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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4 AVENBURY (D.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XXI, S.W., (b)XXVIII, N.W.)
Avenbury is a parish 2 m. S. of Bromyard. The church is the principal monument.
a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary stands on the N. side of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone rubble with dressings of the same material; some tufa is also employed; the roofs are tiled. The Nave is of early 12th-century date and the Chancel was re-built and probably enlarged later in the same century. About 1250 the N. arcade was built and a N. aisle added; this aisle was destroyed at some uncertain date and the arcade blocked. The West Tower was added early in the 13th century and the South Porch in the 14th century. The church was restored in 1881 and the E. wall has been largely re-built.
Among the fittings the chest and the incised slab are noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (24 ft. by 21 ft.) has a modern E. window. In the N. wall is a late 12th-century window of one round-headed light. There is a similar window in the S. wall and W. of it is a 12th-century doorway altered in the 14th century; it has chamfered jambs and a round head. There is no chancel-arch.
The Nave (46½ ft. by 20 ft.) has a blocked 13th-century N. arcade (Plate 9) of three bays with two-centred arches, cylindrical columns and half cylindrical responds with moulded or scalloped capitals; the middle bay is entirely blocked and in the other bays are modern windows. In the S. wall are four windows, three of lancet-form and of 13th-century date, restored, and one, set higher in the wall, of early 12th-century date and of one round-headed light with tufa dressings; the S. doorway is of late 12th-century date with roll-moulded jambs, two-centred arch and chamfered label.
The West Tower (13¾ ft. square) is of early 13th-century date and of two stages with a low pyramidal roof. The two-centred tower-arch is of two chamfered orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on half-round shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The S. and W. walls have each a lancet-window. The second stage has a blocked doorway in the E. wall and a lancet-window in each of the three other walls.
The South Porch is a 14th-century timber structure on dwarf rubble walls. The outer archway is formed by a tie-beam and two foiled braces; there is a similar truss against the nave-wall; in the middle is a collar-beam truss cut to a trefoil above the collar. The side walls have modern boarding.
The Roofs of the chancel and nave are of braced collar-beam type with two tie-beams; they are probably of mediæval date.
Fittings—Bells: three; 1st inscribed in Lombardic capitals, "Missi de celis habeo nomen Gabrielis," probably from the Worcester foundry, 15th-century. Chest (Plate 45): In chancel—of hutch-type, 7 ft. long, iron-bound and with round iron carrying-rings, six strap-hinges, large dove-tailed joints, front feet carved with large four-petal flower, 14th-century. Communion Table: with turned legs and moulded top rails with shaped brackets, c. 1630. Door: In S. doorway, of battens with strap-hinges having shaped ends, large lockplate probably 17th-century. Font: cylindrical bowl and octagonal stem, 13th-century. Monument: In chancel —flat slab (Plate 82) with incised figure of man in banded mail armour with long surcoat, hands sheathing sword, head on cushion, shield hanging from shoulder, legs crossed, mid 13th-century. Plate: includes cup of 1571 with band of engraved ornament, cover-paten of about the same date and a pewter flagon. Recesses: In chancel—in S. wall, plain rectangular recess. In outer face of S. wall of nave—with chamfered two-centred head and moulded label, 14th-century. Screen: Between chancel and nave—with central doorway, close lower panels and open upper panels, five on the N. and six on the S. of the doorway; side bays with trefoiled and traceried heads varying on the two sides; lower panels on S. incorporating four early 17th-century panels (Plate 67) probably from former pulpit and carved with conventional designs, screen late 15th-century, with modern additions. Seating: In nave —ten benches and one front, with moulded rails and ends carved with linen-fold design, early 16th-century.
b(2). Upper Venn, house and cottage nearly 1¼ m. S. of the church. The House is of two storeys with cellars and attics; the walls are timber-framed and the roofs are tiled. It was built early in the 17th century with a central block and cross-wings at the N. and S. ends. The timber-framing is exposed, as are the internal ceiling-beams.
The Cottage, E. of the house, is of late 17th-century date and of two storeys with exposed timber-framing.
a(3). Hackley Farm, house about 1½ m. W. of the church, is of three storeys with attics; the walls are timber-framed and weather-boarded and the roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1620 and contains an unusual staircase, set in a framing of moulded posts, rail and string with turned balusters between the framing; one post has an attached half-newel with a ball-top.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and with tile or slate-covered roofs. Most of the buildings have exposed external framing and internal ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good or fairly good.
a(4). Little Froome, house, 1,150 yards W.N.W. of the church. The middle part of the main block dates from early in the 16th century, and has close-set framing. It was extended to the W. c. 1700 and there are remains of a 17th-century wing on the S. side of the earlier block. The house has been much altered. Inside the building are some 17th-century moulded ceiling-beams.
a(5). Cottage, 250 yards W. of the church, has two original windows with moulded frames and mullions. Inside the building are some moulded ceiling-beams.
b(6). Cottage, on the E. side of the road, over 1½ m. S.S.W. of the church.
b(7). Cottage, opposite (6), has a modern extension on the E.
b(8). Holly Bush Inn, on the E. side of the road 770 yards S.S.E. of (7), has a thatched roof and modern extensions on the E. and W. The lower storey has rubble walls.
b(9). Hopton Sollers, house, 2¾ m. S.W. of the church. The middle part was re-built late in the 17th century and the W. wing is an extension of c. 1700 and later. The E. gable of the E. wing has diagonal framing.