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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55 MIDDLETON ON THE HILL (E.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)VIII, S.W., (b)XII, N.E., (c)XIII, N.W.)
Middleton on the Hill is a parish on the Worcestershire border 5 m. N.E. of Leominster. The church and the house (3) are the principal monuments. A chapel, said to have formerly existed 1,000 yards S.S.E. of the church, has now completely disappeared, though a plan of the structure is preserved at Moor Abbey.
a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary (Plate 149) stands in the W. part of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone rubble with dressings of the same material, and the roofs are covered with tiles. The Chancel and Nave were built about the middle of the 12th century, and early in the 13th century the West Tower was added. The top stage may be of the 15th century. The South Porch was re-built in the 18th century, probably in 1745, when work is recorded in the Churchwardens' accounts. The present E. window was brought from Pudlestone Church and re-erected in 1857. The nave roof was renewed in 1890–1, and the tower has recently been restored.
The church is interesting as a complete 12th-century building, and among the fittings the three mediæval bells are noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (17 ft. by 14½ ft.) has a re-set early 14th-century E. window, from Pudlestone; it is of three graduated cinque-foiled lights with a moulded label. In the N. wall is a 12th-century window of one round-headed light. In the S. wall is a 13th-century lancet-window, probably retaining the W. splay of the previous 12th-century window; further W. is a 12th-century doorway with chamfered jambs and round head. The 12th-century chancel-arch is semi-circular and of two plain orders interrupted by moulded imposts with diaper-ornament; above the arch is a round-headed opening, probably of the 12th century. The chancel has clasping and intermediate buttresses of ashlar.
The Nave (41 ft. by 19½ ft. tapering to 18½ ft.) has ashlar buttresses dividing the bays and flanking the doorways. In the N. wall are three windows, the easternmost of the 14th century and of one cinque-foiled light; the 12th-century middle and westernmost windows are each of one round-headed light; the blocked 12th-century N. doorway (Plate 91) has jambs of two plain orders, the inner supporting the joggled lintel and rubble filling above and the outer having moulded and diapered imposts from which springs the round moulded arch with zig-zag ornament and pellets; the moulded label is also enriched with pellets; on the buttresses flanking the doorway are corbels each carved with two heads; remains of the N.W. angle of the early nave were found at the restoration under the N. face of the tower; part of the plinth has been re-set at a higher level and exposed to view. In the S. wall are three windows, the easternmost and westernmost being similar to the eastern window in the N. wall; the western is much restored; the middle window is an enlarged 12th-century light with a round head; the 12th-century S. doorway is generally similar to the N. doorway but the lintel is of one stone, the imposts have billet-ornament, and there is no label.
The West Tower (14½ ft. square) is of three stages with a moulded and splayed plinth and a 15th-century embattled parapet with angle-pinnacles. The two lower stages are of the 13th century, and the top stage probably of the 15th century. The two-centred tower-arch is of one chamfered order with responds of the same plan and chamfered imposts. The N. and W. walls have each a lancet-window; in the S. wall is an 18th-century doorway, and above it are some remains of the former lancet-window. The second stage has, in each wall, a lancet-window, that on the W. subsequently widened; below the S. window is a second lancet-window. The bell-chamber has in each wall an opening with a two-centred arch and having a rubble filling in the head; they are probably of the 18th century.
The South Porch is of timber, and probably of the 18th century, incorporating earlier material. The outer entrance has square posts, lintel and braces, probably all of the 18th century. The sides are open above and fitted with modern balusters. The roof-timbers are old, but some have been re-used.
The Roof of the nave is mediæval and of trussed-rafter type. The floor of the bell-chamber of the tower has a heavy cross-beam supported on wall-posts and curved braces probably of the 15th century.
Fittings—Bells: three; 1st inscribed in Lombardic capitals "Sancta Maria ora pro nobis," 15th-century; 2nd and 3rd inscribed respectively in Lombardic capitals "Missi te (de) celis habeo nomen Gabrielis" and "Eternis annis resonet campana Johannis," both early 15th-century and all from the Worcester foundry. Bell-frame, old. Churchyard Cross or sundial base: S. of porch—square step with modern oak post and sundial dated 1768. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to Thomas . . ., 169.; (2) to . . ., wife of Thomas Yapp, probably early 18th-century; (3) to Katherine, wife of James Perrott, 1712; (4) to John Prosser and A . . ., daughter of Francis Brace, 1681. In nave— (5) to . . ., 1675 (?), also to Elizabeth, daughter of Giles Grismond, 1691–2, also to Susannah, his wife. Font (Plate 56): round cup-shaped bowl with cheveronornament and necking; plain cylindrical stem, late 12th-century. Painting: On some voussoirs of chancel-arch—traces of former decoration of saltires. Piscina: In chancel—recess with moulded jambs and trefoiled head, two octofoiled drains, late 13th-century. Recesses: In chancel—in N. and S. walls, rectangular recesses, probably lockers. Table: In tower—with turned legs and cross-braces, with knob at intersection, early 18th-century.
c(2). Moor Abbey, house, outbuildings, moat and fishpond, nearly 1 m. S.S.E. of the church, was a former possession of Leominster Priory. The House is of two storeys with attics, the walls are of stone, and the roofs are tiled. It is of H-shaped plan, the main block and S. cross-wing being perhaps of late 16th-century date; the N. cross-wing was added in the 17th century. The whole building was cased in stone, probably in the 18th century. The windows are mainly of 18th-century or later date, but one on the W. side has a late 16th-century moulded frame and mullions, re-set. The S.W. chimney-stack is of brick with two square shafts and projecting nibs. Inside the building are some original moulded and chamfered ceiling-beams, and there are three original doors of moulded battens.
The Pigeon-house (Plate 40), N.W. of the house, is a late 17th-century square stone structure gabled on each face and adjoins a two-storeyed granary of the same date. The granary has a dormer window of earlier type, perhaps re-used. The Barn, N.E. of the house, is probably of 17th-century origin, with the walls re-built in stone. Other outbuildings, of modern date, contain a 17th-century door with ornamental hinges and an iron fire-back with the initials and date P.C. 1637.
The Moat formerly surrounded the house but now only survives on the N.W. side. The rectangular Fishpond lies about 130 yards N.W. of the house. There is a line of bank and ditch to the E. and S.E. of the house.
Condition—Of house, good.
a(3). Middleton Farm, house and outbuildings, 150 yards N. of the church. The House is of two storeys with cellars; the walls are of brick with some stone dressings, and the roofs are slate-covered. The kitchen-wing dates probably from early in the 17th century, but the main block was built in 1692; there are later additions on the N. and W. The main block has a symmetrically designed S. front (Plate 133), with rusticated angles, a band between the storeys and a wooden eaves-cornice; on one of the quoins is the date 1692. In the plinth are stone-mullioned windows lighting the basement; the other windows have sashes and flush frames. At the back are two windows with solid frames, mullion and transom. Inside the building, the S.E. room is lined with early 18th-century moulded and fielded panelling (Plate 53) with cornice and dado-rail; the panel above the fireplace is painted with a Classical composition. The main staircase is probably of 1692 and has turned balusters and square newels. Elsewhere in the house are some exposed ceiling-beams, and the kitchen-wing has some exposed timber-framing.
The Outbuildings include (a) a summer-house at the S.E. angle of the garden, a square brick building of two storeys with a pyramidal roof, probably of c. 1700; (b) a two-storeyed store and granary, N.E. of the house, of red brick and of the same period; (c) a timber-framed barn of three bays, N. of the house, and of the 17th century; (d) a timber-framed barn of three bays, W. of the house and of the same period as the preceding; (e) a stone range of buildings, S.W. of the house, two-storeyed, and probably of early 18th-century date.
Condition—Of house, good.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and with tile, slate or stone-covered roofs. Many of the buildings have some exposed external timber-framing and internal ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good, or fairly good.
c(4). Cottage, 50 yards S.E. of the church, has the lower walls of stone. It was built probably early in the 16th century and probably extended one bay further to the N. Inside the buildings, the framing of the original roof is exposed; it has heavy tie-beams, chamfered purlins and curved wind-braces.
a(5). Cottage, 550 yards N.E. of the church, has been largely cased in stone. There are later additions on the W. and N.
a(6). The Ford, house, 800 yards N.E. of the church, was originally of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the E. and N. In the 18th century the house was almost entirely cased in stone, a wing added on the E. and an extension built on the N. of the original E. wing.
c(7). Cottage, at Five Ashes, ¼ m. S.E. of the church.
c(8). Cottage, 730 yards S.S.W. of the church.
c(9). Town Farm, house, 1,220 yards S.S.W. of the church, was originally of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the E. and S. The N. wing is a later addition, and much of the house has been cased in stone. The W. chimney-stack is original and has two square shafts with diagonal nibs on the faces. The central stack retains one similar shaft.
c(10). Cottage (Plate 29), 150 yards S.W. of (9), is stone-built and retains some late 17th-century windows with solid frame, mullion and transom.
b(11). Ashley Cottage, about ¾ m. W.S.W. of the church.
c(12). The Hills, house, near Laysters Pole, about 1½ m. E.S.E. of the church, has a later extension on the W. and modern additions on the N. It has been largely cased in stone and brick.
c(13). Cottage, on the N. side of the road, 800 yards N.E. of (12).
c(14). Cottage, on the S.E. side of the road, opposite Raddle Bank and 240 yards N.E. of (13).
c(15). Lower Miles Hope, house, now two tenements, 2 m. E. of the church, was built on a T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the N.W. end. A square 18th-century addition has been made at the N.E. corner.
a(16). Cottage, 370 yards N.E. of (15), retains only a part of the original building, at the S. end.