An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, Volume 2, East. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1932.
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7 BISHOP'S FROME (D.c.)
a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary stands in the middle of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone rubble with dressings and ashlar of the same material; the roofs are tiled. The Chancel and Nave were built towards the end of the 12th century, but the unusual proportions of the nave indicate that it was subsequently lengthened before the addition of the West Tower about the middle of the 14th century. The tower-staircase was added in the 16th or 17th century. The chancel was largely re-built in 1847, and the nave was restored in 1861; the North Vestry, North Aisle and South Porch are modern.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (27½ ft. by 18½ ft.) has been largely re-built except perhaps for the base of the N. wall. The mid to late 12th-century chancel-arch (Plate 9) is semi-circular, and of two moulded orders, the inner with cheveron-ornament; the responds have each two attached shafts with scalloped capitals and chamfered abaci continued along the wall.
The Nave (70¾ ft. by 18¼ ft.) has a modern N. arcade and further W. a modern window. In the S. wall are six windows all modern except the easternmost, which is of early 14th-century date and of one trefoiled ogee light; the late 12th-century S. doorway (Plate 79) has a round arch of three moulded orders with a chamfered label; the middle order has cheveron-ornament; the inner order is continued down the jambs but the two outer spring from shafts with moulded bases and capitals carved with water-leaf and other foliage.
The West Tower (11½ ft. by 13 ft.) is of c. 1340 and of three stages with an embattled parapet. The two-centred tower-arch is of three chamfered orders, the two outer continuous and the inner springing from semi-octagonal shafts with roughly moulded capitals. The partly restored W. window is of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head. The staircase, in the N.E. angle, is a later addition. The second stage has in the N., S. and W. walls a window of one trefoiled light in a square head; this stage is of two storeys internally. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a window of two pointed lights with uncusped tracery in a two-centred head.
Fittings—Bells: six and sanctus; sanctus probably by John Martin of Worcester, 1673. Chairs (Plate 43): In chancel—(1) with turned legs, shaped arms, panelled back with date 1623 and scrolled top-rail; (2) with turned legs, shaped arms, enriched panelled back and carved and scrolled top-rail, early 17th-century; (3 and 4) two, each with turned legs and side posts, carved and scrolled tops, cane panel in back, c. 1700. Chest: In tower—plain, with iron straps and two lock-plates, 16th or 17th-century. Communion Table: In N. aisle—with turned legs, moulded lower rails, carved top-rail, early 17th-century, top modern. Font: rounded bowl (40 in. diam.) of reddish breccia with moulded lower edge, early 13th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In nave—in S. wall, (1) recess and effigy, recess with hollow-chamfered segmental-pointed arch, with ball-flower ornament and label with nail-head ornament; effigy in mail with surcoat, crossed legs and hands holding sword, feet on lion, late 13th-century, effigy much defaced and broken; on S. wall, (2) to Lancelott Skinner, 1695, John Skinner, 1712, and others later, tablet with fluted side-pilasters, cresting and shield-of-arms; (3) to John Browne, 1694, and Margaret his daughter, wife of Herbert Hancocks, 1688, inscription-tablet. In churchyard—against E. wall, (4) to La[ncelott] Skinner, 1695, John Skinner, senior, 1712, and others later, slab; E. of chancel, (5) to Thomas Tyler, 165–, head-stone; S.E. of chancel, (6) to Mary, daughter of Richard Drew, 1712. Floor-slabs: In chancel against N. wall, (1) to Susanna, wife of Richard Hopton, 1709; (2) to Richard Hopton, 1696; (3) to William Edwards, vicar, 17—. Paintings: In N. aisle —on panels, (1) Virgin and Child with St. John the Baptist, attributed to B. Bonfiglio (c. 1420–1500); (2) two of male and female saints, attributed to A. da Messina (c. 1444–93). Piscinæ: In chancel—(1) recess with trefoiled head and quatre-foiled drain, 14th-century, re-set and re-tooled. In nave—in S. wall, (2) recess with pointed head and quatre-foiled drain, 14th-century. Seating: In tower—coffin-stool, 17th-century. Screen (Plate 73): between chancel and nave—of three main bays, cornice with vine-ornament and brattishing, central doorway with refixed cusped spandrels, side bays each of three lights with trefoiled ogee heads, crockets and finials, close lower panels with refixed fragments of carving, moulded posts and mullions, 15th-century, made up with modern work.
b(3). Barn (Plate 34) at Cheyney Court, about ½ m. S.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of rubble with ashlar dressings, and the roofs are tile-covered. It was built in the 16th or early in the 17th century and is said to have been used as a chapel. A modern turret has been added on the W. gable. The windows are mostly original and of one, two or three lights with square heads. Inside the building are an exposed ceiling-beam and joists.
b(4). White House (Plate 81), 1,000 yards E.S.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are timber-framed and the roofs are slate-covered. The W. part of the house was built early in the 16th century and was extended to the E. in rubble early in the 17th century; there is a modern addition on the N. The timber-framing of the original building is exposed and is close-set in the ground storey and square framed above. The upper storey projects slightly on a heavy splayed bressummer with pilasters at intervals below, finished with tall splayed heads. The gable at the W. end projects on a chamfered bressummer with curved braces. Inside the building some ceiling-beams and framing are exposed.
b(5). Lower Walton Farm, house (Plate 80), over ¾ m. S.W. of the church, is of two storeys with cellars and attics; the walls are timber-framed and the roofs are tiled. It is of H-shaped plan with the cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The W. wing was built late in the 14th or early in the 15th century, but the central or Hall-block was re-built late in the 16th century, and the E. wing early in the 17th century. The S. front has been largely refaced in brick. The E. wing is mainly of rubble and has some 17th-century windows. The W. wing has exposed close-set timber-framing in four heights, all original. In the W. wall is the head of an original window of six lights and above it a blocked window of the same date, with chamfered mullions. Inside the building the W. wing has an original roof of four bays; the trusses have two cambered collars with struts between and above them; the wind-braces are foiled. Elsewhere the ceiling-beams and much of the framing are exposed.
b(6). Bromtree's Hall, house and pigeon-house, nearly 1½ m. W.S.W. of the church. The House is of three storeys with cellars; the walls are of brick, and the roofs are tiled. The low kitchen-wing was built early in the 17th century, and the main block was built towards the middle of the 18th century but incorporating earlier work. There is an 18th-century wing S. of the kitchen. Inside the building the 17th-century wing has exposed ceiling-beams and a staircase with late 17th-century turned balusters. Some panelling, of the same date, remains in the main block.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and with tile or slate-covered roofs. Most of the buildings have exposed external timber-framing and internal ceiling-beams and some have original chimney-stacks.
a(8). Wellington Farm, house ½ m. N.W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. It was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century. The N.W. block is carried on four square posts forming an open porch, with moulded bressummers. Inside the building is an original opening with a moulded four-centred head.
a(13). Court Farm, house now four tenements, 50 yards N. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. The N. end is possibly mediæval, the rest being a 16th-century addition. The walls are partly of rubble.
a(14). Parsonage Farm, house S. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. It is of rectangular plan, the N. part dating from c. 1600 and the S. part being a late 17th-century addition. Inside the building are some moulded brackets under the ceiling-beams. The gables have diagonal framing.
a(16). Paunton Court, nearly 1¼ m. N.N.E. of the church, is of two storeys with cellars and attics; the walls are partly of rubble. The N. block may date from late in the 16th century, and the adjoining S. wing was added early in the 17th century; there are later and modern additions to the S. of both blocks. Inside the building is a staircase of c. 1700, with turned balusters, square newels and close strings.
c(24). Woodcraft Farm, house 550 yards S. of (23), is of two storeys with cellars and attics. It has been reduced in size. Inside the building, the N. wing has an original plaster ceiling in two large moulded panels, one enclosing a wreath of conventional flowers in high relief.
b(26). Lower Vinetree Farm, house about ¾ m. S.S.E. of the church, was built probably in the 15th century, and has a main framework of four large crutch-trusses. The house otherwise seems to have been reconstructed in the 16th century. The trusses are smoke-blackened, and have heavy tie-beams notched into the blades and subsidiary ties above. The trusses form three bays, 15 ft. in width.