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Listed Building: CHURCH OF ST MICHAEL AND ST MARY (1204556)

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Grade I
Authority Historic England
Volume/Map/Item 1885, 6, 94
Date assigned Friday, November 10, 1967
Date last amended


Parish church, c1133, when the living of Melbourne was given to the Bishop of Carlisle, but the building was not completed until early C13. C15 alterations, tower probably heightened in 1602, when the present bells were hung, and chancel partly rebuilt at similar date. Major restoration by Sir G G Scott from 1859 to 1862, also with later repairs. Ashlar with some rubble stone and shallow pitched leaded roofs hidden behind plain parapets with ridgeback copings, aisles and chancel with coved eaves stringcourses and plain eaves bands elsewhere. Unusual plan with aisled nave, western narthex with flanking towers, crossing tower with transepts and lower two bay chancel. West elevation has a large central semi-circular headed C12 doorcase with five orders, three roll moulded and two chevron moulded, set on plain nookshafts with carved capitals, some figurative, some simple volutes and some with interlacing foliage. Above there is a continuous band with a 4-light flat headed C15 window over, which has trefoil headed lights and incised spandrels, plus a long dripmould. Shallow gable above again. To either side the unfinished towers have wide flat clasping buttresses and projecting C19 parapets on plain corbel tables. West elevations of both towers have single C19 lancets, and side elevations of each have C12 semi-circular headed windows with roll moulded arches on plain nookshafts with carved capitals, plus sill bands and small C19 lancets above. South elevation of south tower also has narrow slit staircase windows to western buttresses. North elevation of the nave has a slightly advanced section of stone work to west end with a much restored C12 door, which has two roll moulded orders and one plain with figurative capitals to the nookshafts. To east, the aisle has C12 continuous sill band with three flat C12 buttresses below, up tot he last bay of the nave which is plain. Above there are four C15 3-light windows with trefoil headed lights and incised spandrels. Above again there are five C12 roll moulded semi-circular headed clerestory windows with scalloped capitals. South nave elevation is similar except there are four C12 buttresses below the sill band and a blocked C19 door to the east end of the aisle. Above the clerestory has five early C13 double pointed lancets. Beyond to east on the north side is the northern transept which has continuous C12 sill bands to aisle and clerestory levels, a C16 clasping buttress below the sill band to the western corner and a full height C12 buttress to the eastern corner. North elevation has a central C12 window, similar to those to the towers with figurative capitals. Two similar smaller windows above with scalloped capitals and two more similar windows at the same height to western facade. East elevation has a C16 panel tracery window, set in the blocked C12 arch which lead into the former chapel, below and a 3-light C15 window, similar to those in the north aisle above. Southern transept has similar south elevation as north elevation of northern transept, except that the western corner has a C12 buttress with small staircase windows in. West elevation of the south transept has one C12 window at clerestory level, similar to the northern ones and the east elevation has similar blocked C12 arch to base but with a C19 geometric tracery window within and with C12 plain window above. Above both transepts is the central crossing tower which has attached C12 shafts to each corner up to the top of the original C12 tower, those to south side are less mutilated than those to north. Northern side has a later clockface in moulded stone surround and the east side has two tiers of three semi-circular C12 openings which would originally looked in to the C12 chancel, those to lower tier have a large plain opening to centre with narrower roll moulded stilted arches to either side and to those above are of similar size and all plain. Above the tower has a tall bell stage erected c1602. This has a chamfered sill band with single, double chamfered pointed, louvred bell opening, plus returned hoodmould to each side and a coved stringcourse with central gargoyles below embattled parapets. The chancel has rough stonework to west on either side where the transept chapels originally abutted the chancel. Above to south side there is one blind semi-circular headed arch, the remains of a former frieze of blind arcading. To east each side has a C12 window, similar to those to the transepts and beyond there are flat C12 buttresses. Beyond again the original C12 stonework curves inward and disappears into the later stonework, which has stepped clasping buttresses with cyma reversa moulded copings to eastern corners. East elevation has a central 5-light C17 window with stepped trefoil headed lights and a returned hoodmould. Interior has five bay north and south arcades of C12 stilted chevron and roll moulded semi-circular headed arches on large plain columns with angle spurred bases and scalloped or volute capitals. Between the arches above the capitals there are double half-shafts up to clerestory level, possibly for transverse arches. Northern clerestory passage has a C12 arrangement with stepped tripartite openings of semi-circular headed roll moulded arches on plain columns with scallop capitals. Southern clerestory has early C13 arrangement with double pointed roll moulded arches on central column, plus moulded capital, except for the eastern bay which has one small semi-circular arch attached to the east of the C13 opening. To west end of the nave the narthex has a central C12 arch with similar mouldings to the nave arches, set on compound piers. To either side from the aisles into the towers there are unmoulded semi-circular arches on plain impost bands and there are similar narrower arches from the towers into the central bay of the narthex, set on triple half shaft responds. The three bays have crude groin vaulting with a gallery above. Each tower has a roll moulded C12 window on the aisle side with carved capitals on the nook shafts. All C12 windows have similar internal mouldings. East end of nave has similar arrangement of arches into the crossing and transepts, as in to the narthex. Crossing arch is set on double half shaft responds with cushion capitals. Similar arches to other sides of the crossing tower, with carved capitals and bases towards the chancel. Nave aisles and transepts have continuous C12 sill bands and transepts have similar band at clerestory level. The crossing has triple semi-circular headed arches in three tiers above the main arches with full height half shafts between each arch and sill bands at each level. The lowest tier of arches are open into the transepts and the nave and have a larger plain central arch flanked by roll moulded stilted arches with scalloped capitals. Above there are roll moulded blind arches all of the same size and above again there are plain blind arches. Lowest arches are plain on the transept side but have roll mouldings on the nave side, that to centre with moulding in the soffit of the arch and those to sides with it on the outside of the arch. Between the north transept and the chancel there is a deep squint through the crossing pier. Chancel roof is C16 and other roofs are C19 copies. South side of the chancel has a blocked segment headed doorcase to west end on south side, otherwise it its very plain. The crossing has C19 timber choir stalls with trefoil headed arcaded fronts and C20 timber screens across the transept arches. South transept is completely filled with a C20 organ but north transept has simple late C19 pews and altar rail, a wooden altar with mosaiced front and a small alms cupboard to north wall. Nave has C19 pews with quatrefoils on the bench ends and an octagonal sone pulpit of similar date with four polished marble colonnettes round central stem and carved heads in roundels to each side. Font in the narthex has large C12 circular stone bowl set on four square columns and central stem, with C19 font cover. South aisle has a small pointed piscina to eastern end and a C20 timber screen across the transept arch similar to those in the crossing. North side of the crossing arch has a fragment of C13 wall painting. There are six diamond shaped painted hatchments from C19 to the Coke/Melbourne family, two in the chancel, one over each transept arch from the aisles and two more in the north aisle. The chancel has one slate and white marble memorial to Rev Middleton who died 1830 and the crossing has one small mosaiced memorial to Frank Elms of c1914. Inscription in the stone of the crossing arch records that the timber screens were dedicated to Edward Harcourt who died 1935. North transept chapel has several wall memorials to the Cantrell family, three early C19 slate and white marble memorials with Gothick aedicules and one brass memorial dated 1890. In the south transept there is an early C14 tomb niche with effigy and there are also three early C17 marble slabs to the Hardinge family. North aisle has one circular memorial with moulded alabaster surround and slate plaque to Mary Godkin, who died 1783, and four early C20 memorials, three mosaiced ones to the Tasker family, and one in slate and white marble to John Knight who died 1900. To west end of the aisle there is a war memorial and beneath the arch into the tower is a simple stone plaque to Sir Roger Curtis who died 1954. West side of the north tower has an inset C13 child's coffin lid and an C18 gravestone to Richard Dalman. South aisle has one slate and white marble memorial to the Briggs children, who all died in 1846 and another similar one to Penelope Lowe, who died 1830. There is also a fine painted stone memorial to William and Isabel Dawson who died c1614, which has a bowed inscribed plaque set in elaborate strapwork surround with columns to sides topped by steeple finials. West end of the aisle has one early C19 slate and coloured marble wall memorial to John Pasteur and wife of c1819. There are several stained glass windows but none of any age. The chancel windows all have stained glass of c1870, those to east and south in Chartres style. Stained glass in north chapel has all been dedicated, that to upper east window to Leonard Robin of c1918, those to upper north windows in pre- Raphaelite style to H Cantrell of c1909 and lower north window of c1862 to Joseph Cantrell. North aisle has stained glass war memorial window and one window dated MDCCCCXXIL. The one stained glass window in the south aisle is dedicated to Thomas Haines, who died 1869. Chancel originally had an apsidal east end and flanking apsidal chapels to the transepts, a plan type reminiscent of the Carolingian tradition which has led people to assume that the church was planned much earlier than 1133, although it is unlikely that such a grand building would have been erected without important ecclesiastical backing. Sources - see Rev J Deans, 'Melbourne Church' 1843, J J Briggs, 'History of Melbourne' 1852, A S Jacques, 'Melbourne' 1933. Also see bibliography in History and Guide to Melbourne Church' by R Barman 1974. Listing NGR: SK3890224995

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Grid reference SK 38902 24995 (point)
Map sheet SK32SE

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Feb 24 2006 9:01AM

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