Heath Chapel
No known dedication

The following text has been adapted from a full description of the mediaeval village and chapel which is to be found at the URL below. This is a part of British History on Line, an update of Victoria County History (VCH), and Copyright © 2007 University of London & History of Parliament Trust - All rights reserved. Please visit these pages for the complete version which gives a comprehensive picture of both village and church.

'The Heath', A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 10: Munslow Hundred (part), The Liberty and Borough of Wenlock (1998),  pp. 393-399. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=22887.  Date accessed: 26 June 2008.

Pictures come from a variety of sources:
http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/346924 Photo by Betty Longbottom from Geograph.
2.   Photo courtesy of
Dr Paul Stamper, taken from Secret Shropshire at  http://www.search.secretshropshire.org.uk/
Image courtesy of Shropshire Sites and Monuments Record, taken from Secret Shropshire at  http://www.search.secretshropshire.org.uk/
http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/346928 Photo by Betty Longbottom from Geograph
5.   http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/351097 Photo by
Alan Longbottom from Geograph
6.   Photo courtesy of Richard Camp
7.   Photo courtesy of Richard Camp
8.   Photo courtesy of Richard Camp

Copyright information:
For Secret Shropshire:
Copyrights to all resources are retained by the individual rights holders. They have kindly made their collections available for non-commercial private study & educational use. Re-distribution of resources in any form is only permitted subject to strict adherence to the guidelines in the Full Terms and Conditions statement.
For Geograph: A Creative Commons Licence, for which see: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

1. Exterior of Heath Chapel, showing the only external Norman decoration

2.  Exterior showing the west end, and the three possible gallery lights therein 

3.  This photograph shows part of the earthworks belonging to a deserted medieval village at Heath, near Clee St. Margaret in south Shropshire. The surviving earthworks cover an area around 4 hectares. They include at least five possible building platforms and a number of holloways. Holloways are ancient tracks that have been worn into the landscape through heavy use during the course of occupation at the settlement.

A chapel [of Ease] was built in the 12th century and was dependent in the mid 14th [century] on Stoke St. Milborough church. (fn. 36) It had no separate advowson or endowment and was not licensed for weddings until 1922.

This mid 12th-century chapel, of no known dedication, is a 'perfect example of a small Norman church'. It consists of a rectangular chancel and a nave with south doorway, each of two bays . . . The only external decoration is on the doorway, where there are chevron mouldings on the arch and hoodmould and incised abstract patterns on the capitals.Two small lights in the west gable presumably lit an upper compartment or gallery within. Such a feature at the west end may explain why the south doorway was sited so far east that the middle buttress of the south wall is east of its northern counterpart. A ledge over the chancel arch probably supported the nave roof's eastern tiebeam. The chancel arch, of three plain orders, has scalloped capitals. A plain rectangular recess in the chancel south wall may represent a former piscina but has no drain hole. The cylindrical tub font is plain but for shallow incised arcading round part of the top; lines in a spandrel on the north side seem to form a face. The font stood by 1852 on one square stone platform set diagonally upon another.

Quite alone in a field. The perfect example of a rich little Norman chapel (of Stoke St Milborough), impressively orderly in design. Nave and lower chancel. No bell-cote. Broad, flat, full-height buttresses and continuous mid-height string course. Tiny windows, three in west gable, one each in the middle buttress of the W and E ends, and one per bay N and S.  S doorway under a broad arch on two orders of shafts. Decayed, originally ornamented capitals. Chevron on the outer arch moulding, and chevron on the hoodmould. Plain tympanum. The materials are mauve sandstone rubble for the walling, friable yellow limestone for dressings. Repaired 1912 on SPAB principles – see the tile ‘stitches’ – by Basil Stallybrass.

Inside, the chancel has two orders of shafts with scalloped capitals and double-stepped arch. Simple tie-beam roof, perhaps of the C16.  

FONT: Norman, tub-shaped, with just a frieze of incised arches below the top. 

[FITTINGS]: Pulpit, Reader’s desk, squire’s pew, box pews, all probably C17. Another pew in the chancel made up of old including Perp. part.

COMMUNION RAIL:  Set on feet round three sides of the altar table, in the Laudian way. Turned balusters.

DOOR: The iron-work looks mid C12, perhaps remade C19.

WALL PAINTINGS: Traces of C12 masonry patterns, an unidentified C14 scheme on the chancel E wall, and C15 subjects in the nave. On the S wall St George, and above the chancel arch the Last Judgement, with the mouth of Hell at the E end of the S wall. After the Reformation everything was whitewashed over and in the C17 texts painted. They in turn are greatly faded. [Source: Nicklaus Pevsner: Shropshire]

4.South doorway: C12 round headed doorway of 2 orders. Chevron carved design on hoodmould and outer order of arch, and roll moulding on inner. Plain tympanum. Plain abaci with chamfered undersides. Crude flat scroll capitals now mostly eroded. C19 restored grey stone shafts and bases. Door is cross-boarded and has medieval iron hinges. [From: An Architectural Account of the Churches of Shropshire: Cranage D H S: 1895-: 96; The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: Shropshire: Harmondsworth, Middlesex: 1958-: 147; Klein P: A Guide to The Heath Chapel Shropshire: Leominster: 1990]

In the 16th or 17th century the nave roof was renewed, perhaps completely. A flat plaster ceiling was made in the chancel. In chancel and nave medieval paintings were whitewashed over and texts were painted, at least on the lower walls; they included the Commandments and Creed in the nave, and were themselves later whitewashed over. In the 17th century a rail was placed on three sides of the communion table. A pew incorporating medieval materials, including a beam from the former chancel screen and a crude tulip shaped finial, was introduced on the south side of the chancel, facing the pulpit; the chancel had three pews in 1793. (fn. 57) The pulpit is a 17th-century two-decker in the north-east angle of the nave, lit by an original north window enlarged in the 17th century to a square opening. Nave pews, some carved to match the pulpit, were introduced at the same time.

5.  Interior showing south wall and the free unsupported roof truss

6.  Another view of the unsupported trusses and free-hanging wall supports with no corbels or wall-plate to support them.

7. This shows the same truss, totally unsupported and hanging sideways.  Note the remedial work required to these, as also to the wall paintings.

8. Family pew (possibly Squire's or Parson's)


ACCESS : Usually kept locked.
The Incumbent can be found at:

The Rectory, Bitterley, Ludlow, SY8 3HJ
Tel:  01584 890239
Map & Directions 

Map reference  :  SO556857

Pictures kindly supplied as noted above

Please see our Home Page for important copyright notice

Up Arrow


email logo






This site has been constructed by, and remains the copyright of, its authors,
Edwin and Sheila Macadam,

Shelwin, 30, Eynsham Road, Botley,
Oxford OX2 9BP
© July 2001 -