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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'Clifford', An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, Volume 1, South west, (London, 1931), pp. 38-42. British History Online [accessed 14 June 2024].

. "Clifford", in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, Volume 1, South west, (London, 1931) 38-42. British History Online, accessed June 14, 2024,

. "Clifford", An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, Volume 1, South west, (London, 1931). 38-42. British History Online. Web. 14 June 2024,

In this section

15 CLIFFORD (A.a.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)XXIV, S.W., (b)XXXI, N.E., (c)XXXI, N.W., (d)XXXI, S.W.)

Clifford is a parish on the right bank of the River Wye, and on the Radnorshire border of the county, 16 m. W. of Hereford. The principal monuments are the church and the castle.


c(1). Parish Church of St. Mary, stands in the W. half of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone rubble and ashlar, with some calcareous tufa; the roofs are covered with tiles and lead. There is a 12th-century window and also a recess in the Chancel, but whether these are in situ is uncertain. The Nave is perhaps of the 13th century. The West Tower was extensively repaired, if not entirely re-built, in the 18th century. The church was restored in 1888, and the North Aisle and Organ Chamber and the N. arcade are modern.

Amongst the fittings the oak effigy of a priest is noteworthy.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (34 ft. by 20½ ft.) has a modern E. window and the wall itself is probably modern. In the N. wall is a modern arch to the organ-chamber and farther E. a window, all modern except the partly restored 14th-century jambs and splays; near the E. end of the wall is a round-headed recess mostly of tufa and of early 12th-century date, but probably not in situ. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern a 13th-century lancet-light set in 12th-century splays with a modern rear-arch; the western window is a lancet-light, probably of the 13th century, but completely restored; farther W. is a blocked doorway with plain jambs and heavy stone lintel.

The Nave (34 ft. by 25½ ft.) has a modern N. arcade of oak. In the S. wall are three windows, the easternmost probably of late 13th-century date and of two pointed lights in a two-centred head, with modern splays and rear-arch; the sill has been raised; the middle window is similar, but has been much restored and altered; the westernmost window is modern, and below it are the chamfered jambs and segmental arch of the blocked S. doorway, probably of the 13th century.

The West Tower (about 15½ ft. square) is largely, if not entirely, of the 18th century, and of three stages with a battering plinth and plain square string-courses and finished with a modern embattled parapet. The plain two-centred tower-arch is probably modern. The N. and S. walls have each a window, the northern with a modern trefoiled head and the southern with a round head. In the W. wall is a modern doorway. The second stage has in the N. and S. walls a lancet-window, both completely restored; in the W. wall is a round sinking, probably for a clock-face. The bell-chamber has in each wall a pair of single lights with round heads, which were originally bull's-eye openings, subsequently enlarged into vertical lights; the splays and segmental rear-arches are original.

The Roof of the chancel is of early 16th-century date and of four bays with five collar-beam trusses and two moulded tie-beams; the trusses have moulded braces forming arches, and the wall-plates also are moulded; each bay is divided into panels by moulded ribs. The early 16th-century roof of the nave is of trussed-rafter type with moulded wall-plates and two moulded tie-beams; the roof was formerly ceiled and has modern longitudinal ribs. The ground-stage of the tower has old ceiling-beams.

Fittings—Coffin-lid: In tower—top part of slab, with enriched foliated cross, head in circle, late 13th or early 14th-century. Font: octagonal bowl cut to a circle on the soffit, possibly 14th-century, stem modern. Monument and Floor-slabs. Monument: In chancel— in recess in N. wall, oak effigy of priest (Plate 42) in mass-vestments, feet resting on moulded bracket, late 13th or early 14th-century. Floor-slabs: In tower— (1) name defaced, date 1666; (2) to J.H., 1705. In churchyard—E. of chancel, (3) to James Lewis, 1711. Plate: includes a cup of 1710, given by Elizabeth Williams, the same year, and a cover-paten of the same date. Sundial: On jamb of S. doorway of chancel, incised dial, re-set upside down. Miscellanea: In chancel —in S. wall, sill with base of mullion of window, re-used. In N. wall of churchyard, in dry rubble walling, stone with the name and date "Jhon Beri[nson], 1691"; another stone with the same name, and the date 1694, is lying loose by the steps of the vicarage.



c(2). Motte and Bailey (Plan, p. xxxvi), N. of Old Castleton, about 2 m. E.N.E. of the parish church and overlooking the River Wye. The motte, which is flat-topped and about ¼ acre in extent at the base, rises about 30 ft. above the surrounding ground on N., but owing to the slope of the ground towards the River, stands only about 9 ft. above the crescent-shaped bailey from which it is separated by a dry ditch. The bailey has a rampart and ditch along the W. side, a rampart at the S.E. angle, and a ditch along the E. side, but on the S. this has been destroyed by the construction of a road; there is an opening between the ramparts on the S. side. To the E. and W. of the bailey and divided from it by the bailey ditch are two partly natural platforms which appear to have had their scarps steepened artificially and were probably used as outer courts. The motte and inner bailey cover about 1½ acres, and the whole earthwork, including the two probable outer courts, is approximately 4½ acres in extent.

Condition—Fairly good.

b(3). Newton Tump (Plan, p. xxxvi), motte and bailey, nearly 2¾ m. E.S.E. of the parish church, consists of a bailey, forming a quarter circle on plan, surrounded by a dry ditch and with an oval-shaped motte standing within the N.W. angle; the motte is surrounded by another ditch. The N. and E. sides of the bailey are straight, the S. and W. sides being curved. The motte is about 1/7th of an acre in extent and rises about 16 ft. above the level of the bailey; the whole earthwork covers about 1¾ acres. There is an entrance on the S. side of the bailey, and in the S.E. corner and halfway down the E. side, against the ditch-scarp, are small platforms. Across the S. end of the field in which the earthwork stands runs a slight ditch, now dry, which connects at either end with a stream and pond and from which run traces of two ditches to the S. side of the bailey moat. These probably originally conveyed water to the bailey moat and, with the streams which encircle the field, would, when the water level was higher, form an additional line of defence. On the S. side of the pond is a slight, narrow platform.

c(4). Clifford Castle, earthworks and buildings, stands on a small cliff or ridge on the right bank of the Wye, 1100 yards N.W. of the parish church. The castle was held by the Clifford family in the 13th century and later by the Mortimers. The surviving buildings stand on the large motte on the W. side of the castle; the walls are of local sandstone rubble with some dressings of the same material. They form an irregular polygonal court, with a gatehouse towards the N.E., a hall on the N.W. front and round towers at the other three angles. There is little indication of a difference in date, and the whole structure may well have been built at the beginning of the 13th century. Most of the dressed stone has been removed, but recent excavations, on a small scale, have revealed some of the ground plan.

The Gatehouse, of which the lower courses of the gate and S.E. flanking tower have recently been cleared, had an inner and outer archway, each of two orders, with a portcullis-groove between the arches; the stones have diagonal tooling. The S.E. flanking-tower is entered by a doorway of which only the base remains; in the outer wall are the reveals of a window or loop-embrasure; projecting from the internal angle of the tower is a short length of walling which perhaps supported an inner arch or extension of the gate-hall. The N.W. flanking-tower is still covered with earth, but there are remains of two embrasures. Both towers show a straight joint with the jambs of the outer archway and are presumably of rather later date.

The Hall (36 ft. by 17 ft.) appears to have been of two storeys. The outer face has a battered plinth capped by a rounded string-course; in the same wall are remains of a window-embrasure to the upper storey, and farther W. a projection or corbel on the outer face of the wall below the string. At the S.W. end of the hall are remains of a narrow passage with a segmental-pointed arch.

The W. Tower (Plate 86) is the best preserved of the three mural towers and has a plinth similar to that on the face of the hall; the base of the walls has piercings probably indicating the former existence of bond-timbers; the tower was of two stages and has remains of three window or loop-embrasures in the ground-storey, and a doorway with a segmental-pointed head. The upper storey had two loop-embrasures on the outward side, one retaining part of its loop; there is a third embrasure towards the court. Entered from the S.E. angle is a passage in the curtain leading to a garde-robe, of which the two discharge-holes with triangular heads remain on the outside face. High in the curtain is another discharge-hole, perhaps from the parapet walk. The S. Tower has been mostly destroyed above ground, but was of similar form and had a garde-robe entered from the N.W. angle. The interior of the S.E. Tower, also of similar form and mostly destroyed above ground, has recently been cleared and shows the remains of two embrasures in the outer wall and the base of a doorway towards the court.

The Earthworks consist of a circular motte, about ½ acre in extent at the base, with a large outer bailey on the N.E. and a smaller triangular-shaped court or bailey on the S.W., the whole occupying approximately 3½ acres. The motte, upon which the surviving buildings stand, rises about 36 ft. above the bottom of a dry ditch which flanks it on the N.E. and S.W. sides. On the N.W. and S.E. it was protected by steep scarps, as was also the small triangular bailey on the side towards the river and on the S. side; along the S. there is also a slight ditch with an outer bank. S.W. of this small bailey and ditch is a crescent-shaped platform which may have been used as an additional enclosure. The large, irregular-shaped outer bailey has surrounding scarps and traces of a rampart at the N. and S.E. angles; it is connected with the motte by a sloping causeway which crosses the motte ditch. Within the bailey is an irregular-shaped rectangular mound which suggests the foundations of a building with angle towers.

Clifford Castle

The whole of the N.W. scarp follows the line of the river and has been further steepened during the construction of the railway which runs parallel to it.

Condition—Of castle, ruined; of earthworks, fairly good.

c(5). Priory Farm, house, barns and fishponds, ¼ m. S.S.E. of the parish church. The Cluniac Priory was founded as a cell of Lewes by Simon Fitz Richard in the reign of Henry I. The house stands on the site of the old Priory and incorporates part of a 14th-century building which presumably formed part of the monastic buildings. The House is of two storeys with attics and cellars; the walls are of stone rubble and the roof is covered with modern slate. The central block is of 14th-century date, the N. cross-wing was added probably in the 17th century, and the S. cross-wing is an addition of the 18th century. The windows on the E. and W. fronts of the central blocks are 17th-century insertions and have oak frames, transoms and mullions. On the E. front are two projecting chimney-stacks, apparently of 17th-century date. In the S. wall, opening into the cellar, is a re-set 13th-century doorway, with moulded jambs and two-centred head; it has an old battened door. Inside the building, some of the rooms have exposed ceiling-beams. In the attic six bays of the original roof remain. Two of the trusses are left and are of the collar-beam type with curved and chamfered braces forming two-centred arches; below the collars in each bay are two ranges of cusped wind-braces forming trefoiled panels between the purlins. The Barn, N.W. of the house, is timber-framed, partly weather-boarded, and partly with interlacing slats between the framing; the roof is covered with stone slates. It is probably of 17th-century date and is in six bays. The Barn adjacent to it is of stone rubble laid dry. Fragments of worked stone from the old Priory, lying about the farm-yard, include a portion of the moulded and cusped springer from a wall-arcade, a fragment of window-tracery and a moulded capital, all of which are of 13th-century date.

Immediately S. of the garden are traces of a series of fish-ponds, and N.E. of them is some irregular terracing which probably indicates the site of former buildings. A slight artificial scarp is carried from this site across the adjoining field towards the S.E. for about 170 yards where it forms the E. side of another rectangular pond, which is now dry.

Condition—Of house, good, much altered.

Monuments (6–17)

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys. The walls are of stone rubble and the roofs are covered with stone slates or modern slates. Some of the buildings have old chimney-stacks and exposed ceiling-beams.

Condition—Good, or fairly good, unless noted.

c(6). Longhouse, cottage with barn adjoining the W. end, 500 yards N.E. of the parish church, has a portion of the N. wall constructed of timber-framing.

c(7). Tan House, nearly 1 m. S.E. of the parish church, is partly timber-framed and partly of brick and stone. A central chimney-stack in the W. or main wing of the house is surmounted by three shafts set diagonally.

c(8). Harewood Farm, house, nearly 1200 yards S.W. of (7), has most of the upper storey constructed of plastered timber-framing. It is built on an L-shaped plan with the wings projecting towards the N.E. and N.W. The N.W. wing is probably of early 17th-century date, and the smaller N.E. wing appears to have been added in the 18th century. Inside the building is an early 18th-century staircase with square newels, moulded handrail and turned balusters.

d(9). Upper Broadmeadow Farm, about ¾ m. S.E. of (8), is of two storeys with attics. It has been considerably altered and added to.

c(10). Middle Westbrook, cottage, 1½ m. E. of (7), is partly of timber-framing with brick infilling and partly of stone. It is of early 17th-century date. The upper part of the S. front is timber-framed, as is the whole of the N. side of the house.

b(11). Lower Middlewood, house and outbuildings, ½ m. N.N.E. of (10). The house is built on an L-shaped plan with the wings projecting towards the N. and W. The S. end of the E. front up to the level of the first floor has been refaced in modern brick above which the wall with the gable above is of timber-framing with plastered panels. In the gabled N. wall are two original windows with labels, but the lower window is now blocked.

The Outbuilding has, in the E. wall, an unglazed window of four lights with solid frame and diamond-shaped mullions.

b(12). Burnt House, cottage, 300 yards N.N.E. of (11), is partly of stone and partly of timber-framing with brick and plaster panels.


b(13). Lower Castleton Farm, house and barn, about ½ m. N.W. of (12). The House is built on a long rectangular plan; the E. half is of late 16th-century date and the W. half is probably of early 17th-century date. There is an 18th-century western extension, and a later barn has been added at the E. end. Inside the building, on the ground floor, the 16th-century part of the house was occupied by one large apartment with moulded beams dividing the ceiling into six panels in which the exposed chamfered joists are laid flat. The Barn, to the S. of the house, is possibly of late 17th-century date; the lower parts of the walls are of rubble and the upper part of timber-framing.

c(14). Old Castleton, house, 130 yards E.N.E. of (13), is probably of late 17th-century date with later additions.

c(15). Upper Court, house, ½ m. W.N.W. of the parish church, is of two storeys with cellars. It is built on an irregular L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. and E. The N. wing dates from the early or middle part of the 16th century, and the E. wing is a late 17th-century addition. Projecting from the middle of the E. side of the N. wing is a small gabled wing the upper part of which is of plastered timber-framing. In the N. wall of the E. wing is an old four-light window with chamfered mullions. Inside the building the southernmost room of the N. wing has moulded ceiling-beams.

c(16). Lower Court, house, 250 yards N.E. of (15), is built partly of stone and partly of modern brick. It is possibly of late 17th-century date, but has been considerably altered. At the back of the house is a timber-framed gable with brick and plaster infilling. Rebuilt in the wall of an outbuilding to the N.E. of the house is a carved stone (Plate 9), with interlacing pattern in low relief, of possibly pre-Conquest date.

a(17). Whitehouse Farm, house, now two tenements, 480 yards N.N.E. of (16), is probably of 17th-century date, but contains material of an earlier period which may have been brought from elsewhere. Inside the building, on the ground floor, is a massive timber partition with wide moulded uprights and narrow vertical panels; the central doorway has a moulded frame. Across the ceiling of one of the rooms is an early 16th-century moulded beam.


c(18). Earthwork, between Hawks Wood and Mouse Castle Wood, nearly 1½ m. S. of the parish church, stands on a slight natural spur from the northern scarp of the hillside with the ground falling in all directions except the S. It consists of a ring, of an internal diameter of approximately 12 yards, formed by a continuous bank with a small gap or what may be an entrance on the S. side.

Condition—Fairly good.