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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'Cusop', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, Volume 1, South west, (London, 1931) pp. 46-47. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

In this section

17 CUSOP (A.b.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)XXXI, S.W., (b)XXXVII, N.W.)

Cusop is a parish on the Brecknockshire border of the county, 15 m. W. of Hereford.


a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary, stands on the W. side of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone rubble and ashlar with some calcareous tufa; the roofs are covered with stone slates. The church, consisting of Chancel and Nave, was built in the 12th century. It was restored in 1857, and the North Vestry, South Porch and the W. wall of the nave are modern.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (22¾ ft. by 19 ft.) has a modern E. window. In the N. wall is a 13th-century lancet-window, and there is a similar window in the S. wall. The early 12th-century chancel-arch (Plate 7) is semi-circular and of two plain orders; the responds are of the same section and have chamfered imposts, plain except for one stone (Plate 8) on the S. side which has crude foliated ornament and pellets on the chamfer. N. of the arch, on the W. face of the wall, is the square-headed upper doorway to the rood-loft, now blocked.

The Church, Plan

The Nave (47¼ ft. by 23 ft.) has in the N. wall a modern arch to the vestry; near the W. end of the wall is a window of late 13th-century character, almost completely restored; it is of two pointed lights; the early 12th-century N. doorway, now blocked, has plain jambs and a massive stone lintel, 18 in. deep, supported by chamfered shoulder brackets. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern similar to that in the N. wall and completely restored; the 12th-century western window is of a single round-headed light; the S. doorway is modern.

The Roof of the chancel is of two bays with three trusses, one of which has a tie-beam and collar, and the others collars only; it is perhaps of the 17th century. The roof of the nave is probably of similar date, and is of five bays with six tie-beam trusses and scissorbraces.

Fittings—Bells: two, inaccessible. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to John Gunter, 1677, with shield having a conventional design; (2) to James Butler, 1711; (3) to Hannah, wife of Thomas Gunter, 1711–2. Font: tapering cylindrical bowl, rim with shallow diapering and rest of surface with trellis-pattern, 13th-century, but ornament probably modern. Pulpit: modern, but incorporating some 17th-century panels with interlacing arches, lozenge and foliage patterns. Miscellanea: In porch—two stone mortars with lugs.



a(2). Cusop Castle (Plan, p. xxxv), earthwork, 140 yards S.W. of the church, consists of an irregular ovalshaped court with remains of a ditch on the N.E., the counter-scarp of which has been largely destroyed by a modern road. The ditch on the N. and N.W. has been entirely destroyed by the road, leaving only part of the scarp to the court. On the remaining sides is a scarp with a berm, below which is a steep natural fall of the ground. Traces of what would appear to have been the entrance to the courtyard appear near the middle of the N.E. side.


a(3). Mouse Castle (Plan, p. xxxv), motte and bailey, on the top of a hill, ¾ m. N.E. of the church. The motte was no doubt originally circular, and about 43 yards in diameter, but the earth has been excavated from its sides, which for 7 ft. of their height are now precipitous. Surrounding the motte is a broad ditch which may have served as a small bailey, and surrounding it is a fragmentary rampart; there is a further outer rampart on the N.E. and E. The surrounding ground slopes downward rapidly in all directions except to the N.E., where for a short distance the slope is more gentle.


Monuments (4–6)

The following monuments are of the 17th century, and of two storeys with attics. The walls are of stone rubble and the roofs are covered with stone slates or modern slates.

Condition—Good or fairly good.

a(4). Cottage, two tenements, opposite the N.W. gate of churchyard, 60 yards N.W. of church, has been much modernised.

a(5). Trevaddoc, house, nearly 1 m. E. of the church, has a large projecting chimney-stack with stepped offsets built against the S.W. gable. Inside the building, on the ground floor, is an original timber-partition with a segmental-headed doorway at either end, each with a battened door on strap hinges. Adjoining the chimney in the N.W. wall is an old stone stair.

b(6). Pentre Higgen, house, 1¾ m. S.E. of the church, has a barn at the S.W. end, the doorways of which have massive chamfered frames. Inside the building, on the ground floor, is an original partition.