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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14 BYFORD (C.e.)
(O.S. 6 in. XXXII, N.E.)
Byford is a small parish mainly on the left bank of the Wye 7 m. W.N.W. of Hereford. The church and Byford Court are the principal monuments.
(1). Parish Church of St. John the Baptist (Plate 6) stands near the middle of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone rubble with dressings of the same material; the roofs are slate-covered. There was a 12th-century church on the site, of which part of the N. wall remains. The South Aisle with the three E. bays of the arcade were built c. 1200. Towards the middle of the 13th century the nave and aisle were extended about 20 ft. to the W., and about the same time the South Transept was added and the Chancel re-built. The chancel was again extended c. 1300, and the South Porch was added in the second half of the 14th century. According to a note in the parish registers the West Tower was built in 1717. The church was restored in 1851 and again in 1882–3.
The church has some good 13th-century detail.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (35 ft. by 12½ ft.) has an E. window of c. 1300 and of three pointed lights with the mullions carried up to the two-centred head to form the middle light. In the N. wall is a window of c. 1300 and of two trefoiled lights; further W. is a join in the masonry showing the extent of the earlier chancel. In the S. wall is a window uniform with that in the N. wall; further W. is a mid 13th-century arcade of two bays with two-centred arches of two orders, the inner chamfered and the outer moulded; the pier is of eight grouped shafts, alternately round and filleted, with moulded bases and capitals carved with 'stiff-leaf' foliage; the E. respond (Plate 16) has an attached grouped shaft and foliage; on the W. the inner order of the arch springs from a moulded corbel carved with foliage; set in the wall immediately E. of the transept is a length of moulding, perhaps part of the head of a window. The 13th-century chancel-arch was re-built in 1882–3; it is two-centred and of two chamfered orders with a modern label.
The South Transept (19 ft. by 13½ ft.) has a 14th-century E. window of five trefoiled lights in a square head. In the S. wall is a late 14th-century window of three trefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label. In the W. wall is a 13th-century arch, two-centred and of two chamfered orders dying on to the walls.
The Nave (Plate 93) (54¼ ft. by 18 ft.) has, in the N. wall, five windows of which the first, third and fifth are modern; the second window is a single round-headed light of the 12th century; the fourth window is a lancetlight of early 13th-century date; below it is a blocked doorway, of the same date, with chamfered jambs and round head. The S. arcade is of five bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders and cylindrical piers; the three E. bays are of c. 1200 and the rest of mid 13th-century date; the first two piers have moulded bases and scalloped capitals and octagonal abaci; the other piers have moulded bases and capitals; the responds have each a corbel-shaft of c. 1200 with a scalloped capital; that on the W. is re-set, and has 13th-century foliage below. E. of the arcade, in the angle of the E. wall, is a projection with a chamfered base and two corbels at a higher level; it may have formed part of the 12th-century chancel-arch. Set fairly high in the W. wall are two 13th-century lancet windows, now blocked; below them is a doorway, of the same date, with two-centred arch of two moulded orders with a moulded label; the inner order is continuous, but the outer rests on capitals carved with 'stiff-leaf' foliage; the shafts are missing.
The South Aisle (8 ft. wide) has, in the S. wall, two windows, the eastern of the 14th century and of three trefoiled ogee lights in a square head; the late 13th-century western window is of two trefoiled lights; the 13th-century S. doorway is set in a slight projection; it has a two-centred arch of two orders, the inner rounded and continuous and the outer moulded and with a moulded label with foliated stops; the outer order of the jambs has attached shafts with foliated capitals and chamfered bases. In the W. wall is a 13th-century lancet-window.
The South Porch is of late 14th-century date and has an outer archway with a moulded two-centred arch in a square hollow-chamfered head, both continued down the jambs. The side walls have each a single-light window with a modern external head.
The Roof of the S. transept is of 13 th or 14th-century date, and of collar-beam type with curved braces. The roof of the nave is of similar type with three trusses formed with tie-beams and queen-posts; there are cinquefoil-headed panels outside the queen-posts and curved braces, probably modern, with cusped spandrels between the queen-posts and the collar; there is a similar truss with modern hammer-beams in place of the tie-beam at the E. end. The S. aisle has a 14th-century pent-roof of five bays with wall-posts against the N. wall and cusped braces to the principal rafters and cusped wind-braces. The late 14th-century roof of the S. porch is of two bays with curved braces to the collar-beam and cusped wind-braces.
Fittings—Bells: three; 2nd, uninscribed, mediæval; 3rd, by I. P. (?) 1671. Brackets: In S. transept—on E. wall, two tapering stone brackets, probably 14th-century. Coffin-lids: In S. aisle—re-used as lintels to S. windows, two, one with ornamental cross-head at each end, the other broken and with one similar head, 13th-century. Door (Plate 45): In W. doorway of nave— modern but with two strap-hinges with ornamental ends, framing-strap to head, and other straps, probably 13th-century. Font (Plate 5 8): octagonal bowl, three faces carved with rosettes and a fourth with the date 1638 and a device below, plain octagonal stem with moulded capping and base. Glass: In E. window of S. transept and in S.E. window of S. aisle, fragments of borders, etc., 14th and 15th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel—on N. wall, (1) to Aubry Smyth, 1702–3, square tablet with achievement-of-arms. In S. transept—on E. wall, (2) to John, 1708–9, James, 1708–9 and Ann, 1715, children of James Davis, tablet with oval wreath in square surround. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to Mary, wife of John Gomond, 1682; (2) to Mary Read, 1685, and another later; (3) to I. G. (John Gomond), 1684; (4) to T. B. (?), 164(5 ?); (5) to Susanna, wife of Aubre Smyth, 1694; (6) to A. S.; (7) to R. (?) G., 1624. In nave—(8) to Bridget, wife of Richard Gibbons, 1694. Panelling: In chancel—on N. side, modern but incorporating parts of a fluted frieze and three shields-of-arms with the date 1635. Piscina: In chancel— recess with trefoiled head and square drain, 13th century. Plate: includes cup and cover-paten of 1711 and a paten of 1698, given by Elizabeth Reignolds in 1699. Stoup: In S. aisle—E. of S. doorway, recess with two-centred head and broken bowl, mediæval. Table: In vestry—with turned legs and enriched top-rail, early 17th-century. Miscellanea: In S. transept—in W. wall, small round-headed recess, splayed back into wall and with small blocked opening at the back. In S. porch—capital with 'stiff-leaf' foliage, 13th-century.
(2). Byford Court (Plate 163), house and dovecote, 60 yards W.N.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics; the walls are partly timber-framed and partly of stone and the roofs are covered with stone slates. It was built with timber-framed walls, probably late in the 16th century on an H-shaped plan with the cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. Early in the 17th century the hall-block was extended S. to line with the ends of the cross-wings. In the 18th century, probably in 1761, most of the rest of the house was refaced in stone. The S. front has a large ashlar-faced and gabled bay in the middle, added in the 17th century. It contains two large six-light transomed windows with moulded labels, one above the other, and other smaller windows; the entrance-doorway has moulded imposts and a semi-elliptical head, above which are three shields, two blank and one with the arms of Gomond, the whole enclosed by a moulded label; above the label is a blank shield flanked by fleurs-de-lis and surmounted by a bird; the gable has 17th-century moulded bargeboards. The side-wings and most of the rest of the house has been refaced in the 18th century; in the W. gable is a stone inscribed C. D., T. I., 1761. The N. end of the W. wing has much of its original timber-framing exposed. Inside the building the hall has an original ceiling divided into square panels by chamfered beams; the added portion on the S. is entered under a moulded beam resting on moulded imposts with shaped brackets; there is a bracket also under the N. end of the central cross-beam. The fireplace has original moulded stone jambs and flat four-centred head; in the S. face of the chimney-stack is a recess with a four-centred head. The room is lined with early 17th-century panelling, formerly at Marsh Court, Bridge Sollers pulled down about 1910. The porch, S. of the hall, has an original doorway with moulded posts, square-headed and with a shaped sub-head carved with human heads sprouting foliage; the battened door has moulded ribs planted on, strap-hinges and a drop handle. The room in the E. wing has a ceiling divided into panels by flat plaster mouldings. At the N. end is an inserted staircase with early 18th-century turned balusters. Elsewhere in the house are exposed ceiling-beams and framing. The main roof is of collar-beam type.
The Dovecote, W. of the house, is of late 17th-century date, timber-framed and with a pyramidal roof and lantern.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and with tile or stone-slate covered roofs. Some of the buildings have exposed external framing and internal ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good or fairly good.
(3). Outbuilding, on the E. side of the road at Byford House, 100 yards S.W. of the church.
(4). Lower Farm, house and barn, 200 yards S. of the church. The House is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. and E. There is a small added 18th-century wing of stone on the S. and modern additions on the N. In the E. wall of the S. wing is a window of seven lights with oak mullions.
The Barn, N.W. of the house, is of three bays, weather-boarded and with a corrugated iron roof.
(5). Fallsbrook Farm, house and outbuilding, 170 yards S.E. of the church. The House is of T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the E. end. A crutchtruss in the main block indicates that this part is of mediæval date, but the cross-wing was added early in the 17th century together with the small staircase-wing on the N. Inside the building is a dado of early 17th-century panelling.
The Outbuilding, N.W. of the house, has been partly refaced in stone.
(6). Lower House Farm, house and outbuilding, 550 yards S.E. of the church. The House apparently has remains of a single storeyed hall, perhaps of mediæval date, with a cross-wing of c. 1600 at the E. end. The hall-block has a modern upper storey. The upper storey projects at the S. end of the cross-wing on curved brackets with corner-posts terminating in ballpendants.
The Outbuilding, W. of the house, is partly weather-boarded. A barn, to the N. of the yard, is of three bays, weather-boarded.
(7). Townsend, cottage, 220 yards W. of the church, was probably part of a larger building. There is a late 17th-century addition on the N.W. and a later addition on the S.W.
(8). Cottage, 520 yards N.W. of the church, was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century and has a thatched roof.
(9). Cottage at Byford Common, 370 yards W.N.W. of (8), was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century, and has a thatched roof.
N.B.—For Offa's Dyke, see p. xxx.