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Grave Slab at St Leonard's Church

A Grade II Listed Building in Rodney Stoke, Somerset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.2455 / 51°14'43"N

Longitude: -2.7429 / 2°44'34"W

OS Eastings: 348241

OS Northings: 149848

OS Grid: ST482498

Mapcode National: GBR MJ.1WCR

Mapcode Global: VH89J.DYSM

Plus Code: 9C3V67W4+5R

Entry Name: Grave Slab at St Leonard's Church

Listing Date: 8 June 2010

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393830

English Heritage Legacy ID: 507959

Location: Rodney Stoke, Mendip, Somerset, BS27

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Rodney Stoke

Built-Up Area: Rodney Stoke

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

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Rodney Stoke

Description

RODNEY STOKE

1925/0/10021 STOKE STREET
08-JUN-10 Grave Slab at St Leonard's Church

GV II
A grave slab, probably for a double grave, originally the cover of a chest tomb or stone coffin, dating from the late C12 or C13. The grave marker, which is of local Draycott marble, now stands upright circa 5 metres from the east end of the Church of St Leonard.

The slab is circa 1.2m high at its highest point, and circa 0.8m wide. The top and left hand edges are deeply under-chamfered; the right hand edge and the right hand part of the top have been cut down slightly. The front has incised decoration covering almost the entire area. A straight line divides the memorial in two vertically. The left hand side has an incised cross on a staff, the cross arms being flared towards their outer ends. The right hand side has an incised cross of similar size, also on a staff, with lobed arms.

HISTORY: Rodney Stoke is recorded in the Domesday Book as Stoches, and in 1291 as Stokgifford, after the Gifford or Gifard family who were lords of the manor; the Giffords were Saxon nobility at the time of Edward the Confessor with Walter Gifford appointed the Earl of Buckingham. The first church recorded on the site was constructed during the C12, and it was rebuilt in the C15. The village was later renamed after the Rodney family, who were the subsequent lords of the manor; the church is notable for its collection of Rodney family monuments dating from the late C15 to the mid-C17.

The grave marker appears on stylistic grounds to have originated in the late C12 or C13; it is likely to have covered a double burial, each marked on the surface of the grave marker with its own cross. The form of the monument suggests that it originally formed the cover of a chest tomb or stone coffin. Its date and relatively high status indicate that it may have been associated with members of the Gifford family. At a later date, perhaps when the church in whose churchyard it stands was rebuilt in the C15, the monument was cut down slightly on two sides and a notch was cut in the top, probably to allow it to be re-used for paving. Later still, probably when the church was heavily restored and enlarged during the C19, the slab was resited, along with two others of later date, close to the churchyard wall, standing in an upright position.

SOURCES
Gittos, B and M: letter to PCC Secretary giving a report of the grave slab (16 February 2009)

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The late-C12 or C13 incised grave slab at Rodney Stoke church is designated at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: the grave marker is of very early date
* Design interest: the two delicately-incised crosses, of two different types, survive almost intact
* Rarity: such grave markers are rare nationally, and those with two incised crosses occur (commemorating double burials) only in isolated cases
* Group value: with the Grade I Church of St Leonard and the Grade II* Rodney family chest tomb located elsewhere within the churchyard

Reasons for Listing

The late-C12 or C13 incised grave slab at Rodney Stoke church is recommended for designation at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: the grave marker is of such early date that this alone makes it a serious candidate for designation
* Design interest: the two delicately-incised crosses, of two different types, survive almost intact
* Rarity: such grave markers are rare nationally, and those with two incised crosses occur (commemorating double burials) only in isolated cases
* Group value: with the Church of St Leonard (listed Grade I) and the Grade II* listed chest tomb located elsewhere within the churchyard

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