The Church of St Michael the Archangel : Description by P F Ryder
Alnham church consists of an aisle less nave with a south porch and a pair of transept-like chapels (the northern now a vestry) at its east end, and an aisle less chancel.
The west end of the Nave is of coursed roughly squared stone, and is supported by four big stepped buttresses, the outer ones having 19th-century caps of overlapping slabs. A broad plinth c 1.2 m above the ground extends along the wall and round all the buttresses. In the centre of the wall is a tall round-headed window with a chamfered surround; above it, at the level of the eaves of the side walls, is a set back. The gable above is of more regularly coursed stone, and may be a 19th-century rebuild; the corbelled-out bellcote with its round arch and gabled top is all of c1870.
The south wall of the nave has a large stepped buttress at its west end; between this and the south porch is a round-arched window of 1870 with a chamfered surround and dressings of tooled yellow ashlar. East of the porch is another window of the same date and style, this time of two lights with a circular opening in the spandrel. The south eastern quoin includes some very large squared blocks, laid in an irregular side-alternate manner.
The north wall of the nave is more complex. At its west end is a very large stepped buttress, which probably incorporates part of the west wall of the former north aisle. Three blocked arches of the aisle arcade are visible, the fourth being concealed by the north transept. The arches are of two-centred form, only the outer order ands the abaci of the capitals being visible. The western arch for some reason is much larger than the others; in the eastern part of he wall blocking it is a square-headed doorway, itself now walled up, with some very large blocks in its jambs.
Buttresses have been set against the centres of the blocking walls of the western and central arches; the western buttress seems of some age, but its overlapped slab coping, and the whole of the eastern, appear of the 19th century. In the blocking of the third arch, above the roof of the lean-to on the west side of the transept, is quite a large round-headed window, again now blocked, with part of a medieval cross-slab re-used in its west jamb, and another adjacent, set in its blocking. The north eastern nave quoin, like the south eastern, includes some very large blocks.
The east gable of the nave has an old coping chamfered on its underside, and is capped by the base of a broken finial. The wall below shows the raised roof tabling of a previous chancel roof, c 1 m higher and of a steeper pitch than the present one. A small 19th century chimney rises from the northern part of the wall.
The South Porch is of coursed squared stone; its round-headed archway has a continuous roll moulding only broken by a keystone; the gable above has a flat coping and quite elaborate disc cross finial, both of 1870.
The South Transept is of coursed squared stone. Its west wall has a rough square plinth that widens towards its south end, broadening southwards the south wall also has a projecting footing that seems to bow out from the wall, and of its greatest projection - c 0.4 m - in its centre. Above is a round-headed window of 1870, with tooled-and-margined dressings, and a shallow-pitched gable with an old coping chamfered on its lower angle and a 19th century cross finial. The low side walls do not have any openings.
The east and north walls of the North Transept are built of large coursed blocks; the west wall is covered externally by a lean-to outbuilding. Only the north end wall has a chamfered plinth; set centrally above it is a small blocked square-headed window c 0.4 m wide and perhaps c 0.7 m high, under a gable with an old coping chamfered on its lower angle. The east wall has a round-headed light of 1870 near its south end. The outbuilding has a plain square-headed window in its north wall.
The south wall of the Chancel is built of large roughly coursed and roughly tooled blocks, some of the largest ones being in the uppermost courses. Near each end are round-arched windows of 1870, with dressings of yellow tooled-and-margined ashlar; below the western is some disturbed fabric, with a few bricks, probably indicating the position of a former low-side window. To the east of it is an old priest's door with a chamfered surround and a Tudor-arched head.
The east end of the chancel has some substantial quoins (perhaps re-used) in its lower parts, and a window of 1870 of two round-arched lights; the gable has an old coping, chamfered on its underside, and a broken cross fleury finial. There is a possible blocked opening, small and without cut dressings, at ground level near the north end of the wall, perhaps relating to a vault.
The north wall of the chancel is heavily pointed; midway along it is a large buttress with bold chamfered plinth, probably of 19th-century date. To the east of it is a small blocked square-headed window with a chamfered surround, c 0.6 m high and 0.35 m wide.