Although many of the Edwardine bishops of the new Church of England tried hard to get rid of mediaeval stone altars, numbers survived, not all in remote areas. The example in the N transept (the Cornwell chantry) at Asthall (Oxon) has the unusual feature of a piscina attached to one of its legs. With a mensa 2’ 10” by 1’ 11”, this reminds us how small mediaeval altars could be. The massive altar substructure was never removed from the Plowden chapel of Lydbury North church (Salop), a Catholic chapel today.
From the 19th century onwards, restorations unearthed many altar stones that had been used for paving – or just hidden – and they were restored to use. The stone at Larling (Norfolk) is a large example, eight feet long, and no less than six inches thick (even its consecration crosses are on the generous side, at 2 ¼” square). The 20th c. restoration of the Vernon chantry (the ‘Golden chapel’) of Tong (Salop) paired the recovered mensa with an ‘English’ altar.