIV; Mee 1938, 87; Wood 1947, 18; Pevsner 1951, 60; Marsden 1953, 152; Jope 1964, 108; Taylor and Taylor 1965, i, 100; Pevsner and Williamson 1979, 18, 112; Kaye 1987, 28; Sidebottom 1994, 97, 99, 149, 247, 248, nos. 1 & 2 and plates; Everson and Stocker 1999, 36, 41, 43, 44, 96, 115, 199, figs. 9, 11, ill. 481; Stocker and Everson 2001, 235, fig. 12.6

[1] Godfrey 1907, 150 and n.

[2] The following are unpublished manuscript references to East Bridgford 1: Nottinghamshire Archives Office, PR6571, pp. 118, 119; BL, Add. MS 37552, ff. 176–7, illus. (Romilly Allen collection).

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