Stanley Pontlarge

Coordinates: 51°58′16″N 2°00′22″W / 51.971°N 2.006°W / 51.971; -2.006

Fields at Stanley Pontlarge viewed from Langley Hill. Looking north to the Vale of Evesham. Note the steam train on the railway

Stanley Pontlarge is a hamlet in Gloucestershire, within the civil parish of Prescott and the ecclesiastical parish of Winchcombe.

Looking down the lane from the church towards the main road. Note the gable of the 14th century hall house (The Cottage) in mid-distance

It is notable for its Norman church as well as 'The Cottage;' a 14th-century hall house that was the home of Tom Rolt, the writer on canals and industrial archaeology.

Train crossing the bridge over the lane
Church viewed from the west

The hamlet was mentioned in the Domesday Book, when it was referred to as "Stanlege".[1]

The hamlet has a small church, whose dedication is unknown. The church was a possession of Hailes Abbey before the Dissolution. The original Norman structure was heavily restored by Thomas Collins in 1860-61. The chancel was rebuilt. The church is noted for its Late Norman north door, with chevron mouldings, and a Norman chancel arch, leaning outwards, also with chevron moulding. The nave roof was rebuilt in 1923-4 by Sir Philip Stott. The font is a Norman bowl, remodelled into an octagonal shape in the 14th century. Most of the furnishings in the church date to the 1860-1 restoration. By agreement among the parishioners, graves in the churchyard are not marked by headstones. A guide to the location of burials is provided within the church.

The Norman door of the church

The Cottage is 14th century in origin, probably built as a priest's house by Hailes Abbey after 1387, when the abbey was granted the living of Toddington and Stanley Pontlarge. Massive cruck trusses survive in the attic. The exterior of the house is 16th century in appearance, although the windows may date to the restoration by Thomas Collins in 1873. The Cottage was bought in 1921 by Lionel Rolt, and became the home of the writers Tom and Sonia Rolt in the 1950s. The house, and life in the surrounding countryside, are described in detail in Rolt's two volumes of autobiography Landscape with machines and Landscape with figures. Tom Rolt is buried in the churchyard.

Stanley Pontlarge lies on the steep northern escarpment of the Cotswolds. The steep hillsides can appear bleak, but offer a superb view northwards to the Vale of Evesham. The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway is a prominent feature of the landscape.

A variety of ugly agricultural structures and overhead wires were removed by the Landmark Trust in the 1970s.

Bus shelter at junction of lane and main road, bearing the Latin inscription "Quilibet in tempestate portus" (A harbour in a storm for anyone)


Further reading

D. Verey & A. Brooks. 2002. The Buildings of England. Gloucestershire 2. London: Yale University Press.

External links

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