4 AYMESTREY (C.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)VI, S.W., (b)VI, S.E., (c)VII, N.W.,
(d)VII, S.W., (e)IX, N.E.)
Aymestrey is a large parish 6 m. N.W. of Leominster.
The church of Aymestrey and the chapel of Leinthall
Earls dating from the 12th century, Gatley Park and
the camps at Croft Ambrey and Pyon Wood are the
b(1). Parish Church of St. John the Baptist
and St. Alkmund stands in the S. part of the parish.
The walls are of local limestone rubble with ashlar
and dressings of the same material and some tufa;
the roofs are covered with slates and lead. The Chancel
and Nave were built in the 12th century, the nave being
aisleless. About the middle of the 14th century the
West Tower was added. About 1400 the chancel was
extended to the E., and shortly after the chancel-arch
was re-built and widened. In the 16th century, perhaps c. 1540, the arcades were built with the use of
earlier material, probably from elsewhere, and the
North and South Aisles and clearstorey added. The
South Porch was added in the 16th or 17th century, but
has been re-built and shortened in modern times. The
church was restored in 1884–6.
Among the fittings the screens, floor-slab and churchyard-cross are noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (29¼ ft. by
17 ft.) has an E. window of c. 1400 and of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head
with a moulded label. The side walls retain portions
of the tufa quoins of the 12th-century E. wall. In the
N. wall is a 12th-century window of tufa and of one
round-headed light; further E. is a modern doorway;
the top course of the earlier part of the wall is set
diagonally. In the S. wall are two windows, the
eastern of early 14th-century date and of two cinque-foiled lights; the restored late 13th-century western
window is of two trefoiled lights; between the windows
is a blocked round-headed window of the 12th century.
The two-centred chancel-arch is of two chamfered
orders, the inner springing from moulded imposts;
the responds are moulded; the arch is probably of the
The Nave (43¼ ft. by 18¼ ft.) has N. and S. arcades
(Plate 12) of three bays with two-centred arches of
two chamfered orders; the square piers have shafted
angles, moulded plinths, and capitals and the responds
have attached half-piers; the piers are of late 12th-century material, re-used, but the capitals are of 16th-century date; the arches perhaps incorporate earlier
material. The clearstorey has on each side three two-light windows of early 14th-century date, re-set; the two
eastern on each side have trefoiled lights, and the third
on the N. has plain pointed lights, and the third on
the S. has a modern external head.
Parish Church of St. John the Baptist & St. Alkmund, Aymestrey
The North Aisle (11¾ ft. wide) has a 15th-century
E. window, re-set, and of two cinque-foiled lights with
vertical tracery in a two-centred head. In the E. wall
are the lower quoins of the N.E. angle of the original
aisleless nave. In the N. wall are three 16th-century
windows; they are each of two cinque-foiled lights in
a square head.
The South Aisle (11½ ft. wide) has an E. window
uniform with that in the N. aisle. In the S. wall are
three windows uniform with the N. windows in the N.
aisle; the S. doorway, of uncertain date, has chamfered
jambs and two-centred arch.
The West Tower (11¾ ft. square) is of four stages with
an embattled parapet; it was built about the middle
of the 14th century. In the E. wall of the ground stage
is a 15th-century doorway with moulded jambs and
two-centred head; the 14th-century W. doorway has
jambs and two-centred arch of three chamfered orders;
the stage has a stone barrel-vault with a central round
bell-way. The second stage has a square-headed window
in the N. and S. walls; in the W. wall is a 14th-century
window of two trefoiled ogee lights in a square head.
The third stage has a doorway, leading on to the roof,
in the E. wall; the N. and S. walls have each a square-headed window, and in the W. wall there was probably
a niche, now covered by the clock-face. The bell
chamber has, in each wall, a window of two trefoiled
ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head.
The Roof of the porch is of the 16th or 17th century
with a cambered tie-beam and chamfered purlins.
Fittings—Bell-frame: 17th-century, incorporating
earlier timbers. Churchyard Cross: W. of church,
slender octagonal shaft on base and five steps, 15th-century, head later. Communion Rails: with turned
balusters and moulded rails, early 18th-century. Door:
In W. doorway—of battens with strap-hinges, probably
old, but painted. Floor-slab: In chancel—of [Sir
John Lingen, 1506, and Elizabeth (Burgh) his wife,
1522] alabaster slab with incised figures of man in
armour and wife in pedimental head-dress, under a
four-gabled canopy, shield-of-arms of Russell quartering
Lingen, impaling . . . quartering . . ., Croft and . . .,
defaced marginal inscription. Font: cylindrical stem,
12th or 13th-century, bowl modern. Piscina: In
chancel—recess with ogee head and semi-octagonal
projecting bowl, 14th-century. Pulpit (Plate 71): three
sides only with three ranges of panels, middle range
with enriched arches, upper with conventional ornament
and enriched frieze, early 17th-century, incorporating
modern work. Screens: Rood-screen (Plate 86) between
chancel and nave, with central doorway and three bays
on each side, side bays with linen-fold lower panels and
open upper panels with trefoiled and sub-cusped heads
with carved cusp-points, two similar heads to doorway,
enriched middle rail and moulded and shafted posts from
which springs the vaulted soffit of the loft; vaulting
with moulded ribs and cusped panels with moulded and
carved front-cornice finished with cusped soffit arches
and pendants below and brattishing above, early 16th-century. Parclose screens (Plate 77) enclosing E. bay
of both N. and S. aisles and each screen with a central
doorway flanked by four bays on each side; side bays
with linen-fold lower panels and open upper panels with
cinque-foiled or trefoiled and sub-cusped heads; double
heads to doorways; moulded framing, rails enriched
with pateræ, etc., and cornice with running vine-ornament and brattishing, early 16th-century. Stoup: In
S. jamb of W. doorway of nave—broken round projecting bowl in recess with trefoiled ogee head, 14th-century.
d(2). Chapel of St. Andrew at Leinthall Earls
stands 2 m. N.E. of the parish church. The walls are
of local limestone rubble, mostly plastered; the
dressings are of the same material, and the roofs are
covered with tiles and slates. The church, consisting
of a continuous Chancel and Nave, was built probably
early in the 12th century, but a break in the S. wall of
the nave may indicate that it was lengthened towards
the W., the W. doorway being re-set. The bell-turret
is probably of the 17th century. The church was
restored in 1823, and the West Porch is modern.
The Church, Plan
Architectural Description—The Chancel (18¼ ft. by
19 ft.) has a modern E. window. The N. and S. walls
have each a 12th-century window of one round-headed
light. There is no chancel-arch.
The Nave (30½ ft. by 19 ft.) has one window in the
N. and two in the S. wall, all modern. The 12th-century W. doorway has jambs and distorted round head
of two orders, the inner square and the outer moulded;
the upper part of the W wall is a 16th-century rebuilding
in plastered timber-framing; in it is a three-light
square-headed window. The octagonal timber bell-cote has a conical roof.
The Roof is ceiled, but has two tie-beams, one between
the chancel and nave and one towards the W. end;
both have open studding above, and the western has
mortices for a partition on the soffit.
Fittings—Bell: one, dated 1625. Panelling: forming dado on E. wall of chancel, with fluted frieze,
17th-century. Similar panelling incorporated in E.
range of pews. Piscina: In chancel—recess with
shouldered head and square drain, probably 13th-century. Pulpit: five sides, four with two ranges
of enriched arcaded panels, early 17th-century, made
up with modern framing. Reredos: made up with
mid 17th-century panelling, partly incised with conventional designs. Seating: nine benches, with shaped
bench-ends, 16th or early 17th-century.
c(3). Gatley Park, house and park-enclosure, ½ m.
N.E. of the church of Leinthall Earls. The House
is of two storeys with cellars and attics; the walls are
of brick on a rubble base and the roofs are covered
with stone slates and tiles. It was built c. 1630–40,
probably by Sir Samson Ewer, on a square plan with
a projecting porch on the N.W. The N.E. and S.W.
wings are modern additions. The N. W. Front (Plate 34)
is in three bays with a projecting porch in the middle;
the angles are rusticated, and there are brick bands
between the storeys; the side bays are gabled and the
two-storeyed porch has a modern stone parapet.
The outer doorway has a segmental head and an oak
frame with side pilasters and a cornice; above the
doorway is a sunk panel with a cartouche-of-arms and
the motto "Vincit qui patitur." The windows are
modern. The S.E. Front has bands between the
storeys and two gables. The side elevations are mostly
covered by modern building, but there are remains of
blocked windows on the N.E. side. The central
chimney-stack has nine octagonal shafts with moulded
cappings, of rather earlier character than the rest of the
Interior—The porch is lined with mid 17th-century
panelling, the original inner doorway has a stop-moulded frame and four-centred arch in a square head
with foliated spandrels; the door has large strap-hinges
with foliated ends. The hall now extends to the full
width of the original block. It has exposed ceiling-beams and early 18th-century panelling; the stone
fireplace has moulded jambs and four-centred head;
the overmantel is of three bays divided and flanked by
pilasters with strapwork ornament; each bay has an
enriched arcaded panel; the iron fire-back is dated
1639. The dining-room is lined with early 18th-century
panelling; the fireplace has chamfered jambs and four-centred head; the fire-back has the initials and date, S.E.
1634, for Sir Samson Ewer. The staircase (Plate 75)
is original except for the lower part; it is of well-form
with heavy turned balusters, moulded rails and square
chamfered newels with moulded terminals. On the
first floor the room over the middle part of the hall has
an original overmantel of two panels flanked by
pilasters carved with conventional foliage and supporting a moulded cornice; below the base-moulding are
two strapwork panels. Above the S.W. end of the
hall is a newel-staircase with solid oak treads; it
formerly continued to the ground floor, but is probably
not in situ and may have been re-used from an earlier
In the garden, to the N.E. of the house, is a large
oval lead cistern divided into panels by moulded ribs;
it has achievements-of-arms of Ewer, and the date
1637 twice repeated. On the cistern is the scratched
The Park-pale or enclosure is shown on an early
18th-century painting of the house, and remains of the
supporting bank on the S. side can still be traced on
either side of the drive at the S. boundary of Lime Kiln
The following monuments, unless otherwise
described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys,
timber-framed and with tile or slate-covered roofs.
Most of the buildings have exposed external timber-framing and internal ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
c(4). Oldfield Farm, house in the N.E. angle of the
parish, 1¾ m. N.E. of Leinthall Earls church, was built
late in the 16th or early in the 17th century on a T-shaped
plan with the cross-wing at the S.W. end. The upper
storey appears to have projected on the S.E. side, but
has been under-built. Inside the building are some
original moulded ceiling-beams.
c(5). Cottage, on the S.E. side of the road at Wylde,
800 yards N.E. of (3).
c(6). Cottage, 70 yards S.W. of (5).
d(7). Court Farm, house about 50 yards N. of Leinthall Earls church, has a late 17th-century N. wing.
d(8). School-house, formerly cottage, on the W. side
of the road, 100 yards S.W. of Leinthall Earls church,
has been altered and the first floor partly removed to
adapt the building as a school.
d(9). House, 40 yards S. of (8), was refaced in rubble
c. 1700. There are plain bands between the storeys;
most of the windows are of c. 1700, and have solid
frames, mullion and transom. Inside the building the
17th-century staircase has turned balusters and moulded
strings and rails.
d(10). Cottage, on the W. side of the road, 50 yards S.
of (9), is now used as a timber-store.
d(11). Cottage, on the N. side of the road, 170 yards
S.E. of Leinthall Earls church, has a thatched roof.
The upper storey and the gable project at the S. end on
moulded and dentilled bressummers; they rest on the
moulded ends of the side beams with curved brackets
d(12). Manor Farm, house on the W. side of the road,
320 yards W.S.W. of Leinthall Earls church, was built
c. 1600 and has a 17th-century projecting wing on the
S. side. The upper storey of the porch, on the N. side,
projects on the three free faces on curved brackets. The
outer entrance has chamfered posts and a triangular
head. The E. gable of the house projects on curved
braces. Inside the building is a little original panelling.
d(13). Cottage, on Yatton hill, 1¼ m. N.E. of the parish
church, has a thatched roof.
d(14). Cottage, at Yatton, 600 yards N.W. of (13), is
largely of rubble.
b(15). Manor Cottages, range of two tenements at
Yatton, about 1 m. N.N.E. of the parish church, were
built c. 1600. The upper storey projects at the E. end,
and in the S. wall is an original window of four lights
with diamond-shaped mullions and a transom.
b(16). Cottage, 600 yards S.E. of (15), has a thatched
b(17). Yatton Farm, house, 200 yards N.N.W. of
(15), is of two storeys with attics. It is of two dates
in the 17th century, the eastern part being the earlier.
Inside the building are some original moulded ceiling-beams.
b(18). Cottage, two tenements, on the E. side of the
road, 120 yards N.W. of the church, has a thatched roof.
b(19). Cottage, 50 yards S. of (18), has been refronted
on the W. side.
b(20). Cottage, on the W. side of the road, 120 yards
S.W. of the parish church, was built in the 16th century.
e(21). Cottage, on the E. side of the road at Mortimer's
Cross, has some diagonal framing in the N. gable.
e(22). Mortimer's Cross Farm, house on the S.W. side
of the cross-roads, is of L-shaped plan with the wings
extending towards the N. and W. There are late
17th-century additions at the ends of the wings. The
walls are rough-cast and partly of stone.
e(23). Covenhope Farm, house, 1¼ m. S.W. of the parish
church, is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending
towards the E. and S. The E. wing has been refaced
in rubble and brick.
e(24). Cottage, 340 yards W. of (23). The roof has
e(25). Cottage, 70 yards N.W. of (24), has an original
doorway with a triangular-shaped head and a door with
Croft Ambrey Camp, Situated in the Parish of Aymestrey
b(26). Cottage, on Baldsgate Common, 1 m. N.W. of
the parish church, was built c. 1700, and has a thatched
roof. The walls are of rubble. Inside the building is
a fire-back with the date 1700.
b(27). Lye Court Farm, house at Lower Lye, nearly
1¾ m. N.W. of the parish church, is of H-shaped plan
with the cross-wings at the N. and S. ends. The
timber-framing, in squares, is completely exposed.
b(28). Upper Lye Farm, house at Upper Lye, over
2 m. W. of the parish church. The middle part of the
house is one bay of a mediæval structure with crutchtrusses, but the rest of the house was re-built in the
17th century. The N. crutch-truss has a plain collar,
and the southern has heavy curved braces to the collar.
a(29). Shirley Farm, house over 2½ m. W. of the parish
church, is of T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the
W. end. The S. part of the cross-wing is of late 15th
or early 16th-century date, and has close-set framing;
the rest of the house is of late 17th and early 18th-century date. The upper storey projects on the W. side
and at the S. end of the original building, on brackets.
d(30). Croft Ambrey Camp, occupies the highest
end of a ridge 1½ m. N.E. of the church. It is a roughly
triangular-shaped work which, including defences,
occupies a total area of about 38 acres. It consists of
a main enclosure with an internal area of about 8¼ acres,
and a subsidiary outer enclosure along its S. side on
which, the slope being slight, it was more approachable.
The main enclosure is defended on its S. side by three
ramparts and two intermedial ditches, while there is a
deep and wide spoil ditch within the enclosure, on the
sides of which traces of cross banks, etc., may denote
that it was originally used for the storage of water.
The W. end also has three ramparts, but there has
been some damage to this part, while the inner spoil
ditch here widens and is divided into two terraces;
the upper terrace leads up to what would appear to have
been possibly an inner entrance to the enclosure proper
at the N.W. corner.
The N. and steepest side is defended by two scarps
with an intermediate berm which may originally have
been a ditch. There is a second and lower berm, but
it is doubtful if it is original. From the medial berm,
towards its eastern end, two trackways run upwards
and enter the camp immediately W. and E. of the main
E. entrance; but it seems hardly likely that these are
original. West of these tracks the upper scarp has
traces of irregular terracing, but the remains are slight
and may have been caused by subsequent planting.
Pyon Wood Camp in the Parish of Aymestrey.
There are two entrances (see plan), the first at the E.
end where the inner rampart has been extended along
the S. side of the opening and a rampart formed on the
N. side which projects some 40 yards eastwards beyond
that on the S., and is cut through to allow passage of the
track—already mentioned—leading down to the berm.
This entrance is approached by a sunken way. The
other entrance is at the S.W. corner, and has the inner
rampart turned inwards on its E. side. The outer
enclosure is defended along the S. by two ramparts with
a medial ditch, and traces of what may have been an
outer ditch; as these ramparts approach the E. end,
however, and the slope becomes slightly steeper, they
are replaced by two scarps with an intermediate berm;
at the W. end of this enclosure traces of a ditch, some
scarping and a bank, together with the steep natural
slope immediately beyond would appear to have formed
the necessary protection. Within this outer enclosure
—where shown on plan—are two portions of bank or
pillow mounds, respectively about 50 yards by 8 yards,
and 20 yards by 7 yards, both approximately 2 ft. high,
and surrounded by traces of a slight ditch. There is
also a circular mound of about 33 ft. diameter and 3 ft.
b(31). Pyon Wood Camp, ¾ m. N. of the church, has
an area of about 9 acres including the defences. It is
situated on a sugar-loaf shaped hill. The defences
consist of two ramparts with a medial ditch and a
slight spoil ditch or walk within the inner rampart;
they follow the natural contours and encircle the side
of the hill at an average depth of about 65 ft. below
its summit. The outer rampart is smaller than the
inner and has, for the most part, been destroyed,
while in no part is it of any appreciable height. The
inner bank of the inner rampart has also been destroyed,
in some places leaving merely the remaining outer scarp.
The only entrance which would appear to be definitely
original is that at the N.E. corner (Plate 3) where the
inner rampart shows some indications of its having
turned inwards on either side of the opening. This
entrance is approached by a trackway with a covering
rampart on its N. side. There are two other entrances,
at the N.W. and S.W. corners, but it is doubtful if
these are original.
Condition—Bad, and now much worse than at the
date of the O.S. 1904. It is likely to be still further
damaged by the carting of timber.
b(32) Mound (Plan, p. xxix) in Camp Wood, N. of the
river Lugg, and over 1¾ m. W. of the church, stands on
a small spur. The mound is circular with a diameter
of 41 yards at the base and a height of 17 ft.; it has a
continuous rampart except on the W. side, and is surrounded, except towards the end of the spur, by a ditch
some 10 ft. deep.
b(33). Lynchets, 300 yards N.N.W. of Upper Lye,
and over 2 m. W.N.W. of the church, consist of two
terraces, 68 ft. and 58 ft. wide respectively, and extending for about 88 yards in length.
b(34). Earthwork, called the Monks' Bowling
Green, 375 yards N.N.W. of the church, consists of a
square platform or terrace, 46½ yards square, cut into the
hiil-side on the W. and banked up about 18 ft. on the E.
The surface is nearly level.