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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41 HOLMER (B.c.)
a(1). Parish Church of St. Bartholomew (Plates 132, 133) stands on the W. side of the Leominster road. The walls are of local sandstone with dressings of the same material; the upper part of the tower is timber-framed; the roofs are tiled. The church, consisting of continuous Chancel and Nave, was built c. 1180–90, the chancel being perhaps slightly earlier than the nave. The detached South Tower was begun in stone in the first half of the 13th century, but was either left unfinished or subsequently partly destroyed; the existing timber-framed upper part was added probably in the second half of the 16th century. The church has been restored in modern times, when the South Porch and West Vestry were added.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (31 ft. by 23½ ft.) is of late 12th-century date and the original windows have concave splays. In the E. wall are two original lower windows each of a single lancet-light with chamfered internal labels, continued as a string-course round the whole church; below the sills is a second string-course also continued round the church; in the gable is an early 13th-century lancet-window with moulded jambs and external label. In the N. wall are two lancet-windows similar to the lower E. windows; both have been slightly widened; between them is the blocking of a former doorway now destroyed. In the S. wall are two original windows both subsequently altered; the eastern has two late 13th-century trefoiled lights and the western has two 14th-century trefoiled ogee lights; between them is an original doorway with chamfered jambs and round arch and hollow-chamfered imposts and label. There is no chancel-arch.
The Nave (57¼ ft. by 23 ft.) is of the same period as the chancel and has, in the N. wall, three windows, the easternmost perhaps modern and the other two original, but with the lights widened and all modern externally. In the S. wall are two windows, uniform with the western pair in the N. wall; the late 12th-century S. doorway has jambs and two-centred arch of two orders, the outer chamfered and continuous and the inner roll-moulded and interrupted by hollow-chamfered imposts; there is a restored moulded label. In the W. wall is a doorway probably modern; the 15th-century W. window is of three cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head.
The South Tower (11½ ft. square) is of three storeys, the two lower of stone and of early 13th-century date and the top storey timber-framed and covered with a pyramidal roof and probably of late 16th-century date. The ground storey has a doorway, in the E. wall, with chamfered jambs, two-centred head and label; the S. and W. walls have each a lancet-window with a chamfered label. The second storey has, in the E., S. and W. walls, a taller lancet-window, that on the S. having a chamfered label. The top storey has fairly close-set timber framing in three heights; in each wall are two square-headed openings.
The Roof of the chancel is of late 15th-century date and of three bays with four hammer-beam trusses; the main timbers are hollow-chamfered, with curved braces below the collars and hammer-beams; the side posts have moulded pendants and small attached figures, probably of women, on the outer face; there is traceried filling above the hammer-beams and collars; at the bases of the wall-posts are carvings including shields, demi-angel, griffin (?) and serpent and a pelican in her piety. The trussed-rafter roof of the nave is of 14th or 15th-century date and of scissor-type, with modern wall-plates; there is an added moulded tie-beam, probably of the 16th century, and a modern tie-beam.
Fittings—Bells: six; 2nd, possibly by Thomas Green of Worcester, 1609; 3rd by John Finch (?), 1628; 4th c. 1400 and inscribed "Missi de celis habeo nomen Gabrielis"; 5th and 6th by Thomas Hancox, 1626. Churchyard Cross (Plate 47): S. of church—square to octagonal base, with ball-flowers at angles and trefoil-headed niche in E. face, four stone steps, 14th-century, shaft modern. Coffin-lid: In churchyard—W. of nave, with plain incised cross on stepped calvary, 13th-century. Communion Table: with heavy turned legs and with enriched rails, date and inscription on legs, "1610, God, I.E." Monuments: In nave—on N. wall, (1) to Jane, wife of Rowland Howorth, 1652, painted oak panel (Plate 63) with triangular head, shield-of-arms and emblems of mortality. In churchyard—S. of chancel, (2) to Margery, wife of Robert Leech, 1683, and to Robert Leech, 1693, table-tomb; (3) to Jane (Smallman) wife of Rowland Howorth, 1652, to Humphrey Howorth, 1693, and to Ann his daughter, loose slab with shields-of-arms; S. of nave, (4) to Leonard (B)enet, 1650. Painting: In chancel—on splays of E. windows, traces of red colour. Piscina: In chancel —recess with moulded two-centred head and square drain, early 13th-century. Recesses: In chancel—in E. wall, behind altar, with square-headed rebated opening, mediæval; in S. wall, rectangular, date uncertain. Miscellanea: In chancel—various architectural fragments, 14th and 15th-century.
a(2). Holmer House, about 120 yards N. of the church, is of two storeys with cellars and attics; the roofs are covered with tiles and slates. The main block was built in 1739 but at the back is a late 16th or early 17th-century timber-framed wing. It has exposed framing and an original chimney-stack with three detached shafts having diagonal nibs on the outward faces. Inside the wing are some exposed ceiling-beams. A stone fireplace, formerly in this house, is now in the Old House, Hereford.
a(3). Copelands, house and outbuilding, 250 yards E. of the church. The House is of two storeys with cellars and attics, the walls are timber-framed and the roofs are slate-covered. It was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century, but the front seems to have been re-built late in the 17th century and there are modern alterations and additions. A late 17th-century chimney-stack has three panelled and grouped shafts. Inside the building is an original moulded ceiling-beam.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and with tiled or slate-covered roofs. Many of the buildings have exposed external timber-framing and internal ceiling-beams.
b(12). Shelwick House and outbuilding, 100 yards S.S.E. of (11). The House was of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. and E., but has a modern addition between the wings. It has been largely refaced in stone and brick.