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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27 CREDENHILL (A.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. XXXIII, N.W.)
Credenhill is a small parish 5 m. N.W. of Hereford. The church, with interesting glass, and Credenhill Camp are the principal monuments.
(1). Parish Church of St. Mary (Plate 10) stands near the middle of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone rubble with dressings of the same material; the roofs are slate-covered. The Nave dates probably from the 12th century. The Chancel was perhaps added c. 1200 but, except the chancel-arch, was re-built c. 1300. A chapel seems to have been added on the N. side of the chancel at a date perhaps indicated by a license in mortmain of 1306, to Philip Talbot, rector, for the foundation of a chantry of St. Mary; a chapel in this position is mentioned by Silas Taylor in 1649–50. The West Tower was added during the 14th century. The South Porch is a 15th-century addition. The church was restored in 1861 and again more drastically in 1876; the North Vestry, partly on the site of the former chapel, is modern.
Among the fittings the glass, chairs, and font are noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (25¾ ft. by 17 ft.) has an E. window of c. 1330 and of three trefoiled ogee lights with net-tracery in a two-centred head; the rear-arch is trefoiled. In the N. wall is a modern opening incorporating some old stones; farther W. is an early 14th-century window of two trefoiled lights with a quatre-foiled spandrel in a two-centred head; immediately E. of it, on the external face of the wall, is a small patch of plaster with traces of colour, indicating the former presence of a mediæval building at this point. In the S. wall are three windows, the easternmost of c. 1300 and of two trefoiled lights with a trefoil in a two-centred head, partly restored; the middle window is of the 14th century and of a single ogee-headed light; the westernmost window, of c. 1300, is of one trefoiled light with a pointed recess cut in the W. splay; immediately E. of this window is a re-set door-way of c. 1200 with roll-moulded jambs and round head. The chancel-arch of c. 1200 is two-centred and of two chamfered orders, with responds of the same section and grooved and chamfered imposts; flanking the arch are two modern openings, perhaps representing earlier recesses on the E. face of the wall; the heads on the E. face are of c. 1300, cinque-foiled and with carved pateræ and cusp-points; in the S. respond of the chancel-arch is an old squint.
The Nave (50 ft. by 20¾ ft.) has, in the N. wall, three windows, the easternmost of late 13th-century date and of two trefoiled lights with a trefoiled circle in a two-centred head; the early 13th-century middle window is a single lancet-light; the westernmost window is modern; below it are traces of a destroyed doorway. In the S. wall are three modern windows and a modern doorway; W. of the middle window is part of the round head and W. jamb of a small 12th-century window.
The West Tower (10 ft. square) is of the 14th century and of three stages with a pyramidal roof. The two-centred tower-arch is of two continuous chamfered orders, with a hollow-chamfered base. The W. doorway has jambs and two-centred arch of two chamfered orders with a moulded label. The second stage has, in the N. and S. walls, a window of one trefoiled ogee light. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a square-headed window.
The South Porch is of late 15th-century date and of timber on a stone base. The outer entrance has moulded posts with moulded capitals from which spring moulded braces forming an elliptical arch. In the gable, above the tie-beam, are foiled struts; the original barge-boards have remains of foliated cusping. The central truss has moulded braces and against the inner wall is an arched truss similar to the outer entrance. The side walls are of two bays with a moulded division and modern mullions. The purlins and rafters are moulded, with carved bosses at the intersections.
The Roof of the chancel incorporates some old timbers. The roof of the nave is probably of the 15th century and is of six bays with tie-beam and collar trusses alternating with trusses having curved braces below the collars and no tie-beams; there are curved wind-braces.
Fittings—Bells: three, 1st by Henry Clibury, 1680, and 3rd probably by Thomas Clibury II, 1671. Chairs (Plate 41): In chancel—two, first with turned front legs, shaped arms, carved back and enriched top-rail with scrolled cresting; second with turned front legs, shaped arms, carved arcaded back, enriched top-rail and scrolled cresting, both early 17th-century. Coffin-lid: In chancel—in sill of N.W. window, 13th-century fragment with part of cross-head, edge with moulding and enrichment of c. 1300. Font (Plate 56): octagonal bowl with moulded and enriched rim, curved and fluted sides, moulded necking and base; rim inscribed "The giuft of John Squier who liveed at Colford, 1667," bowl said to have come from Eaton Bishop. Glass: In chancel—in N.W. window, figures (Plate 58) of St. Thomas of Canterbury and St. Thomas of Hereford, both in mass-vestments, former with pall and cross-staff, latter with crozier, inscription above "Catuar. Thomas de Catulupo," background of grisaille quarries and borders of fleurs-de-lis and castles, c. 1330. In nave—in N.E. window, shield-of-arms of Talbot, and a made-up shield of fragments including part of a Virgin and Child and other figures, in tracery jumble of fragments, 14th-century and later. Monuments: In chancel—on N. wall, (1) to John Cholmely, 1660–61, wall-monument (Plate 60) with Ionic side-columns, entablature' broken pediment, cartouche-of-arms and one reclining figure on pediment. In churchyard—S. of nave, (2) to William Stephens, 1710, headstone. Painting: On N. wall of chancel, externally E. of window, fragment of plaster with lines in red and a yellow band. Plate: includes an Elizabethan cup, much defaced, a pewter flagon and two pewter plates. Seating: In chancel— bench, made up of two standards with shaped tops and moulded rails, 16th-century.
(2). Cottage, two tenements, on the N. side of the road, 240 yards S. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and with tiled roofs. It was built in the 17th century and has exposed external framing and internal ceiling-beams.
(3). Cottage, 100 yards E. of (2), is of two storeys, timber-framed and with a thatched roof. It was built probably early in the 18th century and has exposed framing.
(4). Cross Farm, house, 280 yards S.S.E. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and with tiled roofs. It was built probably early in the 18th century and has a stone-faced lower storey with exposed framing above. The ceiling-beams are exposed.
(5). Cottage, at the road-fork 300 yards S.E. of the church, is of one storey, timber-framed with a thatched roof. It was built in the 17th century and has exposed framing.
(6). Credenhill Camp (720 ft.) occupies the top of the hill nearly ¼ m. N. of the church. It encloses an area of nearly 49 acres and is of irregular form, generally following the contours. The defences consist of a high inner rampart and smaller outer rampart with a medial ditch, and this would appear to have been continuous except, perhaps, for a small portion of the N. end of the E. side, and, though the ditch exists, there may never have been an outer rampart at the N. end. At the present time the inner rampart rises to a height of 23–40 ft. above the existing bottom of the ditch and to an average height of about 12 ft. above the bottom of the 'spoil-ditch' which is continuous at the base of its inner scarp; but the outer rampart is now destroyed in several places and the ditch filled in, the result being the formation of a berm where this has occurred.
There are three entrances. The one at the S.E. corner (Plate 1) has the ramparts turned inwards on each side of the opening, but there has been some damage done to the N. side. It is now approached by a modern cart track, but the original covered way still exists and runs roughly parallel with the modern track until the two converge just before reaching the actual entrance. The second entrance is in the middle of the E. side and has the inner rampart turned inwards on each side of the opening; it is also approached by a covered way. The third entrance at the N.W. corner in its present form is modern; but it may occupy the position of an earlier entrance though, apart from the fact that one might expect a possible entrance near this point, there is no evidence whatsoever to prove the fact. There are a number of lesser openings, all modern. A large disused quarry has destroyed the S.W. angle and obliterated all traces of any entrance there, if it existed. Within the camp, on its western side, a portion of the 'spoil-ditch' has been deepened, forming a rectangular pond or reservoir about 110 yards long, though, previous to drainage, it would appear to have been larger, extending 40 yards further towards the N. There are also two small ponds in the eastern 'spoil-ditch.' Within the enclosure, also, to the E. and S.E. of the reservoir, there are slight sinkings and a small length of ditch, which, however, are possibly small modern quarryings. The steepness of the scarping and construction generally would suggest that this Camp is of the Early Iron Age period.
Condition—Considerable damage was done some years ago by quarrying, and some destruction caused by drainage and the formation of paths, but otherwise it is in fairly good condition.