Pages 207-208

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, Volume 1, South west. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1931.

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In this section

52 ORCOP (D.d.).

(O.S. 6 in. XLV, S.W.)

Orcop is a parish 9 m. S.S.W. of Hereford. The church and the mount and bailey at Moat Farm are the only known monuments.


(1). Parish Church of St. Mary stands in the S.E. corner of the parish. The walls are of roughly coursed local sandstone rubble with ashlar dressings, and the upper part of the W. tower is of timber; the roofs are covered with modern slate. The 12th-century piscina suggests a pre-existing church of that date, but the present Nave and North Aisle were erected in the first half of the 13th century. The Chancel was re-built c. 1300. At some uncertain period the nave-arcade was partly reconstructed and the N. aisle was lengthened westward. The West Tower was added probably early in the 16th century. The building was drastically restored in 1860 and again in 1907; the North Vestry is modern, as is the stone casing of the W. tower, the W. end of the N. aisle, and the South Porch.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (16½ ft. by 14¼ ft.) has a modern E. window. In the N. wall is a window of c. 1300 and of a single trefoiled light; to the W. of it is a modern doorway; the W. end of the wall probably encloses a rood-stair, now blocked. In the S. wall are two windows, re-cut but probably of c. 1300; the eastern is of two lancets and the western a single lancet. The chancel-arch is modern.

The Nave (35 ft. by 15¾ ft.) has a N. arcade of 13th-century origin, but partly reconstructed at some uncertain period, and retooled in modern times; the arcade is of three bays with irregular two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the piers are circular with moulded capitals and bases, and the responds are square with heavy chamfered imposts; all the dressings have been retooled; a modern approach to the pulpit has been cut through the E. end of the wall. In the S. wall are two much restored or modern windows each of two ogee trefoiled lights in a square head; the S. doorway is modern.

The North Aisle (7½ ft. wide) has a modern doorway in the E. wall. In the N. wall are two single lancets; the eastern is modern and the western of the 13th century. The aisle was lengthened westward about 5 ft., but the existing walling of this extension is modern; in the W. wall is a modern window.

The West Tower (13¾ ft. square) was added early in the 16th century. It is in two stages, the lower with a modern stone casing, the upper of timber and surmounted by a pyramidal timber spire set on a louvred base. Within the ground stage of the tower, partly carrying the upper storey, is a timber-framing consisting of four angle posts, resting on sleepers against the N. and S. walls; the posts have intersecting diagonal braces against the N. and S. walls, two braced ties against the W. wall, and diagonal braces against the E. wall arched over the tower arch. The second stage is of plain timber panels grooved into vertical posts. The louvred base to the spire is set back behind the general wall face with the intervening space covered by a sloping roof; it has been partly re-built but retains some old timbers. The spire is modern.

The Roof of the nave is of early 16th-century date and of braced collar-beam type, in two bays, with moulded and cambered tie-beams; the wall-plates and the alternate braces are moulded, and moulded ribs between the braces divide the roof into a series of square panels; there are square bosses at the intersection of the braces with the ribs; four of these are carved with emblems of the Passion, and the others with conventional foliage. The N. aisle has a lean-to roof, probably of 16th-century date, but with modern wall-plates.

Fittings—Bells: five, 2nd of 1663; 3rd of 1679, 4th with similar inscription to 2nd but without date. Chest: In vestry—with front carved with conventional ornament, lid with moulded edge and hung on two strap-hinges, mid 17th-century. Churchyard Cross: S. of nave, on two steps with plain square base having niche on W. face with an ogee head, and lower part of octagonal shaft, mediæval. Piscina: In chancel —in form of square shafted, scalloped capital with square drain, 12th-century, re-used. Plate: includes an Elizabethan cup (Plate 57), without date-letter, with a band of incised ornament; an Elizabethan cover-paten without date-letter but inscribed with the date 1576; a plain alms-dish, without date-mark but probably of early 17th-century date and with modern engraving on rim. Sundial: at S.E. corner of chancel, on two re-used stones, perhaps part of worn sundial. Table: in vestry, with plain top, octagonal legs, moulded top rail and rounded stretchers, 17th-century. Miscellanea: In nave—carved head-stop, 13th-century.

Condition—Good, much restored.


(2). Mount and Bailey (Plan, p. xxxiv), at Moat Farm, 300 yards N.N.W. of the church, is situated in the bottom of a valley from which the ground begins to slope upwards in all directions at a distance of about 100 yards from the motte. The motte is circular, averages 74 yards in diameter at the base, and rises approximately 21 ft. above the surrounding moat which is now practically dry. The moat has a counter-scarp and parapet except on the N. where it divides the motte from a kidney-shaped bailey which in turn is surrounded by a shallow ditch, except on the E. side which is bounded by the Garren Brook; here the scarp rises to a height of about 6 ft. above the surrounding ground and to 9 ft. above the present level of the stream. The entrance to the bailey appears to have been in the middle of the N. side. The whole earthwork covers about 2 acres.

Condition—Fairly good.