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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24 EATON BISHOP (C.b.)
(O.S. (a)XXXIII, S.W., (b)XXXIX, N.W., (c)XXXVIII, N.E.)
Eaton Bishop is a parish and small village 4 m. W. of Hereford. The church and Eaton Camp are the principal monuments.
a(1). Parish Church of St. Michael and All Angels, stands in the middle of the parish. The walls are of rubble and ashlar dressings all of local sandstone. The roofs are covered with tiles and shingles. The West Tower incorporates the W. wall of an aisleless nave of late 11th-century date; the tower itself was added early in the 12th century. About the middle of the 13th century the N. and S. arcades of the Nave were built, the clearstorey and North and South Aisles added, and the chancel-arch re-built. The Chancel was re-built early in the 14th century. The church was extensively restored in 1885, and the South Porch is modern.
The church is of minor architectural interest, but among the fittings the painted glass is noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (33 ft. by 18½ ft.) is of early 14th-century date and has diagonal eastern buttresses, capped by pinnacles with dog-tooth ornament; the E. window is of five trefoiled lights with trefoiled spandrels in a segmental-pointed head with a moulded label. In the N. wall are two windows each of two trefoiled lights with a large trefoil in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the eastern window has been much restored. In the S. wall are two partly restored windows, similar to those in the wall opposite. The mid 13th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders, the outer dying on to the responds and the inner springing from attached filleted shafts with moulded capitals and bases, the latter mostly modern.
The Nave (51½ ft. by 18½ ft.) has in the E. wall, above the chancel-arch, a partly restored early 14th-century window of five lights, similar to the E. window of the chancel. The mid 13th-century N. arcade is of four bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the cylindrical columns have moulded capitals and bases and the responds have attached half columns; some of the bases have been restored. The mid 13th-century S. arcade has arches similar to the N. arcade, but with carved heads above the second and third columns; the columns are similar to those of the N. arcade, but the capital of the third column has carving on the soffit of the abacus, and the easternmost pier has a carved 'stiff-leaf ' capital; the capital of the W. respond has a series of small trefoiled arches below the abacus. The clearstorey has on each side three 13th-century lancetwindows, with external rebates.
The North Aisle (7 ft. wide) has in the upper part of the E. wall an early 14th-century recess with chamfered jambs and cinque-foiled ogee head. On the external face of the wall are remains of the weathering of the roof of the earlier chancel. In the N. wall are three windows; the easternmost is of early 14th-century date and of three trefoiled lights in a segmental-pointed head, with a moulded label; the head is carried up into a small gable, above the eaves of the aisle-roof; the middle and westernmost windows are each of the 13th century and of a single lancet-light, but the western has been widened and the external rebate removed: the 13th-century N. doorway has chamfered jambs and segmental-pointed head. In the W. wall is a lancet-window similar to the middle window in the N. wall.
The South Aisle (7¼ ft. wide) has in the E. wall a 13th-century lancet-window; on the external face of the wall are remains of the weathering of the earlier and lower roof of the chancel. In the S. wall are three windows; the easternmost is of early 14th-century date, partly restored and similar to the side windows of the chancel; it is set in a gable rising above the aisle roof; the middle and westernmost windows are of the 13th century, and each of one lancet-light, but the western has been widened and the external rebate removed; the S. doorway is similar to the N. doorway, but has a two-centred head. In the W. wall is a 13th-century lancet-window, similar to the middle window in the S. wall.
The West Tower (19½ ft. by 15¾ ft.) was built in the 12th century and is of three stages (Plate 90) with a splayed plinth and a low pyramidal spire of timber, octagonal at the top and splayed out to square at the base. The semi-circular tower-arch is inserted in the W. wall of the earlier nave; it is of two plain orders with a chamfered label, moulded imposts and square responds; above it is the weathering of the earlier roof of the nave, before the clearstorey was added. The early nave was not so wide as the added tower, which results in a recess in the external E. angles of the tower where the N. and S. walls stand on the older work. The ground stage has in the N. wall a modern window; the S. and W. walls have each two single-light round-headed windows, set one above the other. The second stage has in the N., S. and W. walls a window of one round-headed light. The bell-chamber has in each wall a window of two round-headed lights divided by a central shaft with a cushion-capital and a moulded base; over each window is a rough external relieving-arch and an internal arch of ashlar; the E. window is now covered by the nave-roof.
Fittings—Bell-frame: old. Coffin-lid: In W. tower— against N. wall, with incised and foliated cross flanked by a chalice and book, early 14th-century. Font: stem with four main and four subsidiary attached shafts with chamfered bases on a round moulded plinth, 13th-century, bowl modern, old bowl now at Credenhill church. Glass: In chancel—E. window (Plate 91), completely filled with glass collected and re-set between 1841 and 1854, and recently again re-set 1928; the five lights have ornamental borders, and the three middle lights have borders forming sub-heads above the figured panels; all the lights have two ranges of figure subjects except the middle light, which has three ranges; of these ranges the lowest forms a series of kneeling donors with Lombardic inscriptions, some of them dislocated; the window was probably put up by Adam de Murimouth, Canon of Hereford, who became Cantor of Exeter in 1328. The subjects are—in the N. light a Virgin and Child under a canopy, and below, a kneeling figure of a priest with the inscription "Domnus Johs. Kent"; 2nd light, St. Michael weighing Souls under a canopy and super-canopy, below a kneeling figure of a priest with the inscription "Magister Ade. Ec."; 3rd light, crucifix with the Virgin and St. John under a canopy and super-canopy, below, figure of a bishop in mass-vestments, with fragments of inscription under "joh ca," at base of light, kneeling figure of priest in white vestment with inscription "Magister A ... uth Cantor"; 4th light, St. Gabriel with palm under a canopy and super-canopy, below, kneeling figure in pink gown with inscription "Dns. Adam A... uh. Fra."; 5th light, head of Christ, under canopy, below, kneeling figure of woman with inscription, "Ada. Murimouth, Pater," partly dislocated. In N.E. window, in head, a small crucifix with figure of St. John set in various fragments, early 14th-century. In S.E. window (Plate 92), in trefoil of tracery, a Majesty set in fragments; in E. light panels with figures probably of the Virgin and St. John belonging to the crucifix in the W. light, below crucifix, panel with kneeling figure of priest with a scroll inscribed "Ave Maria," all set in fragments with canopies and borders, early 14th-century. Lockers: In chancel— in N. and S. walls, rectangular, with modern doors incorporating two 15th-century traceried panels. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel —on N. wall, (1) to Richard Sneade, 1678, and Elizabeth his wife, 1678–9, also to Richard Sneade jun., 1714, stone tablet with twisted Ionic side-columns, entablature with broken segmental pediment, cartouche-of-arms and two cherubs blowing trumpets. In churchyard—S. of S. aisle, (2) to Jonatha Foord, 1699, headstone with cherub-head, etc. Floor-slabs: In tower—(1) to Richard Sneade, 1678; (2) to Walter Rogers, 1694, and Walter his son, 1734; (3) to Katherine, wife of George Clearke, Rector, 1675; (4) to Anne, wife of Robert Taylor, Rector, 1692–3. Piscinæ: In chancel— recess with trefoiled ogee head, octagonal drain, early 14th-century, partly re-cut. In S. aisle—in S. wall, recess with chamfered jambs and cinque-foiled head, traces of colour, round drain, 14th-century. Sedilia: In chancel—in three bays with sunk-chamfered responds and trefoiled ogee arches, octagonal shafts between bays, with moulded capitals and bases, early 14th-century, much re-cut. Screens: Under chancel-arch— modern, but incorporating in side bays lower parts of panelled posts and six panels each of two bays with cinque-foiled ogee heads, trefoiled spandrels and rosettes to cusp-points, late 14th-century. Under tower-arch—modern, but incorporating portions of six panelled posts and six traceried heads to open under panels, of similar design to the panel-heads on the chancel-screen, later 4th-century. Table: In tower— with turned legs and moulded rails, early 18th-century. Miscellanea: In tower—in two upper stages, old catladders with solid triangular steps. In churchyard— modern churchyard cross set on two mediæval stone steps, octagonal on plan.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century, and of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered or with brick nogging. The roofs are covered with stone slates or thatch. Some of the buildings have exposed ceiling-beams and original stone chimney-stacks, mostly with the upper parts re-built in brick.
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
a(2). Green Court, house, now two tenements, immediately N.E. of the church, is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. and E. The S. front has a stone base, and, in the middle, a porch with an upper storey supported on two wooden columns carrying shaped wooden arches across the front and sides, each with a shaped pendant in the middle. Inside the building, the staircase has an original octagonal newel at the top surmounted by an octagonal ball finial. The entrance to the garden is flanked on either side by a stone pier with chamfered base and moulded capping, surmounted by a finial.
a(3). Cottage, about 100 yards E. of the church.
b(4). Cottage (Plate 19), on E. side of the road, 140 yards S.S.E. of the church, has a central chimney-stack with an original stone base, cruciform on plan and set diagonally. There is an old door of nail-studded battens with foliated ends to the hinges. Inside the building are some moulded ceiling-beams.
b(5). Marsh House, about 1 m. S.W. of the church.
b(6). Marsh House Farm Dairy, formerly a cottage, 30 yards W. of (5), has, inside the building, some moulded ceiling-beams, a doorway with an original moulded frame, and a staircase with newels having chamfered angles and shaped tops.
c(7). Cottage, on S.E. side of Stone Street, about 1¼ m. S.W. of the church.
c(8). Cottage, about 15 yards S.W. of (7).
a(9). Cottage, now two tenements, at Ruckhall, about ½ m. N.E. of the church.
a(10). Cottage, about 220 yards W. of (9).
a(11). Upper Wormhill Farm, house, now two tenements, on S.E. side of Stone Street and about 1100 yards W. of the church, has a chimney stack with a stone base and 17th-century brickwork above. At the N.E. end of the building there is an old cider-press.
a(12). Warlow Farm, house, on W. side of Stone Street and about 620 yards N.E. of (11), was altered in the 18th century, but retains some original work. It has a stone plinth and some original chimneys with stone bases and the upper parts of brick. Inside the building is some 16th or early 17th-century panelling.
a(13). Eaton Camp, promontory-camp on the S. bank of the Wye at its junction with Cage Brook, is of triangular form and about 18 acres in internal extent. The steep natural slope forms the only defence on the N. and S.E. sides except for a short length of scarp at the S. angle. There is a slight mound at the E. apex of the triangle. The base of the promontory, on the W. side, is defended by a rampart, somewhat denuded towards the N. end, but with an average height of 11 ft. towards the S. A return-scarp at the N.W. angle may indicate the position of the original entrance.