St Mary Magdalene, Broadwas.


The church of ST. MARY MAGDALENE consists of a chancel 25 ft. by 18½ ft., a nave 70½ ft. by 20½ ft. wide (the western end being occupied by the framing of a square wooden tower), and a south chapel 26 ft. by 13 ft. These measurements are all internal.

The earliest church of which traces now remain dates from c. 1170 and was an aisleless building with a chancel and nave extending as far west as the present tower. Of this church part of the north and south nave walls with the south door remain, and the chancel is of the same date, though much repaired and refaced.
The western part of the nave inclosing the tower is probably of the 13th century. The south chapel was added in the first half of the 14th century. The deed for the foundation in 1344 is quoted by Prattinton, and refers to the newly-erected chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary in St. Mary Magdalene's Church at Broadwas.
A porch to the south door was built at the same time as the chapel, but a line of corbelling is all that is now left. The chancel arch was probably removed in the 16th century, and the north nave wall, having been thrust out of the perpendicular, was partially rebuilt with the easternmost window at the same time. The walling inclosing the base of the present tower is of doubtful date, but the three lancet lights in the present west wall probably belong to the 13th century. The present woodwork of the tower is modern, but the wood gable and some balusters with part of the west gallery are of 16th and 17th-century date. The existing south porch is modern. The modern east window of the chancel is of four lights in 14th-century style. On either side of the altar is some 17th-century panelling. In the north wall are two late 12th-century lights with round rear arches and stepped sills. One similar window occupies the south side with a two-light window with modern tracery to the west of it. The jambs are probably of the 15th century. In the same wall is a trefoiled piscina, probably contemporary with the chancel, and to the west of it a small projection, perhaps a portion of a destroyed sedile.

The easternmost window in the north nave wall is a 16th-century two-light window with a square head, the second is an original lancet with a round rear arch. The north door has chamfered jambs and a round head; the jambs are splayed and appear to have been widened. West of this door is another lancet window, and at the point where the wood framework of the tower begins is a third which has perhaps been rebuilt.

The tower framework occupies the west end of the church, leaving a vestry in the middle and a small gallery above. In the west wall are three small lancets of 13th-century date.

The south chapel opens into the chancel by an arcade of two bays, with a pier of four engaged shafts with moulded capitals and bases. In the east wall are two trefoil-headed windows, the labels being cut away on the wall above the altar. Immediately above is a circular traceried window and below a narrow course where the altar slab tailed into the wall. In the south wall are two traceried two-light windows, and on the west is a fireplace of uncertain date, though later than the original chapel wall. The pointed south door is of three moulded orders with early foliated capitals and two shafts on each side. It is set in a gabled projection covered by a modern wood porch. To the west of the south doorway is a two-light 15th-century window, and there is an original lancet immediately to the east of the commencement of the tower frame-work.

The font, of uncertain date, has a plain octagonal bowl and a round stem with scallops at the top.

In the north-east corner of the nave is an octagonal wood pulpit, the two panels to each face having good 17th-century carving. Above the panels is inscribed 'Anno Dom 1632, William Noxon, Roger Prince, Church Warden.' On the tester above the pulpit is 'Blessed are they that heare the word of God and keepe it.'

On the floor of the chancel are sets of 16th-century tiles in patterns of fours and sixes, with Deo gratias, the arms of Berkeley, and other devices. One set of four are border tiles. On another set is inscribed 'Adjuva nos deus salutaris noster et propter gloriam nominis tui delibera nos,' with the shields of Berkeley, John Nailheart and Robert Eliot.

At the north-west end of the nave are some 17th-century pews, one bearing the letters c c on a shield and probably referring to the Cratford family, to whom there is an early 17th-century tomb slab. There are remains of other tomb slabs at the west end, including one dated 1610.

The external roofs of nave and chancel are continuous, of a steep pitch and tiled; the south chapel has also a steep gable roof of remarkable height. The bell tower is weather-boarded. The buttresses of the chapel have gabled weatherings with tracery on the face.

Before 1896 there were four bells, three by John Rudhall and the old bell described below. In that year one of the Rudhall bells was recast and a treble added. Thus at present the bells are five in number: the first and third cast in 1822 and 1820 respectively by John Rudhall, the second and fourth by Charles Carr of Smethwick, 1896, and the ancient tenor, inscribed '✠ IOHANNIS: PRECE: DVLCE: SONET: ET: AMENE,' which was cast at Gloucester about 1350, probably by 'Master John of Gloucester.'

The plate consists of a cover paten of 1571, a plated cup, paten and flagon and a pewter flagon.

The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) mixed entries 1676 to 1755; (ii) baptisms and burials 1755 to 1812; (iii) marriages 1754 to 1811.

Home ©peh