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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10 BRAMPTON ABBOTTS (C.e.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XLIV, S.E., (b)LII, N.W.)
Brampton Abbotts is a small parish on the left bank of the Wye, 2 m. N. of Ross. The church and Rudhall House are the principal monuments.
a(1). Parish Church of St. Michael (Plate 5) stands in the middle of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone rubble with dressings of the same material; the roofs are covered with stone slates and tiles. The Chancel and Nave are of the 12th century, but the building was much altered in the 14th century, when a S. porch was added. The chancel-arch was re-built and widened, probably in the 16th century, and the W. wall repaired in 1686. The church was restored in 1848, in 1857, and again more recently when the bell-turret was largely or entirely re-built, the North Vestry added and the South Porch re-built.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (18¾ ft. by 16 ft.) has in the E. wall a 12th-century window, of one round-headed light, modern externally. In the N. wall is a modern arcade of two bays. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern modern, but incorporating half of a 15th-century trefoil in one of the lights; the western window is of late 13th-century date, and of one trefoiled light, largely restored. The late 15 th or early 16th-century chancel-arch is of segmental-pointed form and of two chamfered orders, incorporating earlier material; the 12th-century responds have been re-set wider apart and are of two orders, the outer, on the W., with attached shafts, scalloped capitals, moulded abaci and bases.
The North Vestry is modern but re-set in the E. wall is an early 16th-century window of two trefoiled lights in a square head; in the N. wall is a 14th-century doorway with chamfered jambs and modern head.
The Nave (36 ft. by 20¼ ft.) has, in the N. wall, two windows, both modern except the W. splay of the eastern; below this window is the jamb of what was perhaps a doorway; the modern doorway, at the E. end of the wall, is said to have replaced a pre-existing doorway; the 15th-century upper doorway to the rood-loft is in the E. wall and has a square head; above and to the W. of the modern doorway is a blocked window, said to be modern; at the W. end of the N. wall are traces of a destroyed N. doorway. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern of mid 14th-century date, partly restored and of three trefoiled lights in a square head; the western window is modern; the 12th-century S. doorway has a round arch of one plain order with a chamfered label and encloses a plain tympanum; the jambs have attached shafts with scalloped capitals and hollow-chamfered abaci; the inner order is shouldered to support the tympanum. In the W. wall is a mid 14th-century window of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head, with a moulded label; above the window is a tablet inscribed "John Mason, Bevis Bennet, Churchward 1686," probably the date of a repair and rebuilding of the bell-turret. The bell-turret is carried on modern posts and framing; the upper part is shingled and finished with a pyramidal tiled roof; each face has a window of two lights with rounded heads.
The South Porch is modern, but incorporates some 14th-century timbers, including the posts, tie-beam and curved braces and struts of the outer entrance, and most of the roof-timbers.
The Roof of the nave is probably of 14th-century date and of braced collar-beam type with a moulded beam under the collars and braces.
Fittings—Bells: three, inaccessible. Brass: In nave—on N. wall, to John Rudhale, 1506–7, and Joan his wife, figure of woman in pedimental head-dress, long girdle, etc., slab of same brass in chancel with indents of figure of man, two scrolls and shield, in addition. Chair: In chancel—with panelled back, scrolled top, curved arms and turned legs, mid 17th-century, restored. Chest: In nave—front with shaped panels, initials I.S. on top rail, border of conventional foliage round lid, possibly 17th-century. Churchyard Cross: S. of porch —square base with chamfered upper angles and ogee-headed niche in W. face, on three steps, 14th-century, shaft and head modern. Communion Table: In vestry —with turned legs, moulded rails and shaped brackets, name, Jo. Tayler on front rail, mid 17th-century. Font (Plate 55): octagonal bowl with quatre-foiled panels each with central enrichment or carved cusp-points, trumpet-shaped stem with panelled and traceried faces and modern lower part, late 15th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In churchyard—S.E. of chancel—(1) to Anne, daughter of Richard Hill, 1713, head-stone; S.E. of nave, (2) to Elizabeth, wife of Bevis Bennet, late 17th-century, head-stone; (3) to Mary, daughter of John Jones, 1706, head-stone with cherub-head; (4) to Blanch, wife of Thomas Heyet, 1681, headstone; S.E. of porch, (5) to Mary, daughter of William Jones, 1689, head-stone; S. of porch, (6) to Mary, wife of Richard Addis, 1690, head-stone; (7) to Richard Gwatkin, 1703–4, flat slab; S.W. of porch, (8) to Rowland Hunt, 1608, panelled table-tomb; S.W. of nave, (9) to William Hodges, 1640, head-stone. Floor-slabs: In nave—(1) to Edward Stedman, 1712, pastor of the church, with shield-of-arms; (2) to Thomas Baynam, 1712. Panelling: In chancel—re-set in sedile, arcaded panel probably from pulpit, c. 1630. Piscina: In chancei—scalloped head with round drain of 12th-century pillar piscina, stem and base modern. Plate: includes cup (Plate 69) and cover-paten of 1572, cup with two moulded bands and one band of incised ornament round bowl, baluster stem, also large paten of 1711, given by Jane, widow of Edward Stedman, rector, in 1713. Pulpit: three sides of hexagonal pulpit, each panelled in three lights, top range carved with enriched arches and now pierced, c. 1630, restored and made up with modern work in 1908.
b(2). Rudhall House (Plate 98), over 1½ m. E.S.E. of the church, is of two storeys with cellars and attics; the walls are mainly timber-framed with some stonework, and the roofs are tiled. There are some remains of a 14th-century house of at least two wings extending towards the N. and E.; the main wing extended over the E. part of the present dining-hall and adjoining passage and the E. wing over the E. part of the adjoining wing on the S. The property came into the hands of Nicholas Rudhall in 1411–12, and his descendant William Rudhall (d. 1530) was responsible for much of the present form of the house. He inserted a new roof under the earlier roof of the N. wing, added a range flanking it on the E. and extended to the W. the original E. wing to about treble its original length with a chapel at the W. end. In the time of James I, a fire considerably damaged the house, apparently in that part to the N. of the main block. In consequence of this the N. front is mainly a re-building of this date and the W. front of the main block was advanced some 9 ft. at the same time. The kitchen, on the E. of the main block, is also an addition of this date, as is the main staircase in the original E. wing. The N.W. turret was added in the 18th century, and there is a modern extension at the E. end of the house. The chapel was mostly demolished about the middle of the 19th century.
The house is an interesting example of 16th-century and later timber-work, and the 17th-century stone entrance is noteworthy.
The W. front of the main building is of early 17th-century date, and timber-framed; some of the framing is exposed to the N. of the entrance; there are three gables with re-used early 16th-century barge-boards carved with Tudor-flower foliage and with moulded pendants at the top and base. The stone entrance (Plate 87) projects slighdy and is carried up two storeys; the elliptical arch springs from plain responds with moulded imposts and is flanked by coupled Doric half-columns supporting an entablature of the same order; the upper stage is flanked by similar columns supporting a plain entablature, and has a window of three lights with elliptical heads; above the second entablature is a strapwork-cresting with pedestals at the sides and, in the middle, the Rudhall badge, a Catherine-wheel. The N. front of the S. wing is of early 16th-century date, timber-framed with exposed and close-set timbers to the lower storey; the upper storey projects and has three gabled bays with a further projection coved and timbered on the soffit; the side-spandrels of the coves are carved with (a) shield-of-arms of Rudhall, (b) three bean-pods, (c) Prince of Wales' feathers, (d) letter W., (e) letter A (?); the angle-posts are moulded and carved and have crocketed and finialed gables; the three gables have exposed framing and early 16th-century carved bargeboards and apex-pendants similar to those on the W. front, but in situ; the base-beams of the gables are carved with foliage and (a) crowned Tudor rose between portcullises, (b) Prince of Wales' feathers with the motto of the Garter, (c) cross with the five wounds, IHS and M. at sides; the rest of the upper storey is plastered and has modern round-headed recesses flanking the window in each projecting bay. The W. wall of the same wing is modern. The S. wall has been entirely re-faced, but the doorway to the staircase-hall retains its early 16th-century door and frame; the frame is moulded and has a four-centred arch in a square head; the spandrels are carved with folded ornament and the Rudhall crest— a hand holding three roses; the door has four linen-fold panels with tracery at the ends and shields at the top bearing the motto "In Dño confido." The S. front of the main block has an early 16th-century W. bay with a projecting upper storey on curved brackets and a chamfered oak sill to the ground-floor window. The N. wall of the main block has no old features except an early 17th-century chimney-stack with four grouped shafts set diagonally and with a diagonal nib on the face of each.
Interior—The ground-floor of the main building has been much altered, but the two rooms W. of the kitchen have chamfered ceiling-beams and the kitchen itself has some exposed timber-framing and a blocked window in the W. wall. The early 16th-century S. wing has moulded ceiling-beams forming square panels. The middle room has panelling of c. 1640 on the W. wall and 17th-century panelling, made up with modern work, on the other walls. The main staircase (Plate 75), of c. 1640, has turned columnar balusters, moulded strings and hand-rails and square newels with moulded cappings; the walls are lined with panelling of the same date, made up with modern work and with a strapwork frieze at the top; the doorway at the E. end of the hall has a 16th-century door (Plate 67) with linen-fold panels. On the first floor, the middle room of the 16th-century S. range is lined with panelling of c. 1640, with a carved frieze of dolphins; the fireplace has an overmantel (Plate 64) of the same date, and of two stages each with three enriched arches divided and flanked by diminishing pilasters; between the stages is a carved entablature with arabesques; the ceiling and that of the room to the E. have early 16th-century moulded beams forming square panels. The room to the W. formed part of the chapel and retains parts of two early 16th-century roof-trusses; the tie-beams are moulded and one retains a curved brace. The passage leading from the E. end of this wing through the main block has an early 17th-century fluted frieze and moulded cornice; the room at the N. end of the passage has exposed timber-framing. The rooms above the entrance and at the N.W. angle of the main block are lined with panelling of c. 1630–40, made up with modern work. The staircase in the middle of the main block is of c. 1630–40, and has square moulded newels with shaped terminals, columnar balusters and moulded strings and rails. The attic doorways have 17th-century moulded frames. Above the present dining-hall and at the E. end of the S. wing are remains of 14th-century roofs, incorporated in later work: over the hall are remains of two bays with a span of 19 ft., cambered tie-beam, cusped wind-braces and curved braces to the collars; the roof was formerly open to the original one-storeyed hall. An early 16th-century roof has been built under the earlier work and moulded tie-beams added to strengthen the original ties; this roof has king-posts with two-way braces to the collars, longitudinal moulded beam between the ties, moulded and curved braces to the tie-beams and subsidiary curved ribs subdividing the bays; below the king-posts are moulded pendants with carved four-way brackets. Below this 16th-century roof a late 18th-century ceiling has been inserted. The 14th-century work in the S. wing has cusped wind-braces, but is only partly accessible. The early 16th-century western part of the S. wing has moulded tie-beams with diagonal struts and curved wind-braces.
In the garden, S.W. of the house, is the base of a 14th-century cross; it has chamfered angles and retains part of the stem.
a(3). Netherton Farm, house about 600 yards S. of the church, is of two storeys with cellars; the walls are of rubble, timber-framing and modern brick; the roofs are covered with slates. The middle part of the house was built in the 16th century, apparently on a T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the N. end; there are 17th-century additions on the N. and S. and an 18th-century wing on the E. of the original S. wing. The main entrance has a 17th-century door, and there is some exposed timber-framing in the N. addition. Inside the building are some exposed ceiling-beams, joists and timber-framing, and part of an original roof-truss remains.
Condition—Good, much altered.