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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77 SUTTON (B.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XXVI, S.E., (b)XXVII, S.W., (c)XXXIV, N.W.)
Sutton, formerly two parishes united in 1876, is situated on the left bank of the Lugg, 4 m. N.N.E. of Hereford. The churches of St. Michael and St. Nicholas, Freen's Court, Ivy Cottage and Sutton Walls Fort are the principal monuments.
b(1). Parish Church of St. Nicholas (Plate 4) stands in the N. part of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone rubble with dressings of the same material and the roofs are covered with stone slates and slates. The Nave is possibly a 12th-century building, though there is little evidence of this. The Chancel was built early in the 13th century and the West Tower was added in the same century. The South Transept was added early in the 14th century and the North Porch was built in the same century. The church was restored in the 19th century and the Vestry is modern.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (19 ft. by 14½ ft.) has an E. window of c. 1300 and of two trefoiled lights with a re-set head. In the N. wall is a 13th-century lancet-window with a modern head; farther W. is a blocked 14th-century doorway, with chamfered jambs and segmental-pointed head, destroyed externally. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern of c. 1300 and of a single trefoiled light and the western a 13th-century lancet-light; between them is a blocked early 13th-century doorway with moulded jambs and two-centred head. The early 13th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of one chamfered order with chamfered imposts and plinths; in the soffit of the arch is a groove for a former wooden tympanum.
The Nave (45¾ ft. by 15½ ft.) has, in the N. wall, two windows, the eastern of uncertain date and of a single light with a triangular head and the western also a single light, perhaps of the 12th century, enlarged in the 18th century; it has a segmental head; the N. doorway, probably of the 14th century, has chamfered jambs and square head; E. of it is a cavity in the wall with a small external opening, of doubtful purpose and date. In the S. wall is an early 14th-century arcade of two bays with two-centred arches of two moulded orders, on the N. face, continued down the responds; the column is octagonal with moulded capital and base, all modern or re-tooled; of the two windows in this wall the eastern is a 13th-century lancet-light and the western is a single round-headed light with a wooden frame; it is perhaps of the 12th century, enlarged in the 18th century; the 12th-century S. doorway has roll-moulded jambs and a flat lintel.
The South Transept (20¼ ft. by 19¼ ft.) is of early 14th-century date and has a S. window of two trefoiled lights; above it externally are two re-set 13th-century head-corbels and a stone ledge, perhaps for an 18th-century sundial. In the W. wall is a single-light window with a rounded head.
The West Tower (9½ ft. square) is of the 13th century and of two stages with a plain parapet. The two-centred tower-arch is of one chamfered order; in the W. wall is a lancet-window. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a small lancet-window.
The North Porch was added in the 14th century but has been largely re-built. It is timber-framed and retains the outer and inner original trusses; the outer gable has collar and tie-beam with curved and moulded braces below the latter.
The Roof of the nave is probably of 15th-century date and is of five bays with curved braces below the collar-beams and curved wind-braces; it is now covered by a curved ceiling below which are three tie-beams. There is a similar roof over the S. transept, also ceiled; below the ceiling are two pairs of moulded brackets with the initials and date, I.I. 1623.
Fittings—Bells: six; 3rd, probably by John Martin, 1669; 4th, by Isaac Hadley of Leominster, 1703; and 6th, by John Finch, 1629. Bracket: In S. transept— on E. wall, square moulded shelf, mediæval. Churchyard Cross: S. of church, loose stone base, square to octagonal on plan, with remains of niche in one face, probably 15th-century. Communion Table: with legs in form of Doric columns, with carved and enriched top rail, early 17th century. Floor-slab: In S. transept —to Edward Leech, 1649. Font: round tapering bowl, 12th-century, stem and base modern. Panelling: In nave—incorporated in pews, early 17th-century panelling. Piscinæ: In chancel—in E. splay of S.E. window, recess with trefoiled head and ball-flower ornament, octofoiled drain, early 14th-century. In nave—in S. wall, similar to above, former projecting bowl broken off. In S. transept—in S. wall, recess with trefoiled head and remains of projecting bowl, early 14th-century. Pulpit: of oak, hexagonal with panelled sides, top panels with guilloche-ornament, early 17th-century, cornice and base modern; in front of pulpit, remains of clerk's desk, with panelled sides and fluted frieze-panels, early 17th-century, cornice modern. Plate: includes cup of 1636. Recesses: In chancel— in N. wall, rectangular with graffito on sill. In nave— in N. wall, plain rectangular, date uncertain. Screen: between chancel and nave—with central doorway and three bays on each side, doorway with cusped ogee head and tracery and moulded posts, side bays with 'linen-fold' lower panels and open upper panels with cusped ogee heads and tracery, late 15th or early 16th-century made up with much modern material. Sundial: On E. jamb of chancel-doorway—scratch-dial.
a(2). Church of St. Michael (Plate 6) stands in the N.E. part of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone rubble with dressings of the same material; the roofs are covered with tiles and slates. The Chancel and Nave are both of 12th-century date. Late in the 12th or early in the 13th century the W. wall was pierced for a tower-arch, but whether the tower was ever built is now uncertain. The church was restored about 1865 and again in 1909; the West Porch is modern.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (19 ft. by 13 ft.) has a 12th-century E. window of one round-headed light. In the N. wall is a similar window, with the opening re-cut and widened. In the S. wall are two windows, perhaps originally of the 12th century but altered into single trefoiled ogee lights in the 14th century. The plastered semi-circular chancel-arch has 18th-century imposts and key-stone and some re-used 12th-century stones in the responds.
The Nave (29½ ft. by 15¾ ft.) has, in the N. wall, two windows, the eastern an 18th or 19th-century enlargement of an earlier window and the western a late 13th-century window of two trefoiled lights; between the windows is a blocked 12th-century window of one round-headed light. In the S. wall are two late 13th or early 14th-century windows each of two trefoiled lights. In the W. wall is a blocked two-centred arch of late 12th or early 13th-century date, with remains of chamfered imposts; in the blocking is a 14th-century doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred head. The timber bell-cote is perhaps of 17th-century date, with modern covering.
Fittings—Bells: two; both of 1669. Font (Plate 54): round bowl curving inwards at the base, necking, and cylindrical stem with four half-figures of lions projecting from base, late 12th-century. Monuments and Floor-slab. Monuments: In nave—on S. wall, (1) to Elizabeth (Simon), widow of George Cotton, 1643, wall-monument with female figures, twisted Composite side-columns, entablature with broken pediment and cartouche-of-arms, monument erected 1654. In church yard—S. of nave, (2) to Richard Churchyard, 1676, head-stone. Floor-slab: In chancel—to Alice (Lingen), wife of Herbert Herring, 1704. Sundial: On S. window of nave—scratch-dial. Miscellanea: Re-set in splay of S.W. window of nave—stone with 12th-century diaper-ornament.
a(3). Freen's Court, house, outbuilding and moat, 700 yards W. of St. Michael's church. The House, now three tenements, is of two storeys, timber-framed and with slate or stone-covered roofs. It was built probably by the Lingen family in the 15th century on an H-shaped plan with the cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The central or Hall-block has been destroyed and replaced by a modern passage. The W. wing was extended northwards, probably late in the 16th century, and the E. wing was extended, in the same direction, probably in the 17th century. The S.W. wing was added late in the 17th century. The W. wing has exposed framing on the E. side and N. end; in the original part it is close-set, with arched braces at the point where the former Hall-block adjoined it. On the W. side the storeys are divided by a coved string-course with a shallow roof; below it is a 16th-century window of eight lights with moulded mullions, transom and sill; on the first floor is a modern window with a similar sill. The late 17th-century S.W. wing is partly of stone; it retains two windows of that date, each with a mullion and transom. The E. wing has, on the W. face, an arrangement of curved braces similar to that on the W. wing; on the E. side is a stone chimney-stack with diagonal shafts of brick, in it is set a green tile-panel with a moulded surround and containing a crowned Tudor rose, beasts, and the initials H.R. Inside the building, the W. wing retains some original roof-trusses with curved braces below the tie-beams and moulded or chamfered wall-plates. There is also a door of late 16th or early 17th-century panelling, but the panelling, fireplaces, heraldic glass, etc., formerly in the house, have now been removed. In the E. wing are some exposed ceiling-beams and wall-posts. In a rockery, S. of the house, are a number of 13th-century carved and moulded stones.
The Outbuilding, N. of the E. wing, is probably of the 17th century and is timber-framed with a tiled roof.
The Moat formerly surrounded the house, but is now fragmentary.
Condition—Of house, fairly good.
b(4). Ivy Cottage, house, now three tenements, 80 yards E. of St. Nicholas' church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and roofed with corrugated iron and stone slates. It was built in the 14th century with a central Hall and cross-wings at the N. and S. ends. The N. cross-wing was re-built in the 16th century and the Hall divided into two storeys; the S. cross-wing has been largely re-built and is now covered by a continuation of the Hall-roof. The timber-framing is exposed on the N. wing and partly elsewhere. The upper storey projects at the W. end of the N. wing on curved brackets and has diagonal framing in the gable. Inside the building are exposed ceiling-beams and in the Hall-block is the original central roof-truss with curved braces under the collar and struts forming foiled openings above it. Two original curved braces also remain in the N. end of the Hall-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. Many of the buildings have exposed external timber-framing and internal ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
b(5). House and outbuilding, on the N. side of the road, 70 yards N.E. of St. Nicholas' church. The House has been mostly re-built in stone. Inside the building is the re-used oak lintel of a fireplace of c. 1500; it has a moulded four-centred arch and foliated spandrels. The Outbuilding, S. of the house, is weather-boarded and of three bays. In the garden is the octagonal stone base of a mediæval cross.
b(6). Pantall's Farm, house and outbuildings, 100 yards S.S.E. of St. Nicholas' church. The House was built c. 1600 on an L-shaped plan, but has been much altered and added to. Inside the buildingis a dado of early 17th-century panelling said to have come from Ivy Cottage (4).
The Barn, S. of the house, is of four bays. The outbuilding, S.W. of the house, has a cellar under one end.
c(7). Barns, at Sutton Court, 100 yards S.W. of St. Nicholas' church, are of four and five bays respectively.
c(8). Talbot's Farm, house and outbuilding, 210 yards S.E. of St. Nicholas' church. The House is of two storeys with attics. It has been largely faced in brick in the 18th century.
The Outbuilding, N.N.W. of the house, is now used as a shop and is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the W. and S.
c(9). Lower House, 60 yards S.E. of (8), has been entirely re-built except for a portion at the E. end.
c(10). Moyle's Cottage, on the E. side of the road, 510 yards S.S.E. of St. Nicholas' church, has a thatched roof.
c(11). Cottage, at Sutton Rhea, 260 yards S. of (10), is of late 17th or early 18th-century date and has a thatched roof.
c(12). Milway Pool, house, two tenements, on the S. side of the road, 225 yards E.S.E. of St. Nicholas' church, has a thatched roof.
c(13). Cottage, 100 yards E.S.E. of (12), has been much altered and has a corrugated iron roof.
c(14). Cottage, two tenements, 40 yards S.S.E. of (13).
c(15). Cottage, on the N. side of the road, 70 yards N.E. of (14).
b(16). Barns, at Sutton Hill, 1,150 yards N.E. of St. Nicholas' church, both have corrugated iron roofs.
b(17). Middlegate Cottage, on the E. side of the road, nearly 1 m. N.E. of St. Nicholas' church, has a thatched roof. It has been partly re-faced in brick.
b(18). Wyatt Farm, house and outbuilding, on the W. side of the road, nearly 1 m. E.N.E. of St. Nicholas' church. The House is of T-shaped plan, with the cross-wing at the W. end, and has thatched roofs. The small Outbuilding, immediately N. of the house, is now used as a dairy.
c(19). Cottage, 600 yards S. of (18), was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century.
c(20). Cottage, 600 yards S.S.E. of (19), has been faced with stucco.
c(21). Cottage, 80 yards S.E. of (20).
c(22). Cottage, on the N.E. side of the road at Sutton Marsh, over 1 m. S.E. of St. Nicholas' church, has a thatched roof.
b(23). Lane Farm, house, two tenements, and barns, 380 yards W.N.W. of St. Nicholas' church. The House is of T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the W. end. It has been partly re-built or re-faced in stone.
The two Barns, W. of the house, are of four and three bays respectively. There is a third barn, of three bays, on the N. side of the farmyard.
b(24). Farmhouse, and outbuilding, 60 yards W.N.W. of (23). The House appears to have been originally of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. and E. A rather later addition was built in the angle, making the plan square. Inside the building is an early 18th-century staircase with turned balusters.
The Outbuilding, E. of the house, appears to be of the date of the addition described above.
b(25). Cottage, 150 yards S. of (24), was built probably in the first half of the 16th century. The upper storey projects at the S.E. end on curved brackets springing from semi-octagonal shafts.
b(26). Stone House, on the S.E. side of the road, 300 yards N.N.W. of St. Nicholas' church, is modern except for a small wing at the N. end.
b(27). White House Farm, house and outbuilding, on the N. side of the road, 500 yards E. of St. Michael's church. The House has an original central chimney-stack of cruciform plan set diagonally. On the N.E. side is an original three-light window with moulded mullions and now blocked. Inside the building are some original moulded ceiling-beams.
The Outbuilding, W. of the house, contains a cidermill.
b(28). Crosswell Cottage, 130 yards W.N.W. of (27), has a thatched roof.
b(29). Barn, now consisting of stables and cider-mill, at Ordis Farm, 210 yards E.N.E. of St. Michael's church, is of late 17th or early 18th-century date.
b(30). Ordis Cottage, two tenements, on the S. side of the road opposite (29), has a thatched roof and was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century.
a(31). Freen's Court Cottage, on the S.W. side of the road, 420 yards N.W. of St. Michael's church, has a thatched roof.
c(32). Wergins Stone (Plate 119), 30 yards E. of the roadway and 1,560 yards S.S.W. of St. Nicholas' church, consists of a rough unworked stone, 4 ft. 10 in. high, set in a socket in a base-stone of irregular pentagonal form.
a(33). Sutton Walls (332 ft.), hill-top fort, ¼ m. N. of St. Michael's church, encloses an area of about 29½ acres. It is situated on a hill of slight elevation with a plateau-like top; the fort is of irregular shape following the natural contours. The defences consist only of a single steep scarp, except for a small portion, some 50 yards long, in the middle of the S. side, where there is a slight earthen rampart. It is impossible to say if this rampart was ever continuous. At the foot of the scarp is a wide berm, but it is remarkable that there is no definite trace of there ever having been a ditch, throughout the whole length.
There are now five entrances of which two only are original. The one at the E. end has the scarp well inwards on each side of the opening. The other original entrance (Plate 1) is at the W. end and likewise has the scarp turned inwards on each side; a peculiar feature is found at the W. end of the scarp on the S. side, where a bank runs some 20 yards in a westerly direction to the edge of the berm and then returns S. to the angle of the berm. This bank has been severed from the main scarp by a modern footpath, but the bank itself is very probably of later date than the main earthwork. On the top of the rampart are some remains of masonry consisting of two rectangular piers of mortared rubble, each 5½ ft. by 3¼ ft. and 12¼ ft. apart. The third and fourth (Plate 1) entrances are on the N. and S. sides respectively and were possibly connected by a ditch, dividing the fort into two unequal parts. It would seem probable, however, that both entrances are of later date. On the E. side of the S. entrance is a mass of conglomerate of irregular shape. The fifth entrance is a modern cut in the slope of the scarp of the projecting S. portion of the fort.
Immediately E. of the N. entrance, and within the enclosure, is a large sinking called "The King's Cellar" on the O.S. It is in arable land, but is nevertheless some 16 ft. deep and of rounded form some 60 yards across. Without excavation it is impossible to say if this sinking is other than an old quarry or gravel-pit, for which perhaps the N. entrance was constructed.
The fort exhibits, as may be seen, some rather unusual features. Its plan and scarps, generally, suggest an Early Iron Age origin and one or two fragments of pottery of that age have been found. Small fragments of Samian have also been found on the site, and Giraldus Cambrensis presumably refers to it, as Villa Australis, in his account of the murder of Ethelbert by King Offa. Leland, in the first half of the 16th century, saw here the remains of "a stone castle." Taking these facts into consideration there is at least a possibility that the site was occupied in late Celtic, Roman and Anglo-Saxon times.
Condition—The ramparts have been planted with fruit-trees, but otherwise good.