Ilam, Holy Cross Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: The shrine of St Bertram
Ilam was not recorded in the Domesday Book, though there was without doubt a church and settlement here at that time. The earliest written record comes from 1004 when King Aethelred confirmed the gift of Ilam to Burton Abbey in the will of a lord named Wulfric.
The south chapel was added in 1618 by the Meverell family of Throwley Hall, and houses a 13th century altar tomb locally known as the Shrine of St Bertram.
Who was St Betram?Betram was a local man, the son of an 8th century king of Mercia. He travelled to Ireland where he married a princess. The couple were returning home to Mercia when Bertram's wife went into labour while they were passing through a forest. Betram went in search of a midwife, but when he returned it was to discover that wild wolves had killed and eaten his wife and their newborn child. So stricken was he by the tragedy that Bertram decided to spend the rest of his life as a hermit.
Near St Bertram's shrine in the south chapel is a beautifully carved and painted tomb to Robert Meverell (d. 1626) and his wife.
In the centre of the octagonal chapel is a large memorial carving by Sir Francis Chantrey, the foremost sculptor of his day, showing Watts, his daughter Mary, and her three children. It is a superb example of 19th century funeral sculpture, though unfortunately the wrought-iron gates to the chapel are usually locked, so you have to view the sculpture from a distance.
The combination of the Saxon crosses, Norman font, St Betram's shrine, and the Watts memorial, plus the exceptionally beautiful parkland setting, makes Ilam's church an absolute delight to visit. Do take a few minutes to enjoy the Italianate gardens below Ilam Hall while you are here.
About Ilam, Holy Cross Church
Address: Ilam, Staffordshire, England, DE6 2AZ
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: In the grounds of Ilam House. Usually open daylight hours.
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest
Ilam Park and Hall - 0.1 miles (Countryside)
Dovedale - 0.9 miles (Countryside)
Casterne Hall - 1.2 miles (Historic House)
Tissington Hall - 2.8 miles (Historic House)
Norbury - 5.2 miles (Historic Church)
Old Manor - 5.2 miles (Historic Building)
Croxden Abbey - 8 miles (Abbey)
Arbor Low - 8.1 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Nearest Accommodation to Ilam, Holy Cross Church: