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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33 HUMBER (E.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XX, N.W., (b)XX, S.W.)
Humber is a parish 4 m. S.E. of Leominster. Risbury Camp is the principal monument.
a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary stands on the W. side of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone rubble and tufa with dressings of the same materials; the roofs are tiled. The Chancel was built late in the 12th or early in the 13th century, and the Nave may be of the same date though there is little evidence of this; the earliest detail is of the 13th century. The West Tower was added probably in the 14th century and late in the same century the South Porch was built. The church was restored in 1876–78 when the North Transept was added; the Tower was restored in 1884, and the top stage re-built.
The timber S. porch is of interest.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (32 ft. by 14¾ ft.) has, in the E. wall, two restored and slightly pointed windows of c. 1200, with a round window above, enclosing a modern quatrefoil. In the N. wall are three slightly pointed windows of c. 1200. In the S. wall are three windows, the two eastern similar to those opposite and the third modern; the restored doorway is of c. 1200, and has chamfered jambs and two-centred head. There is no chancel-arch.
The Nave (33 ft. by 18 ft.) has, in the N. wall, a modern arch; further W. is a modern window; the blocked N. doorway is of the 13th century, with chamfered jambs and two-centred head. In the S. wall are three windows each of one trefoiled light and all modern except parts of the jambs; the 14th-century S. doorway has chamfered jambs and two-centred head.
The West Tower (9 ft. square) is of three storeys divided into two stages externally; the two lower storeys are of the 14th century, but the top storey is modern. In the ground storey the narrow tower-arch has a plain segmental-pointed head; in the W. wall is a window of one trefoiled light, partly modern externally. The second storey has in the N. and S. walls a window of one ogee-headed light; the N. window is modern externally.
The South Porch (Plate 42) is of late 14th-century date and of timber on dwarf stone walls. The outer entrance has heavy side-posts, curved braces and a lintel which forms two foiled openings with the principals and a central post; the barge-boards have traceried panelling; the roof is in two bays with moulded double plates, a tie-beam truss against the N. wall and a collar-beam truss in the middle; the wind-braces are cusped.
The Roof of the chancel has three tie-beams with king-posts and foiled struts, the lower ends of the principals being also foiled to correspond; it is probably of the 14th century, with added mouldings and struts to the tie-beams.
Fittings—Bracket: In chancel—on E. wall, square moulded stone shelf, probably 15th-century. Font (Plate 56): bowl of scalloped octagonal plan, cut down, with cable-necking, 12th-century, lower part and stem modern. Monument: In chancel—on S. wall, to Oliver Hughes, rector, 1671, slate and freestone tablet (Plate 67), with scrolled sides, entablature, broken pediment and shield-of-arms. Panelling: In chancel—on E. wall, high dado, late 17th-century. Piscina: In chancel— recess with chamfered jambs and multifoiled head, round drain, early 14th-century. Plate: includes a cup and cover-paten, the former with the date 1669 and the names of the churchwardens. Pulpit (Plate 70): modern but incorporating two sides of late 17th-century panelling, with half-balusters and two panels with enriched arches. Table: In W. tower—with turned legs, late 17th-century, top modern.
Condition—Good, much restored.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and with tiled or slate-covered roofs. Most of the buildings have exposed external framing and internal ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
a(2). Barn, at Humber Court, about 100 yards E. of the church, is of one storey and partly of stone. It is of four bays with a corrugated-iron roof.
a(3). Cottage, 220 yards N.E. of the church, is partly of late 16th-century date. The S.W. half is a rebuilding or addition of the 18th century. The central chimney-stack has three diagonal shafts.
b(4). Upper House and outbuilding at Risbury, over 1 m. S. of the church. The House is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the W. and N. It has been largely re-faced in brick and is partly of three storeys. The Outbuilding, E. of the house, and on the other side of the road, consists of two barns, each of three bays.
b(5). Lowbrook, house, 220 yards E.N.E. of (4). Set in the pavement is part of a cast-iron (?) slab with a cable edging and the raised letters T.C.
a(6). Gatehouse, house and barn, 120 yards N.E. of (5). The House is mainly of stone. Two doorways have old frames and one has an original door of moulded battens. The Barn, S. of the house, is of four bays.
Condition—Of house, poor.
b(7). Little Maidenhyde, house on the S. side of the road, 2 m. S.E. of the church, has an 18th or early 19th-century addition on the S. side. The lower windows on the N. and E. have original moulded mullions.
a(8). Risbury Camp, ¾ m. S.S.E. of the church, occupies the summit of a small flat-topped knoll (400 ft. above O.D.), the levelling of which may be partly artificial. The work including the defences occupies an area of about 28 acres, the enclosure itself being about 8½ acres.
The defences, which follow the natural contours, consist, on the northern part of the W. side, of two ramparts with a medial ditch. At the foot of the outer rampart is a disused millrace which may possibly incorporate an original outer ditch. On rounding the N.W. corner, the outer rampart becomes lower and its top gradually widens and attains the form of a berm; the ground, having become less steep, a further ditch and outer rampart were introduced; on reaching still flatter ground, as the N.E. corner (Plate 2) was reached, a third ditch again with an outer rampart was added. These outer ramparts have been much destroyed and in places now consist of little more than scarps. On the E. side (Plate 1) the defences consist of the high inner rampart with its ditch, as before, beyond which are two wide berms with a medial ditch, the whole terminating in two more ramparts again with a medial ditch. On approaching the S.E. angle, the inner berm is terminated by a cross rampart and the outer berm by a scarp; beyond this the southern defences consist of the inner rampart and ditch and two terraced berms, with an outer rampart to the lower one. There are, however, traces which suggest that there may have been an outer rampart to the inner ditch and a small rampart on the S. side of the upper berm. There are two entrances, the main one (Plate 2) being a little to the S. of the middle of the W. side. Here the inner rampart is very slightly turned inwards on each side of the opening and on the S. there is a scarped berm between the inner ditch and outer rampart, forming a long protected approach. Between the berm and the outer rampart there is a cutting giving entrance to the outer defences, the entrance dying out against a slight bank with a rough ditch on its S. side; these, however, are very probably later if not actually modern. The second entrance (Plate 2) is near the middle of the E. side and consists of a straight-cut opening in the inner rampart and one rather to the S. in the outer rampart; considering the comparative elaboration of the W. entrance and that the W. is also the less accessible side, it seems doubtful if the E. entrance is original, at least in its present form. The condition of the inner rampart is good and of considerable height, rising 15 ft. above the level of the enclosure, but the outer ramparts when they become more numerous on the slightly sloping E. half have become flattened out. When last opened on the W. side the rampart was found to contain a dry built stone wall faced externally (Woolhope Club Transactions, 1885).
Condition—Fairly good, partly planted as an orchard and the inner rampart planted.