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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'Sarnesfield', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, Volume 3, North West, (London, 1934) pp. 177-179. British History Online [accessed 21 April 2024]

In this section


(O.S. 6 in. XXV, N.W.)

Sarnesfield is a small parish 6 m. S.W. of Kington. The church is the principal monument. In the Churchyard is the monument of John Abel, architect of Hereford and Leominster town halls, etc.


(1). Parish Church of St. Mary (Plate 7) stands on the S.E. side of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone rubble with dressings of the same material; the roofs are covered with stone slates. The Nave was built probably in the first half of the 12th century, and near the end of the same century the S. arcade was built and the South Aisle added. The West Tower was added probably in the second half of the 13th century. The Chancel was largely reconstructed in the 14th century and the South Chapel and South Porch added. The chancel-arch was re-built late in the 15th century. The church was restored about 1870 and again in 1907, when the S. arcade of the chancel was built.

Sarnesfield, the Parish Church of St Mary

The roofs of the church are of some interest, and among the fittings the inscribed coffin-lids are noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (16 ft. by 14¼ ft.) has a modern E. window. A former window in the N. wall has been removed. In the S. wall is a modern arcade of two bays. The late 15th-century chancel-arch is slightly pointed and of two chamfered orders, the outer continuous and the inner springing from semi-octagonal attached shafts with moulded capitals.

The South Chapel (16 ft. by 11 ft.) is of early 14th-century date. The E. window is modern except for the splays, rear-arch and part of the jambs. In the S. wall are two modern windows. In the W. wall is an arch of irregular rounded form and of one chamfered order.

The Nave (37 ft. by 16 ft.) has, in the N. wall, an early 14th-century window of three trefoiled ogee lights in a square head; two former windows, in the same wall, have been removed. The late 12th-century S. arcade is of four bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the cylindrical columns have moulded bases and scalloped capitals with square abaci; the arches die on to the end walls. In the W. wall, above the tower-arch, is a 12th-century window of one round-headed light opening into the later tower.

The South Aisle (4 ft. wide) has, in the S. wall, three windows, the easternmost modern; the other two windows are of the 14th century, and each of two trefoiled lights; the 14th-century S. doorway has chamfered jambs and segmental-pointed arch.

The West Tower (8 ft. square) is of the 13th century and of three storeys, undivided externally; it is finished with a battering plinth and a pyramidal roof. The tower-arch is two-centred and of two continuous orders, the outer chamfered and the inner moulded. In the W. wall is a partly restored window of two pointed lights with a round piercing above. The bell-chamber has in each wall a plain rectangular opening with a wooden frame.

The South Porch (Plate 42) is of the 14th century, timber-framed on dwarf stone walls. The outer archway is formed by posts and a tie-beam with curved braces; the tie-beam and principals form a trefoiled opening in the gable. The sides are of two bays, each with three lights. The roof (Plate 11) has posts and a truss against the N. wall similar to the outer archway, and an intermediate truss with a braced collar-beam.

The Roof of the chancel is of two bays with tie and collar-beams and foiled wind-braces; it is perhaps of the 14th century, but some of the timbers are modern. There is a similar roof over the S. chapel which is partly old. The 14th-century roof of the nave (Plate 11) is of three main bays with plain tie-beams and struts to the principals; the intermediate trusses have collar-beams with curved braces; below the purlins are foiled wind-braces. The aisle has a plain pent roof. The roof of the tower has one tie-beam and a central post.

Fittings—Bells: four; 4th inscribed in ornamental capitals, "Jesu salva me," probably early 14th-century, and perhaps foreign. Chest: In S. chapel—of hutch-type, with moulded styles and muntins, four linen-fold panels on front, one lock, early 16th-century. Coffin-lids: In S. chapel—(1) broken tapering slab with ornamental cross-head and flowered stem, inscription on edge, "Adam git ci deu. dei. (del) alme face merci," early 14th-century; (2) tapering slab with foiled crosshead and flowered stem, inscription round head, "Si git Isabele de Sarnesvelde," early 14th-century. In nave—in sill of N. window, (3) slab with enriched crosshead, 13th-century. In S. aisle—re-used as lintels to two S. windows (4 and 5), fragments of slabs with remains of cross-heads, 13th or 14th-century. Font: square stem with four attached shafts, 14th-century, octagonal bowl, probably modern, base modern. Glass: In S. chapel—in E. window, various fragments including rose, sun, man's head, hand, heraldic leopard, fleur-de-lis, crowned head, leopard's head, kneeling angel, etc., all 15th-century, also four small figures, two angels, a saint with a book, and a man playing a zither, 14th-century, and brought from elsewhere. Monument and Floor-slabs. Monument: In churchyard—S. of porch, to John Abel, architect, [1674] aged 97, table-tomb, slab with re-cut inscription and panel with compasses, square and foot-rule, tomb restored 1886. Floor-slabs: In S. chapel—(1) slab with two incised crosses with flowered ends, 14th or 15th-century; (2) to Thomas Monington, 1709; (3) to Gainor, wife of John Monington, 1688–9 and another later. Piscina: In chancel—in E. wall, recess with pointed head, plain drain, probably 14th-century. Miscellanea: In external S. wall of S. chapel —tapering fragment (Plate 17) with herring-bone ornament. In S. chapel—round stone with ornamental cross on each face, probably gable cross or head-stone, 14th-century.



(2). Hell Moat (Plan, p. xxix), in the S. W. angle of Sarnesfield Coppice, 1,500 yards N.W. of the church, encloses an irregular shaped island with an inner bank on the N., W. and S. sides. There are traces of an outer bank on the W. and S.

Condition—Fairly good.

(3). Woodmanton Farm, house and barn, 760 yards S.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics, the walls are timber-framed and the roofs are stone-covered. It was built early in the 17th century but has been altered, being partly refaced and heightened in the 18th century. Inside the building are exposed ceiling-beams.

The Barn, W. of the house, is of three bays with a cross-wing; it is a timber-framed building of late 17th or early 18th-century date.


(4). Woodmanton Cottage, 120 yards W. of (3), is of one storey with attics, timber-framed, and with stone-covered roofs. It was built in the 17th century and has exposed framing, that in the gables being set diagonally.


(5). Hallaston Farm, house and barns, ¾ m. W. of the church. The House is of one storey with attics, timber-framed, with stone and slate-covered roofs. It was built in the 17th century and has exposed external framing and internal ceiling-beams. Two timber-framed Barns, N.E. of the house, are of late 17th or early 18th-century date.

Condition—Fairly good.