King's Capel

Pages 96-98

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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45 KING'S CAPEL (C.e.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)XLVI, N.W., (b)XLVI, S.W.)

King's Capel is a small parish, on the left bank of the Wye, 4 m. N.W. of Ross. The church, with its early 14th-century cross, is the principal monument.


b(1). Parish Church of St. John the Baptist stands in the middle of the southern half of the parish. The walls of the chancel and W. tower are of sandstone ashlar and the remaining walls are of sandstone rubble with worked dressings of the same material; the roofs are covered with slates. The Nave is of 13th-century date. The West Tower was added early in the 14th century and the Chancel was re-built and the top stage was added to the tower during the latter part of the same century. About 1400 the Aramstone Chapel and the South Porch were built. The building was restored in 1894.

The stone vaults of the Aramstone Chapel and the S. porch are interesting, and among the fittings the churchyard-cross is noteworthy.

King's Capel, Parish Church of St John the Baptist

Architectural Description—The Chancel (30½ ft. by 18¼ ft.) has a late 14th-century E. window of three trefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head; it has been restored and the mullions and tracery are modern. In the N. wall are two windows; the eastern is of the 15th century and of two cinque-foiled lights in a segmental-pointed head and the late 14th-century western window is of two trefoiled lights. In the S. wall are two windows opposite to and uniform with those in the N. wall; both are of late 14th-century origin and have been largely restored, but retain some old stones; the S. doorway has chamfered jambs and flat segmental-pointed head. The 13th-century chancel-arch is of distorted two-centred form and of two chamfered orders with responds of the same section broken at the springing by a chamfered impost and with a chamfered base to the inner order.

The Nave (66 ft. by 26 ft.) has, in the E. end of the N. wall, an archway into the Aramstone Chapel; the arch is of c. 1400, two-centred and of two chamfered orders, the outer continuous and the inner carried on semi-octagonal responds with moulded capitals and bases; farther W. are two partly restored late 14th-century windows each of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in the spandrel, in a segmental-pointed head; in the W. end of the wall is a modern window. In the S. wall are four windows; the easternmost is of late 14th-century date and of three trefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head; it has been restored and is practically uniform with the E. window of the chancel; it is set in a gable, the head of the window being carried up above the general eaves-level; the second window from the E. is of mid to late 13th-century date and is set high in the wall to allow for a tomb-recess below; it is of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in the spandrel; farther W. is a late 14th-century window of two cinque-foiled lights with a pierced spandrel in a segmental-pointed head; the mullion is modern; the westernmost window is of late 14th-century date, partly restored, and of two trefoiled lights with a cusped spandrel in a two-centred head; the head of the window has been cut out of one stone; the 14th-century S. doorway has chamfered jambs and segmental-pointed head. In the W. wall, placed high up at either end and probably inserted when the gallery was erected early in the 18th century, are two round-headed lights. In the N.E. angle of the nave, for part of its height, is a splayed projection now plastered over but probably originally connected with the former rood-loft.

The Aramstone or Lady Chapel (16 ft. by 13¾ ft.) is of late 14th or early 15th-century date and has a moulded plinth. The chapel is vaulted and has moulded wall, diagonal and ridge-ribs meeting in a central panel filled with a rose; the ribs spring from moulded corbels in the angles, one carved with a human head; at the junction of the wall and ridge-ribs are the following carved bosses: on E. wall, two heads, a king's and a bishop's; on N. wall, a man's head; on S. and W. walls, a grotesque mask with leaves. In the E. wall is a restored window of two cinque-foiled lights with a pierced spandrel in a segmental-pointed head. In the N. wall is an extensively restored window of four cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head. There was formerly a window in the W. wall, but this has been blocked.

The West Tower (10 ft. square) is of early 14th-century date except the late 14th-century top stage; it is of four stages with an embattled parapet on the S. side of which two of the merlons are ornamented with defaced shields, one charged with a cross or with a quartered field. The moulded string-course between the second and third stages is enriched with 'ballflower' ornament and below the bell-chamber is a plain projecting band with square corbels below it. The tower is surmounted by an octagonal spire with rolls at the angles. The ground-stage has, in the E. wall, opening into the nave, a doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred head. In the S. wall is a small doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred segmental head. The second stage has, in the S. and also in the W. walls, a small rectangular loop and the third stage is similarly lighted. The top stage or belfry has, in each wall, a window of two transomed lights, with modern transoms with ogee heads under and the upper divisions with trefoiled heads and vertical tracery under a two-centred head.

The South Porch is of late 14th or early 15th-century date and has a moulded plinth and moulded parapet, in the middle of the S. side of which is a small niche. The porch is vaulted in a similar manner to the Aramstone chapel but the wall and ridge-ribs are chamfered; in the central panel, at the meeting of the ribs, is a carved rose. The entrance has moulded jambs and two-centred arch within a square head with traceried spandrels containing blank shields. In each of the side walls is a window of two trefoil-headed lights.

Fittings—Bells: six; 5th by John Martin, 1680; 6th by John Finch, 1632. Churchyard Cross (Plate 46): on three octagonal steps, with square to octagonal base, modern shaft and rectangular head with gabled top; on E. and W. faces of head, sunk panel with trefoiled head, carved with Crucifix on raguly cross on W. and on E. side seated figure of Virgin and Child; all figures much worn; early 14th-century. Coffin-slab: In nave—in recess in S. wall, plain with tapering sides, probably 14th-century (see Recess). Communion Table: of oak, with turned legs and moulded edges to top, 17th-century. Gallery: At W. end of nave—supported on two turned oak posts surmounted by entablature with panelled gallery-front above; staircase with cut string and shaped brackets, moulded rail, square newels and turned balusters, probably early 18th-century. Glass: In Aramstone Chapel—in N. window, fragments including head of Christ crowned with thorns, fragments of crowns from borders, etc., c. 1400. Locker: In nave—in S. wall, rectangular with jambs rebated for door. Monuments and Floor-slabs: Monuments. In churchyard—E. of chancel, (1) to Edward Marret, 1679, plain table-tomb; S. of chancel, (2) to T........, 1649, plain table-tomb. Floor-slabs. In chancel—(1) to Mary, daughter of John and Anne Rogers, 1686; (2) to Peter Booth, 1684, and James Booth, 1688. In nave—(3) to ..... Gwillym, 1700, with remains at angles of incised shield-of-arms. In nave—on N. side, (4) defaced slab dated 1699. In Aramstone chapel—(5) to Richard Marret, 1680; (6) to Mary, wife of Thomas Marret, 1658, and Anne, his daughter, 1658; (7) to Thomas Marrett, 1671; (8) to Frances, relict of Thomas Marrett, 1707, with lozenge-of-arms. Piscinæ: In nave—in sill of easternmost window of S. wall, with quatre-foiled drain. In Aramstone chapel—on S. wall, with semi-octagonal moulded and projecting bowl and spade-shaped drain, c. 1400. Pulpit (Plate 134): of oak, with four sides forming part of hexagon on plan each side in three tiers of panels the lowest with incised ornament, the middle with moulded panel, and the upper with arcaded panels with side-pilasters and enriched frieze above; sounding-board modern but possibly including old work, stairs modern but incorporating an old baluster, 17th-century, probably re-arranged. Recess: In nave—in S. wall, rectangular with square jambs and hollow-chamfered two-centred arch enriched with roundels or 'ball-flower' ornament, within recess, coffin-slab, late 13th-century. Seating: In nave— pews with panelled backs, moulded rails and heavy bench-ends with modern finials, plain framed dado against walls, 17th-century. In chancel—fronts of quire-stalls and enclosure of reading-pews made up with moulded panelling and incorporating modern carved panels and other work, early 17th-century.



b(2). Capel Tump, mound, S.E. of the church, is about 44 yards in diameter and rises 12 ft. above the ground on the W. There is a level sinking in the top of the mound.


b(3). Cottage, on the S. side of the road, ½ m. W.N.W. of the church, is of two storeys, partly rubble and partly timber-framed with plastered panels; the roof is thatched. It was built in the 17th century.


a(4). Cottage, 80 yards N.E. of (3), is of two storeys, timber-framed and with a thatched roof. It was built in the 17th century and has exposed ceiling-beams.


a(5). Lower Penalt, house and barn, 1,500 yards N.E. of the church. The House is of two storeys with cellars; the walls are of stone and brick. It was built in the 17th century and has modern additions on the S. side.

The Barn, S.W. of the house, is of c. 1600, timber-framed with a queen-post roof of two bays.

Condition—Of house, good.

b(6). Cottage, 1,000 yards S.E. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed with brick filling. It was built late in the 17th century.

Condition—Fairly good.