English Church Architecture -
HASFIELD, St. Mary (SO 827 276) (October 2013)
(Bedrock: Triassic Mercia Mudstone Group, Keuper Marl)
There is little that can be said about this heavily restored building (seen above, from the southeast), sitting above the flood plain on the west bank of the River Severn. The assorted windows lighting the nave and chancel probably reflect the jumble of their mediaeval forms, but all seem to have been renewed in the thoroughgoing restoration of 1850 (The Buildings of England: the Vale of Gloucester & the Forest of Dean), and the independently-gabled N. aisle is entirely of this date, together with its four-bay arcade composed of arches bearing a flat chamfer on the outer order and a sunk quadrant on the inner, supported on octagonal piers with ball flower decoration beneath the capitals. This confines the substantive architectural interest of the church to the tower and S. porch, but in the former case, the evidence is somewhat contradictory, with the double-flat-chamfered, lancet-pointed tower arch to the nave (below left) suggesting a thirteenth century origin, and the two-light W. window with reticulated tracery (below right), the early fourteenth century. Unless this window was inserted just a few decades after the tower was built, therefore, which is possible but seems unlikely, we should probably accept the latter date for the structure - say, c. 1320 (and cf. also the tower at neighbouring Ashleworth). The tower is diagonally buttressed and rises in two stages to slightly projecting and presumably later battlements, with a semi-polygonal stair turret projecting from the E. end of the N. wall.
The porch is half-timbered, with untraceried and unglazed, rectangular openings to the bays. Save only for the durns, the work appears to be original, perhaps dating from the sixteenth century and later than the inner door, with worn tracery to its three exterior sections above the castellated rail. Old woodwork inside the building includes at least the majority of the nave roof, framed in seven cants, with collars and a collar purlin, and much of the reconstituted pulpit.