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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76 STRETTON SUGWAS (A.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XXXIII, N.W., (b)XXXIII, S.W.)
Stretton Sugwas is a parish on the left bank of the Wye, 3½ m. W. of Hereford. The re-built church, with an interesting 12th-century tympanum and late 15th-century incised slab, and the small mediæval bridge are the principal monuments.
b(1). Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene stands near the middle of the parish, about ¾ m. S.W. of the site of the old church. The old building was pulled down in 1877 and the new church built from the old materials in 1880. The outline of the old building is partially marked out on the ground; it would appear to have consisted of a chancel about 15 ft. long, nave about 57 ft. long, and a W. tower about 15 ft. square, all externally. The nave was a 12th-century building and the chancel was perhaps re-built in the 13th century. The new church incorporates many of the old features and materials but does not reproduce their former arrangement.
The 12th-century tympanum is of interest, and among the fittings the incised slab and slip-tiles are noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel has no ancient features. The Vestry has, in the E. wall, an early 14th-century window of two trefoiled lights in a segmental-pointed head; in the N. wall is a 15th-century window of two cinque-foiled lights in a square head. The Nave has a S. doorway of 12th-century material with square jambs and lintel and roll-moulded rear-arch. The North Aisle has, in the N. wall, two re-set windows, the eastern like the N. window in the vestry and the western of late 14th-century date and of two trefoiled ogee lights in a square head. The Tower, at the W. end of the N. aisle, is of four storeys, the lowest of stone and the others timber-framed. The stone stage is modern, but re-set in the N. wall is a late 14th-century window similar to the N.W. window in the N. aisle; in the S. wall is a re-set doorway of c. 1150 with square jambs and lintel, and a semi-circular tympanum (Plate 129), with a cable-moulded lower edge, hollow-chamfered label with head-stops and with a carving of Samson bestriding the lion and gripping its jaws; farther W. is a blocked window, perhaps of the 13th century and of two pointed lights; in the W. wall is a doorway, probably of the 12th century and with moulded jambs and round head. The timber-framed upper part of the tower is in four ranges and of fairly close-set framing, finished with a pyramidal roof. The materials are mainly ancient and perhaps date from the 15th century.
Fittings—Bells: four; 1st, 1671, founder uncertain; 3rd (now in N. aisle), inscribed, in Lombardic capitals, "Sancta Micael ora pro nobis" (Plate 40), 15th-century; 4th, by Abraham Rudhall, 1706; bell-frame old. Coffin-lid: On site of old church—thick tapering slab. Communion Table: with turned legs, moulded stretchers and fluted top rails with shaped brackets, early 17th-century. Font: round bowl with rounded under side, necking and stem in one stone and chamfered base, 13th-century. Monuments: In nave —on S. wall, (1) to Richard Grenewey and Maud (Harper) his wife who died 1473, incised slab (Plate 186) with figures of man in civil dress and wife with butterfly head-dress, two dogs at feet, elaborate canopy and foot-inscription; on N. wall, (2) to Mary (Asfield) wife of John Breinton, 1622–3, stone slab. In churchyard of old church—(3) to Alice wife of William Evans, 1705–6, head-stone. Paving: In vestry —a number of slip-tiles, including the following— (1) nine-tile design with alternating shields of Edward the Confessor and SS. Peter and Paul; (2) four-tile design with oak-leaves, portcullis and inscription; (3) four-tile design with quatrefoil cross and inscription "Miseremini mei saltem vos amici mei quia manus Domini tetigit me," and date 1456; (4) single tiles with knot, crowned M., crowned IHC., foliage, etc.; (5) heraldic tiles with the arms of Beauchamp, France and England quarterly, Edward the Confessor, chained swan; (6) four-tile design with arms of England and the inscription "Fiat voluntas Dei," 15th-century. Plate: includes a cup (Plate 69) of 1636, with baluster-stem, also a flagon and two plates of pewter. Screen: In vestry—incorporated in modern screen, four chamfered posts, top rail, etc., 15th-century. Miscellanea: Re-set in N. wall of vestry, 12th-century shaft-base, inverted. In S. porch— 12th-century base with bowl cut in top. On site of old church—apex-stone of gable.
a(2). Homestead Moat, S.W. of the Rectory and nearly ¾ m. N.E. of the church, is partly filled in and now dry.
a(3). Bridge, on the N.E. boundary of the parish, nearly 1¼ m. N.E. of the church, is perhaps of the 14th century and at any rate of mediæval date. It carries a trackway across a stream by a segmental-pointed arch of about 6-ft. span; the arch is of squared rubble and the trackway here about 16 ft. wide is ramped up to the bridge and retained within rubble walls.
a(4). Stretton Court, 150 yards N.W. of (2), is a mid 18th-century or later house, containing some re-set woodwork probably brought from elsewhere. This includes an elaborately carved 17th-century fireplace and overmantel, a second fireplace and overmantel of two arched bays surmounted by a fluted frieze dated 1598, and a room lined with late 16th and 17th-century panelling. In the grounds is a barn retaining some 17th-century framing and incorporating a moulded 15th-century beam. A stone chimney-shaft, found on the site of the former Manor House, is now set up in the Rectory garden.
b(5). Sugwas Court, about ¾ m. S.S.W. of the church, and formerly a manor-house of the Bishops of Hereford, was entirely re-built in 1792. Incorporated in the stable are a number of worked stones, including a late 12th-century round-headed doorway with a grooved and chamfered label. Other stones are incorporated in the cellar-walls of the house. Set against the W. end of a building between the stable and the house is a slab, 6¼ ft. long, with a chamfered under-edge, and said to have been the altar-slab of the former chapel; it has now no consecration-crosses.
a(6). Cottage, on the W. side of the road, ½ m. N.N.E. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and with a thatched roof. It was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century and has exposed framing and ceiling-beams.
a(7). Cottage, 20 yards N.N.W. of (6), is of two storeys, timber-framed and with a thatched roof. It was built early in the 18th century and has exposed framing and ceiling-beams.
a(8) Cottage, on the E. side of the road, 60 yards N. of (7), is of two storeys, timber-framed and with a slate-covered roof. It is of late 17th or early 18th-century date and has exposed framing and ceiling-beams.
a(9). Cottage, on the N. edge of the parish, 180 yards N. of (8), is of two storeys, timber-framed and with a thatched roof. It was built early in the 18th century and has exposed framing.