Elford Church

and the 

Stanley Chantry


The earliest known Church at Elford was Norman, probably built about the 12th century.


Sir Thomas de Arderne, companion in arms of Edward the Black Prince, was the Lord of Elford in the second half of the 14th century.  He restored and altered the Church in the style of that period.


A century later Sir John Stanley added the South Aisle and Chantry dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The ancient roses and portcullis surmounted by crowns in a window of the South Aisle signify the connection of the Stanleys with Henry VII, who is supposed to have met secretly with Lord Stanley at Elford the night before the Battle of Bosworth and then persuaded Stanley to desert Richard III and come over to his side.  Another source states this meeting to have taken place at nearby ******** Hall, another Stanley property.


The old Norman tower, probably unsafe, was replaced by the present tower in 1598.  Elford Church was spared much of the destruction so many churches suffered in the Civil War.  Credit for this may be due to the Rector, Thomas Dowley.  Although a strong Puritan who managed to retain a living throughout the Commonwealth period, he was careful to preserve the Church from plunder and desecreation.


The present Church is largely the work of Francis Paget, who was the Rector from 1835 till 1882.


The Elford Church Monumental Effigies are amongst the finest in the country.  The oldest being that of Sir Thomas de Arderne and his wife Matilda de Stafford.  The next in time comes the effigy of Sir John Stanley, builder of the Chantry who died about 1474.  The other monumental effigy is that of Sir William Smythe and his two wives Anne Staunton and Lady Isabella Neville.  Lady Isabella was the niece of Warwick, "the Kingmaker" and cousin of Richard III.  From Lady Isabella Neville descend the Heveningham family of Lichfield.




The Stanley Chantry






 St. Peter's Church, Elford





















My Staffordshire Roots


Heveningham of Aston




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