38 KILPECK (C.c.).
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XLIV, S.E., (b)XLV, N.W.,
Kilpeck is a parish 8 m. S.W. of Hereford. The
church and Castle are the principal monuments.
b(1). Parish Church of St. Mary and St. David
(Plate 168) stands E. of the Castle. The walls are of
rubble with ashlar dressings all of local sandstone;
the roofs are covered with stone slates.
The N.E. angle of the Nave is of late pre-Conquest
date, but the rest of the church, consisting of Apse,
Chancel and nave was re-built about the third quarter
of the 12th century. The building was restored in
1864 when the apse was refaced, the bell-cote re-built,
and a former S. porch removed; the roofs were repaired
or re-covered in 1898.
The church is a particularly rich example of late
Romanesque work; the figures on the chancel-arch
and the S. doorway are very remarkable, and these,
together with the unusual and somewhat Scandinavian
character of the rest of the ornament render the building
one of the most interesting in the country. The pre-Conquest fragment at the N.E. angle of the nave is
one of the few surviving fragments of that period in
the county. Among the fittings the font, the 12th-century stoup and the 17th-century gallery are noteworthy.
Kilpeck, the Parish Church
of S.S. Mary & David.
Architectural Description—The Apse (12½ ft. by
13¾ ft.) is semi-circular (Plate 167) with a narrow rectangular bay to the W.; the round part is divided into
three bays by external pilaster-buttresses and by internal
vaulting-shafts or pilasters; each bay contains a
window with flat roll-moulded jambs and round head
and moulded bases, partly re-cut or restored; the wide
splays have each an attached shaft with a scalloped
capital, moulded abacus continued along the wall and
a moulded base; the rear-arches have cheveron-ornament; below the external sills is a restored moulded
string-course, continued round the buttresses. The
vault is plastered and of barrel-form over the rectangular
bay and semi-domical over the apse; the broad ribs
have double cheveron-ornament and terminate at the
intersection in four large grotesque beast-faces; the
ribs spring from pilasters, against the walls, each with
two attached shafts and with capitals of scalloped or
cushion-form continued across the pilasters, moulded
abaci and moulded bases to the shafts with small spurs
or straps at the angles. The external wall-face is a
modern restoration, but the eaves have a heavily projecting and chamfered corbel-table with plain zig-zag
ornament and a series of corbels carved as follows,
starting from the N. side—(a) beak-headed figure
biting a second head; (b and c) grotesque heads;
(d) dancing or leaping figure in short kilt; (e) pig's
head; (f) two grotesque human figures embracing;
(g) grotesque figure playing rebeck with bow;
(h) beast-head; (i) ram's head; (j) grotesque beast-head; (k) bearded human head; (l) Agnus Dei;
(m and n) grotesque heads; (o) two grotesque birds
biting snake; (p) as (a); (q) grotesque head; (r) dog
and rabbit; (s) bull's head; (t) bearded human head;
(u) muzzled bear's (?) head and two small heads;
(v) grotesque beast-head; (w) erotic female figure.
The arch opening into the apse is semi-circular and of
two plain orders with moulded imposts, continued
round from the abaci in the apse, and chamfered
plinths; there are cuttings in the outer order, on the
W. face of the responds, for a former beam or screen.
The Chancel (14 ft. by 17 ft.) has in the N. wall a
13th-century window of one trefoiled light; the
splays and rear-arch are probably of the 12th century;
further W. is the W. jamb and part of the round head
of a doorway of uncertain date, and apparently cut
through the rubble walling as the stones of the head
are laid horizontally; the wall has a 12th-century
moulded corbel-table, enriched with zig-zag, pellet
and cable-ornament; the corbels are carved with
grotesque heads except the easternmost which is carved
with a seated monkey (?). In the S. wall is a 14th-century window of a single trefoiled light with a
moulded label and grotesque head-stops; the splays
are probably of the same date, but the rear-arch has
re-used 12th-century stones; further E. is a mid
13th-century doorway with moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label; the main member of the jambs
has a moulded 'hold-water' base on each side. The
corbel-table is similar to that of the N. wall and
has corbels carved as follows, from E. to W.—
(a, e and g) grotesque beast-heads; (b and c) destroyed; (d) damaged, seated beast playing instrument;
(f) rosette; (h) destroyed. The 12th-century chancel
arch (Plates 166, 170) is semi-circular and of two
moulded orders on the W. face; the outer order
is enriched with cheveron-ornament, and the inner
order with lozenges and pellets; the broad label
has also cheveron-ornament; the responds are each
of two orders, the inner plain and the outer with a
broad shaft carved into three draped and nimbed
apostles; the figures all hold books in their left hands
and are as follows—N. shaft, (a) with right hand
raised and holding cross, mantle clasped on right
shoulder; (b) St. Peter, with large key in right hand;
(c) with scourge in right hand; S. shaft, (a) with
small cross in right hand; (b) similar to (a) but with
cross broken; (c) with scourge or palm in right
hand; the capital of the N. shaft is carved with enriched
conventional vine-ornament and has a cable-necking;
the capital of the S. shaft is scalloped with a cabled
and pelleted necking and a band of scrolled forms
above the necking; the partly defaced bases were
perhaps of 'hold-water' type and have spur-ornaments;
the feet of the lowest pair of figures appear below the
top member of the bases; the abaci are enriched with
half-round sinkings, mostly filled with small triple
leaves, and are continued round the responds and along
the E. and W. faces of the wall; the E. face of the
arch is of two plain orders.
The Nave (31¼ ft. by 20¼ ft.) has at the N.E. angle
(Plate 3) a fragment of the pre-Conquest church; the
wall has a different alignment to that of the later building and batters or leans considerably towards the S.;
the angle has large stone quoins extending to within a
foot or two of the existing eaves. In the 12th-century
part of the N. wall are two windows; the eastern is
of a single light with a curved head of late date; the
western window is a single round-headed 12th-century
light with chamfered external jambs; the wall has a
corbel-table similar to those of the chancel, the corbels
being carved as follows—(a and b) human head;
(c) falcon; (d) muzzled beast-head; (e) grotesque
beast-head; (f) running hart; (g) grotesque beast-head, with second head in mouth; (h) interlaced
foliage; (i) beast-head; (j) variation of (g); (k) two
fishes; (l) human head; (m) beast- (horse ?) head;
(n) bird; (o) hart; (p) human head; (q) serpent (?);
(r) interlaced ornament with pellets. The flat pilasterbuttresses are finished at the top with chamfered projecting blocks, enriched with zig-zag ornament, except
the buttress at the N.W. angle where the block is
carved with scrolled foliage ornament; projecting W.
from this stone is the head of a grotesque monster,
carved in the round and having wide open jaws and a
scrolled tongue; this feature is repeated at the S.E.
and S.W. angles of the nave and in the middle of the
W. wall. In the S. wall is a window similar to the
western window in the N. wall; at the W. end of
the wall, above the gallery is a recess, probably
indicating a former window, inserted to light the
gallery and now blocked; the 12th-century S. doorway (Plates 9, 169, 170) has a round head of two
moulded orders, the outer enriched also with cheveronornament and a series of carvings as follows, from
left—(a) beak-head; (b) dragon; (c) human-headed
lion; (d) head with the heads and necks of two beasts
protruding from jaws; (e) beak-head; (f) variation
of (d); (g) probably a phœnix with conventionalised
flames and nest represented by interlace; (h) angel
with palm; (i) head with two sprigs issuing from
mouth; (j) beak-head of muzzled bear (?); (k) five
conventional dragons swallowing each other; (l) dragon
biting tail; (m) dragon's head in profile; (n) beakhead of beast; at the base of the order are two
dragons, one winged and one terminating in interlace;
the splayed label is enriched with carving terminating,
on each side, in a large grotesque beast-head reversed
with conventional foliage below; the intervening
surface on the label is filled with a series of nine medallions with pelleted borders joined together by grotesque
heads of monsters with open mouths; the first four
medallions contain birds, the fifth a nondescript
monster, the sixth a large bird, the seventh two fishes
rendered as the zodiac-sign, the eighth a nondescript
monster and the ninth two intertwined monsters;
within the inner order of the arch is a tympanum
carved with a conventional vine-spray and resting on
a lintel with a moulded edge and cheveron-ornament;
the jambs are of two orders, the inner plain and with
moulded imposts and chamfered bases; the outer
order projects from the wall-face and is shafted, both
parts of the order being enriched with elaborate carving
—on the E. side, two scrolled serpents, one biting the
other's tail and both interlaced with foliage; the shaft
on this side has elaborate interlaced foliage partly of
acanthus type and with two birds at the base; the
capital is carved with a large grotesque beast-head,
with two vine-sprigs issuing from its mouth: on the
W. side are two serpents as on the E. jamb; the shaft
has scrolled foliage and two figures of Welsh (?)
warriors in peaked caps of Phrygian form, a ribbed
hauberk covering the body and arms and long trews
covering the legs and secured at the waist with an
interlaced knot; the upper figure holds a long weapon,
perhaps a javelin, and the lower a long sword with a
cross-guard; the capital is carved with a grotesque
monster and a lion; the abaci of both jambs are
moulded and enriched with a diapered band. The
buttresses of the S. wall are similar to those of the N.
wall and the cappings of both angle-buttresses are
enriched with carved foliage and have projecting
dragon-heads; the head on the E. is partly broken off;
the corbel-table is also similar to that on the N. wall,
with corbels carved as follows—(a and b) broken off;
(c) beast-head; (d) ram's head; (e) interlace and
foliage; (f) lion's head; (g) two-strand interlace;
(h) grotesque beast-head; (i) grotesque human head;
(j) two human figures (damaged) and interlace;
(k) broken off; (l) Agnus Dei; (m) parts of two
human figures; (n and o) broken off; (p) interlaced
serpents; (q) beast-head; (r) human head; (s) hawk
and bird. The corbel-table is continued horizontally
across the W. wall of the nave where the corbels are
carved as follows—(a and b) human heads; (c) broken
off; (d) ram's head; (e) human head; (f) head of
monster; (g) head of monster; (h) a beak-head with
a human figure in its mouth; (i) interlaced monsters;
(j) ram's or goat's head; (k and l) human heads;
above the corbel-course the face of the gable-wall is
brought forward and in it is a 12th-century window
having a round head with a roll-moulding on the
soffit completely covered with two-strand interlace,
each of the four voussoirs forming a complete design;
the jambs have each a shaft completely covered with
interlacing pelleted bands; the capitals are each carved
with a face having sprigs of foliage issuing from the
mouth; the bases are of inverted cushion-type with
concentric rings on the upright faces; this window
was not intended to be glazed. The roofs and bell-cote are modern.
Fittings—Bell: one; inaccessible. Coffin-lid: in
nave—fixed on N. wall, upper part of slab with
enriched cross-head in round sunk panel, 13th-century.
Floor-slabs: in chancel—(1) to Elizabeth, wife of
John Saise (of Withinton), c. 1700, also to Mrs. Mary
Saise, and to John Saise, 1705, and others later; (2) to
Bridget, wife of Edmond Gomond, 1684–5, also to
Edmond Gomond, 1713; (3) large tapering slab with
moulded edge, date uncertain. Font: (Plate 38) large
round bowl of breccia with curved side and hollow-chamfered under-edge, resting on modern central
pier and four round shafts with moulded bases
and simple foliated or scrolled capitals, late 12th or
early 13th-century. Gallery: in nave—across W. end,
of oak, resting on six posts, square, tapering with
moulded capitals and grooved bases; the four posts
in front support the moulded beam of the gallery-front which has a balustrade with turned balusters and
moulded rail; in gallery three ranges of seats, two
having balusters at back and moulded rail mostly of
modern deal, back seat with back of old panelling,
early to mid 17th-century, staircase at back with early
18th-century turned balusters. Lockers: in apse—in
W. wall, flanking arch, two recesses with rectangular
openings partly rebated and extending into side walls,
mediæval. Panelling: in chancel—fixed at back of
S. door, miscellaneous panelling, late 16th and early
17th-century. Plate: includes cup and cover-paten
both with the date 1669. Stoup: (Plate 40) in apse—
round bowl encircled by two human arms and hands
in low relief, rounded necking and hemispherical base
with four heads of monsters or snakes carved upon
it and issuing from the necking, late 12th-century,
probably stoup. Miscellanea: loose in chancel—ballshaped terminal of stone with socket for fixing and
surface enriched with weathered interlacing ornament,
b(2). Kilpeck Castle, immediately W. of the
church, consists of a motte and bailey and various
outworks. The motte (Plate 1) is roughly circular
with a diameter of 54 yards at the base and a maximum
height of 27 ft. above the bottom of the ditch. It is
surmounted by the remains of a polygonal shell-keep of
masonry of which two large fragments remain towards
the N. and the S.W. The keep is probably of the
12th century and was polygonal both within and without; the external faces appear to have averaged about
14 ft. and the external diameter of the building was
about 100 ft. In the N. fragment of walling is a fire-place-recess with a segmental back of ashlar and a
round flue; to the E. are remains of a cross-wall,
and there are two round drain-holes piercing the outer
wall. The S.W. fragment has remains of an ashlar-faced oven with the springing of an arch across the
front; this oven was in the angle of a cross-wall and
farther N. is a third drain-hole. The motte is surrounded by a ditch which separates it from the kidneyshaped inner bailey on the E. and from an outer bank
on the W. The bailey has an outer ditch and remains
of a rampart at the N. and S. ends; there are slight
traces of a causeway leading to the motte. The bailey
was entered from the S.W., where a gap in the rampart
is flanked on one side by a small mound, perhaps
covering the remains of part of a gatehouse. There
are three outer enclosures on the N.W. and S. of the
main earthwork, which are of irregular form and
enclosed by ditches or scarps. The stream, to the W.
of the site, was dammed at a point level with the N.
side of the W. enclosure. To the N.E. of the main
earthwork is a roughly rectangular village-enclosure,
about 300 yards by 200 yards; within it stand the
church and other buildings, and there are scarps on
the three outer sides and remains of a rampart on the
N.W. and S.E. sides in addition. Within the enclosure
are traces of foundations at right angles to the sides.
Condition—Of earthworks, fairly good.
b(3). The Priory, house, barn and earthworks,
370 yards S.E. of the church, occupies the site of a
small cell of the Benedictine Abbey of Gloucester,
founded in the 12th century. The House is of two
storeys originally timber-framed but mostly refaced
with rubble; the roofs are covered with stone slates.
It was built early in the 17th century, on an L-shaped
plan, with the wings extending towards the E. and S.
The timber-framing is exposed on the N. side. Inside
the building are some original moulded and chamfered
Kilpeck Castle and adjoining Earthworks.
The Barn, W. of the house, is timber-framed and of
five bays. It was built in the 17th century and has an
added early 18th-century wing on the N.W.
The Earthworks, probably marking the site of the
mediæval priory, lie about 70 yards S.S.W. of the
house and consist of a slight platform with one or
two small banks to the E. of it.
Condition—Of house, good.
b(4). Kilpeck Court and outbuildings, 30 yards S.E.
of the church. The House (Plate 17) is of two storeys,
originally timber-framed but partly refaced in stone
and brick; the roofs are covered with stone slates.
It was built c. 1600 on an L-shaped plan with the crosswings at the N. and S. ends and a small additional
wing to the N. of the N. cross-wing. The exterior
has been largely refaced, but the small N. wing retains
its timber-framing and there is a large stone chimney-stack on the N. side of the N. cross-wing. Re-set
on the E. side is an original stone window of three
lights with a moulded label. Re-set in a modern
annexe are a 12th-century corbel and fragments with
cheveron-ornament. Inside the building, most of the
ground-floor rooms have original moulded ceiling-beams and the large room in the N. wing has moulded
plaster panels in addition. The original staircase has
flat pierced and shaped balusters, square newels with
moulded terminals and grip-moulded hand-rails. The
coal-cellar has a 17th-century panelled door.
The Outbuilding, N.E. of the house, consists of a
granary, barn, stable and cowshed; it is partly of
stone and partly timber-framed and dates from the
17th century. The Barn, N. of the outbuilding, is
also of the 17th century and is timber-framed and
Condition—Of house, good.
b(5). Dippersmoor Manor, house and outbuildings,
½ m. S. of the church. The House is mainly of two
storeys; the walls are partly timber-framed and partly
of rubble; the roofs are covered with slates. The main
block of the house with the kitchen-wing projecting
towards the W. date from the 15th century. Late in
the 16th century the N. end was re-built in stone, with
a spiral staircase, and probably in the 17th century the
block (now a hall) was added in the N.W. angle of
the building. Some further alterations were made in
the 18th century, and there is a modern wing on the
E. side. There is some exposed timber-framing on the
W. side of the house and the end of the kitchen-wing
incorporates an original crutch-truss. At the N. end
there is a 16th-century window of two lights with a
diamond-shaped mullion. Inside the building, the
hall is lined with 17th-century panelling, mostly not
in situ and not all of one date; above the fireplace are
three carved panels with enriched pilasters and arches.
Between the hall and the oak-room is an early 18th-century panelled door. The oak-room is lined with
re-fixed 17th-century panelling, with enriched panels
above the fireplace. The ceiling has an original
moulded beam. The dining-room has chamfered
ceiling-beams. The main staircase has shaped splatbalusters and a square newel with a moulded terminal;
it is partly of 17th-century date, made up with new
material. Several beams on the first floor have remains
of painted decoration, consisting of conventional leaf
and flower-ornament; the battened door to the spiral
staircase is covered with painted decoration of similar
type. The crutch-trusses of the original construction
are visible in the main block and the kitchen-wing.
The Outbuilding, E.N.E. of the house, is of late
16th or early 17th-century date, timber-framed and of
four bays. The Barn, now stables, E. of the house, is
a 17th-century building, timber-framed and with
queen-post roof-trusses. The Outbuilding, S.W. of the
barn, is a timber-framed structure of early 17th-century date, and of one storey with attics. It has
been almost entirely refaced in stone.
The following monuments, unless otherwise
described, are of the 17th century, timber-framed and
with the roofs covered with stone or modern slates.
Many of the buildings have exposed ceiling-beams and
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
b(6). Red Lion Inn, 200 yards S.E. of the church, is
of two storeys; the walls are of brick. There is a
modern extension on the S.
b(7). Barn, at Bridge Farm, 400 yards N. of the
church, is weather-boarded and the roof is covered
with corrugated iron. It is of four bays with queenpost trusses.
b(8). Size Croft, house and barn, 950 yards S.E. of
the church. The House has been almost entirely
re-constructed. The Barn, N.E. of the house, is
weather-boarded and of three bays.
b(9). Allenshill Farm, house and barn, nearly 1 m.
E.S.E. of the church. The House is of two storeys
and has been re-faced with stone. Some timber-framing is exposed on the N. side. The Barn, S.W.
of the house, is weather-boarded and of three bays,
with later extensions at the ends.
b(10). Cottage, on the S. side of the road at Morlas,
over ½ m. S.W. of the church, is of two storeys and has
b(11). Outbuildings at Withington Farm, over 1 m.
W.S.W. of the church, consist of a barn and smaller
building to the E. of it. They have exposed timber-framing in square panels. The barn (Plate 12) is of
five bays with queen-post trusses and a basement
c(12). Barn at Gwern-genny, nearly 1¼ m. S.W. of
the church, is of late 17th or early 18th-century date
and of four bays; the walls are weather-boarded.
a(13). Benarth Farm, house and barn, 1½ m. S.W. of
the church. The House is of two storeys with attics
and has modern additions on the N. and S. sides.
Inside the building, the ground floor has original
The Barn, S. of the house, is weather-boarded and of
three bays; there is a cow-shed at the W. end.
c(14). Hill Top Farm, house, ¼ m. E.S.E. of (13),
is of one storey with attics; the roofs are thatched.
The timber-framing is exposed.
c(15). Cwm Barn, ¼ m. E.S.E. of (14), is of three
bays, weather-boarded and has a corrugated iron roof.
c(16). Greenway Farm, house and barn, 1½ m. S. of
the church. The House is of one storey with attics
and was built c. 1600. It was extended on the W.
and N. in the 18th century, and partly refaced in stone.
Inside the building, the fireplace on the ground floor
has moulded stone jambs and a wrought-iron jack
The Barn, S.E. of the house, is weather-boarded and
was originally of three bays.
c(17). Merryvale Farm, house, nearly 1¾ m. S. of the
church, is of one storey with attics; the walls are of
rubble. It has a late 18th-century extension at the
b(18). Mound, on S. bank of stream N.E. of Digget's
Wood, and ¾ m. S.S.W. of the church, is roughly
round, about 26 yards in diameter at the base and 6 ft.