Stretton Sugwas

Friday’s church crawl started with St Mary Magdalene’s at Stretton Sugwas. Sadly it was locked so we weren’t able to see the Romanesque tympanum showing Samson, in Norman (I suppose) flared trews, astride the lion – but here is an image of it and what a piece it is. The style is close to that at Eardisley with its deep cutting, sharp edges, dramatic composition and blend of Norman and Viking style. I’m still coming to terms with the style. More than anything it makes me think of insular manuscript illumination suddenly come to life – especially is we consider that the sculpture would have presumable been polychrome.

The Norman door to the tower is misleading: it is the re-set remnant of an original church completely rebuilt 1877-80 by architect William Chick who was active locally (and who wonderfully changed his surname to Cheiake). He also re-used the entire 16/17th century half-timbered tower, lifting up onto a new stone base. It does look very pretty, but after a brief prowl round it was time to go on to our next destination and another tympanum.