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© Colton History Society
2004 - 2008

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Buildings of Note

St. Mary's Church

Picture of St. Mary's Church today

The church that stands in Colton today contains parts of the building tracing back to the very late 12th. or early 13th. Century. The base of a preaching cross was moved from amongst the graves in 1957 and placed between the tower and the porch and could have been the first evidence of the practice of the Christian religion in Colton in Saxon times. We do know there was a Priest in Colton then according to the Domesday entry for Colton.

The tower is probably the oldest par of the building we see today. Its substantial base and lower part are very much in the late Norman style of architecture. The south aisle west wall, the south wall, doors and windows of the present day vestry area and the lower parts of some of the interior columns are all of the Early English style of architecture of the 13th. century.

Late 14th. century frescoes were also discovered beneath plaster when restoration work was undertaken in 1850/51 in what had been the chancel and is now the vestry. One of the scenes depicted St. Nicholas. They were thought to have been painted in the time of Nicholas De Gresley when he acquired the Manor of Colton by his marriage to Thomasine DeWasteney. St.Nichloas could well have been his patron saint. Unfortunately these paintings were lost in the restoration but we do have drawings of them.

Other remains of this early period are the sedilia and ancient piscina all found now in the present day vestry formerly the chancel. Also there are some small pieces of medieval glass in the windows of the tower. Medieval glass working went on in and around Colton. The squint or 'leper window' is still in situ on the south wall. This is the aperture through which the ordinary folk would have viewed the elevation of the host by the Priest at the celebration of the mass as they were not allowed into the church to witness it in those times.

Sketch of St. MAry's Church, 1879

Sketch from Colton and the DeWasteney's by Rev. Parker 1879

Through the 17th. century the church was much neglected and remedial works were carried out to prevent it falling down. These repairs included a brick wall on the north side which must have looked pretty ugly! By the middle of the 19th. century the church was ready for a major restoration. Abdail Seaton, the Rector with his wife Lucy, the daughter of a wealthy Lichfield banker, and a wealthy Colton resident, Ellen Oldham, mainly financed this major work. They employed George Edmund Street, an eminent Victorian architect.

The work was in the early English style and involved the rebuilding of the nave removing the clerestory, the chancel, north and south aisles and the porch. Street also designed for the church the alter rails, screens to divide Chancel from Nave, pulpit, font, the communion vessels and the alms dish. Herbert Minton gave tiles for the altar area and this gift is recorded in the Minton Factory archives. The Medieval misericords were purchased by Rev. Seaton from a property in Wales and placed in the Chancel. One is thought to be very rare because it portrays Janus.

There are 6 bells. The oldest are 1704, 1791, 1852. Another was added in the 1980's and two more were given in 2000. The organ dates from 1879 and incorporates the 1851 organ.


More Buildings of Note

  Bellamour Hall
Home to the Lords of the Manor from the late 17th -20th.Centuries. (click here)
  Bellamour Lodge
A 19th century grace & favour house! (click here)
  The Old Rectory
Built in the 19th. Century for the Rector to keep dry!. (click here)
  St. Mary's Church
Late 12th. Century-the oldest building in Colton. (click here)
  Boughey Hall Farm
A farm with a long, long history. (click here)
  Colton Hall
Home to our most famous historical inhabitant-Lord Walter Aston. (click here)
  The Malt House
One of the oldest houses still being used as a home. (click here)
  Little Hay Manor
The smaller Manor in Colton belonging to the Bagot Family. (click here)
  Colton House
The smaller Manor in Colton belonging to the Bagot Family. (click here)