A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 10, Munslow Hundred (Part), the Liberty and Borough of Wenlock. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1998.
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The Heath (641 a., 259 ha.) and Norncott (209 a., 85 ha.) formed a northern detachment of Stoke St. Milborough parish in 1831 and from 1884 constituted the Heath civil parish, the area treated in this article. (fn. 1) The area, formerly divided between the townships of the Heath and Norncott and c. 12 km. north-east of Ludlow, has always been agricultural. It has only one through road for wheeled traffic and there are few visitors except those coming to see the Norman chapel. (fn. 2)
The civil parish lies on the Clee plateau and is bounded on the west by the plateau's edge, on the north by Norncott (or Tugford) brook, and on the south by Clee (or Pye) brook. The northern part, a dome rising to 268 m., is bounded on the south-east by a straight line, probably drawn in the Middle Ages across land formerly intercommoned by Norncott and Clee St. Margaret. The other part falls to the south. It is defined on the east by a stream that flows down Lea Batch, so called by 1529, (fn. 3) and it is cut by the valleys of two other tributaries of Clee brook, one of which was by 1652 called Weston's brook. (fn. 4)
The parish lies on the Ditton Series of the Lower Old Red Sandstone, except for a small outcrop of the underlying 'Psammosteus' Limestones on the west boundary. (fn. 5) The soils are mostly freely drained loams, but are less well drained in the higher northern part. (fn. 6)
By the mid 12th century, when the chapel was built, (fn. 7) there was a settlement at the south-west edge of the heath from which by 1236 it had been named. (fn. 8) Earthworks show it to have been closely grouped between the heads of two valleys. (fn. 9) In 1301 the hamlet consisted of the chief house, the chapel, and four farmhouses; cottages, if any, were not recorded. (fn. 10) One of the farmsteads was abandoned in or before the 16th century, (fn. 11) probably that which stood immediately east of the chapel. (fn. 12) Of the other four house sites, three were abandoned in the 18th or early 19th century (two of them c. 1810) following farm amalgamations; only Heath House was left. In the same period, however, new farmsteads were established at a distance from the old centre, at Upper Heath, New House, and Peckledy. (fn. 13)
By 1771 there was a group of cottages by the lane east of the Heath hamlet, near the boundary with Clee St. Margaret parish; (fn. 14) there were three in 1833, called Lane Houses (or Cottages). (fn. 15) One of them became Heath Cottage (later Farm), and in 1846 the other two belonged to it; (fn. 16) both of them remained in 1913 but only one in 1982. (fn. 17) Weir (or Perry Green) Cottage stood by 1841 isolated on part of the glebe near the west boundary. (fn. 18) It was abandoned in the late 19th century. (fn. 19) A pair of cottages was built in Sally Coppice Lane, south of the Heath hamlet, in the 1870s (fn. 20) and belonged in 1913 to Heath House. (fn. 21) North of the hamlet, the medieval park lodge, later a farmhouse, was abandoned in the late 17th or early 18th century, and buildings on the presumed site were later called Heath Barns. (fn. 22) A new farmstead, Harp Farm, was created there c. 1952. (fn. 23)
Norncott ('Normonnechot' in 1255) (fn. 24) lay on the north-eastern side of the heath, where settlement was confined to a strip of suitable land between the heath and a steep downward slope. The surviving farmsteads at Upper and Lower Norncott, 0.7 km. apart, were there in the 17th century. (fn. 25) Earthworks midway between them suggest a close group of houses there, along one side of a north-south hollow way. That site was last occupied in the 18th century. (fn. 26) By the 1840s part of it was within Lower Norncott farm and part within Lower House farm, Abdon. (fn. 27)
The population of the Heath and Norncott was 40-50 for most of the 19th century. There was a short-lived rise after 1831 and another after 1891, (fn. 28) and then a slow decrease until 1981. The population rose from 22 in 1981 to 31 in 1991. (fn. 29)
A road north-east from Bouldon (in Holdgate) skirted the north side of the Heath hamlet (fn. 30) and continued by Upper Norncott and Abdon to Bridgnorth, (fn. 31) probably via Marsh gate and Ditton Priors. (fn. 32) It still led to Bridgnorth in 1738. (fn. 33) A road from Bouldon via Peckledy Cross to Clee St. Margaret crossed the parish's southern edge. (fn. 34) Near Bouldon mill, just outside the parish's western boundary, a branch climbed north-east to the centre of the Heath hamlet (fn. 35) and continued via Cockshutford to the common at Clee Liberty. (fn. 36) By 1771 the Bouldon-Bridgnorth road had been abandoned east of the Heath and had been diverted through the hamlet to join the Bouldon-Cockshutford road, which between Bouldon and the Heath consequently declined to a bridleway. The road from Bouldon through Peckledy to Clee St. Margaret, from which it branched, deteriorated west of Peckledy in the 19th century. The new Bouldon-Cockshutford route was the parish's only metalled thoroughfare in 1992.
From the Heath hamlet a road led north to Tugford, skirting the park. It dwindled to a bridleway during the 19th century. Another road, later called Sally Cop (fn. 37) (or Sally Coppice) Lane, ran south over Hunger hill to Peckledy Cross; (fn. 38) it was the 'road to the barn' in 1771. (fn. 39) South of New House it had become a mere footpath by the late 19th century. A path from it was the shortest way from the Heath to Clee St. Margaret in 1590. (fn. 40)
A road from Tugford south to Clee St. Margaret, via Upper Cross Lanes, passed near Lower Norncott. A branch ran through Norncott's deserted settlement (fn. 41) to Upper Norncott and on towards Cockshutford; it was probably the road used in the early 17th century by Tugford's and Norncott's strakers (fn. 42) but was merely a footpath by 1833. During the 19th century the part from Tugford to Lower Norncott also fell into disuse, but the southward part to Upper Cross Lanes remained the occupation road for Lower and Upper Norncott, the latter by way of a short stretch of the former Bouldon- Bridgnorth road.
MANORS AND OTHER ESTATES.
In 1086 THE HEATH was presumably part of Wenlock priory's manor of Stoke St. Milborough; it was included in that manor's 20 hides in 1255. (fn. 43) The priory claimed to have been overlord since the 1190s or earlier, (fn. 44) and by 1255 the baron of Castle Holdgate held the Heath from the priory in fee farm. (fn. 45) He owed the farm to the priory until 1540 and thereafter to the Crown, but by 1267, and still in the 17th century, the farm was paid for him by the terre tenant. (fn. 46) The lord of Holdgate was still entitled to chief rents from the Heath in 1800. (fn. 47)
The Heath had been further subinfeudated by 1236 when Peter son of Reynold quitclaimed it to William son of John, of Castle Holdgate, (fn. 48) who held it of the lord of Holdgate in 1255. (fn. 49) William son of John had been succeeded by 1263 by his son John (fl. 1267), (fn. 50) whose son John had succeeded by 1272. (fn. 51) As John of the Heath (fl. 1337) he and his wife Iseult had an estate at the Heath in 1320; (fn. 52) and he was probably the John Gorri whose wife Iseult had an estate there, formerly William of Castle Holdgate's, in 1348. (fn. 53) By 1428 it had reverted to the lord of Holdgate. (fn. 54)
By 1263 John, son of William son of John, had subinfeudated the Heath to John FitzAlan (d. 1267), (fn. 55) who was succeeded by his son John (d. 1272) (fn. 56) and then by John's son Richard, later earl of Arundel. (fn. 57) Between 1292 and 1295 it may have passed to Earl Richard's brother John of Arundel, (fn. 58) but it was Richard's again by 1301. (fn. 59) It belonged by 1345 to Richard's grandson Richard FitzAlan, earl of Arundel and Surrey (d. 1376), (fn. 60) whose son Earl Richard succeeded. After his forfeiture in 1397 the manor was in the king's hands (fn. 61) until restored in 1400 to his son Earl Thomas. (fn. 62) The manor descended with the earldom of Arundel until 1560 (fn. 63) when Earl Henry sold it to Rowland Hayward, lord of Tugford. (fn. 64) Hayward annexed the Heath to that manor, in which it seems to have remained. (fn. 65) Parliament confiscated Lord Craven's Shropshire estates in 1651 (fn. 66) and sold the Heath in 1653 to Samuel Hill; (fn. 67) Craven regained it at the Restoration. (fn. 68) In 1846 the manorial estate consisted principally of Upper Heath farm (189 a.) and Heath park (119 a.). (fn. 69) C. O. Childe-Pemberton sold Upper Heath and part of the park in 1874, (fn. 70) and H. J. Beckwith's representatives sold the rest of the park, called Heath (later Harp) farm, in the 1930s. (fn. 71)
The medieval chief house presumably occupied the moated site immediately north-west of the chapel. (fn. 72) The house had gone by 1771, replaced by the timber framed Heath House Farm nearby; (fn. 73) that was probably the house which consisted in 1652 of ground-floor hall, parlour, kitchen, and buttery, and three chambers above and was occupied by the Millichap family, as in 1771. (fn. 74) That too was demolished between 1790 and 1833 (fn. 75) and was replaced on a different site by the new Heath (later Upper House or Upper Heath) Farm, which is a red brick farmhouse of c. 1810 with a central pediment on brick pilasters, accompanied by model farm buildings.
William Rawlyns had a freehold in 1567 (fn. 76) as did John Rawlyns (fl. 1584) in 1590. (fn. 77) It belonged by 1609 to Thomas Botterell (fl. 1616). (fn. 78) Edward Botterell (fl. 1651) had succeeded by 1620. (fn. 79) The estate descended to his sons Thomas (d. 1669) and Edward (d. 1684) in turn and then from father to son through Edward (d. 1728), John (d. 1752), Edward (d. 1782), and Thomas (d. 1786) to Edward (d. 1834). (fn. 80) The last Edward's heir was his sister Drusilla (d. 1847), wife of Edward Price. (fn. 81) Edward Turner had most of the estate (180 a.) by 1846, (fn. 82) T. R. C. Downes by 1874, (fn. 83) his son Sir A. H. Downes by 1913, (fn. 84) C. D. Morgan (d. 1943) by 1921, (fn. 85) and his son-in-law K. W. Deakin in 1992, but Price (fl. 1861) retained 20 a. with Heath Cottage (later Farm), (fn. 86) which belonged in 1913 to Charles Jones. (fn. 87)
Thomas le Clerk, a freeholder of ½ virgate in 1256, (fn. 88) was perhaps the man of that name who had ½ virgate in 1301. (fn. 89) The estate was probably that held in 1567 by Richard Wicke and later by his widow Amy. (fn. 90) William Stoke had it by 1584 (fn. 91) and Richard Stoke (fl. 1616) by 1609. (fn. 92) John Stoke (fl. 1664) owned the estate in 1631 (fn. 93) and Thomas Stoke (fl. 1682) sold it in 1717 to John Botterell. (fn. 94) Botterell succeeded to his father's estate in 1728, and Stoke's farm was consequently united with it. (fn. 95) The Stokes' house was apparently the later HEATH HOUSE, where an outbuilding has a reset stone dated 1684, inscribed 'IS' (probably John Stoke) and 'TSS' (probably Thomas and Sarah Stoke). (fn. 96) The Botterells had probably occupied a house c. 100 m. south of the chapel. (fn. 97) After 1728, however, John Botterell seems to have remained at Heath House, c. 150 m. to the west, which he is said to have rebuilt; (fn. 98) it was his successors' chief house in 1846, when only 'buildings' remained on the probable site of the old Botterell house. (fn. 99) Heath House is mid 18th-century, with a symmetrical three bayed main block and a pair of rear wings, all of sandstone rubble, but its present appearance results from an exterior remodelling of the early 19th century when it was reroofed, the back court was filled in, a circular hall and a stone staircase were added to the front, and the main rooms were redecorated.
A freehold belonged in 1771 to William Millichap (d. 1786) (fn. 100) and in 1787 to Thomas Millichap. (fn. 101) Edward Millichap (fl. 1851) had NEW HOUSE (20 a.) by the 1830s (fn. 102) and E. H. Millichap (fl. 1941) by 1913. (fn. 103) By 1881 the house was also called Sally Coppice. (fn. 104)
NORNCOTT is assumed to have been part of Wenlock priory's manor of Stoke St. Milborough in 1086; it was included in that manor's 20 hides in 1255. (fn. 105) The priory remained tenant in chief until its surrender. (fn. 106)
Norncott had been subinfeudated by 1255 when Sir Richard Tyrel held all but 1 virgate of the priory; the virgate was held by Richard of Thonglands, and under him by the heirs of one Thomas. (fn. 107) Sir Roger Tyrel (fl. 1268-1306) (fn. 108) presumably succeeded Sir Richard Tyrel, for Sir Roger's son Hugh was in possession by 1334. (fn. 109) He died in 1343, and his son and heir John died in possession in 1360. John's heir was his brother Hugh. (fn. 110) By 1453 William Burley owned Norncott. (fn. 111) It descended thereafter with Brockton until the mid 16th century. (fn. 112) John de Vere, earl of Oxford, sold his moiety in 1552 to John Stringfellow, (fn. 113) who sold it next year to Thomas Barker. (fn. 114) John Lyttelton's moiety was perhaps represented in 1569 by the Norncott estate of Nicholas Heathe. (fn. 115) The later descent of the moieties has not been traced.
John Smallman of Oxenbold (fl. 1624) was a freeholder at Norncott. (fn. 116) A farm formerly held by him belonged in 1641 to Nicholas Page (d. 1684). (fn. 117) By 1652 UPPER NORNCOTT had been acquired by John Browne of Sowbach. (fn. 118) It descended thereafter with the Stanton Long demesne until 1753 (fn. 119) when Thomas Tomkys sold Upper Norncott to Edward Botterell. (fn. 120) It then descended with Heath House until 1844, (fn. 121) when Charles Head bought it. (fn. 122) By 1913 it belonged to the Bradley family, (fn. 123) with whom it remained in 1992. The oldest part of the house has an L plan formed by a timber framed cross wing and a truncated hall range with a large stack between them. While the cross wing has a tall attic first floor, the hall has an inaccessible upper part and may have been an open hall. In the cross wing the principal room is a parlour which has panelling throughout, most of it apparently in situ, dated 1595 above the fireplace. The truncation of the hall, perhaps in the 18th century, probably coincided with the rebuilding of its walls in rubble and the addition of a service range against its south side. The thatch on the roof was replaced by corrugated iron and the plaster in the panels of the cross wing was replaced by brick nogging in the mid 20th century.
Richard Wall (d. 1707) had LOWER NORNCOTT by 1686. By 1730 Thomas Reynolds had bought it. (fn. 124) Before 1746 he sold it to Thomas Tasker the elder (d. 1782). (fn. 125) Tasker's nephew (fn. 126) Francis Hudson (d. 1811) had it by 1809. (fn. 127) Elizabeth Hudson owned it in 1842, (fn. 128) Miss M. H. Southern in 1913, (fn. 129) and Thomas Norgrove in 1921. (fn. 130) Norgrove's family remained in possession in 1992. (fn. 131) The house is timber framed, originally of two bays, and was later cased in brick, perhaps by Thomas Tasker. (fn. 132)
The heath which gave a name to one of the townships evidently occupied the high ground between the Heath and Norncott, and was presumably intercommoned before a boundary was drawn between them. Clee St. Margaret probably intercommoned there too until Norncott's eastern boundary was drawn. (fn. 133) By the early 15th century most of the Heath's part of the heath had been imparked. It then consisted of timber and pasture, and the grazing was let to the lord of Broncroft (in Diddlebury). (fn. 134) In the 16th century the heath was no larger than the park, (fn. 135) but it had earlier extended farther south. (fn. 136) The inhabitants of the Heath and Norncott had summer grazing rights, as 'strakers', on the part of Brown Clee called Clee Liberty, in Clee St. Margaret parish, (fn. 137) and common woods probably stood where the Heath bordered Tugford and Bouldon (fn. 138) and on Hunger hill. (fn. 139) The Heath had three open fields in 1529: Leabatch (south-east of the hamlet), Weston (presumably south, towards Cold Weston), and Wynett (west). (fn. 140)
The Heath manor had 2 carucates of demesne arable in the late 13th century, worth 20s., (fn. 141) and gardens, meadow land, and a 'grove' (grava) were worth 8s. 8d. in 1301. Outside the demesne, another 2¾ virgates were in the hands of four resident tenants in 1301, whose rents totalled 24s. 2½d. (fn. 142) By 1408 the demesne and park were also rented out, and rent income 1407-8 was 65s. 7d.; a further 2s. came from the manor court and 66s. 10d. from wood sales. (fn. 143) Rents in the 16th century were much the same (62s. ½d. in 1528-9, 61s. in 1566-7), but in 1567 holdings outside the demesne and park were only two freeholds and a copyhold. (fn. 144)
Inclosure of open-field arable for pasture was reported at Norncott in 1517, (fn. 145) but by 1590 had made little progress on the glebe of Stoke St. Milborough at the Heath. (fn. 146) Change at the Heath was more rapid in the 17th century. Most arable on the manorial estate was inclosed by 1631 and all by 1652. (fn. 147) From 1610 the park was let as a farm, (fn. 148) the house (mentioned 1631) being presumably a former lodge; by 1631 part of the farm had been ploughed, and the farm lay in four divisions by 1652. The park timber, which included many good oaks, was then valued at £30. (fn. 149) More than a third of it was felled by Samuel Hill in the Interregnum, (fn. 150) but in the 18th century the lord's timber was carefully managed and much remained in 1771 in the former park and on Hunger hill. (fn. 151)
The copyhold farm at the Heath was a leasehold by 1611. (fn. 152) It was amalgamated with the former park in the late 17th or early 18th century, (fn. 153) and with the demesne c. 1805, to form Heath (later Upper Heath) farm. (fn. 154) The two other holdings were combined in the 18th century to form Heath House farm. (fn. 155) Between the late 17th and early 19th centuries the Heath's five farms thus became two, and land exchanges in or after the late 18th, including one in 1815, made them more compact. (fn. 156) Two small additional farms were created, New House by 1771 (fn. 157) and Peckledy by 1793; the latter was the Stoke St. Milborough glebe, still centred on an isolated barn in 1771. (fn. 158) Norncott had only two farms by 1815. (fn. 159)
Farm rents on the Heath manorial estate were doubled c. 1610, (fn. 160) but fell well below real annual values (put at £69 in 1631 and £134 in 1771) (fn. 161) and were not increased again until the early 19th century. (fn. 162) The lord preferred to take substantial entry fines, (fn. 163) but the owner of the Heath House estate let it for an economic rent in 1788. (fn. 164)
Farming was mixed in the 17th (fn. 165) and early 18th century. In January 1708 the Heath demesne farm (80 a.) had 23 cattle, including 4 oxen and 6 cows, sheep worth £8, and £10 worth of corn in the ground. (fn. 166) In the 1770s Edward Botterell, who owned and occupied the Heath House estate (c. 200 a.) (fn. 167) and rented the former park (118 a.) and another farm (92 a.), had 300-500 sheep. (fn. 168) The former dairy at Heath House contains a 19th-century cheese press. Upper Heath was built by the lord c. 1810 (fn. 169) as a model farm.
In 1846 there was twice as much grass as arable, (fn. 170) but in 1938 more than ten times as much. Beef cattle and sheep were then predominant, and the arable was mostly under oats. More land was taken under the plough during and after the war, and in 1965 barley and wheat were the main cereals. (fn. 171) In 1950, however, Peckledy remained wholly pastoral. (fn. 172) In 1992 Heath House farm and Upper Norncott were mainly pastoral but Upper Heath was arable.
The nearest known mill to the Heath hamlet was at Bouldon. In 1267 the lord of the Heath was receiving ½d. a year from a mill (fn. 173) and in 1301 the ½ virgate held by Hugh of Bouldon, probably lord of Bouldon, at the Heath yielded 5s. a year rent, 'which is owed to him for a mill'. (fn. 174) Neither reference implies a mill at the Heath, and the latter suggests that Bouldon mill was used. Earthworks of a pond and dam remain 130 m. west of the former moated house at the Heath and could have served a mill but may indicate a fishpond. (fn. 175) A Pool yard was mentioned in 1408. (fn. 176) There may have been a mill at Lower Norncott, on the site later used for ironworks; a little beyond the brook, in Abdon parish, lay Mill field and Mill furlong in 1642. (fn. 177) Over 1 km. upstream lay Floodgate meadow. (fn. 178)
The ironworks at Lower Norncott was on the west bank of the brook, (fn. 179) where masonry, slag, and charcoal have been reported. (fn. 180) On the facing bank, in Abdon parish, lay Furnace meadow and Furnace leasow; Furnace Lane, so called by 1692, approached the works from Abdon. (fn. 181)
A large limestone quarry lay on the boundary with Bouldon in 1846, (fn. 182) and a mason lived at Weir Cottage in the 1860s and 1870s. (fn. 183) A small sandstone quarry lay c. 175 m. east of the chapel by 1846 and remained open in 1901. (fn. 184) A mason was living at one of the Lane Cottages in 1841. (fn. 185) There was a limekiln in the former park in 1833, but no evidence of commercial production. (fn. 186)
The Heath presented at the court leet of Castle Holdgate barony by 1422 and still in 1551. Norncott was in the liberty (and the borough) of Wenlock. (fn. 187)
The Heath had a court baron. In the early 15th century it met infrequently, and in some years not at all. (fn. 188) From 1560 until the mid 18th century or later, the Heath was usually subject to Tugford manor court, (fn. 189) but a court baron was sometimes held for the Heath in the late 16th century (fn. 190) and perhaps during the Heath's separation from Tugford 1653-60; in 1652 courts baron were said to be held at the will of the lord, (fn. 191) and one was held in 1660 immediately after Lord Craven regained possession. (fn. 192)
The Heath chapelry raised and spent its own poor rate by 1698 (fn. 193) and in 1793 was also raising its own church rate for repair of the chapel. (fn. 194) Norncott was subject to Stoke St. Milborough vestry until joined with the Heath in 1884. (fn. 195) The Heath and Norncott were in Ludlow poor-law union 1836-1930, (fn. 196) Ludlow highway district 1863-95, (fn. 197) Ludlow rural sanitary district 1872- 94, Ludlow rural district 1894-1974, and South Shropshire district from 1974. (fn. 198) In 1992 the Heath had a joint parish council with Abdon. (fn. 199)
CHAPEL OF EASE.
A chapel was built in the 12th century and was dependent in the mid 14th on Stoke St. Milborough church. (fn. 200) It had no separate advowson or endowment and was not licensed for weddings until 1922. (fn. 201) A weathered medieval grave slab from the chapel yard is the only evidence of burials before the consecration of an adjoining graveyard in 1938. (fn. 202) Families of the Heath seem to have buried previously at Stoke, (fn. 203) while those of Norncott often buried and baptized at Abdon. (fn. 204)
There may have been a resident priest in the Middle Ages; an isolated plot of glebe, next to the chapel and moated site, was called Priest yard, (fn. 205) but there was no priest's house in 1590. (fn. 206) The chapel was served by Stoke St. Milborough's clergy in the 18th century and until 1922, (fn. 207) when the vicar of Clee St. Margaret was appointed curate in charge of the Heath. That arrangement lasted until c. 1933. (fn. 208) The rector of Diddlebury with Bouldon and Munslow was curate in charge 1973-5 and 1977-82. (fn. 209) From 1983 the chapel was served by clergy of the united benefice created that year. (fn. 210)
Services were monthly in 1719 (fn. 211) and remained so until the late 19th century or beyond. (fn. 212) In 1793 the congregation numbered 15-20, and when there was no service worshippers some times went to Stoke. (fn. 213) In the later 20th century services were twice monthly. (fn. 214) Four families attended regularly in 1965. (fn. 215)
The mid 12th-century chapel, of no known dedication, is a 'perfect example of a small Norman church'. (fn. 216) It consists of a rectangular chancel and a nave with south doorway, each of two bays. The walls are of grey siltstone rubble with ashlar dressings of yellowish sandstone; the contrasting colours were formerly disguised by rendering and whitewash, which was mostly removed by 1790 but traces of which remained c. 1900. (fn. 217) Masons' marks occur on some of the dressed stones. The only external decoration is on the doorway, where there are chevron mouldings on the arch and hoodmould and incised abstract patterns on the capitals; on the inner west capital they seem to form a face. (fn. 218) On the tympanum faint 'incised cross lines' were reported in the 1890s. (fn. 219) The two iron hinge straps on the door may be 12th-century. Two small lights in the west gable presumably lit an upper compartment or gallery within. Such a feature at the west end may explain why the south doorway was sited so far east that the middle buttress of the south wall is east of its northern counterpart. A ledge over the chancel arch probably supported the nave roof's eastern tiebeam. The chancel arch, of three plain orders, has scalloped capitals. A plain rectangular recess in the chancel south wall may represent a former piscina but has no drain hole. The cylindrical tub font is plain but for shallow incised arcading round part of the top; lines in a spandrel on the north side seem to form a face. The font stood by 1852 on one square stone platform set diagonally upon another. (fn. 220)
In the later Middle Ages the upper walls were covered with paintings; St. George is recognizable on the south nave wall. There was a chancel screen: a crested and moulded beam has been re-used as a sill beneath pews in the nave and chancel. The hoodmould over the chancel arch has been interrupted at the top, as if to accommodate a vertical timber. Plain bench ends at the west end of the nave seem to be medieval or of medieval materials.
In the 16th or 17th century the nave roof was renewed, perhaps completely. A flat plaster ceiling was made in the chancel. In chancel and nave medieval paintings were whitewashed over and texts were painted, at least on the lower walls; they included the Commandments and Creed in the nave, and were themselves later whitewashed over. In the 17th century a rail was placed on three sides of the communion table. A pew incorporating medieval materials, including a beam from the former chancel screen and a crude tulip shaped finial, was introduced on the south side of the chancel, facing the pulpit; the chancel had three pews in 1793. (fn. 221) The pulpit is a 17th-century two-decker in the north-east angle of the nave, lit by an original north window enlarged in the 17th century to a square opening. Nave pews, some carved to match the pulpit, were introduced at the same time.
A small vertical opening was made at the top of the west gable, evidently for a small bell that hung inside by the 1730s. (fn. 222) One window had a little ancient stained glass in 1863. In 1870 flags were laid and the shafts of the doorway were replaced. The door lost one of its three hinge straps in the later 19th century. (fn. 223) In 1912 the chancel ceiling was removed and a new chancel roof built; the remaining chancel pew was moved to the north side to make it face the altar; (fn. 224) and some of the wall paintings were exposed.
CHARITY FOR THE POOR.
The Heath shared in George Morgan's charity. (fn. 227)