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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31 HEREFORD, LITTLE (E.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)VIII, N.W., (b)VIII, S.W.)
Little Hereford is a parish on the N. border of the county, 8 m. N.E. of Leominster. The church and Upton Court are the principal monuments.
a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene stands near the middle of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone with some tufa and with sandstone dressings; the roofs are covered with slates. The N. wall of the Nave is partly of 12th-century date, but the S. wall was perhaps re-built in the 13th century as was the Chancel; the West Tower was added about the middle of the same century. The chancel was perhaps lengthened in the 14th century when the chancel-arch was re-built. The church was restored in the 19th century.
The arrangements for the rood-altar are an interesting and unusual feature.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (38½ ft. by 21¼ ft.) has an E. window all modern except the 14th-century splays, rear-arch and jambs. In the N. wall are two windows, the eastern of c. 1320–30 and of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; the western window is of late 13th-century date and of one trefoiled light. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern of c. 1320–30 and of two cinque-foiled lights with a cusped spandrel in a two-centred head; the western window is uniform with that opposite; between them is a 13th or 14th-century doorway with chamfered jambs and segmental-pointed head. The early 14th-century chancel-arch is segmental-pointed and has two chamfered ribs, one on each face and dying on to square responds. The 15th-century rood-loft staircase has a square-headed lower doorway in the S. respond of the chancel-arch and a similar upper doorway on the W. face of the wall.
The Nave (Plate 13) (57½ ft. by 24¾ ft.) has, in the N. wall, four windows, the easternmost of late 13th-century date and of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; the second window is modern; the third window is a single round-headed 12th-century light; the westernmost window is a modern lancet. In the S. wall are three windows, the easternmost uniform with the S.E. window of the chancel; the second window is modern and the westernmost a 13th-century lancet; the mid to late 13th-century S. doorway is two-centred and of three orders, the inner rounded and the two outer moulded, and with a moulded label with a defaced stop; the jambs are of the same section with an impost-moulding at the springing-level.
The West Tower (18¼ ft. square) is of mid to late 13th-century date and of three stages with a pyramidal roof. The two-centred tower-arch is of three orders, the outer plain and the others moulded; the responds are also moulded, except the outer order; the inner order has an attached shaft with moulded capital and base, and the other orders have an impost-moulding. The N. and S. walls have each a lancet-window. The W. doorway is generally similar to the S. doorway. The second stage has a lancet-window in the S. and W. walls. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, two lancetwindows set close together.
The Roof of the nave is perhaps of 14th-century date and is of braced collar-beam type with moulded wall-plates; the single tie-beam is probably a later addition.
Fittings—Bells: three; 1st by John Greene, 1628; 2nd, by Isaac Hadley, 1702; 3rd by Richard Dankes of Worcester, 1633. Chair (Plate 48): In chancel—with turned front legs, curved arms, carved rails, arcaded and carved back with scrolled cresting and the initials B.M., c. 1630. Chest: In nave—with plain sides and lid with moulded edge, 17th-century. Coffin-lids: several re-used as building material in N. wall of nave, 13th-century. Door: In W. doorway, partly old and with re-used 13th-century strap-hinges with ornamental ends and crescentstraps. Font: circular bowl of convex section with plain capping and circular base, 12th or 13th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel— in N. wall (1 and 2), twin recesses (Plate 78) each with septfoiled and moulded segmental-pointed arches, with moulded, crocketted and finialed labels and cusped spandrels, recesses divided and flanked by panelled pedestals; in eastern recess slab with incised figure of lady in veiled head-dress, etc., head on cushion, feet on lion, c. 1340. In nave—in S. wall (3) recess (Plate 78) with moulded segmental-pointed septfoiled and sub-cusped arch with gabled and finialed label with ballflowers in place of crockets and enclosing a trefoil-headed niche in the spandrel; recess flanked by tall pedestals each with trefoiled panels and a gable on the face, c. 13 20. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to Elizabeth, wife of G . . . Karver, 1673; (2) to John Karver, 1705–6; (3) to Elizabeth, wife of John Karver, 1691. In nave— on N. wall, (4) to Roger Dansey, 1658. In churchyard—S. of chancel—(5) broken slab with date 1703; S. of nave, (6) to Evan Powell, 1710 and Elizabeth his wife, 1708. Piscinæ: In chancel—recess with triangular head, trefoiled sub-head and quatre-foiled drain in a moulded projection, 14th-century. In nave—over S. haunch of chancel-arch, recess with trefoiled head and quatre-foiled bowl, cut back, to serve altar on rood-loft, 14th-century; painting on back of various interlaced designs and the initials B.B., 16th-century. Recesses: In nave—over chancel-arch, wide recess with two-centred head and moulded shelf, 14th-century, probably for Rood and attendant figures, with altar below. In S. wall of nave, externally, blocked arched recess or opening with plain jambs and two-centred head, probably 14th-century. Sedilia: In chancel—in S. wall, three recessed seats with chamfered trefoiled heads and jambs carried forward as arm-rests, early 14th-century, partly restored. Sundial: On gable of S. porch—wooden dial with incised figures and iron gnomon, at top, initials E.D. and I.V. churchwardens, possibly early 18th-century.
a(2). Earthworks (Plan, p. xxix), surrounding and to the S.E. of the churchyard, are said to represent the site of the house, etc., of the Delamere family. The enclosure appears to have been of triangular plan, the base being formed by the river bank. The other sides have a ditch, the N.E. side having an inner and outer bank in addition. On the N.W. side little of the ditch remains. Near the middle of the S. side is a small mound with traces of an enclosure on its E. side, both ditched on the sides away from the river. The mound rises about 4½ ft. above the level of the inner enclosure, which again is 3 ft. above the ground in the outer enclosure.
b(3). Upton Court (Plate 18), 1¼ m. S. of the church, is of two storeys with cellars and attics; the walls are timber-framed and the roofs are tiled. It was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century on an irregular plan and has a later wing at the E. end. On the N. front much of the timber-framing is exposed; the original part has a cross-wing at each end, the upper storey of which formerly projected, but has been under-built; the framing is fairly close-set and set in herring-bone fashion. The two-storeyed porch has similar framing in the upper storey which projects on moulded bressummers. The sides of the porch have original shaped flat balusters. The W. end is gabled and has herring-bone framing; the upper storey formerly projected but has been under-built. The S. side has been refronted in brick c. 1700. The main W. chimney-stack has grouped diagonal shafts. Inside the building, some moulded or chamfered ceiling-beams are exposed. A room and staircase in the E. original wing are lined with mid 17th-century panelling. The hall has later 17th-century panelling, and over the fireplace is a painting of a house and gardens. The W. staircase is of late 17th-century date and has turned balusters and a moulded handrail. The S.W. room has panelling of c. 1700 and a fireplace with a moulded surround; above it is a panel painted with a hunting-scene.
a(4). Manor Farm, house, about 1 m. N.N.E. of the church, is of two storeys with cellars and attics; the walls are partly of brick and partly timber-framed and the roofs are covered with tiles and slates. The middle block was built early in the 17th century and the S. wing added shortly after; this was later extended to the S. and an addition made to the N. of the original block. At the same time the early wing was largely refaced in brick and two small porches added. The W. front has a late 17th-century porch of brick and of two storeys with a semi-circular gable; the lower storey has a three-light window in each side wall; between the storeys is a corbelled cornice and the upper storey has a four-light window to the W. and two-light windows in the sides. The adjoining bay on the N. has a gable, probably of semi-circular form but overgrown. Some timber-framing is exposed on the E. front. The porch has a cornice and a broken pediment above the arched entrance. A door in a modern addition has a 17th-century iron scutcheon and handle. Inside the building, the N.E. room has early 17th-century plaster trabeations; another room and the W. porch are lined with early 17th-century panelling. The staircase (Plate 73), of the same date, has flat shaped balusters and moulded handrails. Some rooms on the first floor have ceilings with moulded plaster panels, and there are some exposed ceiling-beams.
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 framing and internal ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
a(5). Cottage, N. of Bleathwood Common and 1½ m. N. of the church.
a(6). Cottage, on the N. side of the road, 120 yards N. of (5), is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the W. and S.
a(7). Halfway House, about 1¾ m. N.N.W. of the church.
a(8). Upper House Farm, house and barn, 1¼ m. N.N.W. of the church. The House incorporates, at the S.W. angle, a portion of a mediæval building with two original roof-trusses; these have heavy curved principals and collars. The Barn, N.E. of the house, is of the 17th century.
a(9). Cottage, on the S.W. side of the road, nearly 1¼ m. N. of the church.
a(10). Temple Farm, house, ¾ m. N.W. of the church, is mainly of rubble and brick. In the N. wall is a tall double-transomed window of c. 1700, lighting the staircase. E. of the house is a 17th-century barn.
a(11). Cottage, 400 yards N.N.W. of the church, has a later addition at the S. end.
a(12). Rectory Cottage (Plate 24), 350 yards N. of the church, was built early in the 16th century with a central hall-block and cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The S. doorway has a moulded frame and square head on which is cut a cross and four roundels. The upper storey projects at the S. end and on the W. side of the W. wing, where it has a moulded bressummer. Inside the building are several original doorways with triangular heads. The fireplaces in the W. stack have moulded jambs and heads.
a(13). Broadfields, house, about 1¼ m. E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics and has been much altered. One room is lined with 17th-century panelling.
b(14). Dogkennel, cottage, 1 m. S. of the church.