A church that’s not on the list

047bThis is the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Tutbury, Staffordshire. It claims to be the oldest usable building in the county.

It isn’t on the Churches Conservation Trust list that I am tracking down but, hey, I can’t be too restrictive :)

We visited Tutbury on Sunday to visit the castle. This church was attached to the Priory founded by the owner of the castle Henry de Ferrers. There is believed to be an Anglo Saxon church pre-dating this one underneath but work began on this one in 1086 and it was consecrated on the festival of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in 1089.

The Benedictine Priory was built about 60 years later and inhabited by brothers from Normandy and dedicated to St Peter.



It suffered the same fate as most monasteries in the dissolution but the church remains in a pretty churchyard covered in primroses.

Unfortunately we couldn’t get in (I think it sad that a lot of churches are locked now) but the real interest in this church are the door carvings.

035bLook at those, they are amazing and in such good condition.

This is the west door of the church and is said to be one of the richest Norman church fronts in the country.

There are birds, beasts and imps in these carvings and most of them are still in incredible conditions.



This arch is alabaster. It is the earliest example of alabaster carving in the country and the only example of it being used in an exterior arch.




040bThis is the south door. The panel above depicts a boar hunt and is thought to be Saxon, the arches are believed to be Norman.

Both doors are very ornate.

There is evidence of canon damage on the west wall, from one of the instances of the castle being under attack. Now that’s not very civilised it is?





  1. Wow, what amazing carving, and wonderful arches… even the wrought iron on the doors – what quality…
    I suppose the cannon were jolly old Roundheads wanting to get in and smash the stained glass windows and the rest.. .(‘ the Cavaliers were wrong but romantic, the Roundheads were right but revolting!’ )

  2. What an amazing find, those doors are just too delicious ( you know I have a thing for doors too) and I adore those quirky carved animals. An utterly captivating post, full of history and beauty as usual.

  3. Stephen said:

    I know Tutbury fairly well. I have fond memories of visiting Tutbury castle as a child. We drove past Tutbury recently on our way up to the Peak District. Love the pics of the stone work..


    • Thank you :) I enjoyed the castle very much and it is a lovely part of the world.

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