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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13 BRINSOP (A.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XXVI, S.W., (b)XXXIII, N.W.)
Brinsop is a small parish 6 m. N.W. of Hereford. The church with its 12th-century carvings, glass and screen, and the 14th-century mansion of Brinsop Court are the principal monuments.
b(1). Parish Church of St. George (Plate 8) stands in the S. part of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone rubble, with dressings of the same material; the roofs are covered with stone slates. A re-set doorway is evidence of the existence of a church of c. 1150, part of which may be preserved in the N.E. angle of the present Chancel; this early church was perhaps a simple rectangle. The E. and S. walls of this building were perhaps re-built late in the 13th century. A North Aisle and arcade of two bays were added c. 1320, and the nave and aisle lengthened (the latter by two additional bays) c. 1330–40. The church was restored in 1866–7, and the North Vestry, South Porch, and probably the west bell-turret are modern.
The carving of the 12th-century doorway is of much interest, and among the fittings the coffin-lids, glass and screen are noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (16½ ft. by 15¼ ft.) has a late 13th-century E. window of three plain pointed lights in a two-centred head with a moulded label. The early to mid 14th-century N. arcade is of four bays with cylindrical columns with moulded capitals and bases; the chamfered responds have moulded corbels; the two-centred arches are of two chamfered orders; the two E. bays are earlier than the others, and the W. respond is probably the earlier respond re-set. Only the E. bay is included in the chancel. In the S. wall is a late 13th-century window of two pointed lights in a two-centred head with a moulded label. There is no chancel-arch.
The Nave (34½ ft. by 15¼ ft.) has a N. arcade as described above. Over the third bay is a corbel-table, perhaps for an early bell-cote, before the extension of the nave. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern uniform with the S. window of the chancel, and the western generally similar, but of rather later date. The early 14th-century S. doorway has jambs and two-centred arch of two moulded orders with a moulded label. In the W. wall is a window generally similar to the E. window, but of early 14th-century date.
The North Aisle (8½ ft. wide) has an early 14th-century E. window of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatre-foiled spandrel in a two-centred head with a moulded label. In the N. wall are two early 14th-century windows, the eastern of three trefoiled ogee lights with unpierced spandrels in a segmental-pointed head with a moulded label; the head is cut through by the roof-plate; the western window is similar to that in the E. wall; between them is a re-set 12th-century doorway of two orders, and with the inner order of the head cut to form a segmental-pointed arch; in the round outer order are eight carved voussoirs and six in the rear-arch, not in situ (see Carvings). The aisle is covered by a roof carried down continuously from that of the nave.
The Roof of the chancel and nave is perhaps of early 16th-century date and is of eight bays with collar-beam trusses having arched braces; between the chancel and nave is a heavy tie-beam with open framing above it; the continuation over the aisle has plain rafters. The S. porch is modern, but incorporates two posts against the church wall and the truss above, which may date from the 15th century.
Fittings—Bells: three; inscribed, 1st "Sancta Mikel ora pro nobis," cracked; 2nd "Amice Xpe Ihohannes"; 3rd "Sancta Margereta ora pro nobis"; all mediæval, Worcester foundry. Brackets: In chancel— on E. wall, N. of window, corbel-capital with square abacus, late 13th-century; S. of E. window, round with curved underside, probably 13th-century. Brass: In nave—on W. wall, to William Dansey, 1628, inscription in stone panel. Carvings: In N. aisle—in N. wall, portions of doorway of c. 1160 including tympanum with carved voussoirs above and carved voussoirs incorporated in N. doorway; tympanum (Plate 97) carved with large figure of St. George on horseback with cloak blown back, spear in right hand piercing dragon, two birds above; voussoirs above carved with angels, human figures, pair of fishes, bull, two beasts, bird and conventional foliage; voussoirs (Plate 97) in N. doorway carved with a Sagittarius, angels, human figures (perhaps apostles), beasts and conventional foliage; in W. wall of nave, panel (Plate 18) of same date carved with a diaper of pelleted circles, connected by beast-heads, and each containing a dove. Coffin-lids: In nave—against W. wall, (1) with incised cross-head enriched with pellets, early 13th-century. In N. chapel—(2) defaced, with remains of cross and foliated stem, late 13th-century; (3) with elaborate foliated cross (Plate 48) in relief, with wavy stem and sprigs, late 13th or early 14th-century. In vestry—on E. wall, (4) much broken, with elaborately foliated shaft and cross-head, 13th or early 14th-century; on external E. wall, (5) head only with foliated cross in circle, late 13th-century; (6) much worn head with remains of cross in circle, 13th-century; on W. external wall, (7) head with foliated cross in circle, late 13th-century. Door: In S. doorway—modern but with ornamental iron scutcheon to ring-handle, 13th-century. Font: round tapering bowl with chamfered band near bottom, chamfered base and plinth, late 12th or early 13th-century. Glass: In chancel—in E. window, middle light, panel (Plate 58) with figure of St. George with shield and spear under trefoiled canopy, border of fleurs-de-lis and leopards; second panel with figure of saint in blue cloak under canopy, borders of lions and eagles; in rest of light two modern panels; in head of N. light canopy of tabernacle-work, and below a shield of Chandos of Cheshire (?), partly modern; in S. light, shield of Dauncey of Brinsop quartering argent a fesse gules with a label of four points azure (Rumsey of Brecon ?), also grisaille quarries, all 14th-century, except Dauncey shield, 15th-century. In N. aisle—in western window, seated figure of Christ in Majesty (Plate 57) holding orb, with red foliage background, 14th-century. In vestry—in N. window, several quarries with whorldesign, 14th-century. Monuments: In nave—on S. wall, (1) to William Daunsey, 1708, marble wall-monument (Plate 60), flanked by Composite pilasters with entablatures, curved cornice, drapery, cherubs with shields-of-arms, urns and achievement-of-arms; on W. wall, (2) to Lady Doughlas Dudley, wife of Cap. William Daunsey, 1642, stone slab. In vestry—on E. wall, (3) to Catherine (Reed), wife of William Daunsey, 1704–5, grey marble panel. In churchyard—E. of chancel, (4) to Martha (Hopton), widow of James Hyet, 1666, flat stone; (5) to Debora (Rodde), wife of William Daunsey, 1655, flat slab. Paintings: In chancel on E. jamb of S.E. window, remains of two figures of women, possibly the Visitation, fragments of masonry lines and foliage above; similar fragments, with remains of figure-subject, possibly an Annunciation, E. of window, c. 1300. In nave— over S. doorway, possibly portion of a Crucifixion, and E. of S.E. window, remains of foliagework, c. 1300. Piscina: In chancel—recess with chamfered jambs, two-centred head and quatre-foiled drain, late 13th-century. Plate: includes an early 18th-century pewter plate. Scratchings: In nave—on N. arch of arcade, various masons' marks. Screen: Between chancel and nave—with central doorway and four bays on each side, close lower panels and open upper panels with moulded mullions and cinque-foiled ogee heads of varying design on the two sides, partly modern, double moulded rail in middle with band of pierced quatrefoils and flowing tracery on face of upper rail, late 14th or early 15th-century, with modern work and modern cresting. Between chancel and N. chapel —with doorway and five side-bays, close lower panels and open upper panels with moulded mullions, head-beam with band of quatrefoils and carved brattishing, 15th-century, incorporating modern work. Stoup: In nave—E. of S. doorway, semi-octagonal bowl, each face with quatre-foiled panel, 15th-century. Miscellanea: In N. chapel—used as bracket in S.E. angle, stone with interlacing cable-ornament, 12th-century.
a(2). Brinsop Court (Plates 99–102), house and moat, nearly ¾ m. N.N.E. of the church. The House is of two storeys partly with attics; the walls are of stone with some later timber-framing and the roofs are covered with stone slates. It belonged, in the 13th and 14th centuries, to the family of Tirrell, and from them passed to the Daunsey family who held it till 1820. The existing building indicates three periods of early 14th-century work, of which the earliest, c. 1300–10, is the small part of the N. range, E. of the entrance; the rest of the range was built c. 1320–30, and the N.W. angle retains evidence of a former turret. The E. half of the S. range, containing the Great Hall, was built c. 1340, and the W. half perhaps followed shortly after. There are traces of a low W. range abutting on the N. range and probably of about the same age, but this was replaced by a much higher timber-framed building about the middle of the 16th century. The S. half of this range was again re-built towards the end of the 17th century. The W. half of the S. range appears to have been remodelled early in the 16th century. Part of the W. range, towards the courtyard, was refronted in brick about the middle of the 18th century, and the main entrance was altered about the same period. In 1913 the modern E. range was built, closing in the courtyard, certain added partitions and internal walls removed, and a bay added on the E. face of the W. range.
The house is an interesting example of a large 14th-century manor-house.
Elevations—The N. front of the N. range is ashlar-faced except for some 18th-century brickwork above the entrance; E. of the entrance is a straight joint probably indicating the extent of the early block at this end. The re-facing at the N.W. angle probably indicates the former existence of a turret at this point. The entrance has stone jambs and an 18th-century brick arch. E. of the entrance are three early 14th-century windows, each of two trefoiled lights and two having moulded labels in addition; a fourth window, perhaps of the same date, is a single square-headed light. W. of the entrance are four slightly later 14th-century windows, one of two trefoiled lights with a quatre-foiled panel in a two-centred head, and the others each of two trefoiled lights with moulded labels; one of these windows has lost its cusps. The S. front of the N. range has, E. of the entrance, two early 14th-century doorways, one above the other and each with moulded jambs, segmental-pointed head and moulded label; further E. is a two-light window similar to that in the opposite wall. The W. end of the range is of ashlar and has a large tabled buttress near the S.W. angle; in the gable-wall is a tall early 14th-century window of two-pointed lights with a quatre-foiled spandrel in a two-centred head with a moulded label and trefoiled heads below the transom; on the apex of the gable is carved a crouching ape. The low buttress on the return S. wall and the raking weathering above it indicate the height of the low 14th-century W. wing, now destroyed. The W. front of the W. range has, in its northern half, walls of 16th-century timber-framing fairly close-set; the stone chimney-stack has four 17th-century brick shafts, set diagonally. The rest of the front is of late 17th-century date and has no features of interest; the S. gable-end has exposed timber-framing. The E. front of the W. range is all of 18th-century or later work. The N. front of the S. range is ashlar-faced, with two buttresses. In the W. bay is a doorway with a low triangular head, and further W. two 16th-century windows with chamfered oak frames and mullions; the lower is of five lights, and the upper of eight lights with a transom. The middle bay has three 14th-century windows on the first floor, the two eastern lighting the Hall are of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the western window is a single trefoiled ogee light. On the ground floor are two windows similar to that last described, but set in a square outer order. In the E. bay, at the same level, is a similar window of two lights; farther E. is a 14th-century doorway with an ogee arch in a square head. The 14th-century doorway to the Hall, on the first-floor level and approached by steps, has moulded jambs and a trefoiled ogee head. The S. front of the S. range is ashlar-faced, and of two dates indicated by a straight joint W. of the central buttress; the W. part has a chimney-stack with a late 17th or early 18th-century panelled shaft of brick; there are two old window openings on the upper floor, one of which has the casual inscription "1702 Ebenezer." The eastern part of the front has two two-light windows, lighting the Hall and uniform with those in the opposite wall, an original ashlar chimney-stack and farther W. two single-light windows, one of the 14th century with a trefoiled ogee head and moulded label, and the other with a square head; the lower storey retains one old window with a square head.
Interior—The Entrance Hall has some exposed timber-framing and a re-set door of nail-studded battens with old iron handle and lock-plates. The 'Gothic Hall,' to the E., has 16th-century moulded ceiling-beams. There is some re-used early 17th-century panelling in the passage W. of the entrance. The room in the N.W. angle has, in the W. wall, a blocked 14th-century doorway with a shouldered head, probably communicating with a former angle-turret. The Oak Parlour in the W. wing has chamfered ceiling-beams and a wide fireplace with stone jambs and oak lintel; the screen at the N. end incorporates an old head-beam. The 'Queen Anne Parlour' has a fireplace with a moulded surround. Some timber-framing is exposed in the S. part of the range. The fireplace in the Drawing Room ('Wordsworth Parlour') has an oak frieze and overmantel brought from elsewhere. The Dining Parlour, in the S. range, has chamfered ceiling-beams and an early 17th-century panelled dado, brought from other parts of the house. On the first floor the Great Hall (42 ft. by 22¼ ft.), in the S. range (Plate 102), is of three bays with four 14th-century roof-trusses; they have moulded and cambered tie-beams, moulded wall-plates, king-posts with foiled four-way struts to the collars and central purlin; the common rafters are trussed; the roof has been slightly restored. The two-light windows of the Hall have stone seats in the embrasures; the fireplace has moulded stone jambs and shouldered head and contains an iron fire-back with the date and initials 1669 E. and M.D. The room above the Dining Parlour is lined with early 17th-century panelling from Mildmay House, Newington Green, and there is an overmantel from the same place. The upper rooms in the W. range have some exposed timber-framing and wall-plates. The large 14th-century window in the N.W. room has seats in the embrasure and the mullion has a stone bolt-hole for shutters, below the transom; farther N. is an original doorway with moulded jambs and segmental-pointed head, formerly opening into the destroyed angle-turret and now blocked. The other rooms in the range have some exposed framing, and in one room is a 14th-century stone bracket of semi-octagonal form and terminating in a carved flower.
The Moat is roughly rectangular and surrounds the house. It is crossed, near the S.W. corner, by a stone bridge, entirely re-built from old materials. In the middle of the W. parapet is an added coping with a carved figure of a man or ape playing a fiddle; it is mentioned in 1872 as being then on one of the two towers flanking the drawbridge; this drawbridge, on the N. front, has now been replaced by two modern bridges.
About 200 yards S. of the house is a second rectangular moat, and immediately N. of the house are two large ponds.
b(3). White House Farm, house, 500 yards W.S.W. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed, but mainly faced with 18th-century brickwork; the roofs are slate-covered. It was built probably in the 17th century, but has been extensively altered in the 18th century. Inside the building are some exposed ceiling-beams. The adjoining outbuildings, N. and S. of the house, are timber-framed and probably of the same date.
(b)(4). Earthworks, covering an area of approximately 10 acres adjacent to the church, include a central enclosure about 1¼ acres in area, now the site of the churchyard, defended by a rampart with traces of outer ditch along its W. side, while the N. side has an outer ditch, but is only ramparted for a portion of its length. The S. and E. sides have a slight scarp, but no rampart, and there is no trace of a ditch to the E., but probably there has been some destruction in modern times, while the swampy nature of the ground on the E. may have been considered sufficient protection. Immediately adjoining the ditch on the W. is a raised rectangular platform which would appear to have formed an outer enclosure. Immediately N.E. of the churchyard is a rhomboidal-shaped moated enclosure, the moat being now practically dry, and having an outer bank to its S. arm and to part of the N. arm. From the W. end of the southern outer bank a broad bank runs in a S.E. direction until it reaches the stream on the E. of the site. To the N. of the main and moated enclosures are two irregularly shaped scarped enclosures, the more westerly of which has a small oval sinking at the foot of its E. scarp, and a large pond, now almost dry, at the foot of its N. scarp; there is also some slight scarping beyond, which probably indicates a part of old cultivated enclosures. The two fields N. of the church are known as Upper and Lower Stanks. The earthwork enclosing the churchyard is called a Roman Camp on the O.S. The plan of the whole works, however, seems to suggest a manorial origin, though the main ramparted enclosure may suggest the possibility of the incorporation of an earlier—but not necessarily Roman —work.