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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43 HOW CAPEL (C.e.)
(O.S. 6 in. XLVI, N.E.)
How Capel is a small parish on the left bank of the Wye, 4 m. N. of Ross. The church is the principal monument.
(1). Parish Church of St. Andrew and St. Mary stands to the S. of How Capel Court. The walls are of sandstone rubble and ashlar with dressings of the same material; the roofs are covered with lead and slates. The Chancel was perhaps built in the 13th century but was much altered in the following century. The Nave was re-built in the first half of the 14th century and the South Porch added. In 1693 Sir William Gregory re-faced and largely re-built the nave and S. porch and added the South Transept and West Tower; the last appears to have been finished in 1695. The restoration of the church was begun in 1889 and completed in 1910–12, and the West Porch and the closing in of the S. porch are modern.
Amongst the fittings the royal arms and the font are noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (22¼ ft. by 15¾ ft.) has a late 14th-century E. window of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head; the external reveals are casementmoulded. In the N. wall is a 14th-century window of two trefoiled ogee lights in a square head. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern of late 14th-century date and of two trefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head; the external reveals are casementmoulded; the western window is of late 13th or early 14th-century date, and of two cinque-foiled lights in a two-centred head; between the windows is the sill and part of the E. jamb of a destroyed 13th-century window. The 13th-century chancel-arch has responds and two-centred arch of two chamfered orders on the E. and one chamfered order on the W., with chamfered imposts; it is flanked by modern openings and there is a modern window in the gable.
The Nave (39¼ ft. by 21¼ ft.) has, in the N. wall, four windows, the easternmost is uniform with the S.E. window of the chancel but the external reveals are of late 17th-century date; the two middle windows are modern; the westernmost window, of c. 1340, is of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; the wall is faced with late 17th-century ashlar and has a moulded plinth. In the S. wall is a late 17th-century round arch of two chamfered orders with moulded imposts and splayed responds; the window at the W. end of the wall is probably a late 17th-century copy of the westernmost window in the N. wall; the S. doorway has late 17th-century moulded jambs and round head.
The South Transept (17¾ ft. by 16 ft.) is entirely of late 17th-century date and has a moulded plinth. The E. window is copied from the S.E. window of the chancel. The S. window is copied from the E. window of the chancel. On this wall are two shields of Gregory with the date 1693, and a crest of the same family above the window. Between the transept and the porch is a large cupboard entered by a square-headed opening; S. of it is a window, uniform with that in the E. wall.
The West Tower (12 ft. by 12½ ft.) is of late 17th-century date and of three stages with a moulded plinth and an embattled parapet with pinnacles at the angles. On the W. wall is a shield and crest of Gregory and the date 1693. The tower-arch is two-centred and of one moulded order with Renaissance moulded imposts; above the arch, on the E. face, is a shield of the arms of Gregory and the date 1693. The two-light W. window is similar to that in the S. wall of the nave, but with a label and head-stops; below it is a modern doorway. The second stage has, in the E. wall, a square-headed opening; the N. and S. walls have each a window of two pointed lights in a two-centred head. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a window of two pointed lights in a two-centred head. The doorway from the turret-staircase to the roof has the initials and date W. T. 1695.
The South Porch has a two-centred outer archway of late 17th-century date and of two continuous chamfered orders; it has a modern filling. In the W. wall is a re-set 14th-century window of one trefoiled light in a square head.
The Roof of the chancel is of early 16th-century date and of three bays; it is low-pitched and has moulded tie-beams with curved braces springing from shafted wall-posts with moulded capitals and bases; the spandrels of the braces are carved with conventional foliage, a human face and a Tudor rose; the main bays are sub-divided by moulded ribs with carved bosses at the intersections; the roof has been restored and some of the decorations are modern. The late 17th-century roof of the nave has trussed rafters of scissor-type with collars and moulded wall-plates. The roof of the S. transept is of similar date and character. The late 17th-century roof of the S. porch has curved braces below the collars and modern wall-plates.
Fittings—Bells: two, 1st with initials R.W., C.W., probably late 17th-century; 2nd dated 1652. Bell-frame, late 17th-century. Bier: In tower—with moulded main timbers, 18th-century. Brackets: In chancel—on E. wall, re-used scalloped capital of 12th-century date and a semi-octagonal moulded bracket, probably of the 15th century. Churchyard-cross: In S.E. corner—square base with angle spurs and ogee-headed niche in N. face, lower part of square shaft with stop-chamfered angles, 14th-century. Communion Table: In vestry—with twisted legs, moulded rails and stretchers and ball-feet, late 17th-century. Door: In tower—of two nail-studded leaves, with strap-hinges, late 17th-century. Fonts: In nave—octagonal bowl (Plate 52), faces carved with conventional foliage, cinque-foiled flowers, fleur-de-lis, Agnus Dei and square and diagonal patterns, 13th-century, found buried in tower. In churchyard—round moulded bowl (Plate 56) with acanthus-ornament, inscribed "Bap. 1698," round stem and moulded base. Glass: In chancel—in N. window, foliage in heads of lights, in situ, 14th-century, later fragments in tracery. In nave—in N. W. window, fragments in quatrefoil, including part of a field—cheeky or and azure, 15th-century. Ironwork: In S. transept—four iron brackets for funeral-helm and standards, late 17th-century. Monument and Floor-slabs. Monument: In churchyard—N.E. of nave, to John Hall, 1709, head-stone. Floor-slabs: In S. transept—(1) to Sir William Gregory, 1696, Baron of the Exchequer, with shield-of-arms; (2) to James Gregory, 1684, with shield-of-arms; (3) to William Gregory, 1702, with shield-of-arms; (4) to Thomas Poole, 1694; (5) to Catherine, wife of Sir William Gregory, 1700, with lozenge-of-arms; (6) to Edward Betham, 1714, rector, with achievement-of-arms. Piscina: In chancel—moulded projection with square drain, probably 14th-century. Plate: includes cup and cover-paten of 1641. Pulpit: two sides only, each carved with enriched arch with side pilasters, moulded cornice and fluted frieze, c. 1630, panelled late 17th-century base. Scratchings: On late 17th-century ashlar, various masons' marks. Screen (Plate 131): In chancel-arch—of three bays with square posts, twisted at the top, moulded cornice and each bay with head formed of curved and twisted bars, above middle bay carved wooden achievement of the royal arms of William III, late 17th-century, base modern. Sedile: In chancel— sill of S.E. window carried down to form seat. Weather Vane: On Tower—metal cock, probably late 17th-century.
The churchyard-wall near the W. porch has a stone inscribed Sr. W. G. (Sir William Gregory) (16)93.
Condition—Good, upper part of tower needs repair.
(2). How Capel Court, house, stabling and outbuildings, immediately N. of the church. The House is of three storeys with cellars; the walls are of ashlar and rubble and the roofs are covered with tiles. The existing Kitchen wing is of 17th-century date and the middle part of the front of the house is of late 17th or early 18th-century date. The rest of the house is modern and the older portions have been so entirely remodelled that little old work remains except in the external walling. In the middle of the S. front, above the first-floor windows, is a stone panel carved with the arms of Gregory. Inside the building, re-set in the modern S.W. wing, is an early 17th-century overmantel with four panels, one carved with strapwork and the other three with leopards' heads.
The outbuildings are of ashlar or rubble and the roofs are covered with stone slates, modern slates or tiles. A range of Stabling, N. of the house and connected with it by modern buildings, is of early 17th-century date; it has had a modern upper floor inserted. One doorway has moulded jambs and a semi-elliptical head with a keystone inscribed "W.B." The walls have a chamfered plinth and a moulded string at the level of the window heads. Several of the mullioned windows are original. N.W. of the stabling is a 17th-century barn, much re-built and now used as a Garage. N. of the garage is an early 17th-century Barn, now used as a Racquet Court. The walls are pierced with looplights and an original doorway in the S. wall has a segmental head. Farther E. is a similar barn. About 60 yards S. of the house are the footings of a portion of a wall, 5 ft. thick and segmental on plan. They are built of rubble and other portions of the wall have been uncovered, which suggest a circular enclosure of about 100 ft. radius. The walls continued under the house but afforded no evidence of date.
Condition—Of house, good, much modernised.
(3). The Rectory, ½ m. W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. The walls are of stone rubble and the roofs are covered with tiles and slates. The house is of late 17th-century origin but has been considerably modernised and added to. Inside the building some of the rooms have exposed ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good, much altered.
(4). Cottage, two tenements, at Totnor, about ½ m. N.W. of (3), is of two storeys. The walls are of rubble with some timber-framing and the roofs are tiled. The house is of 17th-century date and has a S.W. wing of c. 1700. There are modern additions at the back and N. end of the original building. The central chimney-stack has a diagonal shaft. Inside the building some of the timber-construction is exposed.
Condition—Good, much altered.