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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'Kington', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, Volume 3, North West, (London, 1934) pp. 88-94. British History Online [accessed 13 April 2024]

In this section

38 KINGTON (B.c.)

(O.S. 6 in. XVII, N.E.)

Kington is a small market-town near the Welsh border and 17 m. N.W. of Hereford. The church and school are the principal monuments.


(1). Parish Church of St. Mary (Plate 7) stands N.W. of the town. The walls ate of local sandstone rubble with dressings of the same material; the roofs are covered with tiles. There was a 12th-century church on the site, and the South Tower is of c. 1200. The Chancel was re-built early in the 13th century, and c. 1300 the Nave with its arcades and a N. and South Aisle were built. The South Porch was added early in the 14th century and the South Chapel c. 1320; in 1325 two altars in the church were dedicated by Bishop Orleton. The arches between the chancel and S. chapel were probably re-built in the 15th century. The spire was destroyed by lightning in 1793, and was re-built in the year following. A gallery erected in 1684, in place of the former rood-loft, was taken down and additions made on the N. side of the nave in 1829. These additions were removed in 1874, when the present outer N. arcade and Aisles were built; the S. clearstorey was built in 1861. The tower was restored in 1885 and the S. chapel in 1909. The North Porch is modern, and the S. porch has been re-built.

The church is of no great architectural interest, but among the fittings the Vaughan monument is noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (40½ ft. by 22 ft.) is of early 13th-century date and has clasping buttresses with battering plinths. In the E. wall are three graduated lancet-windows; the southern window is partly restored and the labels are modern. In the N. wall is a range of six lancet-windows; further W. is a modern opening. In the S. wall only one of the original lancet-windows survives, but there are remains of the splays and rear-arches of three of the others; the second window is of c. 1300 and of two pointed lights in a two-centred head with a moulded label and a cinque-foiled rear-arch; the late 15th-century arcade to the S. chapel is of two bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the retooled octagonal column and semi-octagonal responds have moulded capitals and chamfered bases. The chancel-arch, of c. 1300, is two-centred and of two sunk chamfered orders, the outer continued down the responds and the inner dying on to the responds.

Kington, the Parish Church of St. Mary

The South Chapel (24¾ ft. by 13¼ ft.) is of c. 1320–30. The E. window is of three trefoiled ogee lights with net-tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern of c. 1300 (as shown by the mason's marks), re-set with 14th-century tracery of two cinque-foiled lights in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the late 14th-century western window is of two cinque-foiled ogee lights with vertical tracery in a square head; the E. splay is carried down below the sill to form a recess which is now blocked; further W. is a doorway with chamfered jambs and four-centred head. In the W. wall is an early 14th-century half arch of two moulded orders, butting against the S. pier of the chancel-arch; the inner order springs from triple shafts with a moulded capital and head-corbel.

The Nave (64¾ ft. by 22¾ ft.) (Plate 12) has N. and S. arcades of c. 1300 and of five bays, with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders and labels, with one foliage-stop on the S. side; the octagonal columns and semi-octagonal responds have moulded capitals and bases; the capital of the first pier on the N. differs from the others. The clearstorey over the S. arcade is modern. In the W. wall is a partly restored window of c. 1300, of four trefoiled lights in a two-centred head; in the gable are three small pointed windows.

The South Aisle (11½ ft. and 8½ ft. wide) has, in the S. wall, three windows: the easternmost is modern; the second is of c. 1300 and of two pointed lights in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the westernmost window, of the same date, is of one trefoiled light. The partly restored 14th-century S. doorway has jambs and two-centred arch of two sunk-chamfered orders with a moulded label.

The North Aisles are modern, but, re-set in the N. wall of the outer aisle, is a window of c. 1300, similar to, but taller than, the middle window of the S. aisle.

The South Tower (13 ft. square) is of c. 1200 and of three storeys, undivided externally and finished with a battered plinth and a modern timber spire. In the N. wall of the ground-storey is a doorway with moulded jambs and rounded head; in the S. wall is a modern window. The second storey has a 14th-century doorway in the E. wall, with chamfered jambs and segmental head; the S. and W. walls have each a restored window of one pointed light. The top storey has a single-light window in the E., S. and W. walls; the S. window is pointed, but the others are round-headed, that on the W. being restored.

The South Porch has probably been re-built, but incorporates parts of the early 14th-century outer archway, which is two-centred and of two sunk chamfered orders, also parts of the single-light window in the W. wall.

The Roof of the nave is of the 14th century and of trussed-rafter type, divided into five bays by king-post trusses with plain struts.

Fittings—Brackets: In nave—on E. and side walls, four semi-octagonal brackets (one cut back), probably to support former rood-loft, mediæval; higher up on E. wall two moulded brackets, 14th-century. Chairs: In chancel—two, with carved backs, etc., possibly 17th-century. Coffin-lid: In chancel—in N. wall, slab with ragged cross, 13th-century. Churchyard Cross: S. of chancel—square base with ogee-headed recess in W. face, lower part of square to octagonal shaft, 14th or 15th-century, steps modern. Doors: In S. chapel—of nail-studded battens. In tower—in doorway of second storey, of battens with strap-hinges. Font (Plate 56): round cup-shaped bowl with zig-zag ornament round top and cable-moulding round waist, late 12th-century; octagonal stem with moulded top cut from base of bowl, later. Locker: In chancel—in N. wall, rectangular with rebated jambs and head and two iron staples, 13th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In S. chapel—on N. side, (1) probably of Thomas Vaughan of Hergest, slain at Banbury, 1469, and Ellen ('Gethin') his wife, altar-tomb and effigies (Plate 64), altar-tomb largely modern but with alabaster facing on S. side and E. end, with a range of crocketted arches divided by pinnacles and each containing an angel holding a shield, all partly restored; alabaster effigy of man in plate-armour with breastplate articulated in the Gothic manner, collar of suns and roses, head on helm, feet on lion; figure of woman in gown and cloak, head on cushion; both effigies considerably restored, faces, woman's hands, man's legs and other parts modern; on S. wall, (2) to Michael Broughton, 1678, white marble cartouche with scrolls, swags, cherub-heads and cartouche-of-arms. In S. aisle—on N. wall, (3) to Marabel (Edwards), wife of Edward Waldron, rector of Gladestry, 1662, marble tablet with flanking female figures, pediment and shield-of-arms; on W. wall, (4) to William Mathews, 1688, and Elizabeth (Pember), his wife, 1684, marble tablet (Plate 67) with side-pilasters, Doric entablature, putti, urn and shield-of-arms. In churchyard—S. of chancel, (5) to William Frisel, 1695–6, and Robert Gillmore, 1707–8, table-tomb; (6) to Rebecca, 1692, and Elizabeth, 1695, daughters of Philip Turnor, and to his wife Rebecca, 1714, table-tomb; (7) to Mary Holinsed, 1708–9, head-stone; S. of tower, (8) to Phillip Collier, 1711, table-tomb. Floor-slabs: In S. chapel—(1) to T.R., 1693, W.R., 16–9, T.R., 1688, A.P., 1707, and Thomas Panton. In S. aisle—(2) to John Vaughan, 1687–8 and [Frances], his wife, 1688. Panelling: In nave, etc. —17th-century panelling incorporated in westernmost pews. Piscina: In chancel—recess with chamfered jambs and trefoiled head, rectangular drain, 13th-century. In S. aisle—in tower-wall, recess with chamfered jambs and trefoiled head, projecting quatre-foiled drain, c. 1300. Plate: includes Elizabethan cup with two bands of incised ornament, cover-paten with date 1576, cup and cover-paten of 1633, given by Mary Broughton, and a stand-paten of 1702, with the date 1707. Recess: In S. chapel—in S. wall, recess with segmental head and modern shelf, probably a piscina. In S. aisle—in tower wall, small recess with moulded jambs and cinque-foiled head, probably early 14th-century. Scratchings: On chancel-arch and various parts of Nave, S. chapel, and S. aisle—numerous masons' marks. Miscellanea: Incorporated in walling of various parts of church—fragments of 12th-century masonry with cheveron-ornament, etc. In E. wall of tower—carved heads, perhaps from a corbel-table.



(2). Kington Castle, site 150 yards N. of the church, is marked by an irregularly shaped knoll on the S. side of the Back Brook. The sides have perhaps been artificially steepened in places. The top is comparatively flat and has slight traces of a mound and a small portion of what may have been a rampart with scarping on the S. side. The identification of this work with Kington Castle is, however, not by any means certain.


(3). Lady Hawkins Grammar School, 100 yards S.S.W. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of rough ashlar and the roofs are tiled. The school was founded from a bequest of Margaret (Vaughan), widow of Sir John Hawkins. She died in 1620, and the land was bought in 1622, the building being from the designs of John Abel. The original long rectangular building, with three gabled projections on the N. side, remained largely unaltered till the second half of the 19th century when it was drastically restored, the windows being mostly renewed and the roofs re-built. A large wing was added at the E. end in 1907. On the N. front is one original window now enclosed in a modern corridor; it is of five lights with moulded oak frame, mullions and transom and a stone label. Inside the building, the western half forms the headmaster's house, while the eastern part has a large class-room on the ground floor. The class-room has original moulded ceiling-beams, and there are similar beams in the central projecting wing and elsewhere in the house.


Monuments (4–41)

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are slate or stone-covered. Many of the buildings have exposed ceiling-beams.

Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.

(4). Range of tenements, Nos. 1–5, the Wych, 50 yards N.N.W. of the church, forms an irregular Z-shaped block. The W. part with the central cross-wing formed a 15th-century house, but the main block was much altered in the 17th century; the E. part was added probably early in the 18th century. The upper storey projects at the S. end of the cross-wing. Inside the building, the cross-wing has original moulded ceiling-beams.

(5). House, No. 9, the Wych, 70 yards W. of the church, was built probably in the 16th century, but has modern additions on the E. and W. sides.

Church Street, S. side

Kington, the Lady Margaret Hawkins Grammar School

(6). Royal Oak Hotel, 370 yards E.S.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics, and largely built of stone. It was extensively altered in the 18th century, but retains an original chimney-stack with two diagonal shafts.

(7). White Lion Inn and house, 80 yards S.W. of (6), has been much altered in the 18th century. At the back of the yard is a store-house or barn, now weather-boarded.

N. side

(8). House, opposite the War Memorial, is of two storeys with attics and has been much altered.

(9). House and shops, Nos. 10–12, 25 yards S.E. of (8), is of two storeys with attics. It was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century, but has been much altered.

High Street, N. side

(10). House and shop, Nos. 23 and 24, 550 yards E.S.E. of the church.

(11). House and shop, No. 21, 10 yards E. of (10), has some exposed timber-framing on the W. side.

(12). House and shop, No. 20, immediately E. of (11), has been extensively altered. Some timber-framing is exposed on the E. side.

(13). White Horse Inn, set back from the road, and immediately N. of (12).

(14). House and shop, No. 16, 15 yards N.E. of (12).

(15). Lamb Inn, 25 yards N.E. of (14), is of three storeys. It was heightened in the 19th century. Inside the building are two original moulded ceiling-beams.

(16). House and shop, No. 9, 15 yards N.E. of (15), has some exposed timber-framing at the back. Inside the building are some original moulded ceiling-beams and one room has some early 18th-century panelling with dado-rail and cornice; the fireplace has a moulded surround. There are similar surrounds to two fireplaces on the first floor and one room is partly lined with early 17th-century panelling. In the passage is a panelled cupboard with a projecting cornice and pendants. The staircase has early 17th-century moulded newels, but the twisted balusters are probably of early 18th-century date. Built into a garden wall, at the back of the house, is a stone with the date 1682.

(17). House and shop, No. 5, 20 yards N.E. of (16), has been refronted in brick, and is of three storeys.

(18). House and shop, No. 3, immediately N.E. of (17), is of three storeys and has been refronted. Inside the building is an original moulded ceiling-beam.

S. side

(19). House and shop, Nos. 49 and 50, 30 yards S.W. of Bridge Street, is of two storeys with attics, and has been much altered.

(20). House and shop, No. 36, 90 yards S.W. of (19), is of three storeys, and has been heightened.

(21). House and shop, No. 33, 10 yards S.W. of (20), is of three storeys. It was built c. 1600, but has been refaced in brick and much altered. Inside the building are some original moulded ceiling-beams. The 17th-century staircase has turned balusters and moulded grip-handrails; some of the newels are continuous. There is also a panelled door of the same period.

(22). House and shop, No. 32, immediately S.W. of (21), is of three storeys, and has been almost completely altered.

(23). House and shop, No. 29, 15 yards S.W. of (22), has a three-storeyed front block, heightened in the 18th century.

(24). House, Nos. 2 and 3, Harp Yard, 20 yards S.E. of (23), is of two storeys with attics. It was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century.

(25). Range of tenements, Nos. 2–11, on the S. side of Mill Street, 60 yards S.W. of (23), has two added wings, probably of early 18th-century date.

(26). House, Nos. 22 and 25, Mill Street, 70 yards S.W. of (25), has an added early 18th-century wing on the S.E.

Duke Street, N. side

(27). House, Nos. 39 and 40, 75 yards N.E. of Bridge Street, has a cross-wing at the W. end. The general form of the house may indicate a mediæval origin, but there is no other evidence of this. Inside the building is a little early 17th-century panelling.

(28). Range of tenements, Nos. 35–38, 10 yards N.E. of (27), was probably built as a single house, in the 15th century, with a central block and cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. Later the central block was divided into storeys and additions made at the back. The upper storey projects at the S. end of the E. wing on an original moulded bressummer and curved brackets.

S. side

(29). Houses, Nos. 14–16, opposite (28), have a gable at the W. end of the front.

(30). Houses and shops, Nos. 17–19, immediately N.E. of (29), were built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century.

Bridge Street, W. side

(31). Houses and shops, Nos. 4 and 5, 30 yards S.E. of High Street, incorporate part of the framework of a 15th or early 16th-century building. The wall-posts and cambered tie-beams of the original roof are partly visible inside the building. The house was considerably enlarged and altered in the 17th century.

(32). House, No. 9, 35 yards S.S.E. of (31), has been much altered in the 18th century. It is of two storeys with attics.

Kington, Plan Shewing the Position of Monuments

(33). House, No. 17, 65 yards S.S.E. of (32), is of two storeys with attics. There is some exposed timber-framing.

E. side

(34). Talbot Inn and house, No. 53, 80 yards S.S.E. of Duke Street, has been refronted in stone. It is of two storeys with attics and forms a T-shaped building with the cross-wing at the W. end. Inside the building are some original moulded ceiling-beams and a doorway in the E. wing has a moulded frame and an ornamental head with foliated spandrels. The staircase is original and has half-newels with moulded angles surmounted by tall diminishing shafts with panelled faces and moulded terminals; the balusters are turned and the risers are panelled.

(35). Cottages, adjoining (34), on the E., have been heightened.

(36). Barn, adjoining (35), on the E.,is of one storey and of two bays, partly of stone and partly weather-boarded.

(37). Queen's Head Inn, 10 yards S.S.E. of (34), has been refronted in brick. Some timber-framing is exposed.

(38). House, No. 50, adjoining (37), on the S. has been refronted in stone and brick. A little timber-framing is still exposed.

(39). Island House, S.W. of the bridge, has a large late 18th or early 19th-century addition on the N.W. Inside the building, the early 18th-century staircase has square newels and moulded hand-rails. One fireplace has a moulded surround and shelf of the same date, and in the back hall is a round-backed cupboard of the same period.

(40). Outbuildings, respectively 40 and 90 yards E. of (39). The nearer outbuilding is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. and W. The S. wing is of five bays and the W. of two. The second outbuilding is partly of stone and brick and partly weather-boarded.

(41). House, No. 1, Headbrook, at the road-fork, 110 yards S. of (40), has been extended towards the S.E.