Monday, April 14, 2014

Stafford's St. Bertelin's, St. Chad's and St. Mary's

Stafford was founded in about 700 AD by a Mercian prince called Bertelin who, according to legend, established a hermitage on the site. 

The remains of a wooden preaching cross from this time have been found under the remains of St Bertelin's chapel, next to the later collegiate Church of St Mary in the center of the town.

The oldest building now in Stafford is St Chad's Church, dating back into the twelfth century. The main part of the church is richly decorated. Carvings in the church's archways and pillars may have been made by a group of stonemasons from the Middle East who came to England during the Crusades. A great deal of the stonework was covered up during the 17th and 18th centuriesto create a  neo-classical style. In the early 19th-century restoration, work was carried out on the church and the Norman decoration was rediscovered. heritage of twelfth-century architecture and sculpture that place St Chad’s amongst the finest examples of Norman architecture in the Midlands.

St Mary's, the collegiate church, linked to St Bertelin's chapel, was completely rebuilt in the early 13th century in a cruciform layout, typical of the period. It has an impressive octagonal tower.  Initially, the church was effectively two churches in one, divided by a screen, with the parish using the nave and the collegiate canons using the chancel. 

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