48 LETTON (B.e.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XXIV, S.E., (b)XXV, N.W., (c)XXV,
Letton is a parish on the left bank of the Wye, 7 m.
S.S.E. of Kington. The church, with interesting 12th-century detail and fittings, is the principal monument.
Letton, the Parish Church of St John the Baptist
c(1). Parish Church of St. John the Baptist (Plate
7) stands at the S. end of the parish. The walls are of
local sandstone rubble with some tufa, and the dressings
are of the same materials; the roofs are covered with
stone slates. Part of the N. wall of the Nave belongs
probably to a late 11th or early 12th-century building
and has a rude string-course. About the middle of the
12th century the church appears to have been reconstructed, the nave widened and perhaps lengthened,
and the Chancel, about 20 ft. long, added or re-built.
Late in the 13th century the chancel was lengthened.
The South Transept was added c. 1330 and the North
Tower, begun shortly after, was capped by the existing timber-framed top stage probably in the 17th
century. At some uncertain period the chancel-arch
was removed. The church was restored in 1883, and
the South Porch is modern.
The church is of some architectural interest, and
among the fittings the S. door with its ironwork is
Architectural Description—The Chancel (29 ft. by
12¾ ft.) has a late 13th-century E. window of three
plain pointed lights in a segmental-pointed head. In
the N. wall are two windows, the eastern a late 13th-century lancet and the western of late 14th-century
date and of two trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a
square head; the head has perhaps been re-set. In the
S. wall are two lancet-windows, probably of late 13th-century date; the western is rebated inside for a
shutter; further W. is a doorway of the same date and
with chamfered jambs and two-centred head. There is
no chancel-arch, but a seam in the S. wall of the tower
may indicate where the former wall has been cut away.
The space between the nave and the chancel roofs is
filled with vertical timber-framing.
The Nave (37½ ft. by 17¾ ft.) has, in the N. wall, a
14th-century segmental-pointed arch opening into the
tower, of one plain chamfered order; further E. is a
blocked squint showing as a niche in each face of the
wall; the W. part of the wall has an external string-course
of tufa, with crude tooth-ornament; lower down,
internally, is some herring-bone work. In the S. wall
is an opening to the S. transept; it has no arch and no
E. respond, the wall at this point being cut back to
form a recess; the W. respond is plain except above the
high plinth, where it has stop-moulded angles of the
14th-century; further W. is a modern window; the re-set
S. doorway (Plate 146) is partly of tufa and partly of sandstone, the sandstone being 12th-century alterations to
the earlier doorway; the round arch is of one moulded
order with a diapered label; the moulding is continued
across the lintel and down the jambs in a rough cheveron
form, with flat capitals and bases on the inserted stones;
the inserted lintel has conventional patterns in the
form of chip-carving; two circles in this carving have
small rayed human heads and two others toad-like
forms; the lintel supports a built tympanum. In the
W. wall is a 12th-century doorway with square jambs,
modern lintel and an earlier re-set round arch of tufa
above; the late 13th-century W. window is of two
The North Tower (about 12 ft. square) is of three
storeys, the masonry portion being undivided externally.
The ground-stage has, in the E. and N. walls, a 14th-century window of one trefoiled light. The second
storey has a plain loop-light in the E., W. and N. walls.
The lower part of the bell-chamber is of stone and has
a single-light window with a comparatively modern
head; the windows were perhaps not completed when
the stage was first built; the upper part of the bell-chamber is timber-framed and perhaps of the 17th
century; it has plain boarding and a pyramidal roof.
The South Transept (17 ft. by 14½ ft.) has, in the E.
wall, a modern window. In the S. wall is an early
14th-century window, formerly of two trefoiled ogee
lights, but now with the mullion and part of the head
removed to form a single light. In the W. wall is an
early 14th-century window of a single trefoiled light;
further N. is a doorway with moulded jambs and
segmental-pointed arch, perhaps of 14th-century
material re-set; it is set in a modern recess on the W.
face of the wall.
The Roof of the chancel is perhaps of the 15th century
and is of trussed-rafter form; the braces have an ogee
curve at the top. The trussed-rafter roof of the nave
is of uncertain age.
Fittings—Bells: three; 1st inscribed in Lombardic
capitals, "Sancta Maria Madalena," by R. Hendly of
Gloucester, early 15th-century; 3rd from the Worcester
foundry and inscribed in Lombardic capitals "Ave
Maria gratia plena Dominus tecum," late 14th or early
15th-century. Brasses: In chancel—on S. wall, (1) to
Joane (Parker), wife successively of Thomas Dowsing
and Edward Chamberlain, rector of Letton, 1697–8,
inscription only; (2) to Edward Chamberlain M.A.,
rector, 1712, inscription only. Chairs: In chancel—
two with turned front legs, shaped arms and panelled
backs, 17th-century. Coffin-lids: In tower—in sill
of E. window, (1) fragment with raised foliage, etc.,
13th-century; in sill of N. window, (2) semi-octagonal
head of slab with raised cross, 13th-century; (3) slab
with remains of cross and French inscription in
Lombardic capitals to Ro . . ., late 13th-century. In
S. transept—in sill of W. window, (4) slab with remains
of raised cross with flower and other ornament, 13th-century. Communion Table (Plate 50): with turned and
bulbous front legs enriched with carving, turned back
legs, moulded and partly enriched lower rails, moulded
pulvinated and carved upper rails and moulded top,
late 16th or early 17th-century. Doors: In nave—in
S. doorway, ledged and battened door with two strap-hinges and an ornamental strap, all nail-studded, hinges
both with curved arms and scrolls to strap, late 12th
or early 13th-century. In S. transept—in W. doorway,
of battens with strap-hinges, iron handle and round
scutcheon-plate, 17th-century. Font: octagonal bowl,
with moulded and splayed under side, octagonal to
square stem and plain round base, probably 13th-century. Monuments: In S. transept—in S. wall, (1)
two tomb-recesses side by side and retaining the
moulded central division and W. jamb, arches and other
stonework removed, 14th-century. In churchyard—
S. of nave, flat slabs, (2) to Joan . . . 168.; (3) to
Elizabeth, second wife of Walter P . . ., 1695.
Piscinæ: In chancel—recess with pointed head and
round drain, 13th-century; further E., recess of tufa
with pointed head, no drain, perhaps the later piscina.
In S. transept—in E. wall, recess with trefoiled ogee
head and ball-flower ornament, round projecting drain,
broken away, early 14th-century. Pulpit (Plate 147):
octagonal, each face with a panel carved with a festoon
of foliage, fruit and flowers, enriched base-moulding
and enriched entablature with carved pulvinated frieze;
sounding-board with panelled soffit and star-ornament,
entablature with enriched pilasters at the angles and a
carved swag on each face of the frieze, carved cresting
on W. side only; sounding-board resting on panelled
standard with conventional carving in the upper
panels; probably early 18th-century, and said to have
come from a church in Bristol. Recesses: In chancel
—in N. wall, wide recess (Plate 79) with moulded
jambs and segmental arch with cinque-foiled and sub-cusped soffit and restored foliated cusp-points, late
13th or early 14th-century, probably tomb-recess.
In S. transept—in E. wall, altar-recess with moulded
jambs and segmental-pointed arch with ball-flower
ornament, early 14th-century. Seating: In chancel—
five benches with panelled backs and shaped arms, also
a priest's stall of similar character and a side-enclosure
with pierced and carved upper panels, also front enclosure incorporating two sides of the pulpit, 17th and
early 18th-century. In S. porch—one bench uniform
with those in the chancel. Miscellanea: In chancel—
The following monuments, unless otherwise
described, are of the 17th century, of two storeys,
timber-framed and with tile, stone or slate-covered
roofs. Most of the buildings have exposed external
timber-framing and internal ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good or fairly good.
c(2). House, now gardener's cottage, and said to have
been the Old Rectory, on the W. side of the churchyard, was built at the end of the 16th century. It has
a gabled two-storeyed porch on the E. side, with
moulded posts to the square-headed outer entrance and
turned balusters, partly old in the N. side; the upper
storey projects on the three free sides and has pendant
posts at the outer angles. The inner doorway has
an original battened door with ornamental strap-hinges
and an oak bolt. The E. front has two gabled dormers
and the W. side a central gable.
c(3). Bull Farm, house, about 150 yards N. of the
church, is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending
towards the E. and N. The E. wing was extended at
a later date and subsequently heightened. The front
has been refaced in brick.
a(4). Cottage (Plate 33), on the S.W. side of the
road, has a thatched roof.
a(5). Hackmoor Hall, house, two tenements, on the
N. side of the road, 1,100 yards N.W. of the church,
is partly thatched. The E. end is an 18th-century
a(6). Yew Tree Farm, house, at Upper Kinley, 1,600
yards N.N.W. of the church, is of T-shaped plan with
the cross-wing at the S. end. It has been partly refaced
a(7). Cottage, on the W. side of the road, 110 yards
N.E. of (6), has been heightened.
a(8). Kinley Farm, house, 50 yards E. of (7), is of three
bays of timber-framing. The upper storey formerly
projected on the S. side on shaped brackets, but, except
for one bay, it has been under-built.
c(9). Cottage, at the W. end of Waterloo, ¾ m. N. of
the church, has been heightened.
c(10). Cottage, nearly 1½ m. N.E. of the church.
c(11). Cottage, 350 yards E.S.E. of (10), has been
partly refaced in brick.
c(12). House, on the S. side of Hurstley and 1¾ m.
N.E. of the church, has a S. end of rubble.
b(13). Hurstley Court, house and outbuildings, 130
yards N.N.W. of (12). The House was originally of
T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the N.W. end.
There are later additions on the N.W. side of the cross-wing and on the S.W. of the other wing; this last is
of stone and may date from 1703, the date on a fireplace
formerly in the addition. The walls generally have
been rough cast.
The Barn, N.W. of the house, is of five bays weather-boarded. Adjoining its N. end is a two-storeyed
building, of three bays and at right-angles to these is a
cow-house and loft with a rubble and brick lower
b(14). Hurstley Farm, house and barn, 70 yards N. of
(13). The House is of T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the W. end; the main block is of three
The Barn, S. of the house, is of three bays, partly
b(15). Outbuilding, on the N. side of the road, 120
yards E. of (14), is of six bays, the upper storey forming