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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76 WIGMORE (C.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)VI, N.E., (b)VI, S.W.)
Wigmore is a parish and village 9 m. N.W. of Leominster. The church, the castle, and Chapel Farm are the principal monuments.
a(1). Parish Church of St. James stands on the E. side of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone rubble and ashlar with dressings of the same material and tufa; the roofs are tiled. The Nave was built late in the 11th century. The Chancel was re-built and no doubt lengthened early in the 14th century, and about the same period the chancel-arch was re-built, the South Aisle added, and the S. arcade built; about the middle of the same century the West Tower was added. The North Chapel with an arcade of two bays was built in the 15th century. The chancel-arch was re-built in 1864. The E. part of the N. chapel was pulled down at a later date than 1865, probably when the church was restored. The South Porch is modern.
The N. wall of the nave is a remarkable example of herring-bone masonry, and among the fittings the pulpit is noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (39 ft. by 19½ ft.) has a 14th-century E. window of three trefoiled ogee lights with net-tracery in a two-centred head. In the N. wall are two early 14th-century windows, the eastern of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil above and the western of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head. The S. wall has been partly refaced; in it are two partly restored 14th-century windows each of two trefoiled ogee lights with net-tracery in a two-centred head; between them is a 14th-century doorway with moulded jambs and two-centred arch. The retooled and reconstructed early 14th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of three orders, the inner moulded and the two outer hollow-chamfered and with moulded labels; the moulded responds have each an attached shaft with moulded capital and base; above the chancel-arch are two 15th-century windows, each of two trefoiled lights in a square head.
The Nave (56½ ft. by 30¼ ft.) has a 15th-century N. arcade of two bays with two-centred arches of two moulded orders continued down the responds; the column is octagonal with a modern capital and a chamfered and stopped base; the E. arch is now blocked; the W. part of the wall has a complete external facing of herring-bone work (Plate 183) of late 11th-century date; in it is a 15th-century window of two trefoiled lights in a square head. The early 14th-century S. arcade is of two bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders springing from an octagonal column and responds with attached shafts, all with moulded capitals, and the column with a moulded base in addition; E. of the arcade is a 15th or 16th-century opening with chamfered jambs and four-centred head on the S. face; W. of the arcade is a late 11th-century window of one round-headed light; the tufa quoins of the original S.E. angle of the nave are visible externally and return quoins in the E. wall indicate that the original chancel was wider than the existing building. In the W. wall, N. of the tower, is a doorway, perhaps of the 15th century, with chamfered jambs and two-centred head.
The North Chapel (originally 29½ ft. by 13¼ ft.) has been reduced to its western half and has a modern E. wall. In the N. wall is a re-set 14th-century window, of which only the moulded jambs are original.
The South Aisle (20 ft. wide) is of early 14th-century date and has an E. window of one trefoiled and two cinque-foiled lights in a two-centred head with a moulded label. In the S. wall are two windows uniform with that in the E. wall except that the second has head-stops to the label; the S. doorway has moulded jambs and two-centred head. In the W. wall is a window of two cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label.
The West Tower (12 ft. square) is of mid 14th-century date and of four stages undivided externally and finished with a moulded plinth and a modern embattled parapet. The two-centred tower-arch is of three continuous chamfered orders. In the W. wall is a window of two trefoiled ogee lights in a square head. The second stage has, in the E. wall, a narrow loop-light opening to the nave; the N., S. and W. walls have each a window of one trefoiled ogee light. The third stage has, in the E. wall, a doorway with a shouldered head opening to the roof; the other three sides have each a window of one square-headed light. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a window of one trefoiled light.
The Roof of the nave is of early 15th-century date and is of five bays with hammer-beam trusses and curved braces under the collars forming segmental arches; the collars generally are trussed; between the two lower purlins, on each side, are cusped wind-braces forming lozenge-shaped panels. The 14th-century roof of the S. aisle is of five bays divided by braced tie-beams; the collar-beams are braced, and there are foiled wind-braces.
Fittings—Altar: In W. tower—re-used as sill of W. window, slab with incised crosses, mediæval. Book: Book of Common Prayer of 1707. Churchyard Cross: N. of tower—octagonal base, stopped out to square and with moulded angles, ogee-headed niche in W. face, 14th-century, shaft and steps modern. Clock: On E. face of tower—wooden clock-face with moulded rim, dated 1706 (?). Communion Table: In S. aisle— with turned legs and shaped top rails, early 17th-century, shortened. Cupboard: In W. tower—with two panelled doors and panelled ends, 17th-century. Door: In doorway to turret-staircase of tower—of battens with strap-hinges, 17th-century. Floor-slab: In chancel—under communion-table, to Alexander Clogie, vicar, 1698. Font: octagonal bowl, with hollowed under-edge, and octagonal stem, mediæval. Glass: In S. aisle—in tracery of E. window, 14th-century fragments. Piscinæ: In chancel—in E. jamb of S.E. window, sunk panel with trefoiled ogee head, 14th-century, drain modern. In nave—in S. wall, at rood-loft level, recess with trefoiled head, 14th-century, sill modern. In former N. chapel—in S. wall, recess with segmental-pointed head and panelled spandrels, broken drain, 15th-century. In S. aisle—in S. wall, recess with trefoiled head and repaired round drain, 14th-century. Plate: includes Elizabethan cup (Plate 60) with band of engraved ornament round bowl, and a cover-paten with the date 1571. Pulpit (Plate 49): of decagonal form, with seven linen-fold panelled sides, moulded posts, rail and sill, central octagonal post with moulded radiating struts and moulded base, early 16th-century. Sedilia: In chancel—below S.E. window, two modern stone seats with 14th-century shaped stone arm between them. Stalls: In chancel—on N. and S. sides, returned at W. end, panelled fronts (Plate 49) with moulded posts, trefoiled and traceried heads, enriched with foliage and masks, buttressed standards with carved top spandrels and popey-heads; modern seats with old bench ends; return-stalls with cinque-foiled and traceried panels on W. face and shaped bench ends, 15th-century. Stoup: In S. aisle—E. of S. doorway, recess with pointed head, 14th-century, base modern. Sundial: On chancel—on S. doorway, remains of scratch-dial. Weather-vane: On tower—wrought-iron vane with gilt cock, probably early 18th-century. Miscellanea: In S. aisle—carved cherub-head, stone mortar and part of an octagonal stone bowl.
a(2). Wigmore Castle, ruins and earthworks, ¼ m. W.N.W. of the church, occupies the end of a long spur running S.E. from Wigmore Rolls. The walls are of local sandstone rubble with dressings of the same material. According to Domesday Book the castle was built by William FitzOsbern, Earl of Hereford, and was held at the time of the survey (1086) by Ralph de Mortimer. Part of the base of the N. wall of the shellkeep is of early, and perhaps 12th-century, character, and the rounded E. tower of the castle is probably of the 13th century, but the rest of the structure seemed to have been largely or entirely re-built early in the 14th century, probably by Roger Mortimer, the 8th lord. The castle passed to the Crown in the person of Edward IV. Bishop Lee, President of the council of the Marches (1534–43), found the castle "utterly decayed in lodging" and repaired it. It was also repaired by Sir Henry Sydney, a later president (1559–86), and used as a prison. It was bought by the Harley family in 1601, and is said to have been dismantled by them in 1643. Buck's view of 1732 shows that there was then but little more of the building standing than is at present the case.
Though very fragmentary the ruins are of interest as those of a castle, formerly of the first importance.
The existing ruins consists of parts of the walls of a shell-keep on a mound to the N.W. of the site, portions of the enclosing walls of the bailey to the S.E. including three towers and a gatehouse and a single fragment of ruin near the middle of the enclosure. The Keep (Plate 185) was of roughly oval form (about 125 ft. by 57 ft. internally) and was entered at the E. end. A stretch of wall survives on the N. side, with a flat buttress and terminating in the remains of a second buttress; the lower part of the wall is perhaps of earlier date than the rest and consists of courses of squared and much smaller stones; the upper walling with the buttresses appears to be of the 14th century, as is the rest of the surviving walling of the keep. A gap represents the entrance at the E. end, and to the S. of it are the remains of a tower with a plinth-course and with the embrasure of a single-light window or loop; higher up is part of the embrasure of a second window, to the floor above. Only fragments remain of the S. wall of the keep, but at the W. end is the lofty fragment of a tower, at least three storeys high; it contained a spiral staircase and retains the jambs of doorways and windows on its E. and S. sides. The keep no doubt had a series of buildings abutting against the inside of the enclosing wall and probably with a small open court in the middle. The main curtain-wall of the castle was carried up the keep-mound at the E. end and on the S. side. A portion of this wall adjoins the keep at the E. end and contains the remains of an embrasure and a shaft, probably from a former garde-robe. The N.E. Tower (Plate 185) retains only its outward side with four faces and a plinth; two of the faces have broken window-embrasures. On the inner face is a corbel of the former first floor, and higher up are remains of a window. The tower is of the 14th century. The curtain between this and the E. tower is largely destroyed except for a length adjoining the latter, which has a chamfered plinth. The E. Tower (Plate 185) is probably of the 13th century and has a rounded outer face with a plinth. There is a large broken window embrasure on the S. side and a garde-robe shaft at the junction with the S. curtain; the inner face of the tower has fallen. Some of the curtain between this tower and the gatehouse is standing and has a plinth. The Gatehouse (Plate 185) retains only its central portion, astride the line of the curtain, the outer and inner parts being destroyed. It is a 14th-century structure with a central gateway having a segmental-pointed outer arch formerly of two orders, the outer moulded and the inner chamfered; between them is the portcullis groove; towards the N. the arch is rebated for doors. The archway is choked with rubbish to about half its height. E. of the archway are remains of a small room at the first-floor level entered by a door on the W. side with a right-angled passage and a rubble vault. The W. wall, within the gateway, has a set-back of 4½ ft. at the first-floor level with remains of a window on the W. and a doorway on the S. At the junction with the S. curtain is a garde-robe shaft. The adjoining length of curtain is fairly well preserved and contains a second garde-robe shaft. The 14th-century S. Tower (Plate 185) was a rectangular structure (38 ft. by 32 ft. externally), of which the N. wall has been destroyed. It was of at least three storeys and has a moulded plinth and a central cross-wall running N. and S. Under the E. half is a basement with a segmental stone vault and approached by a double square-headed doorway in the N.W. angle and a flight of steps. The ground floor has remains of four windows and fireplaces in the E. and W. walls; the S. windows retain their trefoiled heads. The first floor has similar windows in the S. and W. walls. There are considerable remains of the curtain between this and the S.W. tower. The S.W. Tower is a rectangular structure of the 14th century and appears to have been of three storeys; it is much destroyed on the S. side. In the lowest storey is an unlit room, now open on the E. side. The S. wall has a plinth with remains of a window in the second and third storey. The adjoining curtain on the N. has traces of a former window, a chimney flue and a doorway with an ogee head and a chamfered rib in the thickness of the wall; the outer face is broken away. An isolated fragment of curtain survives on the S. slope of the keep-mound. Within the bailey, to the S.E. of the keep-mound, are traces of a rectangular inner enclosure, with fragments of masonry exposed at certain points. Within this enclosure, a bank at the back of the N.E. tower may indicate the lines of a destroyed building.
The Earthworks of the main castle have been formed by cutting a ditch across the spur to the N.W. and steepening the natural scarp to form the motte and by cutting two ditches with a medial rampart on the S.E. of the spur to form the bailey; the ditches die out towards the N. into the steep natural scarp, and both ditches are partly lost on the S. A causeway across the inner ditch forms the approach to the gatehouse, and a second causeway runs N.W. from the keep to the top of the spur beyond the keep-ditch, where a slight mound has been formed. S.E. of the bailey is a further enclosure defended by the scarp of the spur on the N.E., a ditch on the S.W. and a rampart on the S.E. The ridge to the S.E. of this enclosure is cut by four short ditches. To the N.E. of the scarp on that side of the castle itself a large enclosure is formed by two banks with ditches on their outward sides, running in a north-easterly direction. Both these works die out in the low-lying ground on that side.
Condition—Of ruins, heavily overgrown.
a(3). Chapel Farm, house, 1¼ m. W.S.W. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed, and with slate-covered roofs. It was built early in the 15th century with a hall and a two-storeyed wing at the W. end, both under one roof. The hall was divided into two storeys late in the 16th century. The S. wall has been largely re-built in rubble, except for the main posts. The building has been connected with the chapel in Deerfold Forest referred to in Bishop Trefnant's Register, as used for heretical services; it is, however, a purely secular building and is, moreover, of rather later date.
The house is an unusually complete example of its period.
The timber-framing is mostly exposed on the N. and W. sides of the building, which is of four main bays. On the N. side are remains of two original four-light windows, and there is an original doorway with an arched head in the W. wall. Inside the building, the hall occupies the three eastern bays; the roof (Plates 38,184) has main trusses carried on moulded posts, with moulded and shaped heads and foiled braces to the moulded tie-beams; the tie-beams and collars have raking struts and the upper wall-plates (Plate 35) are moulded and embattled; the subsidiary trusses have collars with curved braces, forming segmental arches; the purlins are moulded and the wind-braces, in three tiers, are cusped, the cusping in the upper tiers having foliated points. The inserted floor in the hall has exposed ceiling-beams. The framing in the W. wall of the hall is original and has a 16th-century doorway with a triangular head. The roof of the two-storeyed W. bay of the building is of similar type but plainer than that over the hall; the S. wall-plate has sockets for the mullions of an original window. The hearth of a fireplace on the first floor incorporates some re-used material and slip-tiles with geometrical and foliated designs. Lying loose is the head of a round-headed single-light window.
a(4). Wigmore Hall, ¼ m. S.E. of the church, is of two storeys with cellars and attics, timber-framed and with tiled roofs. The central block of the house with the small wing on the E. and part of the N.W. block were built probably in the 16th century; the rest of the house is modern. Some of the original timber-framing is exposed, and the E. wing, probably a two-storeyed porch, has a projecting gable. Inside the building some ceiling-beams are exposed, and there is some mid 17th-century panelling.
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.
a(5). House, on the E. side of the road, 200 yards S.E. of the church, was built probably in the 16th century, and has 17th-century additions on the S. and E.
a(6). Brick House, 50 yards N. of (5), has been refaced in brick. Inside the building is a 17th-century overmantel with three bays of enriched arcaded panelling.
a(7). House and shop, 20 yards N. of (6), has a cross-wing at the N. end. The upper storey projects on the W. side of the main block on curved braces and a moulded bressummer; the former projection at the end of the cross-wing has been under-built. Inside the building, the S. room is lined with original panelling, partly carved and enriched and having the initials K.P.
a(8). House (Plate 26), on the S. side of the road, 300 yards E. of the church, was built c. 1600, and has a late 17th-century extension at the W. end. The upper storey projects on the N. side of the original block on curved brackets. The former projection on the S. side has been under-built.
a(9). House, on the N. side of the road, 100 yards E. of the church, has a cross-wing at the E. end and later additions on the S. side.
a(10). Court House Barn, 40 yards W. of (9), is partly weather-boarded.
a(11). House, at the road-fork, 75 yards E. of the church, is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the W. and S. It is perhaps of mediæval origin, but was almost entirely re-built in brick late in the 17th century. Inside the building is some 17th-century panelling.
a(12). Parish Hall, E. of the church, is of one storey.
a(13). Cottage, 50 yards S.S.E. of the church, has a 16th-century E. wing and a W. wing added early in the 17th century.
a(14). House, two tenements, E. of (13).
a(15). Brook House, 100 yards S.S.E. of the church, was built in the 16th century, but has been completely remodelled. Inside the building one room has original moulded ceiling-beams and joists.
a(16). House, 50 yards S.W. of (15), has a modern S. wing.
a(17). Cottage, two tenements, 50 yards W. of the church, has been heightened and has a modern iron roof.
a(18). Cottage, 70 yards W.S.W. of (17), has been partly refaced in rubble.
a(19). Cottage, 50 yards W. of (18), has been heightened.
a(20). Lower House, 950 yards S.E. of the church, has been heightened. Inside the building are several 17th-century panelled doors.
b(21). Upper Limebrook Farm, house, 2¾ m. S.W. of the church, is of mediæval origin, the E. wing having three crutch-trusses. The W. wing is probably a 16th-century addition, when the early wing was divided into two storeys. Inside the building is some 17th-century panelling.
a(22). Lodge Farm, house, over 1½ m. W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. The main block was built early in the 16th century with a slightly later wing at the S. end. There are late 17th-century additions on the N. and W., and a porch of the same date on the E. Much of the original close-set framing is exposed, and the upper storey of the original block projects on the E. and N. on curved brackets. Inside the building the S.E. room has an early 17th-century ceiling of three large panels. The staircase, of the same period, has square newels with shaped terminals.