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Curdworth

For a period of 3 years during my teens - many more years ago than I care to admit - I lived in Curdworth and yet never ventured into the church. So much greater the effect on me, then, when I discovered that it had a Norman core and an extraordinary font!

Curdworth Church, 8 miles east of Birmingham, now sits as an oasis amongst a sea of “des res” modern housing. It has the sandstone masonry so typical of this area.

The original Norman building dates from the mid-c12 and was extended to the west in 1460 by Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick to include the tower. There were originally two nave doorways on the northern side but both were filled in during the c13 although they are still clearly visible. A number of the windows have been replaced over the years but Curdworth retains its Norman character. There is a Norman chancel arch. Windows are deeply splayed and some retain original wall painting. 

The font, however, is its principal glory and is seen by some as evidence of a previous Saxon church. The British History website suggests that it is contemporary with the church itself - that is, of the Norman period so perhaps a Saxon provenance owes something to wishful thinking,  As is so often the way with fonts, this one was “rediscovered” during restoration work in 1895, on this occasion from beneath the church Victorian restoration strikes fear into the heart of the student of mediaeval churches, but there is little to complain of in Curdworth.

Curdworth Church

Sadly, the font has at some time been cut down from the top, as evidenced by the loss of the head of the “Lamb of God” (bottom lright). Similarly, the grotesque figure of a man (top left) has “lost” whatever he was holding above his head. The evangelists holding books in the top right hand picture, on the other hand, have mercifully avoided decapitation!

View to the East. The Norman south door is to the right. The deep splays of the original Norman windows can be clearly seen.

The Norman chancel arch. The right hand trefoil “window” opening is c15. The left hand one is a modern copy replacing an original “squint”.

There are remnants of c13 mural painting surrounding many of the c12 chancel windows.

Norman chancel window from the outside

The Norman chancel with later East window. The string course below the window is also Norman.

Two blocked nave doors on the north wall

The 9’ 9” long parish chest, housed under the east window.