Map - Angel Roof Locations: © Michael Rimmer 2012-14

The Distribution of Medieval Angel Roofs in England and Wales

Establishing the total number of surviving angel roofs in England and Wales is not straightforward. There is no definitive register. 

The best attempt at a comprehensive list which I have seen is that of Dr Dana Bentley-Cranch in Roof Angels of the East Anglian Churches (see Bibliography) but even this has several omissions, and includes some churches which do not actually have angel roofs. 

I have used the Bentley-Cranch list as a starting point, corrected it for demonstrable errors, and then cross-referenced it against other works (notably Howard & Crossley's English Church Woodwork and Michael Good's excellent computerised concordance to Pevsner's The Buildings of England) to create a more accurate, but undoubtedly still incomplete list. I have plotted these locations on the map above. 

There has always been consensus amongst writers on medieval woodwork that angel roofs are overwhelmingly an East Anglian phenomenon, and the map shows this quite clearly. 

Out of a total of over 170 medieval angel roofs so far identified, over 80% are in East Anglia (here defined as Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire). There are at least five in Bedfordshire, seven in Somerset, four in Denbighshire, and two in Devon.

I am sure that there are still omissions from the list. If your church has an angel roof and you think I have missed it, I would be very happy to hear from you via the Contact page

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