Richard's Castle

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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'Richard's Castle', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, Volume 3, North West, (London, 1934) pp. 170-174. British History Online [accessed 11 April 2024]

In this section


(O.S. 6 in. (a)III, S.W., (b)III, S.E., (c)VII, N.W., (d)VII, N.E.)

Richard's Castle is a parish on the Shropshire border 8 m. N. of Leominster. The old church and the castle are the principal monuments.


d(1). Church of St. Bartholomew (Plates 9, 150) stands in the S. part of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone rubble with dressings of the same material; the roofs are covered with tiles, stone and slates. The Chancel and Nave were built in the 12th century. The S. arcade was built, and the South Aisle added, early in the 14th century, and shortly after the upper part of the E. wall and chancel-arch were re-built, the detached Tower built, and the North Chapel added; rather later in the same century the W. wall of the nave was re-built. The South Porch was added early in the 15th century. The church was restored in the 19th century, but is not now regularly used.

Richard's Castle, Old Parish Church of St. Bartholomew

Architectural Description—The Chancel (39¾ ft. by 21¾ ft.) has an early to mid 14th-century E. window of four trefoiled lights with flowing tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label. In the N. wall is a window of the same date and of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; immediately to the W. is part of the W. jamb of a destroyed window, probably of the 12th century; further W. is a blocked doorway to a former vestry; the internal stonework is modern. In the S. wall are two 14th-century windows, the eastern uniform with that opposite and the western of two trefoiled ogee lights in a square head; below and to the W. of the eastern window are a window and doorway, both blocked and formerly opening into a vault below the sanctuary; they are of 16th or 17th-century date, the window being of two lights with a modern head and the doorway with a two-centred head; the early 14th-century chancel-doorway has chamfered jambs and two-centred head with a chamfered label. The early to mid 14th-century chancel-arch has responds and two-centred arch of two sunk-chamfered orders with moulded and embattled imposts, partly cut away for the former rood-loft.

The Nave (59 ft. by 19¾ ft.) has a mid 14th-century N. arcade of two bays, with two-centred arches of two sunk-chamfered orders and pier and responds of similar section with moulded and embattled imposts and chamfered bases; further W. are two 12th-century windows each of one round-headed light. The S. arcade, of c. 1320, is of three bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the piers and responds are of the same section and have moulded imposts with ball-flower ornament. In the W. wall is a late 14th-century window of four trefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head; the jambs and central mullion are shafted and the tracery is much restored.

The North Chapel (21½ ft. by 20¼ ft.) is of mid 14th-century date and has an E. window of three trefoiled ogee lights with net-tracery in a square head. In the N. wall is a window of four trefoiled lights with star-shaped tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the jambs are shafted; the tracery is probably a 17th-century reconstruction. In the W. wall is a window of three trefoiled ogee lights in a square head.

The South Aisle (12¼ ft. wide) is of early 14th-century date and has an E. window of three cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head; the jambs, arch and mullions have ball-flower ornament; in the gable is a round quatre-foiled window. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; the western window is of two lancet-lights; the S. doorway has moulded jambs and two-centred head. In the W. wall is a window uniform with the western window in the S. wall. Across the aisle are two timber shores, probably of the 17th century, and inserted to support the nave-wall which leans heavily to the S.

The South Porch is of early 15th-century date and has an outer archway, two-centred and of two chamfered orders, springing from semi-octagonal responds with chamfered imposts. The side walls have each a window of two trefoiled lights in a square head.

The Tower (15 ft. square) standing detached to the E. of the chancel, is of early 14th-century date and of three stages, finished with a low pyramidal roof. The ground stage has, in the E. and S. walls, a window of one square-headed light; in the W. wall is a doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred head. The second stage has a single-light square-headed window in the E. wall and a blocked window in the S. wall. The bell-chamber has, in the E., N. and S. walls, a window of two plain pointed lights in a two-centred head.

The Roof of the chancel is of early 17th-century date and of three bays with moulded tie-beams and diagonal struts to the collars; below the tie-beams are wall-posts with moulded terminals and moulded braces. The timbers of the roofs of the S. porch and tower are ancient.

Fittings—Bells: three; 3rd inscribed "Sancta Maris probis" (ora pro nobis), early 16th-century. Coffin-lid (Plate 47): In S. aisle—against W. wall, tapering slab with triangular head and heavy foliated cross and stem, late 13th-century. Collecting Box: In modern church— with lid inscribed W.C. 1686, modern handle. Communion Rails: In second stage of tower—moulded rail with turned balusters, early 17th-century. Communion Table: with turned legs, moulded top-rails and shaped brackets, early 17th-century. Glass: In chancel—in tracery of S.W. window, fragments of foliage, wings and coloured glass, 14th-century. In N. chapel—in tracery of E. window, a Coronation of the Virgin under tabernacle-work, roundels and backgrounds of foliage and flowers, 14th-century and in situ, also a 16th-century roundel with part of a Garter. In W. window, quarries with yellow flowers, a roundel, etc. In S. aisle—in head of E. window, crowned head of Christ (?) in roundel, foliage, borders of castle and fleurs-de-lis, etc., 14th-century; in round window above, fragments with foliage and borders; in head of S.E. window, roundel with part of crowned head, foliage, borders, etc., 14th-century. Locker: In S. aisle—in S. wall, recess with square rebated head and slot for shelf, mediæval. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In N. transept—in N. wall, (1) E. side of large tomb-recess, with moulded jambs and cusped arch with crockets and side standard, 14th-century, mostly hidden, and probably destroyed by modern pew. In churchyard—S. of S. aisle, (2) to Simon Higgins, 1708, moulded slab from table-tomb. Floor-slabs: In chancel (1) to William Salwey, 1710; (2) to Franc . . ., 1700; (3) to William Deverell, 1704, also to Margaret, daughter of Thomas Holland, 1714–5. In nave—(4) to Thomas Bytheway, 1708; (5) to A.T., 1680; (6) to John (?) Davis, 1709. Piscina: In S. aisle—in S. wall, recess with cinque-foiled head, early 14th-century, drain removed. Plate: includes two stand-patens of 1694, probably of secular origin and given by John Salwey, rector, 1713, achievement-of-arms in middle of each. Seating: In nave, N. chapel and S. aisle—box-pews of mid and late 17th-century panelling, one door on S. side inscribed S.H. 1688; incorporated in rector's pew and pulpit, six pairs of 15th-century panels with trefoiled and sub-cusped heads. Sundial: On W. jamb of chancel-doorway—remains of scratch-dial.



c(2). Richard's Castle, ruins and earthwork, immediately W. of the churchyard. There seems little doubt that it is the castle called Auretone in the Domesday Survey (1086), when it was held by Osbern Fitz Richard. It passed to the families of Mortimer, Talbot and Pope. The earthwork consists of a motte and bailey, both surrounded by a continuous ditch, with traces of an outer enclosure on the W. The motte occupies the W. side of the site and is 65 yards in diameter at the base, 7 yards at the top, and rises 60 ft. above the bottom of the ditch on the W side. There is no ditch between it and the bailey which lies on the E. side and is of the normal kidney-form. The bailey is protected by a rampart representing the former wall which survives in places. The area is divided by a scarp into two portions. The bailey was entered on the S.E. where the ditch is crossed by a causeway; the gate is represented by a fragment of masonry on the S. side. The surviving walling, on the N. side of the bailey, is about 50 ft. long and 18 ft. high. A further stretch of walling survives, climbing the N. slope of the motte; it stands some 12 ft. high, and near the foot of the slope are remains of a projection on the outward face of the wall. All these fragments are of rubble and retain no evidence of their date. Surrounding both motte and bailey is a ditch with a small outer bank. Running N.E. from the N.E. side of the outer bank is a second bank with a ditch towards the N.W. This bank extends for some 50 yards and indicates the former existence of an outer enclosure containing the church and perhaps the early village.

Condition—Planted and much overgrown.

b(3). Enclosure, probably Homestead Moat, in Haye Park Wood, 1¼ m. N.N.E. of the church, is roughly rectangular, with an inner rampart, surrounded by a narrow dry ditch. The ditch has an outer rampart on the E. side.

Richard's Castle

Condition—Fairly good.

a(4). Park Pale, formerly enclosing Haye Deer Park, ¾ m. N. of the church. The boundary bank enclosing the park can be traced along the whole of the S. and W. sides until the farmland is reached on Climbing Jack Common. No remains survive on the E. side.


d(5). Court House, cider-mill and dovecote, ½ m. S.E. of the church. The House is of two storeys with cellars and attics, timber-framed and with tiled roofs. The N. wing was built c. 1620–30, but has been shortened and re-built at the W. end; the rest of the house is modern. The old wing has exposed framing and the upper storey projects on the E. and on part of the N. side on a moulded bressummer and shaped brackets; the gable on the N. side has ornamental braces in the framing. The upper storey projects on the S. side also, but is now enclosed in the modern addition. Inside the building, some of the ceiling-beams are exposed. The N.E. room is lined with late 17th or early 18th-century panelling with moulded cornice and dado-rail; the fireplace has a moulded surround and a large panel as an overmantel; the fireplace is flanked by fluted pilasters; in the S.W. corner of the room is a panelled cupboard (Plate 53) incorporating some 17th-century slat-balusters. The reconstructed 17th-century staircase has turned balusters, close strings and square newels with moulded tops. On the first floor, the N.E. room is lined with panelling of two dates; over the fireplace is a late 17th-century painted panel with the nine Muses and Pegasus.

The Cider Mill, at the N.W. corner of the house, is an early 17th-century timber-framed building. In the W. wall is a four-light window with diamond-shaped mullions. The Dovecote (Plate 40), W. of the house, is a circular building of rubble, about 25 ft. in diameter, and probably of mediæval date. The conical roof has three gabled dormers and a central lantern, all probably of the 17th century. The entrance-doorway has a plain chamfered lintel of oak.


Monuments (6–20)

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and with stone, slate or tile-covered roofs. Most of the buildings have exposed external timber-framing and internal ceiling-beams.

Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.

d(6). Cottage, on the N. side of the road, opposite (5).

d(7). Lower House, on the S. side of the road, 180 yards W.N.W. of (5), is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. and E. On the W. side is an original porch (Plate 43) with dentilled base-beam and barge-boards to the gable and a moulded apex-post; the outer entrance has a moulded lintel and shaped brackets.

d(8). Rock Cottage, 230 yards W.N.W. of (7). The upper storey projects at the N. end on shaped brackets.

d(9). Cottage, two tenements, on the E. side of the road, 70 yards S. of (8), is of T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the W. end.

d(10). The Green, house, on the S. side of the road, 150 yards S.E. of the church, was built probably in the 16th century, and has fairly close-set framing in the N. wall.

d(11). Cottage, E. of the churchyard, was built c. 1600, and has been extended on the W. The upper storey projects at the E. end of curved brackets.

d(12). Church House, 60 yards N. of the church, was built in the 16th century. The S. block is an early 17th-century addition, as is the western extension of the earlier building. The S. side has been refaced in brick. The upper storey projects on part of the N. and E. sides of the original block, on curved brackets; the former projection at the E. end of the S. block has been under-built. Inside the building, the 17th-century staircase has turned balusters and moulded newels.

c(13). Ruddshole, cottage, 750 yards N.W. of the church.


c(14). Cottage, on Brightall Common, 1,600 yards S.S.W. of the church.

c(15). Woodhouse Farm, house, 300 yards S.E. of (14), has been heightened.

d(16). Bilbury, house, nearly 1½ m. S.E. of the church, has been largely refaced in brick.


d(17). Bury, house, ½ m. N.N.E. of (16), has been extensively altered and enlarged in 18th-century and modern times. Most of the walling has been refaced in rubble and brick. Inside the building is an original shaped and moulded bracket under a ceiling-beam.

d(18). Cottage, on the W. side of the road, 300 yards W.N.W. of (17), is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. and W.

d(19). House, on the E. side of the road, 550 yards N. of (18), was built c. 1600 on a T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the N. end. It has been partly refaced in brick.


a(20). Haye Park Farm, house, about 1 m. N. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of rubble. The E. part of the house is a modern addition or rebuilding. In the N. wall of the old wing is a window with an original moulded frame. Inside the building are some original moulded ceiling-beams. The S. room has an iron fire-back with the date and initials 1679, R.A.S. The N. room has moulded plaster panels in the ceiling and some original panelling. On the upper floor is some 17th or early 18th-century panelling.