For this church:
Bramcote Old Church
Medieval Cross Slabs
The medieval church at Bramcote was demolished c1860, except for its western tower which still stands in the old graveyard. Stretton in 1803 made drawings of a pair of medieval slabs which lay ‘near the chancel door’1. These were revealed again, partly covered by tree roots, but not recorded, during a minor excavation in 2007.
The slabs were located and exposed once more on May 7th 2015, lying c 9m east of the north-east corner of the tower, immediately outside the line of the south wall of the old church. Both are of creamy limestone, perhaps from Lincolnshire.
It has been suggested that this slab marks the grave of a priest, as it is placed in front of the church door, where priests were sometimes buried. This is possible, although medieval priest’s slabs often bore specific emblems, usually a chalice and clasped book, of which there is no sign.
(2) The northern slab, 2.19 m long and Tapering from 0.66 m to 0.39 m, is again slightly tapered in form, although without any edge moulding. It is cracked into three pieces, and the relief design is faint and hard to interpret. Stretton’s drawing, given his inaccuracies with the other slab, probably cannot be trusted. There seems to be a simple cross head, with immediately to the left perhaps the sword shown by Stretton. Near the foot of the cross shaft is a raised lozenge-shaped panel, now devoid of any further ornamentation. Not enough survives for any useful comment to be made as to the date of the stone, but it could well be of the 12th century.
1. W Stretton, The Stretton Manuscripts Being Notes on the History of Nottinghamshire, Privately published, Nottingham (1910)
2. Butler, L.A.S. Minor Medieval Monumental Sculpture in the East Midlands. Archaeological Journal CXXI (1965), 111-153
Descriptions and drawings of the cross slabs courtesy of Peter Ryder.