About this image
Originally Saxon, the church is now mainly 17th and 19th century - the two occasions when it was restored. Some of its Saxon origins can be seen in its carved stone Saxon font, and two stone cross shafts in the churchyard, and the blocked round-headed doorway in the south wall may be Saxon too. The nave has some 13th century masonry in the side walls and the tower and south porch date from this period. It is in the Chapel of St Bertram, built in 1618, that the remains and shrine of St Bertram can be found. St Bertram was a hermit and a disciple of St. Guthlac. Bertram - or Bertelin or Bettelin - was sometimes reputed to be the son of the ninth king of Anglian Mercia in the 'Dark Ages' after the Romans had abandoned their occupation of Britain. He lived in Croyland, England, and is listed as the patron of the town of Stafford. Bettelin and companions lived under the auspices of Croyland Monastery, founded by King Ethelbald of Mercia. Legend claims he was a noble who married an Irish princess who went into labour and gave birth in the forest while he went for help. Wolves ate her and the child in his absence. At once he denounced his heritage and spent the rest of his life as a hermit preaching the gospel. Canonisation was his belated reward for his successful conversion to Christianity of numerous pagan Britons. His shrine became a point of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages and is reputed to be able to work miraculous cures. Also in the church are alabaster effigies of Robert Meverell (died 1626) and his wife. There was extensive restoration by Scott between 1855 and 1856 including, including the chancel and the north aisle. North of the chancel is a large octagonal Chapel, added by Jesse Watts Russell in a Victorian Gothic style which jars slightly with the rest of the church. The chapel is a mausoleum to Jesse Watt Russell's father-in-law, David Pike Watts, and a marble statue sculpted by Chantry depicts David Pike Watts on his deathbed, with his family at his side.