16 CRASWALL (A.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XXXVII, N.W., (b)XXXVII, S.E.,
Craswall is a large parish, 14 m. W. of Hereford, and
on the eastern slopes of the Black Mountains. The
principal monument is the ruined Priory of St. Mary.
a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary, stands in the
northern half of the parish. The walls are of red
sandstone rubble, without dressed quoins, but with
other dressings of the same material; the roofs are
covered with stone slates and modern slates. The
building, consisting of Chancel, Nave and South Porch, is
of uncertain date, the earliest detail being of the early
part of the 15th century. The western part of the
church was cut off by a wall probably in the 18th
century. The church was restored in 1883.
The Church, Plan
Architectural Description—The Chancel and Nave
(35½ ft. by 15½ ft.) are structurally undivided except
that the wall mentioned above cuts off the western part
of the nave. The early 15th-century E. window is of
three cinque-foiled ogee lights in a square head with
casement-moulded external reveals. A stone bench
runs along the external face of the E. wall and is continued along the S. wall as far as the S. porch and along
the E. wall of the porch itself. In the eastern part of
the N. wall is a square window, only visible externally
and blocked with stone slabs. In the S. wall are three
modern windows; between the two eastern windows is
a doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred
head, probably of the 14th or 15th century; between
the two western windows and opening into the western
division of the nave is a 15th-century doorway with
moulded jambs and three-centred head. In the W.
wall is a round-headed window fitted with a modern
wooden frame of two lights. In the dividing wall of
the nave is an opening with a four-centred arch, now
partly blocked and fitted with a square-headed doorway.
The South Porch has an outer archway with square
jambs and a wooden lintel, with a segmental cutting
on the soffit.
The Roof of the church, except the western division, is
of the 15th century, and of four bays with a narrow bay
at each end; the trusses are of braced collar-beam type;
there are blocks at the base of the curved braces which
may indicate that the trusses formerly had tie-beams;
the soffit of the roof is boarded and has moulded ribs,
partly restored, planted on; the wall-plates are moulded
and embattled; there are three rough tie-beams added
at a later date. The roof of the W. part of the nave is
of 18th-century or modern date, but has a 15th-century
moulded and embattled wall-plate on the N. side.
The bell-turret is a small square timber structure,
weather-boarded on the outside and covered with a
pyramidal roof. The roof of the porch is of braced
collar-beam type with curved braces forming half-round arches, and all perhaps of the 17th century.
Fittings—Cross: In churchyard—S. of church, three
steps forming base of former cross, with socket for
shaft. Paintings: On purlins of E. bay of roof and
truss W. of it, remains of painted design of running
foliage, probably 15th or early 16th-century. Piscina:
In chancel—low recess with two round drains, probably
not in situ. Plate: includes pewter basin, probably
early 18th-century. Stoup: In S. porch, recess with
quatre-foiled head and back, probably 15th-century and
perhaps not in situ. Tables: In chancel—small table
or high stool with thin turned legs and moulded top
rails; early 18th-century. In W. part of nave—larger
table of similar detail, probably early 18th-century.
Miscellanea: In W. part of nave—in N.W. angle,
fragment of 13th-century moulded corbel.
In the churchyard and running N. from the chancel
is a rectangular sinking in the ground with a flat floor;
it is said to have been a fives-court.
a(2). Craswall Priory, ruined church and claustral
buildings, about 1 m. N.W. of the parish church. The
Priory of St. Mary was founded for the Order of Grandmont by Walter de Lacy, Lord of Ewyas Harold c.
1220–25. As an alien priory it was suppressed in the
15th century, but the buildings were apparently left
standing to fall gradually into ruins or to be used as a
Craswall was the second of the three houses of the
order founded in England, and as such the ruins are of
The Priory Church consisted of a Chancel (24½ ft. from
E. to W. by 25 ft.) with a semi-circular apsidal E. end
and a Nave (83½ ft. by 23½ ft.) the side walls of which are
brought forward internally about 11 in. or 12 in. in
front of the side walls of the chancel. At the E. end
of the building the walls are now standing only 5 ft.
or 6 ft. above the floor-level, but they rise in height
towards the W. end of the chancel, and the side walls of
the nave are about 10 ft. to 12 ft. in height.
The Apse (Plate 87) appears to have had three windows; parts of the W. splays of the two outer windows
remain, and an open gap in the wall behind the altar
may represent the middle window. The Chancel has
in the W. end of the N. wall, immediately adjoining
the break forward in the E. end of the side wall of
the nave, the remains of a doorway with chamfered
jambs and a semi-circular head; further E. are the
remains of a large locker rebated for a door. In the
S. wall, immediately opposite the N. doorway, are
the remains of a similar doorway opening into the
sacristy; immediately E. of it are the remains of a
double piscina and three sedilia (Plate 87), one seat being
on the E. of the piscina and the other, which is stepped
and for two persons, on the W.; the E. jamb of
the E. sedile is moulded, as is also the W. jamb of the
W. sedile; the chamfered seat of the sedilia is carried
up to form the sill of the piscina which has two circular
drains and a central socket for an octagonal shaft;
a few roll-moulded jamb-stones of the piscina remain in
position. A chapel flanked the chancel on the N. side,
but of this nothing remains except traces of the springer
of a stone vault on the N. wall immediately E. of the N.
doorway. Portions of the stone pavement and steps
remain in the chancel, and standing free in the apse is
the stone base of an altar, without its top slab.
The Nave has in the S. wall a doorway opening into
the N. walk of the cloister, but only a few dressed stones
of the E. jamb remain in situ. In the middle of the E.
end of the nave is a stone coffin, below the floor-level.
The Cloister (67½ ft. by 64½ ft.) has traces of the
foundations of its arcade walls. The excavated S.E.
angle shows the walks to have been 10 ft. wide. The
E. range consisted of the sacristy and the chapter house
with a passage between them. The Sacristy had a barrel
vault, and in the N. wall are the remains of a round-headed locker rebated for a door. The Passage has
traces of the S. jamb of the doorway into the cloister.
The Chapter House (37 ft. by 21 ft.) has the walls standing up to the lower stones of the windows (Plate 87).
In the middle are the bases of two circular columns which
divided the chamber into six vaulted bays; the bases
have 'hold-water' mouldings on octagonal sub-bases;
the three lower stones of the shaft of the southernmost
column also remain. Along the E. wall is a ledge
formed by a moulded string-course on which stand the
lower stones of triple vaulting shafts or responds
opposite the pillars; they have 'hold-water' bases,
and in the N.E. angle is a single vault-shaft with
apparently a plain capital and double roll base. Between the vaulting-shafts are the lower stones of three
E. windows with filleted angle-rolls to the splays.
In the S. wall are the remains of a doorway which may
have been inserted later. In the middle bay of the W.
wall is the entrance doorway from the cloister, and in
each of the side bays is a window (Plate 87). The
doorway has splayed jambs of two orders with an
attached triple shaft to the inner order and two detached
shafts on each side of the outer order; the 'holdwater' bases of all of these remain. The N. window
has jambs of similar character to those of the doorway,
but the outer splays are concave and the triple shafts of
the inner order have the two outer shafts keeled and the
middle shaft filleted; the shafts to the N. jamb have
'hold-water' bases, and those to the S. jamb have triple
roll bases. The S. window is generally similar to the
doorway, but the bases of the S. jamb are set at a higher
level than the other on account of the rise of the dorterstair which was placed against this wall within the W.
walk of the cloister. Against the S. and E. walls are
traces of the original stone benches. S. of the chapter
house are the remains of the Warming-House (38½ ft. by
21 ft.) or dorter sub-vault, in the W. wall of which are
the remains of a doorway with chamfered jambs; projecting towards the E. from the S. end of the chamber
are portions of the drain of the rere-dorter. The
Frater (19 ft. wide) appears to have occupied the greater
part of the southern range, but little is left except at the
E. end, where part has been walled off under the dorterstair. In the S. wall of the cloister, immediately W.
of the dorter-stair, are the remains of a doorway with
The W. range is now only a ruined heap of masonry,
and the S.W. corner has been encroached upon by
the contiguous stream which has presumably been
diverted since the suppression. There are traces of the
foundations of other buildings to the S.W. of the
claustral block and some remains of the wall enclosing
A large number of loose stones are scattered about
the site, including moulded capitals and bases, windowjambs and voussoirs of vaulting-ribs. Fragments of
coloured glass found on the site are now in the Museum
of the Woolhope Club at Hereford.
Condition—Ruinous and much disintegrated.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of two storeys. The walls are of rubble and
the roofs are covered with stone-slates. Some of the
buildings have old chimney-stacks, exposed ceiling-beams and wide open fireplaces.
Condition—Good, or fairly good, unless noted.
a(3). Court Farm, house and barn, ¼ m. N. of the
parish church. The House is of two storeys with
cellars. It is of late 16th or early 17th-century date,
and is built on a modified L-shaped plan with the
wings extending towards the N.W. and S.W. In the
N.E. front is an old doorway with a chamfered oak
frame and nail-studded door, and in the upper part of
the wall is an old three-light window with oak frame
and mullions. In the S.W. wall of the N.W. wing is
a doorway with an old frame. Inside the building on
the ground floor in the timber-framed cross-partition
in the S.W. wing is a doorway with chamfered posts,
segmental head and old battened door hung on strap-hinges. Adjoining the fireplace in the N.E. room is a
winding stone staircase with thick oak treads and an
old battened door. The N.W. wing has lost the upper
floor. On the ground floor are the remains of old
timber-framed partitions. In the N.W. room is a
doorway with an oak frame and segmental head. The
Barn, N. of the house, is of six bays and retains three
trusses of crutch type; the other trusses are later and
of rough construction.
a(4). Pen-twyn, house, ½ m. W. of (3), was built in the
17th century, but has been much altered and had the
N. front heightened in modern times. There are later
additions on the S. and E. of the house.
a(5). Gilberts Place, house and stables, ½ m. W. of (4).
The House was built early in the 17th century on a
T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the N. end; it
has been altered in modern times. The Stables, W.
of the house, were built in the 16th century as a small
dwelling-house. In the N. wall is an original six-light
window with diamond-shaped mullions and a chamfered oak frame the head and sill of which are rebated
for an internal shutter. The chimney-stack has been
removed and most of the large fireplace in the N. wall
has also been taken down. Against a boundary wall
to the S. of the house is an old alcove. It is built of
rubble and has a semi-hexagonal head. It is possibly
of the 17th century, but has no distinctive features.
a(6). Whiteoak Farm, house and barn, 950 yards
N.N.E. of (4). The House was built probably in the
16th century on an L-shaped plan with the wings
extending towards the N.W. and S.W. A later porch
was added on the S.E. front, and there are low additions
on the N.E. end and on the N.W. side of the S.W. wing.
Inside the building, on the ground floor, the timber
partition between the two wings has chamfered posts,
narrow oak panels and a doorway with an ogee-shaped
lintel and an old oak battened door. The Barn, S.E. of
the house, has one side of the roof covered with stone
slates and the other with corrugated iron. It is probably of 17th-century date, and has in the E. wall three
doorways with old oak frames; the middle doorway
has an old door divided into three vertical panels by
moulded fillets; the other two doorways have rougher
Condition—Of house, bad.
b(7). Rockyfold Farm, house and barn, 800 yards S.E.
of the parish church. The House was built in the 16th
century on a rectangular plan with a central projecting
porch-wing on the S.E. front. A later dairy has been
added at the back of the house. On the S.E. front the
inner entrance doorway has heavy oak posts and lintel
with a three-centred arched head below; the door is
of old oak battens on which are planted fillets which
originally followed the contour of the arch; the door
is hung on two strap-hinges with shaped ends, and there
is an old iron knocker. Inside the building, on the
ground floor, the old oak partitions have heavy chamfered studs with narrow vertical panels about the same
width as the studs; the two doorways opening from
the entrance lobby respectively to the living-room and
kitchen have flat triangular heads. The doors to the
staircase and the dairy are both of old oak battens with
strap-hinges. The staircase has heavy oak treads.
The Barn, N.E. of the house, has the roof divided into
three bays by trusses with heavy oak tie-beams and
b(8). Oldmill Farm, house, ¼ m. S.E. of (7), has the
roof partly covered with modern slates. It was built
probably in the 17th century with the wings extending
towards the S. and E. Later additions have been
built on the N. side and the S. wing has been heightened.
Two windows in the S. wall of the E. wing have old
b(9). Trelan Farm, uninhabited house, 700 yards E. of
(8), was built probably in the 16th century on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N.
and W. In the E. wall is an old doorway spanned by
an oak lintel, and to the S. of it is an original six-light
window with an oak frame and diamond-shaped mullions. Inside the building on the ground floor, parts
of an original timber-framed partition remain dividing
the two wings.
b(10). Ruinsford Farm, house, 540 yards S.E. of (9),
was built on a rectangular plan possibly in the 16th
century. Internal timber-work suggests that the house
was originally a timber-framed building. A modern
porch-wing has been added on the S.E front, a low
addition has been built on the N.E. end of the house, and
all the walls have been refronted with modern stone
rubble. Inside the building, on both floors, are original
timber partitions with stop-chamfered studs and doorposts and narrow vertical panels of oak.
b(11). Dukes Farm, house and outbuildings, 700
yards S.E. of (10), are built round three sides of a small
yard. The House stands on the S.E. side of the yard
and may be of 16th-century origin, but has been much
altered. The Cart-shed, which was built as a cottage,
stands on the N.E. side of the yard and is probably of
the same date as the house, and the S.W. wing containing
the dairy is probably a 17th-century addition and has an
added barn at the N.W. end. In the N.E. wall of the
house is a window with a 17th-century oak frame, and
in the S.W. wall of the cartshed are two old windows,
each of three lights with oak frames and diamond-shaped mullions; in the N.E. wall of the dairy is an
old doorway with a cambered lintel joined to a window
with a heavy square frame. Inside the building the
door to the old staircase is of 16th or 17th-century date,
and has moulded fillets planted on; a doorway leading
to the N.E. wing has an oak frame with a four-centred
head. The barn adjoining has been partly reconstructed, but has one original roof-truss of modified
b(12). White Haywood Farm, house (Plate 15), 700
yards S.W. of (11), was built on an L-shaped plan with
the wings extending towards the S. and E., probably in
1635, the date on a partition between the two wings.
It is possible, however, that the E. wing may be
somewhat earlier. In the E. wall of the S. wing is an
original four-light window with moulded oak frame and
mullions, and in the E. wall of the E. wing are two old
windows, the lower of five lights with diamond-shaped
mullions and the upper originally of four lights. Inside
the building all the partitions on the ground floor are
original; the door in the easternmost partition is battened and hung on two strap-hinges to posts which have
been cut into on either side apparently to admit the
passage of barrels. There is a battened door in the
partition between the two wings, hung on two strap-hinges to the frame, which has a segmental lintel on
which is the date 1635. The doorway in the crosspartition in the S. wing has a segmental head.
b(13). Great Blackhill Farm, house, 710 yards S.E.
of (12), is built on an L-shaped plan with the wings
extending towards the S. and E. The main building
is probably of early 17th-century date, but the E. end of
the E. wing may be a little earlier. In the N. front is
an old six-light window with diamond-shaped mullions,
but three of these have been removed. In the E. wall
of the S. wing is a combined doorway and two-light
window, probably of 17th-century date. Inside the
building three of the partitions on the ground floor
are original and are of oak with chamfered posts and
narrow vertical panels. In the easternmost partition
are twin doorways, one of which has a segmental-pointed head, but the other has been widened.
b(14). Upper Cwm Farm, house, 640 yards S.E. of
(13), dates probably from the 16th or 17th century,
but has been much altered, and the external walls have
been re-built or refaced. Inside the building, on the
ground floor, are some original timber partitions of
the usual local type.
c(15). Middle Blackhill Farm, house, 640 yards S. of
(13), may be of 15th-century origin. It was probably a
small rectangular building lengthened eastward in the
16th or 17th century when an upper storey was inserted
in the original building. This upper storey has been
heightened in modern times. The entrance doorway
in the S. front has an old chamfered frame and battened
door hung on two strap-hinges with ornamental ends.
In the E. wall is a three-light window with old oak
frame and mullions. Inside the building, W. of the
central chimney, are two crutch-trusses one of which
has had one leg cut away at the ceiling-level. In the
wall dividing the earlier from the later part of the
house is an original stone doorway with chamfered
jambs and three-centred head. There is an old oak-framed partition with wide panels across the W. end
of the building, and one doorway in the entrance lobby
has an oak frame and segmental lintel.
c(16). Cwm Steps, house, barn and bakehouse, 1030
yards S.E. of (15). The House is of two storeys with
attics and is a small rectangular building of early 17th-century date. A porch was added on the S.E. side
probably in the 18th century, and there are modern
additions on the back and S.W. end. On the S.E. front
the entrance doorway has a heavy beaded frame and
battened door of early 18th-century date; on the first
floor is an old six-light window with an oak frame,
diamond-shaped mullions and a stone label. In the N.E.
wall is a similar two-light window. Inside the building
are some original timber partitions of the usual local
type. The doorway to the staircase has an old frame
with a segmental head. The Barn, S.E. of the house,
has a basement under the N.E. end. It is partly of
rubble and partly timber-framed. In the N.W. wall
of the basement are two doorways with old oak
frames and a four-light window with diamond-shaped
mullions; there is a similar window in the N.E. wall.
Inside the building are four old trusses with sloping
struts between the tie-beams and principal rafters. The
Bakehouse, N.W. of the house, is a small rectangular
building of one storey with an attic. It has a later
extension on the N.E. side. In the S.E. wall is an old
doorway with chamfered frame and battened door, and
in the N.W. wall is a five-light window with diamond-shaped mullions.