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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20 CASTLE FROME (D.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XXVIII, S.W., (b)XXVIII, S.E., (c)XXXV, N.W.)
Castle Frome is a parish 5½ m. N.N.W. of Ledbury. The church, with its richly carved font of the 12th century, is the principal monument.
a(1). Parish Church of St. Michael stands in the N. part of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone with dressings of the same material; the roofs are tiled. The Chancel and Nave were built in the first half of the 12th century. The church was restored in 1878; the bell-turret re-built and the North Vestry and South Porch added.
The church is a complete but plain 12th-century building, the N. wall of the nave being an interesting example of the masonry of the period; among the fittings the font is a remarkably rich example of a local type of carving, and the 17th-century monument is noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (24½ ft. by 18¼ ft.) has a 15th-century E. window of three cinque-foiled lights in a segmental-pointed head with a moulded label. In the N. wall is a 12th-century window of a single round-headed light; farther W. is a modern doorway. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern of c. 1300 and of two trefoiled lights with a trefoil in a two-centred head; projecting inwards from the base of the mullion is the bust (Plate 11) of a small carved figure of a man in mail armour with a surcoat and holding a heart in his hands; this is probably the memorial of a heart-burial; the western window is of the 15th century and of two cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a rounded two-centred head with a moulded label; between the windows is a 12th-century doorway with plain jambs, square head, and a semi-circular panel sunk in the lintel. The 12th-century chancel-arch is semi-circular and of two square orders interrupted at the springing-level by moulded or chamfered imposts, partly restored; on the S. impost is a small carved head.
The Nave (42 ft. by 23½ ft.) has, in the N. wall (Plate 111), two 12th-century windows similar to that in the chancel. In the S. wall are two windows, the western similar to those just described but blocked internally, and the eastern of the 15th century and of three cinque-foiled lights in a segmental head; the 12th-century S. doorway has plain jambs, square head, and a round relieving arch above the lintel. In the W. wall is a single round-headed 12th-century light; the W. doorway, of the same date, is similar to the S. doorway. The square timber bell-turret appears to be entirely modern.
The Roof of the chancel is of trussed-rafter type, ceiled in the W. part and boarded and panelled in the E. part; the panels are divided by moulded ribs into square panels, sub-divided diagonally and with foliated bosses; the wall-plates are moulded and embattled, all being of c. 1500; there are two moulded tie-beams of c. 1600, the western being carved with foliage and a central rosette on the soffit. The late 15th-century roof of the nave is of flat pitch with a panelled soffit of forty panels, four in the width; the dividing beams are moulded; the boarding is modern.
Fittings—Bells: three; 1st inscribed in Lombardic capitals "Mauddillamor. W.T." probably mediæval. Font (Plate 51): Round bowl and stem of ogee section, with deep band of interlacement at top and bottom, between them carved representations of the Baptism, the four evangelistic creatures and two doves; base consisting of three crouching figures in quilted garments, all mutilated, c.1150; cover of oak, octagonal with ribs and central post, formerly supported by four brackets, of which three are missing, early 17th-century. Glass: In nave—in S.E. window, fragments of canopy-work, three figures, a head, etc., 15th-century. Monuments and Floor-slab. Monuments: In chancel—against N. wall, (1) probably to a member of the Unett family, c. 1620–40, altar-tomb (Plates 59, 112, 113) of freestone, reassembled, and effigies of alabaster; altar-tomb with draped panels, on S. kneeling figures of three sons and three daughters with a central desk, on the W. end kneeling figures of two sons and a daughter; on anglepilasters, three cartouches-of-arms; effigy of man in civil costume with slashed sleeves, long hair, and left hand on breast; woman with stomacher and loose outer cloak; (2) to Francis Unett, 1656, and Sara (Nicholetts) his wife, 1659, stone and slate tablet (Plate 61) with scrolls, twisted Ionic side-columns, entablature, broken pediment, and three cartouches-of-arms. In nave—on S. wall, (3) to William Unett, 1624, monument erected by Anne (Elton) his second wife, three slabs, two inscribed and one with a shield-of-arms, probably all part of Monument (1). Floor-slab: In porch—to Eli . . . Lind . . ., 1689. Plate: includes cup of 1570 with bands of engraved ornament and cover-paten dated 1571. Pulpit: three sides with moulded cornice and bolection-moulded panels, inlaid star in one panel, early 18th-century. Recess: In chancel— in S. wall, with chamfered segmental arch, moulded label and carved head-stop, late 13th-century; farther E., rectangular recess. Stoup: In S. doorway—round-headed recess, mediæval, probably for stoup. Sundial: Above S. doorway—projecting semi-circular stone dial, divided, in the early manner, to show 'tides.' Tiles: Re-set in eastern recess in chancel—slip-tiles, with lion, fleur-de-lis, patterns of faces, etc.
a(2). Motte and bailey at Castle Farm and 350 yards E. of the church. The Motte is some 60 yards in diameter at the base, and rises about 14 ft. above the bailey; there is a slight sinking in the top. A scarp to the E. and S. probably indicates the outline of the bailey. Running along the hillside, S.W. of the Motte, is a sunken way partly protected by a rampart on the W. side.
Condition—Poor, site wooded.
c(3). Homestead Moat at New Birchend, ¾ m. S. of the church, is complete.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys; the walls are timber-framed and the roofs are tile or slate-covered. Some of the buildings have original chimney-stacks and exposed ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good or fairly good.
a(4). Church House Farm, house and barn, 120 yards W.S.W. of the church. The House has a late 17th or early 18th-century extension on the W., and the side walls have been raised and partly re-fronted. Some of the timber-framing is exposed.
The Barn, adjoining the house at the W. end, is of late 17th or early 18th-century date and of four bays.
a(5). Town Farm, house and barn, 100 yards S. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics and was built probably late in the 16th century. Early in the 18th century it was extensively altered and added to on the N. and S. Some of the framing is exposed. Inside the building are some original moulded ceiling-beams.
The Barn, S.W. of the house, was built probably early in the 18th century and is partly weather-boarded.
a(6). Cottage, 700 yards S. of the church, has exposed framing and a thatched roof.
a(7). Outbuilding at Moorcnd Farm, ½ m. S. of the church, has exposed framing.
a(8). Fromey Mill, house, ¾ m. W.S.W. of the church, was built probably early in the 18th century and has some exposed framing.
a(9). Millend Farm, house, ¼ m. S. of (8), has exposed framing. The upper storey projects at the N. end of the main block. The roof has been raised, and there are later and modern additions on the E. and W. Inside the building is an original panelled door.
b(10). Hill Farm, house, 800 yards S.E. of the church, has been largely reconstructed but retains a small wing at the back with exposed framing.
c(11). Outbuildings at Old Birchend, nearly 1 m. S. of the church, consist of a barn, stable and outbuilding. The two former form an L-shaped block. The barn is of one storey and of four bays. The framing is exposed in both buildings.