Volume 13: Derbyshire and Staffordshire

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Current Display: Alstonefield 01, Staffordshire Forward button Back button
Overview
National Grid Reference of Place of Discovery
Present Location
In the churchyard, north of the south porch
Evidence for Discovery
Pape (1945–6, 27) attributes the recovery of the pre-Norman remains to the restoration of the church in 1875, although the first discussion of the fragments by Purchas, in an architectural history of the church that describes the various refurbishments of the medieval church from 1590 onwards (Purchas 1898–9, 87), refers to them only generally as 'having been met with in the course of repairs'.
Church Dedication
St Peter
Present Condition
One face (A) badly damaged and smoothed off; two others (B and D) damaged at the base. The carving on C, and that surviving on B and D, is badly weathered; all faces subject to periodic moss-covering.
Description

A (broad): Very badly eroded and appears also to have been largely dressed off. A cable edge-moulding is visible on the right-hand side and faintly on the left. At the top is a very short length of curved interlace below which is a rounded element which could be the head of a figure, although this is far from certain.

B (narrow): Badly damaged at the base where dressing has removed the decoration for about two-fifths of its height. The surviving decoration comprises a two-stranded half-pattern interlace which appears to terminate at the bottom; it is truncated at the top where the stone has been broken. To the right is a badly eroded cable edge-moulding while that to the left is badly damaged and appears to have been partially chiselled away.

C (broad): Although eroded this face is relatively undamaged. It contains a single panel of plaited turned-pattern interlace comprising four stands which terminate at the bottom in closed-circuit loops; the pattern is truncated at the top where the stone has been broken. Below are two horizontal mouldings, the higher of the two being joined to the edge mouldings on each side. On the left-hand side is an edge-moulding which appears to have been of a cable type, although it is badly worn; on the right the edge moulding is badly damaged and appears to have been partially chiselled away.

D (narrow): The decoration has been badly damaged with the lower half dressed-off. That which remains comprises a simple interlace of three strands with a central groove. The pattern is truncated at the top where the stone has been broken off.

Discussion

Being broken and badly damaged, the surviving decoration, which comprises interlace only, is not especially diagnostic in that such patterns are ubiquitous to the region and elsewhere. The stone has been reused as building material and is likely to have been incorporated in the church fabric before one of the phases of renovation took place.

Date
Possibly tenth century
References
Le Blanc Smith 1904b, 232, 235–7, figs. 2–3; Le Blanc Smith 1906, 229; Jeavons 1945–6, 117–18, pl. XX.4; Pape 1945–6, 29, fig. on 28; Steele 1947–8a, 120–1, pl. XIII.18; Fisher 1968, 57; Sidebottom 1994, 148, 215 (Alstonefield 1); Greenslade 1996b, 23–4; Sharpe 2002, 58
P.S.
Endnotes
[1] The following are non-specific references to monuments at Alstonefield: Purchas 1898–9, 87; (—) 1900, 196; (—) 1914–15, 204; (—) 1930–1, 163; Pape 1930–1, 145–6; (—) 1934–5, 85; Steele 1947–8a, 119; Steele 1947–8b, 173; Butler 1964, 112; Fisher 1968, 57; Pevsner 1974, 54–5; Plunkett 1984, 145–9, 285; Leonard 1995, 71; Greenslade 1996b, 21, 23–4; Sharpe 2002, 58

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