An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, Volume 3, North West. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1934.
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6 BISHOPSTONE (C.e.)
(O.S. 6 in. XXXII, N.E.)
Bishopstone is a small parish, touching the left bank of the Wye and 6 m. W.N.W. of Hereford. The church and Bishopstone Court are the principal monuments.
(1). House on the site of the Rectory, 600 yards S.S.E. of the church. The Rev. A. J. Walker describes the first discovery as follows:—"On Sept. 19th, 1812, in digging for a drain, where my parsonage was building, the labourers struck upon a tessellated pavement (Plate 88), which from not being bedded in cement was, to a certain extent, demolished . . . we found that considerable portions had been much injured by the plough or some other accident; but that the remains perfectly indicated the whole pattern of a floor, thirty feet square." (Description accompanying reproduction of pavement.) A description of further finds (Arch, xxiii. p. 418) runs as follows:—"At distances of one to two hundred yards round this house (the Rectory) we have dug up on every side Roman bricks, pottery both coarse and fine and many fragments of funeral urns, and I am rather surprised that only three coins have yet been found; a regular pitched causeway or rather foundation, has been found repeatedly; and in June 1821, in my kitchen garden, S.W. of the house, a foundation of sandstone . . . at the E. end, about 3 ft. deep, and at the W. deepening to about 5 ft. was discovered. The foundation is full 3 ft. wide and increases towards the angle, where it turns, to 5 ft. I traced it 55 ft., it was substantially laid without cement. I found also a 20 in. foundation-wall, most strongly cemented, on the E. side of the house. Considerable quantities of black earth, near the places where fragments of urns have been found, are also discovered. Bones have likewise been collected at about the general depth of 16 in. or 18 in. at which most of these Roman remains are met with at Bishopstone. . . . I ought to remark that the foundation above mentioned, of 55 ft. with its right-angle turn, was parallel, as far as I believe, with the respective sides of the tessellated pavement; there was no appearance of walls round the pavement."
The pavement is said to have been afterwards removed into the cellars of the rectory, but has now disappeared (Arch. Journ. xxxiv. p. 361). Another account (Woolhope F. Club Trans. 1882, p. 257) states, on the contrary, that the pavement was again covered. The remains evidently formed part of a substantial house, standing some 250 yards to the N. of the line of the Roman road. The design of the pavement was mainly geometrical, but includes panels with vases, craters, etc.
(2) Parish Church of St. Lawrence stands in the N. part of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone rubble with dressings of the same material; the roofs are covered with stone slates. Some blocked windows and a difference in the masonry indicate that the Nave dates from the 12th century. The Chancel and North and South Transepts were built late in the 13th century. The W. wall of the nave was re-built in the 14th century when the South Porch was added. The church was restored in 1842 and 1852, and the North Vestry is modern.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (16 ft. by 19 ft.) is of late 13th-century date, and has an E. window of three plain pointed lights with intersecting tracery in a two-centred head; modern sub-heads to the lights have been inserted. In the N. wall is an early 14th-century window of two trefoiled ogee lights. In the S. wall is a window of similar date, and of two trefoiled lights with a pierced spandrel in a two-centred head.
The Nave (49¾ ft. by 19¼ ft.) is undivided from the chancel. At the E. end of both N. and S. walls is a late 13th-century arch, two-centred and of two chamfered orders, the outer continuous and the inner springing from attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. Further W. in the N. wall are two windows, the easternmost a 13th-century lancet and the western modern; further W. again is a blocked window, perhaps of the 12th century, but with a four-centred head; the 13 th or 14th-century N. doorway has chamfered jambs and segmental-pointed head. In the S. wall are two windows similar to those opposite; higher in the wall is a straight joint, probably the W. jamb of a destroyed window; further W. is a blocked round-headed window probably of the 12th century; the S. doorway appears to be modern. The W. wall is ashlar-faced and has a 14th-century window of two trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a two-centred head, and now blocked; there are also three modern windows. On the gable is a modern bell-cote.
The North Transept (10¾ ft. by 15½ ft.) has, in the N. wall, a late 13th-century window of three plain pointed lights, the mullions being carried up to the two-centred head to form the middle light; the lower part of the window is blocked. In the W. wall is a blocked doorway of the same date, with chamfered jambs and two-centred head.
The South Transept (10¾ ft. by 15¾ ft.) has, in the S. wall, a window uniform with the corresponding window in the N. transept.
The South Porch (Plate 42) is timber-framed on dwarf walls. The outer archway is two-centred with a tie-beam at the base of the gable making three shaped openings with the rafters and two struts. There is a similar frame against the nave wall, but without struts, and in the middle is a pair of foiled principal rafters; the purlins have cusped wind-braces. The barge-boards are cusped and sub-cusped. The side-walls, formerly in two bays, are now fitted with 18th-century balusters.
The Roof of the chancel, extending to the W. of the transept-arches, is of early 17th-century date, and of three bays with two trusses of enriched king-post type, consisting of cambered tie-beams with curved ribs on the soffit, king-posts extending to the ridge, and two pairs of raking struts with ornamental filling between them; below the king-posts are carved pendants; at the W. end is a third truss dated 1842, when the roof was restored. The roof was again restored in 1925–6.
Fittings—Bells: two, inaccessible. Brackets: In N. transept—on E. wall, three moulded corbels, one terminating in a ball-flower, early 14th-century. Glass: In S. window of chancel—set in various fragments, six panels of foreign glass as follows:—(a) the Crucifixion, (b) the Prodigal son, (c) the Infant Christ and St. John the Baptist, (d) St. John the Baptist, (e) marriage-scene, (f) St. John the Baptist; also the irradiated initials M A and I H S; at top shield-of-arms, late 16th, 17th and 18th-century. Monuments: In N. transept—against N. wall, of John Berinton, 1613–4, erected by his widow Joyce (Ketilby); altar-tomb and wall-tablet; altar-tomb with painted cheveron-ornament on edge of slab, front divided into two bays by pilasters, middle pilaster with three carved and painted shields-of-arms, and a carved and painted shield-of-arms in each panel; effigies (Plate 63) of man and wife in costume of the period and each holding a book, man's feet on dog; tablet above with border of strap-work. Organ: In nave—at W. end, formerly in Eton College chapel and bought in 1844, instrument originally built by Father Bernard Smith in 1700–1, with modern additions and improvements; original three manuals, case modern. Piscina: In chancel—recess with cinque-foiled head and stone shelf, 14th-century. Plate: includes cup of 1621 given by Uvedale Price in 1839 and a Dutch alms-dish of brass with the return of the spies from Canaan and the inscription "Vreest Godt onderhovedt syn geboedt 1641." Pulpit: hexagonal, made up of late 16th or early 17th-century woodwork, three panels in height with some enriched frieze-panels, framing partly carved with scroll, guilloche and arcaded ornament, pulpit supported on four carved scrolls and steps made up with various pieces of carved work including a figure of Justice. Reredos: made up of similar woodwork to the pulpit including later and modern material; two large panels divided and flanked by terminal figures of men supporting the cornice; on panels painted ovals with clouds and the initials I H S and alpha and omega surrounded by carved flowers and cherubs, all of early 18th-century date. Miscellanea: Incorporated in quire-stalls—two late 16th or early 17th-century panels with carved monsters. Re-set in wall of vicarage-garden, window-head similar to those in the transepts.
(3). Bishopstone Court, house, gateway and moat, 150 yards N. of the church. The House is of three storeys with cellars; the walls are of rubble, and the roofs are slate-covered. It was built late in the 16th century or earlier, and is of T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the S.E. end. It was considerably altered late in the 18th century. The windows generally are of the 18th century with solid frames. At the angle of the N.W. wing is a small projection either for a staircase or garde-robe. Inside the building are some exposed ceiling-beams and two fireplaces with stone jambs and oak lintels. The shutters in the S.E. room are formed of panelling of c. 1600.
The Gateway, of late 16th-century date, stands on the outer edge of the moat, E. of the house, and consists of two stone piers formerly connected by a moulded arch and sub-arch, now destroyed. Flanking the arch, on each face, are pilasters with moulded bases, neckings and cornices, the last continued round the piers; the piers were finished with pyramidal cappings, now partly destroyed.
The Moat surrounds the house, and the inner bank is revetted in rubble. Behind the gateway is a bridge, probably of the 18th century.
Condition—Of house, fairly good.
(4). Bishon Farm, house, 1,020 yards S.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are timber-framed and the roofs are covered with stone slates. It was built early in the 17th century, with a cross-wing at the W. end. Inside the building are some exposed ceiling-beams. The original staircase has moulded grip handrails, moulded newels and flat shaped and pierced balusters.
(5). Cottage, two tenements, 40 yards S.E. of (4), is of one storey with attics; the walls are timber-framed and the roofs are covered with stone slates. It was built in the 17th century and has exposed framing in two main bays with struts or brackets under the head-beams. Inside the building are some exposed ceiling-beams.
N.B.—For Offa's Dyke, see p. xxx.