An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, Volume 1, South west. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1931.
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11 BRIDSTOW (E.d.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XLVI, S.E., (b)LI, N.E., (c)LI, N.W.)
Bridstow is a parish and village 1 m. W. of Ross. The principal monuments are Wilton Castle and Wilton Bridge.
b(1). Parish Church of St. Bridget stands in the middle of the parish. With the exception of the West Tower the whole church was re-built in 1862, but the chancel arch is of early 12th-century material re-set.
Architectural Description—The Chancel has, in the N. wall, a re-set arcade of c. 1200, and of two bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the capital of the modern column has a moulded abacus and a bell, carved with 'stiff-leaf' foliage. The chancel-arch is semi-circular and of two orders with a chamfered label towards the nave; the orders are plain on the E. side, but towards the nave the inner order is enriched with incised saltire ornament and the outer order is carved with cheveron enrichment; the responds have attached shafts to the inner and outer order on the W.; the shafts have cushion-capitals, carved with scrolls, acanthus-ornament, etc.
The West Tower (13¼ ft. by 12¼ ft.) has walls of local red sandstone. It is of late 14th-century date, and is roofed with a modern pyramidal roof. The tower (Plate 3) is of three storeys and externally in two stages with a moulded plinth and plain parapet with a moulded coping. Projecting from the string-course below the parapet on each wall are two water-spouts, all modern except one on the S. wall which is a carved beast-gargoyle. The ground stage has a two-centred tower arch of two chamfered orders, the inner and the outer order on the E. being continuous and the outer order on the W. dying on to the side walls of the tower. The W. window has been slightly repaired; it is of three lights in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the middle light is multifoiled and the side lights are each cinque-foiled; in the S. wall is a doorway to the tower stair; it has chamfered jambs and a segmental-pointed head. The bell-chamber has in each wall an original window of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head. Immediately above the string-course dividing the upper from the lower stages of the tower on the N. and S. walls is a small square-headed light.
Fittings—Bells: eight; 1st by Robert Hendel of Gloucester, and inscribed "Sancte Michael Ora Pro Nobis," 15th-century. Chair: In chancel—of oak (Plate 26), with turned front legs and arm supports, enriched rails, shaped and enriched arms and panelled back carved with enriched segmental arch supported on carved Ionic pilasters with carved spandrels and enclosing conventional vine plant; top of back in form of two enriched scrolls flanking carved man's head in middle and supported at sides by scrollbrackets; parts of enrichment and carving gilded, first half of 17th century. Churchyard Cross: small portions of lower part of octagonal shaft only, standing on square base on four much-weathered steps, octagonal on plan, mediæval, now supporting small brass sundial. Door: In S. aisle (Plate 34)—battened and nail-studded and with four-centred head; front panelled, with planted-on ribs, in four vertical panels, the two middle panels being wider than the outer panels and with trefoiled ogee heads and tracery above; base board modern and moulded ribs restored to lower part of door; remains of two wrought-iron hinges fixed on face of door, early 14th-century. Font: octagonal bowl, with square panels, filled with conventional leaves or cusped sub-panels, moulded under edge, with carved paterae, stem with panelled faces and traceried heads, probably 15th-century, much re-cut. Monuments: In chancel— re-set in modern recess in N. wall, (1) small altar-tomb (Plate 44) with front and back in four arcaded bays with cinque-foiled two-centred arches and trefoiled spandrels and supported on small attached columns with moulded capitals; ends each of two similar bays; top with moulded edge and panelled with sunk cinquefoil-headed recess with crocketed gable supported on attached shafts with moulded capitals surmounted by pinnacles and bases resting on shaped corbels; within recess shield surmounted by a cross and flanked by 'stiff-leaf' foliage; the whole tomb below the level of capitals to arcade columns is modern, as is also the whole of the W. end; upper part c. 1300. In churchyard—S. of S. porch (2) to John Barrow, 1683, headstone with ornamental top and carved enrichment at sides; (3) to Jane, wife of Richard Tommy, 1710, headstone with shaped top; (4) to Walter Smith, 1697, headstone; against W. wall of churchyard, (5) to Mary, wife of Thomas Hill, 1699, headstone; S. of porch, (6) to Micael Ford, 1705, headstone with shaped top and carved cherub-head; (7) to William Moris, 1683, headstone with shaped top, carved hour-glass and floral ornament; (8) to John Douding (1698–9 ?), headstone with semi-circular top and sunk panel. Piscina: In chancel—re-set in E. wall, recess with chamfered trefoiled head, 14th-century, sill modern. Plate: includes a cup of 1576.
b(2). Wilton Castle, stands nearly ½ m. S.E. of the church and 60 yards N. of the River Wye. The castle is in ruins, but the remaining walls are of local red sandstone with a few portions of tufa which have probably been re-used. According to Leland and Giraldus Cambrensis, there was a castle at Wilton in the reign of Stephen, when the Longchamp family were lords of Wilton. The existing remains, however, date from late in the 13th or early in the 14th century, the N.W. Tower being perhaps a little later. At this period the castle belonged to the Greys. In the 16th century a large house was built incorporating the S.W. Tower, and probably at the same time the S. curtain wall and S. portion of the E. wall were destroyed. During the Civil War the castle belonged to Sir John Brydges, and the house is said to have been burnt at this period. In modern times a house has been built incorporating portions of the old S.W. tower and part of the 16th-century building.
The castle apparently consisted of an irregular quadrilateral court with a curtain wall, a tower at each angle and one in the middle of the E. wall; within the courtyard, buildings were erected against the curtain wall. The remains consist of the W., N. and part of the E. wall, the S.W. tower which is probably incomplete, the N.W. tower and the middle tower on the E. wall, all being in a ruinous state. There are also the remains of the 16th-century house.
The E. Curtain Wall is of mixed rubble and rough ashlar and has a round tower in the middle of its length; the top has been destroyed. There is an entrance from the courtyard to the E. tower, with chamfered jambs and two-centred arch; S. of the entrance is a window to the tower with a re-used trefoiled head. The internal wall-face of the tower has been almost entirely destroyed; the face of the W. wall was re-built to form nests when the tower was used as a dovecot, probably in the 16th century. Immediately W. of the entrance, in the thickness of the curtain wall, is a small chamber, possibly a garde-robe, and there is a similar chamber, now blocked, at the level of the lowest stage of the tower, which is now filled in with earth; there are several loop-lights at this level. The upper stage has two windows, that to the S. being the original loop; the other appears to have been enlarged and much damaged during the alterations in the 16th century. Externally the walls are splayed out with a curve at the base. The tower is split from top to bottom on both the N. and S. sides and is in a ruinous condition, but apparently had, at one time, a machicolated parapet. Further N. are the remains of a projection, possibly a buttress. The N. Curtain Wall is of similar construction to the E. wall; for a portion of its length it retains the parapetwalk and part of the parapet. The N.E. angle tower has disappeared; it was probably octagonal, but most of the wall at this point has been re-built; a blocked entrance-doorway with a flat head and a small portion of the old wall remain. There were formerly buildings against this wall, and a fireplace remains on the outside with chamfered jambs and flat head, but the lower part is hidden owing to the raising of the ground-level. Immediately E. of the N.W. angle tower the wall has been re-built much thinner than the original wall, part of which remains at the base. Externally, about the middle of the wall is a buttress with weathered top and chamfered plinth which appears to be original; to the E. are the remains of another but probably later buttress. The N.W. Tower (Plate 2) is octagonal on plan and of two stages. It has a double external plinth and is entered by a doorway with a shouldered head. The S.W., N.W. and N.E. walls have loops with splayed reveals and flat soffits, the shouldered jambs having the shouldering splayed back and dying into the reveals. The W. wall has a fireplace opening with chamfered jambs and flat head. The E. wall has an entrance, with a shouldered head, to a garde-robe which has a flat soffit with chamfered corbelling, and a small loop. In the upper stage, the S.E. wall has a doorway similar to that below. The S. wall has a blocked loop. The S.W. and N.W. walls have windows with splayed reveals and trefoiled ogee-headed openings, that on the S.W. having a later head. The W. wall has a fireplace opening with chamfered jambs and flat head. The N. wall has a modern window, and the N.E. wall a blocked window. In the E. wall is a garde-robe similar to that below. Externally the parapet over the entrance in the S.E. wall is corbelled out to the curtainwall; the parapet itself has a moulded coping and, in the middle, a large cross-loop. The S. wall of the tower has remains, apparently, of a doorway from the tower to the parapet walk; at the upper stage level is a blocked loop. Rising above the parapet on the W. side is a stone chimney-stack with a square base with a stone face except on the E. side, which is brick; the shaft is octagonal with trefoil-headed openings in alternate faces and an embattled capping. The projecting garde-robes have a weathered stone roof and a pointed arched outlet to a drain. The W. Curtain Wall is largely of rough ashlar; it retains part of the parapet and parapet walk. Internally, near the N. end of the wall, at the base, is a small opening, possibly a drain; further S. are two small blocked windows, probably of later date. At the S. end of the wall are two windows with splayed reveals, round rear-arches and probably trefoil-headed openings; to the N. of these was a similar window, now destroyed except the S. jamb. Externally the face of the wall is splayed back where it joins the S.W. tower, and along the whole length are modern one-storeyed buildings. The S.W. Tower (Plate 2) appears to have been refaced externally c. 1400. It was built on a long narrow plan running roughly E. and W., rectangular at the E. end and semi-circular at the W. and with a staircase to the upper floor on the N. side. On the S. side is a small, incomplete projection which may indicate that the original entrance to the courtyard was at this point and that, when complete, it formed, with the existing tower, a gatehouse similar to that at Goodrich Castle. The tower was apparently four-storeyed. In the basement, the W. end has been largely re-built externally; internally it forms a half-octagon. In the N. wall is a doorway with jambs and segmental-pointed arch of two chamfered orders, which probably gave access to the undercroft of the former Hall. E. of this opening is a cross-wall apparently of the 16th century. The E. wall is of the same date, the original wall having been approximately 2½ ft. thicker on the inner side. In the S. wall are two openings with segmental-pointed arches of two chamfered orders; the western is now covered by soil and only the top voussoirs are exposed. On the ground floor, the W. end is destroyed above basement level except for a small portion S. of the basement entrance. At the W. end of what remains of the N. wall is part of the pointed arch of a window. In the S. wall is the pointed arch of a doorway, formerly giving access to a passage in the thickness of the wall which communicated with the projection which may have formed part of the gatehouse; the passage has a small square-headed window. On the first floor, the N. wall has part of a chimney-flue, and a doorway with a pointed arch communicates with the staircase. On the S. side there is a small window with a pointed head, and a doorway possibly led to the upper floor of what may have been the gate-house. On the second floor the walling has almost entirely disappeared. The staircase from the ground to the first floor was built against the N. wall, but the stairs are now missing. It was approached from a small lobby with a pointed doorway to the ground floor of the tower and by another doorway in the E. wall. There is a later entrance on the N. into what is now the kitchen of the modern house. On the first floor the stairs lead, under a pointed arch, to a landing at the W. end of which are two openings with pointed arches, that to the S. giving access to a vise leading to the second floor, and that to the N. opening into a passage which terminated against the W. wall with a loop. The Hall does not now exist, but apparently it abutted on the outer or northernmost wall of the staircase; it had an undercroft, and its W. wall was formed by the W. curtain wall and contained the three windows mentioned above.
The Remains of the 16th-century House (Plate 84), apart from those which are incorporated in the modern house, consist on plan of portions of an approximately square structure with a projecting wing on the N. side and a rounded angle at the S.E. which terminated on the W. in a narrow projecting bay. The wall was formerly continued westwards beyond the bay. The N. Elevation. The projecting wing has an eight-light bay-window, formerly of two storeys, but only one now remains. The window has moulded jambs, mullions, head and transom. The main wall of the house has, on each floor, a much-damaged two-light transomed window; halfway between floor levels are two similar windows showing the positions of the former staircase landings; all these windows have moulded labels. The W. Elevation. This wall of the N. wing would appear to have been re-built in the 17th century. It has a modern doorway and a projecting rectangular chimney-stack with plain plinth and weathered sides, the shaft is missing. Only a portion of the W. wall of the main part of the house remains, and the lower part is hidden by the modern house. On the first floor are two two-light transomed windows similar to the other windows, but the mullions and transoms are missing. The S. Elevation. The S. side of the rounded angle has a two-light transomed window, with mullion and transoms missing, on the ground floor, and half of a similar window remains on the first floor. A moulded string-course is carried up over the head of the window. W. of the rounded angle is a narrow rectangular projecting bay. On both the ground and first floors is a two-light transomed window without mullions or transoms and with string-courses carried up over the window-heads to act as labels. The E. Elevation has, on the first floor, a three-light double-transomed window with the mullions missing and a modern lintel. Only the wall of the N. wing now remains, and this has been partly re-built, possibly in the 17th century, but immediately to the S. the plinth of a semi-hexagonal oriel remains. The rounded projection at the S.E. angle stands to a height of two storeys and what may have been a parapet or possibly the beginning of a third storey. At each floor level is a moulded string.
The Moat formerly surrounded the site, forming a roughly rectangular island. On the S. side the moat has been almost entirely filled in, and on the E. side there is a scarp only.
b(3). Wilton Bridge (Plate 85) crossing the River Wye on the main Hereford-Ross road about ¾ m. from Ross, is built of local red sandstone ashlar. In 1597 an Act was passed authorising the construction of this bridge, and the building was completed within the next two years. It is said to have replaced the "wood bridge by Roose" mentioned by Leland, but the fact that, at its completion, pontage was granted to Charles Bridges, in recompense for the loss of his ferry rights, makes it appear doubtful whether the two bridges could have been on the same site. During the Civil War one of the arches near the Hereford side was demolished as a defensive measure, apparently the one nearest the shore, as the others are uniform in treatment. In 1914 the bridge had become unsafe for heavy traffic and a ferroconcrete system of beams was inserted to take the load off the arches, the parapets were re-built, and the casing of the three most southerly piers and the upstream side of the fourth pier were re-set. The other piers were repaired and the upstream parapet above the arch at the N. end of the bridge was moved slightly outwards and supported by a stone slab.
This is a fine example of a 16th-century bridge.
The bridge is of six spans; the piers have cut-waters on both sides which are carried up and splayed back from the outer angle at the parapet level, forming semi-hexagonal refuges; at the point where the splay dies out is a moulded string which is mitred and carried up in the angle against the spandrels of the arches and then mitred and carried across to form a label over the arches. The N.W. arch is chamfered and segmental-pointed and has no label above the shore half. On the down-stream side the re-built parapet projects slightly in front of the arch face, and the haunch of the arch has been re-built; on the upstream side the road has been widened and the parapet is now overhanging and is supported on a stone slab. The other arches have three chamfered ribs which are not bonded into the soffits; the voussoirs are chamfered and joggled (Plate 11) and have various masons' marks. The S.E. approach walls have been re-built in ashlar and have two flights of stone steps down to the river bank. Re-erected in a refuge on the upstream side of the bridge is an early 18th-century sundial (Plate 11); it has a square pedestal with a moulded and fielded panel on each side and a moulded cap and base, a square bulbous-shaped shaft with channelled sides, carved with acanthus-leaf ornament and a moulded cap. Above stands a square stone pillar having on each face a panel with a sundial and finished at the top with a ball-finial. Below one dial is inscribed:—"Esteem thy precious time, which pass so swift away; Prepare then for eternity, and do not make delay."
b(4). King's Head Hotel, shop with dwelling, and house adjoining, block of buildings immediately N.W. of (3). The Inn is of three storeys, and the other two buildings are of two storeys and attics; the walls are of brick and the roofs are covered with slates and tiles.
The whole block was remodelled and largely re-built in the 18th century, but it incorporates one or more 17th-century buildings, some beams of this date being exposed in ground-floor ceilings of the Inn and the square brick chimney-stack of the house being constructed of old bricks.
b(5). The Prison House (Plate 13), on the bank of the River Wye, about ½ m. S.S.E. of the church and 50 yards S.W. of (3), is of two storeys; the walls are rough ashlar of red sandstone and the roof is covered with modern tiles. It was built c. 1600, and is said to have been used as a prison; the windows are all barred, but the bars appear to be of later date. Late in the 18th century a building was erected against the N. wall which probably incorporates part of the original building. On the first floor are two two-light windows with square heads. The S. elevation has a similar window and an original chimney-stack.
b(6). Wilton Court, house, about ½ m. S.S.E. of the church and 30 yards S.W. of (5), is of two storeys, with attics. The walls are of stone and of timber-framing, and the roof is covered with modern slates. The plan is L-shaped with the wings extending towards the N. and W. The original block or W. wing was built c. 1600, and the N. wing, which is of timber-framed construction, was added c. 1700, except the portion immediately adjoining the W. wing, which is apparently earlier. Additions have been made in modern times, and the house appears to have been partly re-built. The S. elevation has moulded stringcourses at the floor-levels. The doorway has chamfered jambs and four-centred arch. There are two original three-light windows and remains of other original windows. The chimney-stack has a rectangular stone base, but the upper part is modern. The W. elevation has, at the S., the gabled end of the W. wing, the wall being of stone and the re-built gable of timber-framing and plaster. The N. wing is largely concealed by modern buildings, but portions of timber-framing are exposed. The projection of the staircase on the W. front has exposed timber-framing with modern brick nogging; the gabled N. end of the N. wing is probably modern. The E. elevation has two original four-light windows; in the gable is an oval panel with traces of a date (?). There are stringcourses uniform with those on the S. elevation. Inside the building are exposed stop-chamfered beams, and some partitions in the attic have exposed timber-framing. The ground-floor room at the S.E. angle is panelled and has a dado of bolection-moulded and fielded panels, a moulded dado-rail, cornice and skirting; the angle-fireplace has a bolection-moulded surround and a modern shelf; the door is three-panelled and bolection-moulded; all of early 18th-century date.
In the garden immediately opposite on the E. side of the road is a portion of a cross which formerly stood beside the ford which crosses the river at this point. The base is square with chamfered angles at the top; the portion of the octagonal shaft has spur stops at the base and is possibly of the 14th century. Set in the wall immediately N. of the cross is a gable finial, probably from Wilton Court.
b(7). Orls Barn, on the S. side of Monmouth Road and about 630 yards S.S.E. of the church; the walls are timber-framed on a chamfered stone plinth and the roof is covered with corrugated iron. It was built in the 17th century. It is of three bays with a double door in the middle of each side.
c(8). Lane End, house, 70 yards S. of the HerefordRoss road, just over 1 m. W.S.W. of the church, is of one storey and attics; the walls are of timber-framing, and the roofs are covered with tiles. It was built probably early in the 17th century, and there are modern additions on the S. and W. The W. elevation has exposed timber-framing; the lower storey has been faced with stone, but has heavy angle-posts. The S. elevation is timber-framed, but is largely concealed by modern additions. Inside the building, the W. room has exposed joists and stop-chamfered ceiling-beam.
b(9). Moore Court Farm, house, on the N. side of the road, ½ m. W. of the church, is of one storey and attics; the walls are of stone and the roof is covered with tiles. It was built in the 17th century. Late in the 18th century the E. end was either extended or re-built. The W. elevation has a timber-framed gable and a projecting stone chimney-stack. Inside the building are some exposed joists and stop-chamfered beams.
b(10). Cottage, on the W. side of the road, 280 yards N.N.W. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of stone and the roof is covered with slates. It was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century; the W. half is now in ruins. The W. wall of the E. half has been re-built in modern times and an addition built on the N. side. At the E. end is a projecting stone stack with offset sides. Inside the building are some exposed stop-chamfered ceiling-beams.
b(11). Ashe Farm, house, 1100 yards N.N.W. of the church, has two storeys with attics; the walls are of red sandstone and the roof is covered with stone slates and modern slates. The house incorporates portions of 15th-century date, including one crutch truss, visible against the central stack on the first floor. Late in the 16th or early in the 17th century the N.W. portion of the house was added and the N.E. portion either built or remodelled incorporating part of the 15th-century house. Early in the 18th century the southern half of the house was built or possibly re-built incorporating part of the old house. The southern half of the E. elevation is of ashlar; the northern half is of rubble and has a plinth; the doorway has an 18th-century beaded frame and an 18th-century three-light wood mullioned window on both floors. The N. elevation has twin gables, the eastern re-built. The northern part of the W. elevation has been partially re-built and modernised; the southern part is of ashlar and uniform in treatment with the E. elevation. There are two-light windows with wood frames to each landing of the staircase. To the N. of these is a one-light window with an old frame on each floor. The S. elevation is of ashlar; the windows have been modernised, and there is a segmental arched opening to the cellar. Inside the building there are some portions of re-set 17th-century wood panelling with moulded framing in the hall; the early 18th-century staircase has moulded continuous string, handrail, balusters and square newels.
a(12). Ashe Ingen Court, house and outbuildings, ¾ m. N.N.W. of the church. The House is now of two storeys; the walls are of stone and the roof is covered with stone slates. It was built of timber late in the 16th or early in the 17th century; in the middle of the 18th century it was extended towards the S. and a one-storeyed addition on the S. end of the W. side and some alterations carried out internally; it was further altered more recently and cased with stone after a fire. The E. elevation has been modernised; a two-light window with moulded stone mullion, head and jambs has been re-set in the N. end of the E. side at ground-floor level. A doorway on the N. elevation has stop-moulded jambs and four-centred head of stone. The W. elevation is largely concealed by additions; set in the wall above the first-floor window is a stone shield-of-arms of Abrahall, probably of 18th-century date. Inside the building a stone fireplace with a four-centred arched opening has been re-set in the dining-room; there are exposed stop-chamfered ceiling-beams and some exposed timber-framing in the same room. In the drawing-room the stone cheeks of the fireplace opening are original.
Immediately to the W. and connected to the house by a screen wall, is a small stone building of one storey and attics, built in the 17th century, and now used as servants' quarters. It was remodelled in the 18th century and the S. wall was re-built in ashlar; it was again remodelled in modern times.
The Barn (Plate 12), W. of the house, is of red sandstone rubble, and the roof is covered with tiles. It was probably built in the 17th century; it bears the date 1753, which possibly refers to some rebuilding or extension. The N. elevation has two rows of loops and two projecting gabled porches. The E. and W. elevations have three rows of loops; below the apex of the E. gable is a flat slab in which is an owl-hole, and the date 1753. The S. elevation has loops and two double doors, but is largely concealed by later additions. Internally the barn is divided into twelve bays by eleven trusses, some of which have been repaired and others are modern.
The Cider House, S. of the house, is of two storeys; the walls are of stone rubble and the roof is covered with tiles. It was built in the 17th century, and was extended to the W. late in the 18th century. The S. elevation has external stone stairs to the loft. Inside the building the ground floor has exposed and stop-chamfered ceiling-beams.