Copyright 2018 - Severnside Parishes

St Denys’ Church, Severn Stoke – A brief history

The Parish Church of Severn Stoke is unusually dedicated to St Denys, the Patron Saint of Paris.   The church of lias limestone dating from the 12th century, lies in the River Severn flood plain, surrounded by its peaceful churchyard consecrated in 1325, with a backdrop of the Malvern Hills.  The church is the oldest remaining building in the locality.

Due to its location in the flood plain, the church has flooded over the centuries, notably in 1703, 1770, when some Parish Records were damaged.  The 1886 flood led to the major restoration of the building, then in the more recent past, floods in 1947, 2000, 2007 (severe), 2012 and 2014 are remembered. 

Part of the North wall with its small Norman window forms the earliest part of the building, which was largely re-built in the 14th Century to provide a Chancel, Nave and side aisle.  The substantial tower, possibly added in the 17th Century houses a peel of five bells, four of which were cast in that century and have been overhauled recently.

An E F Burney painting of the church in 1785 shows it to have been entirely rendered externally.  Inside, the walls were of decorated plaster of which only a remnant remains over the pulpit. There are the remains of a doorway over the main South Door, which would have led to a Priest’s Chamber.  The Chancel had been restored in 1872, but the disastrous flood of 1886 led to the removal of internal plasterwork and external render, revealing ancient carved stones in the walls.  The building was re-roofed with tiles and new tiled flooring installed throughout. The side aisle flat roof is of lead sheet. Some medieval tiles are preserved in the North Wall. 

The original 15th century east window in the Chancel was replaced in 1890 with an enlarged perpendicular window with contemporary stained glass.  In the North Wall there is a Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Arts window by Archibald John Davies (about 1924).  Fragments of medieval glass have been preserved in the South Window of the Warwick Chapel.

The Pipe Organ underwent a major overhaul in the 1970’s and has been well maintained since.  A new blower was installed in 2016.  Its manuals are possibly 18th Century.

Apart from several older chairs, the plain pine pews are contemporary with the Victorian restoration, but there is 19th and 20th Century carved oak wood and panelling, part formerly a reredos. The stone font is 14th Century.  32 metal framed chairs with oak veneer seats were acquired under the flood alleviation grant scheme in 2014.

In the open churchyard, there is the shaft of a stone cross, mounted on a Victorian Stone plinth.  Gravestones date mainly from the 18th century to the present.

There is a scholarly record of the building and its contents undertaken by The National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies in 1996.  A Guide Book on the history is available for sale, as well as several fascinating monographs on various aspects of the parish through the ages.

The Church is open to welcome visitors every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., so please do come and explore this beautiful church, with its backdrop of the Malvern Hills.

f m

Contact us

Rev. Mark Badger

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

01905 820057

07828 233049

  

We use cookies to improve our website and your experience when using it. Cookies used for the essential operation of the site have already been set. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our Privacy Policy.

I accept cookies from this site
EU Cookie Directive plugin by www.channeldigital.co.uk