Archaeological Find - St Peter & St Paul - Exton, Rutland
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member SMacB
N 52° 41.433 W 000° 38.364
30U E 659539 N 5840463
An intriguing archaeological find in the 13th century church of St Peter & St Paul, Exton.
Waymark Code: WM10HP8
Location: East Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 05/11/2019
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member Dragontree
Views: 1

An intriguing archaeological find in the south transept of the 13th century church of St Peter & St Paul, Exton.

A framed note on the stone tells us:

"During restoration of the adjacent monument in 2001 this capital of local limestone was discovered and it is thought to date from the Romanesqe period.

The conservator involved with the restoration has advised us as follows:-

In fact it is almost exactly half a capital, or possibly a respond capital (i.e. from a half-pier of an arch butted against a wall) although this is less likely since it shows no sign of a return to a wall face. One corner of the worked face has been lost, but it can clearly be seen to be scalloped, with four scallops per side. These are further defined by incised grooves around the edge of the scallop curves and embellishment (almost egg and dart like) between the scallops.

Scalloped capitals developed from the earlier Romanesque cushion Capital. They are generally mid to late 12th century in date with good early examples being found on the central and south doorways of the west front of Lincoln Cathedral, the doorways dated to circa 1145-55 by Professor Zarnecki. More locally, at Cottesmore church some 3 miles away, is a Romanesque doorway reset at the south entrance inside the porch. This has scalloped capitals but of a much simpler form than that found at Exton. Given the intricacy of the Exton capital I would place it right at the end of the Romanesque, and possibly in the Transitional period — therefore circa 1170 — 1190.

The question is where did the Exton capital come from? The earliest visible parts of the, church as it now stands are perhaps a hundred years later than this. However, given the excellent availability of locally quarried stone it is unlikely that the capital would have been transported very far to be reused in this way. I feel it unlikely to be as early as the Cottesmore doorway so doubt it is left over from a Romanesque church at Cottesmore. In my opinion it almost certainly comes from an earlier church at Exton. Wright in his Rutland mentions a church at Exton in 1285 in connection with the de Brus family, which is likely to be the 13th century church of which much still can be seen. Was there a chapel or smaller church here a century earlier?
Approximate Age of Artefact: Not listed

Relevant Website: Not listed

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