Lamb Carvery

Just a very quick update on the old church tower at Shenstone. I haven’t had chance to get over there since writing the previous posts on the subject and so this morning, I was really grateful to receive a couple of photographs, taken just today, which show the carved stone on the tower really clearly.

In the churchyard at the top of the hill is an old tower...

In the churchyard, at the top of the hill, there is an old tower…

...and in the old tower is a door...

…and in the old tower, there is a door…

The carved stone at the ruined old church at Shenstone

…and next to the door is this carved stone

Although centuries of exposure to the elements has worn away much of the detail, including the lamb (which Mr Foulkes may have been referring to when he reported seeing a stone with a carving of a lamb near to the north door in the late 1890s), it can be identified as the arms of the Merchant Taylors, one of the twelve great Livery Companies of London. It shows a tent (which apparently the Taylors would once have made for jousting tournaments) with an ermine robe either side (another nod to their trade) beneath a lamb within a sun. The lamb represents John the Baptist, the saint whose name was given to both the old church and the more recent church here.  It looks like there is some graffiti carved into the old sandstone blocks of the tower too, which may also be of interest.

St Michael's Church at Lichfield's version of the arms

St Michael’s Church at Lichfield also has a version of the arms on the porch.

There was a story that after the old church was abandoned as it was deemed unsafe, ‘it was found to be so remarkably sound that blasting operations were required to demolish the masonry’. Eventually they succeeded and materials from the old church were sold in 1853/54 for £111 2s 8d.

I am not sure what the connection between the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors of the City of London, and parish churches at Shenstone and Lichfield could have been, but I’ll keep looking and if anyone has any ideas or suggestion in the meantime, please share them!


Parliamentary Papers, House of Commons and Command, Volume 48

3 thoughts on “Lamb Carvery

  1. Not directly answering the questions posed, but may be of interest…

    The “local” man Sir Robert Peel was a senior member of the Merchant Tailors, and at a meeting in 1835 he spelt out the aims of the government…

    …they would maintain the just rights of the Established Church, and resist the the feelings and clamour unduly excited, which would have their effect to change the characteristics of the ancient institutions of the country, and convert out limited monarchy into a wild, ungovernable democracy.


  2. I have a suggestion which may help, depending on the age of the stone. I came across this article today while trying to track down the elusive parish records of the church in Shenstone for the Ducie family who lived at Little Aston in the 17th century as part of my masters degree. Sir Robert Ducie was Alderman and Lord Mayor of London in the early part of the century and the estate in Staffs was left to his middle son, also Robert, who became Sheriff of Staffs. Sir Robert was a wealthy member of the Merchants Taylors. This may not be the connection, but it is an intriguing possibility!


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