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SITE OF A COLLEGE AND BENEDICTINE ABBEY, ST MARY'S CHURCH



Reference Name MLI50262

Name:
SITE OF A COLLEGE AND BENEDICTINE ABBEY, ST MARY'S CHURCH

Summary:
SITE OF A COLLEGE AND BENEDICTINE ABBEY, ST MARY'S CHURCH

Location:
STOW, WEST LINDSEY, LINCOLNSHIRE

Description:
The monument includes the buried remains of an Anglo-Saxon college for secular canons, founded in the early 11th century on the site of an earlier church by Eadnoth, Bishop of Dorchester. The college was enlarged in the mid 11th century with gifts from Leofric, Earl of Mercia and his wife Godiva, but was abandoned after the Norman Conquest. In 1091 the Benedictine Abbey of St Mary at Eynsham, Oxfordshire, was transferred here by Bishop Remegius and the church reconstructed. When the community returned to Eynsham in 1094-95 the building reverted to use as a parish church. The monument therefore includes the buried remains of an earlier Anglo-Saxon church overlain by those of the 11th century collegiate and abbey church and associated monastic buildings, in turn overlain by a medieval and later parish church. The monument is located at the centre of the village of Stow in St Mary's churchyard. The present church, which is excluded from the scheduling, incorporates the trancepts and crossing of the early 11th century collegiate church, rebuilt in the late 11th century as part of the abbey church. The nave and chancel of the present structure are 12th century in date and overlie the buried parts of the 11th century churches and their predecessor. Excavations carried out in 1983 on the north side of the present nave, before the construction of the modern vestry, uncovered the stone foundations of an earlier, slightly wider nave with a room attached to the north. Human burials were found both inside and outside this chamber. This group of features is considered to represent the nave of the 11th century collegiate and abbey church, with an aisle or 'porticus' for burial and prayer. Underlying these remains were found those of an earlier and less substantial stone wall, believed to relate to the first stone church on the site. Similarly, excavations undertaken in the 19th century during the restoration of the Norman chancel revealed the foundations of an earlier chancel, the east wall of which was found to lie immediately within the later one. Beneath the foundations of the south wall of the chancel, several large pieces of dressed stone were discovered, believed to be pier bases representing a pre-Norman arcade. Such an opening would have led from the choir to a former aisle or other part of the 11th century building complex. The church lies within a churchyard raised approximately 1m above the surrounding land and retained by a stone wall. The area to the west of the nave is a small extension to the churchyard made in the mid 19th century. The remainder of the churchyard, to the north, east and immediately south of the church, includes archaeological remains associated with the college and abbey and with earlier and later remains on the site. The area is considered to have lain within the precinct of both the college and abbey, where a cloister, chapter house, dormitory and other domestic buildings would have stood. The high density of human burials found during the excavation of the site of the vestry indicates a continuous and intensive use of the site from the Anglo-Saxon period onwards. Other finds include Anglo-Saxon pottery, animal bone and a path paved with limestone and roman tile fragments leading northwards from the nave. {1}{2}{3}{4}{5}

Sources:
1 Scheduling Record: ENGLISH HERITAGE. 1995. SCHEDULING DOCUMENT 22621. MPP 33
2 Bibliographic Reference: Knowles, D. and Hadcock, R. N.. 1971. Medieval Religious Houses, England and Wales. p.483
3 Bibliographic Reference: Owen, Dorothy M.. 1971. Church and Society in Medieval England. p.2
4 Article in Serial: Page, A.B.. 1984. 'Archaeology in Lincolnshire and South Humberside, 1983' in Lincolnshire History and Archaeology. vol.19, pp.105-6
5 Unpublished Document: PARISH FILE. STOW. St Mary's Church folder

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Last updated: 04-December-2017 13:52:04

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