Pages 52-54

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

20 DEWSALL (D.c.)

(O.S. 6 in. XXXIX, S.E.)

Dewsall is a small parish 4 m. S.S.W. of Hereford. The church is the principal monument.


(1). Parish Church of St. Michael (Plate 6), stands in the middle of the parish. The walls are of coursed sandstone-rubble with ashlar dressings of the same material; the timber-framed bell-turret above the W. end of the nave is covered with shingles; the roofs are covered with modern slate. It was built c. 1340, and drastically restored in 1868.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (20½ ft. by 16¼ ft.) has a completely restored E. window of two trefoiled ogee lights. In the S. wall is a completely restored window of similar design; farther W. is a blocked 14th-century doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred head. There is no structural division between the chancel and the nave.

The Nave (34½ ft. by 16¼ ft.) has in the N. wall two windows uniform with those in the chancel and both completely modern except for some old stones in the W. jamb of the western. In the S. wall is a similar original window; E. of it is a blocked square-headed window; the 13th or 14th-century S. doorway has chamfered jambs and round head. In the W. wall is a blocked doorway, the form and date of which cannot be ascertained owing to a thick growth of ivy which covers it.

The timber-framed Bell-turret rises out of the W. end of the nave; it is weather-boarded and surmounted by a shingled broach-spire; the framing is mostly modern.

The South Porch is of timber and contemporary with the main structure. The gabled front has curved and moulded braces from the side-posts forming a two-centred arch below the cambered tie-beam; the gable is open and has a cambered collar between the principal rafters; the lower parts of the side-posts to the entrance are modern. The lower parts of the side walls are boarded; the upper part of each side is divided into four openings and from the outer posts are curved braces to the wall-plates. The roof is in two bays with a central truss with a cambered tie-beam and collar; the rafters are exposed, and there are curved wind-braces from the trusses to the purlins.

Fittings—Bells: three; 1st, with black-letter inscription consisting of ten letters, without meaning, probably 15th-century; 2nd, inscribed in Lombardic letters, "Ave Maria gratia plena," probably early 15th-century; 3rd inscribed in Lombardic letters, "Pater de Celis miserere," probably early 15th-century. Churchyard Cross: In churchyard—S. of nave, small stump of shaft on square base, with top chamfered and small niche with rounded head in W. face, on two steps, mediæval. Communion Table: of oak, with four turned legs, plain lower rails and grooved upper rails with shaped brackets below, early 17th-century, with modern top. Floor-slabs: In nave—(1) to Elizabeth Elfe, 1706, partly defaced, with ornamental border; at W. end (2) to John Pearle, 1713–14; (3) to Anne Rogers and Grace Clement (?), sisters, 1622 and 1623. Font: with circular to octagonal bowl with ball flowers on alternate faces of the octagon; octagonal shaft with stopped angles to square base, c. 1340. Plate: includes a cover-paten of 1623, given in 1809; with date 1624 on top of handle. Stool: with turned legs and grooved top rails, 17th-century.

Condition—Good, but threatened by growth of ivy.


(2). Dewsall Court, house and outbuilding, 140 yards S. of the church. The House was almost entirely re-built in stone on an H-shaped plan in the 18th century, but retains a certain amount of early 17th-century panelling and some re-used fireplaces. One room on the ground-floor is lined with early 17th-century panelling; incorporated in the design of the modern chimney-piece are two reversed tapering pilasters with Ionic capitals of 17th-century date, an old picture above the fireplace and an arabesque frieze with carved brackets at intervals. Another room on the ground-floor has a refixed Jacobean shelf and overmantel. The carved shelf is ovolo-moulded, and the overmantel is divided into three bays by terminal figures which support an enriched cornice; in each bay is an enriched round-headed panel with Ionic pilasters and enclosing a shield-of-arms of Pearle and alliances. On the first floor, one bedroom has an early 17th-century panelled dado and a chimney-piece of the same date. The modern fireplace is flanked by Doric pilasters, fluted and enriched with arabesque work and standing on panelled bases; they support a frieze and overmantel divided into three bays by pilaster-strips enriched with guilloche ornament; in each bay is an enriched arcaded panel; above is a frieze carved with a central shield-shaped cartouche flanked by conventional dolphins. On the top floor one bedroom has a panelled dado and the end wall is lined with early 17th-century panelling; there are old doors to the cupboards on either side of the fireplace, and the old door from the landing is in eight panels. Another bedroom on the third floor has an early 17th-century panelled dado and a re-used chimney-piece of the same date; it is panelled below the overmantel, which is of two tiers of panels; the lower is divided into four bays by fluted strips and has enriched round-headed panels, and the upper tier is similarly divided into three bays and has fluted panels.

The Stables, N. of the house, are partly of stone and partly of timber-framing with brick nogging; the roofs are covered with modern slates. They are of 17th-century date, and in five bays, and have two collar-beam trusses. The 17th-century Barn, N.W. of the house, faces the road and has a range of sheds and cow-houses at the N. end extending at right angles to it. The buildings are partly of stone and partly of weather-boarded timber-framing; the roofs are covered with modern slates and tiles. The barn is in five bays and has queen-post trusses.

Condition—Of house, re-built; of internal fittings, fairly good.

(3). Ark Cottages (Plate 22), two tenements, on the E. side of the road, 270 yards N.N.W. of the church, are of two storeys. The walls are of stone with the upper part of the S. wall of timber-framing with brick nogging; the roof is covered with stone slates. The building is of the 17th century and has later additions on the N. side and at either end. A stone panel, set in the front wall and inscribed "J.W. 1769," no doubt refers to a restoration. The main building has on each end wall a stepped stone chimney-stack. Inside the building both the main ground-floor rooms have plain ceiling-beams. The easternmost ground-floor room has a refixed early 17th-century panelled dado, in two heights, with four panels carved with conventional decoration of pomegranates, monsters, etc.; others are fluted, and two are inscribed with the monogram "I.B."


(4). Cottage, 700 yards N.E. of (3), is of two storeys; the walls are partly of stone and partly of timber-framing with brick nogging; the roof is thatched. It is of late 17th or early 18th-century date, and has a modern addition at the S.W. end. Inside the building both ground-floor rooms have exposed joists.

Condition—Fairly good.