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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AN INVENTORY OF THE ANCIENT AND HISTORICAL MONUMENTS IN NORTH-WEST HEREFORDSHIRE
ACCREDITED TO A DATE BEFORE 1714 Arranged by Parishes
(Unless otherwise stated, the dimensions given in the Inventory are internal. Monuments with titles printed in italics are covered by an introductory sentence to which reference should be made. The key-plans of those churches which are not illustrated by hatched plans are drawn to a uniform scale of 48 ft. to the inch, with the monumental portions shown in solid black.)
b(1). Grange, house, outbuildings, ruins and fishpond of Wigmore Abbey, stands about ½ m. E.N.E. of the modern church. Wigmore Abbey was founded on this site in 1179 by Hugh Mortimer, for Austin Canons of the congregation of St. Victor of Paris. The community was first seated at Shobdon and moved thence to Eye, whence it was eventually transferred to the present site. The church, dedicated to St. James, was consecrated by Bishop Robert Foliott. The monastery was destroyed by the Welsh, except the church, in the time of King John. The buildings were largely reconstructed by Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, c. 1379. The existing remains consist of a few fragments of the nave and transept of the church, a range of building at right angles to the W. range of the cloister, a gatehouse range extending W. from it and a fragmentary building standing on the roadside to the N. The surviving parts of the church probably date from the foundation, but excavations undertaken in 1906–7 indicated that the presbytery had been re-built and largely extended in the 13th or 14th century. Traces were also found of a long eastern range with a small chapel, perhaps that of the infirmary, to the S. of it. The gatehouse and range of building to the W. were part of the 14th-century reconstruction, as was the isolated building on the road.
The Church is now reduced to rubble fragments of the aisleless nave (about 114 ft. by 29 ft.). It appears to date from late in the 12th century, and apparently had a stone vault in seven bays. There are remains of the round-headed eastern entrance from the cloister, now blocked. The transept has almost entirely disappeared as has the aisled presbytery and two chapels projecting E. of the transept. The Cloister (about 86½ ft. square) adjoined the nave on the S., having the dorter-range on the E., the frater on the S., and the cellarer's range on the W. Of these there are now practically no remains.
The Range projecting W. from the cellarer's range, and now part of the farm-house, is a 14th-century structure formerly of two storeys but now of three. The walls are of local rubble with dressings of the same material. On the N. side the ground floor has two old windows with chamfered jambs and square heads; a third window has been re-built externally. On the first floor, towards the W. end is a late 14th-century window of two cinque-foiled lights; further W. is a blocked doorway, destroyed externally. Near the N. end of the wall, at the second floor level, are the splays of a blocked mediæval window. The S. side (Plate 82) has, at the first floor level, a 14th-century window of two trefoiled ogee lights; near the W. end is a 15th-century window (Plate 82) of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a segmental-pointed head; the embrasure has later side-seats; the internal wall-face below the sill has four cinquefoil-headed panels, and the sides of the embrasure have small trefoiled panels. Inside the building the existing floors appear to be of 16th-century date replacing a two-storeyed arrangement; the first floor is supported by a central row of posts with cross-bars and curved braces. The 14th-century roof was probably of six bays of which the three W. trusses remain; the first and third trusses have cambered tie-beams, king-posts, collars and raking struts above; the second truss is of collar-beam type with curved braces below the collar and struts above forming, with the collar and principals, three cusped openings. There are remains of 14th and 15th-century moulded wall-plates on the side walls.
The Gatehouse (Plate 28) is a rectangular 14th-century range about 70 ft. long, and has a modern extension along the S. side. The building is of two storeys, the lower of stone and the upper timber-framed. Near the middle is a stone gateway with moulded jambs and segmental-pointed arch; the rear-arch is also moulded; E. of it are two windows with square heads, one having an inserted 17th-century mullion of wood; there is a third square-headed window to the W. of the arch. The timber-framed upper storey projects on a series of curved brackets set close together and resting on a moulded beam and moulded stone brackets; the framing above is divided into bays by main posts with curved angle-braces at the top and bottom; the W. part of the upper storey is now weather-boarded. Inside the building, to the E. of the entrance, is a moulded post with curved braces to the wall-plates, and at the E. end is an original tie-beam with curved braces. To the W. of the entrance are remains of two trusses with cambered tie-beams and large curved braces. Opening from this range, in the W. wall of the adjoining building, is a short bent passage-way with a chamfered string at the springing of the former vaulted roof.
The Building (Plate 82), adjoining the road, is a 14th-century structure of stone with an opening cut through the middle of it. It appears, from old drawings, to have been adapted, in post-Reformation times, as an outer gatehouse. The walls retain a number of square-headed windows and two doorways with moulded jambs and two-centred heads. Inside the building are a number of shaped stone corbels.
Incorporated in the modern buildings and lying loose on the site are a number of late 12th-century and later carved and worked stones (Plate 17); these include a bear's head corbel and a delicately carved coupled capital, perhaps from the former cloister arcade.
a(2). Paytoe, house and barn about ¾ m. N.E. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics; the walls are timber-framed, and the roofs are slate-covered. The E. wing is of mid 16th-century date. Early in the 17th century the main W. part was re-built, and rather later the S. wing was added. The small W. wing was built early in the 18th century, and there are various modern additions. The timber-framing is exposed and the main corner-posts have curved braces. The upper storey projects on the N. side of the middle block. The upper storey also formerly projected at the W. end. Inside the building the framing and ceiling-beams are exposed. One room is lined with 17th-century panelling, and the staircase N. of the main chimney-stack has early 17th-century flat-shaped balusters. The roof of the E. wing is of queen-post type.
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.
b(5). House, E. of the church, is perhaps of late 16th-century date with an early 17th-century and modern wing on the W. side. The exterior has been largely refaced. The upper storey projects at the end of the original N. wing, on curved braces.
b(9). House, about 50 yards N. of the church, has a chimney-stack, built largely of material from Wigmore Abbey; the fireplace on the N. side has two 12th-century angle-shafts with moulded bases and capitals. The roof is of queen-post type, and on one tie-beam is some early 17th-century painted decoration of conventionalised flowers in black and white. The plaster filling of the gable on the N. of the same truss has a rough painted design of lozenges and circles.
b(11). Fairfield, house 250 yards W.N.W. of the church, incorporates two bays of a late 14th-century building with 17th-century additions on the S. and E. The house formerly extended further to the E. The 17th-century addition on the S. has a projecting upper storey and gable on shaped brackets. The main chimney-stack incorporates 12th and 13th-century material from the abbey. Inside the building, the W. part has original crutch-trusses with cambered collars. The eastern part contains an original truss (Plate 39) of the former hall, with collar-beam and curved braces and struts above the collar, forming, with it and the principals, three cusped openings.
a(14). Brandon Camp, ¾ m. N. of the church, is a roughly triangular-shaped enclosure with rounded angles and slightly curved sides. On the N.W. there is a steep but short natural scarp, the upper part of which would appear to have been artificially steepened and a berm formed. There are slight traces of an inner rampart as the scarp approaches the apex of the triangle on the N. The remaining two sides are protected by a simple rampart without any ditch; there is, however, a wide berm, outside the rampart, in which there may have been a slight ditch but which was filled in at a later date. There are three entrances—that on the S. which is modern; that on the E. side, consisting simply of a gap in the rampart; that at the apex on the N. where there is another gap. The second and third have probably both been widened so it is difficult to say if they occupy their original positions; if there were not originally two entrances the third would seem more likely to be the original. Gough, in his edition of Camden's Britannia, states that there were four entrances, but this would appear to be definitely incorrect.