6 BISHOPSTONE (C.e.)
(O.S. 6 in. XXXII, N.E.)
Bishopstone is a small parish, touching the left bank
of the Wye and 6 m. W.N.W. of Hereford. The church
and Bishopstone Court are the principal monuments.
(1). House on the site of the Rectory, 600 yards S.S.E.
of the church. The Rev. A. J. Walker describes the
first discovery as follows:—"On Sept. 19th, 1812, in
digging for a drain, where my parsonage was building,
the labourers struck upon a tessellated pavement (Plate
88), which from not being bedded in cement was, to a
certain extent, demolished . . . we found that considerable portions had been much injured by the plough or
some other accident; but that the remains perfectly indicated the whole pattern of a floor, thirty feet square."
(Description accompanying reproduction of pavement.)
A description of further finds (Arch, xxiii. p. 418) runs
as follows:—"At distances of one to two hundred
yards round this house (the Rectory) we have dug up
on every side Roman bricks, pottery both coarse and
fine and many fragments of funeral urns, and I am rather
surprised that only three coins have yet been found;
a regular pitched causeway or rather foundation, has
been found repeatedly; and in June 1821, in my kitchen
garden, S.W. of the house, a foundation of sandstone
. . . at the E. end, about 3 ft. deep, and at the W.
deepening to about 5 ft. was discovered. The foundation is full 3 ft. wide and increases towards the angle,
where it turns, to 5 ft. I traced it 55 ft., it was substantially laid without cement. I found also a 20 in.
foundation-wall, most strongly cemented, on the E.
side of the house. Considerable quantities of black
earth, near the places where fragments of urns have been
found, are also discovered. Bones have likewise been
collected at about the general depth of 16 in. or 18 in.
at which most of these Roman remains are met with at
Bishopstone. . . . I ought to remark that the foundation above mentioned, of 55 ft. with its right-angle turn,
was parallel, as far as I believe, with the respective sides
of the tessellated pavement; there was no appearance
of walls round the pavement."
The pavement is said to have been afterwards removed
into the cellars of the rectory, but has now disappeared
(Arch. Journ. xxxiv. p. 361). Another account (Woolhope F. Club Trans. 1882, p. 257) states, on the contrary,
that the pavement was again covered. The remains
evidently formed part of a substantial house, standing
some 250 yards to the N. of the line of the Roman road.
The design of the pavement was mainly geometrical, but
includes panels with vases, craters, etc.
(2) Parish Church of St. Lawrence stands in the
N. part of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone
rubble with dressings of the same material; the roofs
are covered with stone slates. Some blocked windows
and a difference in the masonry indicate that the Nave
dates from the 12th century. The Chancel and North
and South Transepts were built late in the 13th century.
The W. wall of the nave was re-built in the 14th century
when the South Porch was added. The church was
restored in 1842 and 1852, and the North Vestry is
Bishopstone, the Parish Church of St Lawrence
Architectural Description—The Chancel (16 ft. by
19 ft.) is of late 13th-century date, and has an E. window
of three plain pointed lights with intersecting tracery
in a two-centred head; modern sub-heads to the lights
have been inserted. In the N. wall is an early 14th-century window of two trefoiled ogee lights. In the
S. wall is a window of similar date, and of two trefoiled lights with a pierced spandrel in a two-centred
The Nave (49¾ ft. by 19¼ ft.) is undivided from the
chancel. At the E. end of both N. and S. walls is a late
13th-century arch, two-centred and of two chamfered
orders, the outer continuous and the inner springing
from attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases.
Further W. in the N. wall are two windows, the easternmost a 13th-century lancet and the western modern;
further W. again is a blocked window, perhaps of the
12th century, but with a four-centred head; the 13 th or
14th-century N. doorway has chamfered jambs and
segmental-pointed head. In the S. wall are two
windows similar to those opposite; higher in the wall
is a straight joint, probably the W. jamb of a destroyed
window; further W. is a blocked round-headed window
probably of the 12th century; the S. doorway appears to
be modern. The W. wall is ashlar-faced and has a
14th-century window of two trefoiled ogee lights with
tracery in a two-centred head, and now blocked;
there are also three modern windows. On the gable is
a modern bell-cote.
The North Transept (10¾ ft. by 15½ ft.) has, in the N.
wall, a late 13th-century window of three plain pointed
lights, the mullions being carried up to the two-centred
head to form the middle light; the lower part of the
window is blocked. In the W. wall is a blocked doorway of the same date, with chamfered jambs and two-centred head.
The South Transept (10¾ ft. by 15¾ ft.) has, in the S.
wall, a window uniform with the corresponding window
in the N. transept.
The South Porch (Plate 42) is timber-framed on dwarf
walls. The outer archway is two-centred with a tie-beam
at the base of the gable making three shaped openings
with the rafters and two struts. There is a similar
frame against the nave wall, but without struts, and in
the middle is a pair of foiled principal rafters; the
purlins have cusped wind-braces. The barge-boards
are cusped and sub-cusped. The side-walls, formerly
in two bays, are now fitted with 18th-century balusters.
The Roof of the chancel, extending to the W. of the
transept-arches, is of early 17th-century date, and of
three bays with two trusses of enriched king-post type,
consisting of cambered tie-beams with curved ribs
on the soffit, king-posts extending to the ridge, and two
pairs of raking struts with ornamental filling between
them; below the king-posts are carved pendants;
at the W. end is a third truss dated 1842, when the
roof was restored. The roof was again restored in
Fittings—Bells: two, inaccessible. Brackets: In
N. transept—on E. wall, three moulded corbels, one
terminating in a ball-flower, early 14th-century. Glass:
In S. window of chancel—set in various fragments, six
panels of foreign glass as follows:—(a) the Crucifixion,
(b) the Prodigal son, (c) the Infant Christ and St. John
the Baptist, (d) St. John the Baptist, (e) marriage-scene,
(f) St. John the Baptist; also the irradiated initials
M A and I H S; at top shield-of-arms, late 16th, 17th and
18th-century. Monuments: In N. transept—against
N. wall, of John Berinton, 1613–4, erected by his widow
Joyce (Ketilby); altar-tomb and wall-tablet; altar-tomb
with painted cheveron-ornament on edge of slab, front
divided into two bays by pilasters, middle pilaster
with three carved and painted shields-of-arms, and a
carved and painted shield-of-arms in each panel; effigies
(Plate 63) of man and wife in costume of the period and
each holding a book, man's feet on dog; tablet above
with border of strap-work. Organ: In nave—at W.
end, formerly in Eton College chapel and bought in
1844, instrument originally built by Father Bernard
Smith in 1700–1, with modern additions and improvements; original three manuals, case modern. Piscina: In
chancel—recess with cinque-foiled head and stone shelf,
14th-century. Plate: includes cup of 1621 given by
Uvedale Price in 1839 and a Dutch alms-dish of brass
with the return of the spies from Canaan and the
inscription "Vreest Godt onderhovedt syn geboedt
1641." Pulpit: hexagonal, made up of late 16th
or early 17th-century woodwork, three panels in height
with some enriched frieze-panels, framing partly carved
with scroll, guilloche and arcaded ornament, pulpit
supported on four carved scrolls and steps made up with
various pieces of carved work including a figure of
Justice. Reredos: made up of similar woodwork
to the pulpit including later and modern material;
two large panels divided and flanked by terminal
figures of men supporting the cornice; on panels
painted ovals with clouds and the initials I H S and
alpha and omega surrounded by carved flowers and
cherubs, all of early 18th-century date. Miscellanea:
Incorporated in quire-stalls—two late 16th or early
17th-century panels with carved monsters. Re-set in
wall of vicarage-garden, window-head similar to those
in the transepts.
(3). Bishopstone Court, house, gateway and moat,
150 yards N. of the church. The House is of three
storeys with cellars; the walls are of rubble, and the
roofs are slate-covered. It was built late in the 16th
century or earlier, and is of T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the S.E. end. It was considerably altered late in
the 18th century. The windows generally are of the
18th century with solid frames. At the angle of the
N.W. wing is a small projection either for a staircase
or garde-robe. Inside the building are some exposed
ceiling-beams and two fireplaces with stone jambs and
oak lintels. The shutters in the S.E. room are formed
of panelling of c. 1600.
The Gateway, of late 16th-century date, stands on the
outer edge of the moat, E. of the house, and consists
of two stone piers formerly connected by a moulded
arch and sub-arch, now destroyed. Flanking the arch,
on each face, are pilasters with moulded bases, neckings
and cornices, the last continued round the piers; the
piers were finished with pyramidal cappings, now partly
The Moat surrounds the house, and the inner bank
is revetted in rubble. Behind the gateway is a bridge,
probably of the 18th century.
Condition—Of house, fairly good.
(4). Bishon Farm, house, 1,020 yards S.E. of the
church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are
timber-framed and the roofs are covered with stone
slates. It was built early in the 17th century, with a
cross-wing at the W. end. Inside the building are some
exposed ceiling-beams. The original staircase has
moulded grip handrails, moulded newels and flat shaped
and pierced balusters.
(5). Cottage, two tenements, 40 yards S.E. of (4),
is of one storey with attics; the walls are timber-framed
and the roofs are covered with stone slates. It was
built in the 17th century and has exposed framing in two
main bays with struts or brackets under the head-beams. Inside the building are some exposed ceiling-beams.
N.B.—For Offa's Dyke, see p. xxx.