Preston on Wye

Pages 218-220

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, Volume 1, South west. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1931.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.


In this section


(O.S. 6 in. (a)XXXII, N.E., (b)XXXII, S.E.)

Preston on Wye is a parish on the right bank of the river, 8 m. W. of Hereford. The church is the principal monument.


a(1). Parish Church of St. Lawrence stands on the right bank of the Wye. The walls are of coursed and squared sandstone rubble, with some white tufa and with sandstone dressings; the roofs are tiled. The Nave was built c. 1190, and late in the 13th century the chancel was re-built, widened and probably extended eastwards. The North Chapel was added c. 1330, and the West Tower built about the middle of the same century. The church was restored in 1625 and again, very drastically, in 1883, when the Chancel was re-built, largely with the old materials, and the North Vestry added; the upper parts of the S. wall of the nave and of the W. tower were also re-built; the N. chapel was restored in 1887. The timber South Porch is modern.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (34 ft. by 21 ft.) has a completely restored E. window of three lights with the mullions run up to the two-centred head. In the N. wall are two modern windows and a modern doorway. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern of late 13th-century character but entirely restored; it is of two trefoiled lights in a two-centred head; the western window is of early 15th-century date, entirely re-cut; it is of two cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a square head; between the windows is a much restored late 13th-century doorway, now blocked; it has moulded jambs and a multifoiled head.

The Church, Plan

The Nave (54¼ ft. by 21 ft.) is structurally undivided from the chancel and has in the N. wall an archway of c. 1330, opening into the N. chapel; it is segmental-pointed and of two moulded orders, the outer continuous with moulded labels, and the inner springing from triple attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases; E. of the archway are the upper and lower doorways of the rood-loft staircase; both are square-headed and of 15th or early 16th-century date; W. of the archway are two windows, the eastern modern and the western a single round-headed light of the 12th century; between the windows is the blocked 12th-century N. doorway, having a lintel cut with a segmental arch enclosing a plain tympanum, the latter has a later pointed cutting in the middle of the soffit. In the S. wall are three windows, the easternmost is a lancet-light, probably of 13th-century origin but completely restored; the other two windows are probably of late 13th-century origin but have also been completely restored; they are each of two lights; the late 12th-century S. doorway has a round head of two moulded orders, the inner continuous and the outer enriched with cheveron-ornament and springing from modern detached shafts with old scalloped capitals and moulded abaci; there is a moulded label; the doorway has been partly restored.

The North or Huntley Chapel (17¼ ft. by 12½ ft.) has in the E. wall a 15th-century window of two cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a square head. In the N. wall is a window of c. 1330 and of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; the labels, sill, jambs and rear-arch are moulded. In the W. wall is a 14th-century window of one trefoiled light. In the S. wall, E. of the archway, is a small square window, lighting the rood-loft staircase.

The West Tower (11¼ ft. by 10½ ft.) is of mid 14th-century date, and of two stages with a moulded plinth and restored embattled parapet. The two-centred tower-arch is of two moulded orders, the outer continuous and the inner dying on to the responds. The W. window is of two trefoiled lights with modern mullion and tracery in a two-centred head; the reveals are casement-moulded. The upper storey of this stage has in the S. and W. walls a window of one trefoiled ogee light; in the N. wall is a loop. The bell-chamber has in each wall a partly restored window of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head.

Fittings—Bells: four; 1st mediæval and inscribed "Ave Regina Celo B.V.M."; 2nd by Abraham Rudhall, 1705; 3rd by John Finch, 1641; 4th by the same founder, 162(3?). Bell-frame old. Bracket: In N. chapel—on E. wall, square moulded bracket, 15th-century; on N. wall, two corbel-brackets, probably roof-corbels, re-set. Chest: In N. vestry— with three moulded panels in front and two at each end, plain lid, late 17th or early 18th-century. Churchyard Cross: S. of church, broken octagonal stem on square base, splayed to an octagon above; small round-headed niche in W. face of base, 14th or 15th-century. Communion Table: with turned legs, fluted top rail with shaped brackets, moulded lower rails, early 17th-century. Font: modern bowl on old cylindrical stem, re-tooled. Locker: In N. chapel— in N. wall, rectangular recess rebated for door, probably 14th-century. Monument: In N. chapel—on E. wall, to Sarah (Hosier) wife of Andrew Carwardine, 1707, stone tablet with enriched head. Piscina: In chancel—recess with trefoiled head and moulded label, late 13th or early 14th-century, partly restored and sill modern. In N. chapel—recess with cinque-foiled ogee head and half-octagonal drain in projecting moulded sill, 14th-century. Pulpit: square with panelled sides, three sides each with double-arched heads enriched with guilloche-ornament and foliated spandrels, side-pilasters with strap-ornament and pendant in middle; above panels a fluted frieze and modern cornice; base of same form with moulded panels, early 17th-century. Seating: In nave—four heavy oak bench-ends with triangular heads and two half bench-ends carved with fluted ornament, and three rolls at angles of head, 16th-century. Miscellanea: In tower—under W. window, carved boards from former roof with inscriptions (a)" and Richard Goode, Carpenter"; (b) "This church was re-edified the first year of the rainge of Kinge Charles"; (c) "Ano. Dni. 1625 Henrie Maredith and Richard Coulcom Church Wardens."

Condition—Good, largely re-built.


Monuments (2–11)

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are covered with stone slates or modern tiles and slates. Several of the buildings have exposed ceiling-beams and old chimney-stacks.

Condition—Good, or fairly good.

a(2). Preston Court, S.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. It was built probably early in the 16th century, but appears to have been heightened in the 17th century and largely recased at a later date. Some timber-framing is exposed at the N. end. Inside the building are some original moulded ceiling-beams.

b(3). Elm Cottage, 400 yards S. of the church, has exposed timber-framing and, on the N. side, two oak brackets, perhaps to carry a long thatch-hook.

b(4). Green Farm, house and barn, 1,000 yards S. of the church. The House was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century; the N.W. wing is probably a 17th-century addition. The timber-framing is exposed on the W. and S. sides. Inside the building is a blocked doorway with a four-centred head.

The Barn, N. of the house, is of L-shaped plan and the timber-framing is weather-boarded.

b(5). Cottage, now two tenements, on the E. side of the Green, 120 yards E. of (4), has exposed timber-framing.

b(6). House, at the S. end of the Green, 100 yards S.S.E. of (4), has exposed timber-framing, with brick filling, and a modern addition on the S. side.

b(7). Huntley Court, house 1,160 yards S. of the church, has been re-fronted in brick and has modern additions on the N. and W. The timber-framing is exposed on the N. side. Inside the building is some early 17th-century panelling.

b(8). Cottage, at the road-fork, nearly 1 m. S.S.E. of the church, has exposed timber-framing.

b(9). Cottage, on the E. side of the road, 400 yards S. of (8), has exposed timber-framing and a modern addition at the S. end.

b(10). Cottage, W. of Bellamoor and 300 yards S.S.E. of (9), was built probably early in the 18th century and has exposed timber-framing.

b(11). Lower Bellamoor Farm, house, about 1¼ m. S. of the church, is probably of mediæval origin, with a central hall-block and cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. Early in the 17th century an upper floor was inserted in the hall. The house was much altered in the 18th century and modern times, the E. cross-wing being extended to the S. and largely refaced in brick. Much of the timber-framing is exposed. Inside the building, the hall-block retains part of its original central roof-truss and the inserted floor has some moulded beams.