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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71 WHITCHURCH (E.e.).
(O.S. 6 in. LIV)
Whitchurch is a parish on the right bank of the Wye, 5 m. S.W. of Ross. The church and Old Court are the principal monuments.
(1). "On the boundary of the parishes of Whitchurch and Ganarew . . .a tessellated pavement has been found and a number of coins . . . . It is situated in a meadow on the right hand of the road to Monmouth."—Lewis's Top. Dict., 1850, s.v. Whitchurch; Wright's Wanderings of an Antiquary, 14.
(2). Parish Church of St. Dubricius, stands on the right bank of the Wye, about the middle of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone rubble and ashlar, and the roofs are covered with stone slates. There would appear to have been a 13th-century S. chapel, of which the column of the former arcade of two bays remains in the S. wall of the chancel. The Chancel and Nave were largely re-built in the 14th century, and the North Vestry, now the organ chamber, is perhaps a later mediæval addition, though now almost entirely modern. The S. arcade of the chancel was destroyed and the wall re-built, incorporating the central column in the 16th century. The church was restored in 1860, when the North Aisle and arcade were built and the South Porch was added in 1861. A.W. gallery has been removed in recent years.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (20½ ft. by 14½ ft.) has a mid 14th-century E. window of three trefoiled ogee lights with net-tracery in a two-centred head, with a moulded label. In the N. wall is a contemporary window of two trefoiled lights with quatre-foiled tracery in a two-centred head; farther W. is a modern opening to the organ chamber. In the S. wall is a 16th-century window of two square-headed lights; the 16th-century doorway, farther W., has chamfered jambs and two-centred head; between them is the cylindrical shaft and moulded capital of a 13th-century column, apparently in situ. The late 14th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of two continuous chamfered orders.
The Nave (37 ft. by 18½ ft.) has a modern N. arcade. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern of early 15th-century date, and formed of twin windows each of two trefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a four-centred head; there is a round piercing in the spandrel between the heads; the 14th-century western window is similar to the N. window in the chancel; the S. doorway is modern. In the W. wall are three modern windows, and on the W. gable is a stone bell-cote, the upper part of which, with the two openings, is modern.
The Roofs of the chancel and nave are of trussed-rafter type and of 14th-century date.
Fittings—Bells: two, inaccessible. Brass-indent: In churchyard—by S. porch, of square plate, with ornamental border on slab, 17th-century. Churchyard Cross: S. of nave—round base, set on four steps of same form and with pointed and gabled niche in W. face, on upper face incised date 1698, 15th-century, shaft and head modern. Font: (Plate 38) round bowl, with round-headed arcade in low relief, late 12th-century, lower edge cut away to octagonal form to fit 14th or 15th-century stem with square base. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In churchyard—S. of chancel, (1) to Eleanor, wife of George White, 1695, and another later, table-tomb with shield-of-arms; E. of porch, (2) to Thomas Dew, 1680, and Catherine his wife, head-stone; against S. wall of churchyard, (3) to Joyce Glinn, 1685–6, head-stone. Floor-slabs: In N. aisle—(1) to Anne (Guyllym), wife of Edward Betham, rector, 1700. In churchyard—S.E. of chancel, (2) to . . . wife of God. . . . Luellyn, 1710; S. of chancel, (3) to William Davis, 1664, and another added later; W. of nave, (4) to Edward Tomplin, 1691. Plate: includes cup of 1660–62 or 64, with balusterstem, cover-paten inscribed I.T. 1609 and a paten of 1698, inscribed G.W. 1699. Miscellanea: In S. wall of chancel—part of shaft and moulded capital, 13th-century.
(3). Old Court (Plate 173), house and outbuildings, 400 yards W.S.W. of the church. The House is generally of two storeys with attics; the walls are stone and the roofs are covered with stone slates. It was built in the 16th century, but the roof-trusses in the W. wing may indicate that an earlier building was incorporated. Later in the same century a small wing was added on the W. side of the W. wing. The porch is probably a 17th-century addition, and c. 1660 an addition was made in the S. angle between the main block and the W. wing and the small W. wing extended.
The house is an interesting example of a stonebuilt manor-house of the 16th and 17th centuries.
The windows generally are of stone with moulded labels and square-headed lights. On the N. front, the W. wing has a five-light window in each of the three storeys; the two-storeyed porch has a modern outer archway; farther E. is a restored window of five lights; the projecting E. wing is faced with late 17th-century ashlar. The S. front has gabled original wings at each end, and an added 17th-century wing with three small gables, and plain string-courses between the storeys. Inside the building the original hall, the full height of the house, is of three main bays with moulded and cambered tie-beams and shaped wall-posts; each bay is sub-divided into eight panels by moulded beams. The timber screen, at the W. end, retains two original doorways with four-centred heads and now blocked; the partition W. of the 'screens' passage has been mostly removed, but one original doorway remains. The 17th-century porch has moulded ceiling-ribs and an original inner doorway with moulded frame and four-centred head; the door is nail-studded and has fillets planted on. The house has a considerable amount of exposed timber-framing and some original doorways and fireplaces. In the S.E. room is some early 18th-century panelling. In the upper part of the W. wing are two trusses, perhaps of mediæval origin, with curved principals, forming pointed arches.
The Outbuilding, S.W. of the house, is of the 17th century and of two storeys; the walls are of stone and the roofs are tiled. The Barn, W. of the house, is also of the 17th century and of two storeys with stone walls.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of two storeys with attics. The walls are of local rubble and rough ashlar, and the roofs are covered with stone slates or modern slates. Some of the rooms have exposed ceiling-beams.
(4). Brook House, now two tenements, at the crossroads 620 yards W. of the church, was built in the middle of the 17th century, but has been added to and almost completely modernised. Inside the building, in the modern S.W. wing, is a re-set staircase (Plate 63) of c. 1650, with moulded strings, twisted balusters, and square newels with ball finials and turned pendants.
(5). Norton House, on the W. side of the road, 500 yards S.W. of (4), is of two storeys with attics and cellars. It is of early 17th-century origin, but was almost entirely re-built early in the 18th century, incorporating parts of the N. and W. walls of the early building. In the N. wall of the cellars is an early 17th-century two-light window with chamfered jambs and head, and the chimney-stack and part of the W. wall are original. The date 1716 above the S. door appears to be the date of the rebuilding.
(6). Greenway Farm, house, about ½ m. N.W. of (5), has a late 16th-century S. wing to which a N. wing was added late in the following century; a modern extension has been built on the E. side of the latter wing. The S. front has a moulded string at the level of the first floor and retains some original mullioned windows. The entrance-doorway has chamfered jambs and a square head. Inside the building is some exposed timber-framing.
(7). Lewston, house and barn, about ½ m. S.W. of (6). The House was built probably late in the 16th century, on a modified H-shaped plan with N.W. and S.E. cross-wings. Late in the 17th century an extension was made on the S.W. side of the central block, and to this additions have been made in modern times. Some of the original mullioned windows remain, but many were altered late in the 17th century when wood frames were inserted. On the N.W. front the attic walls are carried up as gabled dormers; two chimney-stacks have diagonal shafts. Inside the building, one room on the ground floor has a fire-back, apparently in situ, with the date 1637 and the initials T.F. (said to be for Thomas Fisher).
The Barn, N.E. of the house, is of 17th-century date, and is of five bays; the roof is of trussed rafter and collar-beam construction.
(8). Island Site, or possibly homestead-moat, in Lords Wood, 1½ m. S. of the church, is of triangular form. There is an entrance and an inner bank on the N. side.