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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70 STOKE PRIOR (D.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XIX, N.E., (b)XIX, S.E., (c)XX, N.W., (d)XX, S.W.)
Stoke Prior is a parish and village on the right bank of the Lugg, 3 m. S.E. of Leominster. The disused bridge at Risbury is the principal monument.
c(1). Blackwardine, site of Roman settlement in the N.E. part of the parish. Coins of Augustus, Trajan and Constantine the Great are reported to have been found (Leominster Guide of Rev. J. Williams, 1808), also large quantities of Roman pottery, human and animal bones. When the Leominster-Bromyard railway was made in 1881, the workmen found quantities of coins, a gold bracelet and ring, and many skeletons buried doubled up in a sitting posture at different depths, one was said to be 13 ft. below the surface. "A hypocaust or kiln was found, described as 'like about 30 ovens full of ashes,' built of worked stones which were broken up and used in a drain beside the railway or 'tipped up' on the embankment. The workmen met with quantities of coarse red and yellow ware, also some of blue and black colour and a little fine red Samian, several querns or hand mill-stones, numerous bones, and cartloads of oyster-shells." The coin-series included Agrippina, Vespasian, Crispus Cæsar, Tetricus, Constantine I, Constantine Caesar, Constans, Honorius and Constantine III (?). Other finds included a ring of Kimmeridge shale and an amphora-handle stamped QICSEG. (Woolhope F. Club Trans., 1885, p. 340.)
a(2). Parish Church of St. Luke stands in the N. part of the parish. It was entirely re-built in 1863 with the probable exception of the lower parts of the walls of the chancel (17½ ft. by 18½ ft.).
Fittings—Bells: five; 4th from the Worcester foundry, 15th-century, and inscribed in Lombardic capitals "Missi de celis habeo nomen Gabrie[li]s"; 5th by John Martin, 1666. Chest: In second stage of tower—plain, of hutch-type, with two strap-hinges and two hasps, one broken, late 17th or early 18th-century. Font: octagonal bowl with moulded underside, plain octagonal stem and double chamfered base, 14th-century. Monuments: Loose in second stage of tower—(1) to Cecilia (Coningsby), wife of William Watson, rector of Sutton Coldfield, 1705–6, stone tablet with shield-of-arms; (2) to William Watson, 1688–9, stone tablet. Plate: includes an Elizabethan cup (Plate 60), with band of engraved ornament and a cover-paten with the engraved date 1584. Stoup: Loose in nave— round bowl, octagonal outside, with chamfered under edge, formerly projecting from wall, mediæval.
d(3). Bridge, in a field S. of the road and a few yards S.W. of the modern Risbury Bridge. A causeway about 6½ ft. wide and rising about 3 ft. above the level of the field, is carried on two rounded arches with ashlar voussoirs and rubble filling. This would appear to represent the earlier course of the road before the modern bridge was built. The general appearance and the narrowness of the causeway would seem to indicate a mediæval date for the work, but only the upper parts of the arches are now uncovered.
a(4). The Priory, house, on the N. side of the road, 300 yards E.N.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are mainly of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. It is perhaps of mediæval origin, and is of half H-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the W. There is a 17th-century addition on the N. and modern additions on the N.W. and S. The house was probably heightened in the 17th century. The N. and S. walls of the S.W. wing have each a 14th-century window of one pointed light, and both are now blocked. The 17th-century wing and the gable of the N.W. wing have exposed timber-framing.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed, and with stone, slate or tile-covered roofs. Many of the buildings have exposed external timber-framing and internal ceiling-beams.
Condition-—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
a(5). House, on the E. side of the road, 100 yards W. of (4), is of rubble and has modern additions on the E. and S.
a(6). House and shop, immediately N. of (5), has been re-built except for the framework of the E. wing.
a(7). Devon Cottage, 40 yards W. of (5).
a(8). Cottage, 80 yards N.N.W. of (6), has modern additions on the E. and S.
a(9). Cottage, 60 yards N.W. of (8), was built c. 1600.
a(10). Croft Gate Cottage, on the S.W. side of the road, 275 yards N.N.E. of the church.
a(11). Cottage, on the S. side of the road, 800 yards N.N.W. of the church.
a(12). Cottage, on the N.E. side of the road, 50 yards S.E. of (4), has a cross-wing of c. 1600; the W. wing was added late in the 17th and extended in the 18th century. The upper storey formerly projected at the S. end of the cross-wing but has been under-built.
a(13). Wall End Farm, house, ¼ m. E. of the church, incorporates material from a mediæval house, but is substantially of late 16th or early 17th-century date. There is an 18th-century extension on the S. The E. side has been refaced in brick.
a(14). Great House and dovecote, immediately S.E. of (13). The House has a cross-wing at the W. end; the S. gable of this wing has original dentilled bargeboards with a pendant at the apex. The central chimney-stack has two shafts with diagonal pilaster-strips.
The Dovecote, S.E. of the house, is a square building of rubble, with a pyramidal roof and a timber lantern. The doorway has a chamfered frame and an original door with strap-hinges.
a(15). Cottage, on the S.W. side of the road, 400 yards E. of the church, is of two dates in the 17th century.
a(16). Cottage, 160 yards S.E. of (15).
a(17). Cottage, on the N.E. side of the road, 750 yards E.S.E. of the church, has a thatched roof.
a(18). Cottage, on the S.W. side of the road, 825 yards E.S.E. of the church.
a(19). Cottage, 50 yards S.E. of (18).
a(20). Cottage, on the N.E. side of the road, 60 yards E. of (19).
c(21). The Luce, house, near Steen's Bridge, nearly 1½ m. E.N.E. of the church, has been extensively re-built, and the main block heightened and refaced.
b(22). Wickton Court, 1¼ m. S. of the church, is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the W. and S. Both wings have been extended, and there are modern additions in the angle between them. The original porch on the E. side is of two storeys, the upper projecting at the E. end on a moulded bressummer with pendants at the ends; the outer entrance has a moulded frame and the gable has moulded and enriched barge-boards; in the N. wall is an original window with moulded frame and mullion. The inner doorway has an original battened door with moulded fillets and ornamental strap-hinges. Inside the building, the N.E. room is lined with original panelling.
d(23). Hollywall Farm, house, over 1½ m. S.E. of the church, has original moulded barge-boards to the N. gable, with a shaped pendant at the apex. The chimney-stack has two diagonal shafts of stone.
a(24). Lynchets, on the S. slope of the hill, about ¼ m. N.E. of the church.