Ross (Rural)

Pages 165-167

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, Volume 2, East. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1932.

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68 ROSS (Rural) (C.f.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)LI, N.E., (b)LI, S.E.)

Ross Rural parish encloses Ross Urban on three sides. The principal monuments are Penyard Castle, Alton Court and the camp in Chase Wood.


b(1). Churchyard Cross (Plan 47) at Horn Green, in the S.W. corner of the parish, is said to mark the site of a destroyed chapel. The 14th or 15th-century shaft is octagonal to square on plan, with a moulded capping. The base and cross-head are modern.



a(2). Penyard Castle, house, ruins and earthworks, 1½ m. S.E. of Ross church. The castle was a building of considerable extent, dating at least from the first half of the 14th century. It was evidently ruined in the 17th century when the existing House was built incorporating part of the earlier building. The remains are of stone, those in the house forming parts of the S. and W. walls. Immediately adjoining the house on the S. and extending to the W. are remains of a vaulted 14th-century undercroft of at least four bays. It was about 17 ft. wide and bases of some of the chamfered responds and of a fireplace remain. About 24 ft. to the W. of the house and parallel to it are the foundations of a thick wall and still farther to the W. are fragments of walling including remains of a short flight of stone stairs and a doorway. In the W. wall of the house is a 14th-century doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred head.

The remains stand on a natural terrace, with a scarped enclosure on the S. and E. sides, part of a ditch on the S.W. side and various other banks and foundation-mounds.


a(3). Alton Court (Plate 28), 1,000 yards S.E. of Ross church, is of two storeys with cellars and attics; the walls are of stone and timber-framing and the roofs are slate-covered. The house was built in the second half of the 16th century on a half H-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the W. The S.W. wing has been re-built and there are some modern additions. The N. and part of the E. front are modern, but the S. end of the latter is faced with 17th-century stonework and the upper windows have square moulded labels. The end of the N.W. wing has exposed and close-set timber-framing except at the base which is of stone; adjoining this wing is a large chimney-stack. Inside the building, the main staircase (Plate 74) is of mid to late 17th-century date with moulded strings, heavy turned balusters and square panelled newels with moulded pendants. There is some exposed timber-framing and some late 17th-century doors.


In the Parish of Chase Wood Camp, Ross (Rural)

a(4). Cleeve, house, 1,000 yards S.W. of Ross church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of timber-framing and rubble and the roofs are covered with tiles and slates. It is a long rectangular building of late 16th or early 17th-century date, with shallow projecting wings on the E. and W. sides. The square timber-framing is exposed on all sides of the house. The wing on the E. side has two gables, one with a moulded bressummer at the base. Inside the building, much of the timber-framing is exposed and the roof is of queen-post type.


b(5). Arbour Hill, house, about 1 m. S.W. of Ross church, is of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. It was built about the middle of the 17th century on an L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the N. and E. There is a modern addition on the S. side. Inside the building are some exposed ceiling-beams and an original door; the roof is of queen-post type.



b(6). Camp in Chase Wood about 1 m. S.S.E. of Ross church, is of the promontory type with a steep fall on all sides except the S. The camp with its defences occupies an area of about 27 acres and is of irregular oval form. At the S. end it is defended by a rampart now rising about 5½ ft. above the ground outside; the defences on the other sides are formed by scarping the natural slope; the scarp has a berm along the greater part of its length with traces of an outer bank to the berm on the W. side. There is a raking entrance cut through the rock on the N.E. side, a second entrance at the extreme N. end and a third in the middle of the W. side; the two latter may be of later date.


b(7). Earthworks, immediately N. of Horn Plantation, and 1¾ m. S.W. of Ross church, consist of remains of ditches and scarping, perhaps indicating the site of an earlier settlement than the existing hamlet.