55 MIDDLETON ON THE HILL (E.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)VIII, S.W., (b)XII, N.E., (c)XIII, N.W.)
Middleton on the Hill is a parish on the Worcestershire border 5 m. N.E. of Leominster. The church
and the house (3) are the principal monuments. A
chapel, said to have formerly existed 1,000 yards S.S.E.
of the church, has now completely disappeared, though
a plan of the structure is preserved at Moor Abbey.
Middleton on the Hill, the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin
a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary (Plate 149) stands
in the W. part of the parish. The walls are of local
sandstone rubble with dressings of the same material,
and the roofs are covered with tiles. The Chancel and
Nave were built about the middle of the 12th century,
and early in the 13th century the West Tower was added.
The top stage may be of the 15th century. The South
Porch was re-built in the 18th century, probably in
1745, when work is recorded in the Churchwardens'
accounts. The present E. window was brought from
Pudlestone Church and re-erected in 1857. The nave
roof was renewed in 1890–1, and the tower has recently
The church is interesting as a complete 12th-century
building, and among the fittings the three mediæval
bells are noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (17 ft. by
14½ ft.) has a re-set early 14th-century E. window, from
Pudlestone; it is of three graduated cinque-foiled
lights with a moulded label. In the N. wall is a 12th-century window of one round-headed light. In the
S. wall is a 13th-century lancet-window, probably
retaining the W. splay of the previous 12th-century
window; further W. is a 12th-century doorway with
chamfered jambs and round head. The 12th-century
chancel-arch is semi-circular and of two plain orders
interrupted by moulded imposts with diaper-ornament; above the arch is a round-headed opening,
probably of the 12th century. The chancel has clasping
and intermediate buttresses of ashlar.
The Nave (41 ft. by 19½ ft. tapering to 18½ ft.) has
ashlar buttresses dividing the bays and flanking the
doorways. In the N. wall are three windows, the
easternmost of the 14th century and of one cinque-foiled
light; the 12th-century middle and westernmost
windows are each of one round-headed light; the
blocked 12th-century N. doorway (Plate 91) has jambs
of two plain orders, the inner supporting the joggled
lintel and rubble filling above and the outer having
moulded and diapered imposts from which springs the
round moulded arch with zig-zag ornament and pellets;
the moulded label is also enriched with pellets; on the
buttresses flanking the doorway are corbels each carved
with two heads; remains of the N.W. angle of the
early nave were found at the restoration under the N.
face of the tower; part of the plinth has been re-set at
a higher level and exposed to view. In the S. wall
are three windows, the easternmost and westernmost
being similar to the eastern window in the N. wall;
the western is much restored; the middle window is an
enlarged 12th-century light with a round head; the
12th-century S. doorway is generally similar to the N.
doorway but the lintel is of one stone, the imposts
have billet-ornament, and there is no label.
The West Tower (14½ ft. square) is of three stages
with a moulded and splayed plinth and a 15th-century
embattled parapet with angle-pinnacles. The two
lower stages are of the 13th century, and the top stage
probably of the 15th century. The two-centred tower-arch is of one chamfered order with responds of the
same plan and chamfered imposts. The N. and W.
walls have each a lancet-window; in the S. wall is an
18th-century doorway, and above it are some remains
of the former lancet-window. The second stage has,
in each wall, a lancet-window, that on the W. subsequently widened; below the S. window is a second
lancet-window. The bell-chamber has in each wall an
opening with a two-centred arch and having a rubble
filling in the head; they are probably of the 18th
The South Porch is of timber, and probably of the
18th century, incorporating earlier material. The outer
entrance has square posts, lintel and braces, probably all
of the 18th century. The sides are open above and
fitted with modern balusters. The roof-timbers are
old, but some have been re-used.
The Roof of the nave is mediæval and of trussed-rafter type. The floor of the bell-chamber of the tower
has a heavy cross-beam supported on wall-posts and
curved braces probably of the 15th century.
Fittings—Bells: three; 1st inscribed in Lombardic
capitals "Sancta Maria ora pro nobis," 15th-century;
2nd and 3rd inscribed respectively in Lombardic
capitals "Missi te (de) celis habeo nomen Gabrielis" and
"Eternis annis resonet campana Johannis," both early
15th-century and all from the Worcester foundry.
Bell-frame, old. Churchyard Cross or sundial base:
S. of porch—square step with modern oak post and
sundial dated 1768. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to
Thomas . . ., 169.; (2) to . . ., wife of Thomas
Yapp, probably early 18th-century; (3) to Katherine,
wife of James Perrott, 1712; (4) to John Prosser and
A . . ., daughter of Francis Brace, 1681. In nave—
(5) to . . ., 1675 (?), also to Elizabeth, daughter of
Giles Grismond, 1691–2, also to Susannah, his wife.
Font (Plate 56): round cup-shaped bowl with cheveronornament and necking; plain cylindrical stem, late
12th-century. Painting: On some voussoirs of chancel-arch—traces of former decoration of saltires. Piscina:
In chancel—recess with moulded jambs and trefoiled
head, two octofoiled drains, late 13th-century.
Recesses: In chancel—in N. and S. walls, rectangular
recesses, probably lockers. Table: In tower—with
turned legs and cross-braces, with knob at intersection,
c(2). Moor Abbey, house, outbuildings, moat and
fishpond, nearly 1 m. S.S.E. of the church, was a
former possession of Leominster Priory. The House
is of two storeys with attics, the walls are of stone, and
the roofs are tiled. It is of H-shaped plan, the main
block and S. cross-wing being perhaps of late 16th-century date; the N. cross-wing was added in the 17th
century. The whole building was cased in stone,
probably in the 18th century. The windows are mainly
of 18th-century or later date, but one on the W. side
has a late 16th-century moulded frame and mullions,
re-set. The S.W. chimney-stack is of brick with two
square shafts and projecting nibs. Inside the building
are some original moulded and chamfered ceiling-beams, and there are three original doors of moulded
The Pigeon-house (Plate 40), N.W. of the house, is a
late 17th-century square stone structure gabled on each
face and adjoins a two-storeyed granary of the same date.
The granary has a dormer window of earlier type, perhaps re-used. The Barn, N.E. of the house, is probably
of 17th-century origin, with the walls re-built in stone.
Other outbuildings, of modern date, contain a 17th-century door with ornamental hinges and an iron fire-back with the initials and date P.C. 1637.
The Moat formerly surrounded the house but now
only survives on the N.W. side. The rectangular
Fishpond lies about 130 yards N.W. of the house.
There is a line of bank and ditch to the E. and S.E. of the
Condition—Of house, good.
a(3). Middleton Farm, house and outbuildings, 150
yards N. of the church. The House is of two storeys
with cellars; the walls are of brick with some stone
dressings, and the roofs are slate-covered. The kitchen-wing dates probably from early in the 17th century, but
the main block was built in 1692; there are later additions
on the N. and W. The main block has a symmetrically
designed S. front (Plate 133), with rusticated angles, a
band between the storeys and a wooden eaves-cornice;
on one of the quoins is the date 1692. In the plinth are
stone-mullioned windows lighting the basement; the
other windows have sashes and flush frames. At the
back are two windows with solid frames, mullion and
transom. Inside the building, the S.E. room is lined
with early 18th-century moulded and fielded panelling
(Plate 53) with cornice and dado-rail; the panel above
the fireplace is painted with a Classical composition.
The main staircase is probably of 1692 and has turned
balusters and square newels. Elsewhere in the house
are some exposed ceiling-beams, and the kitchen-wing
has some exposed timber-framing.
The Outbuildings include (a) a summer-house at the
S.E. angle of the garden, a square brick building of two
storeys with a pyramidal roof, probably of c. 1700;
(b) a two-storeyed store and granary, N.E. of the house,
of red brick and of the same period; (c) a timber-framed barn of three bays, N. of the house, and of the
17th century; (d) a timber-framed barn of three bays,
W. of the house and of the same period as the
preceding; (e) a stone range of buildings, S.W. of
the house, two-storeyed, and probably of early 18th-century date.
Condition—Of house, good.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys,
timber-framed and with tile, slate or stone-covered
roofs. Many of the buildings have some exposed
external timber-framing and internal ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good, or fairly good.
c(4). Cottage, 50 yards S.E. of the church, has the
lower walls of stone. It was built probably early in
the 16th century and probably extended one bay further
to the N. Inside the buildings, the framing of the
original roof is exposed; it has heavy tie-beams,
chamfered purlins and curved wind-braces.
a(5). Cottage, 550 yards N.E. of the church, has been
largely cased in stone. There are later additions on
the W. and N.
a(6). The Ford, house, 800 yards N.E. of the church,
was originally of L-shaped plan with the wings extending
towards the E. and N. In the 18th century the house
was almost entirely cased in stone, a wing added on the
E. and an extension built on the N. of the original E.
c(7). Cottage, at Five Ashes, ¼ m. S.E. of the
c(8). Cottage, 730 yards S.S.W. of the church.
c(9). Town Farm, house, 1,220 yards S.S.W. of the
church, was originally of L-shaped plan with the wings
extending towards the E. and S. The N. wing is a
later addition, and much of the house has been cased in
stone. The W. chimney-stack is original and has two
square shafts with diagonal nibs on the faces. The
central stack retains one similar shaft.
c(10). Cottage (Plate 29), 150 yards S.W. of (9), is
stone-built and retains some late 17th-century windows
with solid frame, mullion and transom.
b(11). Ashley Cottage, about ¾ m. W.S.W. of the
c(12). The Hills, house, near Laysters Pole, about
1½ m. E.S.E. of the church, has a later extension on the
W. and modern additions on the N. It has been
largely cased in stone and brick.
c(13). Cottage, on the N. side of the road, 800 yards
N.E. of (12).
c(14). Cottage, on the S.E. side of the road, opposite
Raddle Bank and 240 yards N.E. of (13).
c(15). Lower Miles Hope, house, now two tenements,
2 m. E. of the church, was built on a T-shaped plan
with the cross-wing at the N.W. end. A square
18th-century addition has been made at the N.E. corner.
a(16). Cottage, 370 yards N.E. of (15), retains only a
part of the original building, at the S. end.