An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, Volume 3, North West. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1934.
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77 WILLERSLEY (B.d.)
(O.S. 6 in. XXIV, S.E.)
Willersley is a small parish on the left bank of the Wye, 6 m. S.S.E. of Kington. The church and Willersley Court are the principal monuments.
(1). Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene stands in the N.E. corner of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone rubble with dressings of the same material; the roofs are covered with stone slates. The church, consisting of continuous Chancel and Nave, was built after the middle of the 12th century. The South Porch was added, perhaps, in the 17th century. The church was restored in 1877, and the W. wall and bell-cote are modern.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (16¾ ft. by 17½ ft.) has a 14th-century E. window of one light with rebated and moulded jambs and modern pointed head and sill. In the N. wall is a narrow lancet, entirely modern externally. In the S. wall is a two-light window, of which the jambs and splays only are old. There is no chancel-arch.
The Nave (39 ft. by 17 ft.) has, in the N. wall a window of one segmental-headed light, perhaps of 12th-century origin, but entirely modern externally. In the S. wall is a window similar to the S. window of the chancel, but the E. jamb only is old; the mid 12th-century S. doorway has moulded jambs and lintel, the latter carved with diapered designs of various types; the rear-arch is round. In the W. wall is a modern window.
The South Porch is possibly of the 17th century, timber-framed on dwarf stone walls. The outer entrance has chamfered posts and curved braces below the tie-beam; there is a similar truss against the wall of the church. The side walls have each four openings, divided by posts.
The Roof of the church is of 14th or 15th-century date, partly restored; it is of five bays with four braced collar-beam trusses; modern tie-beams have been inserted. A short distance from the W. wall is a 16th or 17th-century queen-post truss supporting the bell-turret.
Fittings—Bell: one, inaccessible. Communion Table: In vestry—with turned legs, moulded top-rails and stretchers, 17th-century. Communion Rails: with moulded rail and turned balusters, early 17th-century. Door: In S. doorway—of nail-studded battens, with strap-hinges, probably 17th-century. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to Elizabeth, wife of Richard Higgins, 1705–6, with later inscription; (2) to Elinar, daughter of Roger Higgins, 1703; (3) to Andrew Higgins, 1704–5. Panelling: Incorporated in reredos—three enriched panels with guilloche-ornament on the framing, early 17th-century. Incorporated in front pews—eight panels carved with roses, conventional trees and geometrical designs, early 17th-century. Miscellanea: Loose in chancel—small cherub-head, from monument, 17th-century.
(2). Willersley Court, house and outbuildings, 70 yards N. of the church. The House is of two storeys with cellars; the walls are timber-framed and the roofs are slate-covered. It was built early in the 16th-century on an H-shaped plan with the cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The S. front has been faced with 18th-century brickwork, but the N. and W. sides have exposed timber-framing in squares. Inside the building the ground-floor of the main block has original moulded ceiling-beams and joists. A room in the W. wing has exposed joists, laid flat; a second room, in the same wing, is lined with early 17th-century panelling, having a frieze and cornice and panelled door. On the first floor, one room is lined with early 17th-century panelling, as in the room below; the fireplace (Plate 51) is flanked by fluted pilasters and has an overmantel of five arcaded panels; the E. and W. walls have each an original moulded wall-post with linenfold panels on the face, cut out of the solid. Elsewhere there are two fireplaces with early 18th-century moulded surrounds.
The Outbuilding, S.E. of the house, is of early 17th-century date and of two storeys, timber-framed. There are also two timber-framed 17th-century barns of seven and five bays respectively.
(3). Wydenhams, cottage, nearly ¾ m. S.S.W. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed, and with tiled roofs. It was built probably early in the 18th century and subsequently heightened. The timber-framing and some ceiling-beams are exposed.