66 SHOBDON (C.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. XI, N.E.)
Shobdon is a parish 7 m. W.N.W. of Leominster.
The church with its richly ornamented 12th-century
arches, reconstructed in Shobdon Park, and the early
18th-century mansion of Shobdon Court are or were
the principal monuments.
(1). Parish Church of St. John the Evangelist
stands immediately to the N. of Shobdon Court.
The walls are of local sandstone rubble with dressings
of the same material. Shobdon Church was built by
Oliver de Merlemond on the site of a timber chapel
of St. Julian; it was dedicated by Robert de Betun,
Bishop of Hereford (1131–48). The founder placed
here a few canons of St. Victor of Paris, who were
subsequently removed to Eye, and eventually to Wigmore Abbey (Dugdale. Mon. Ang. VI). This church
apparently consisted of Chancel and Nave only. The
West Tower was added probably in the 13th or 14th
century. The old church, except the tower, was
pulled down in 1753, and the chancel-arch and N. and S.
doorways re-erected to form a feature in the park;
the existing church was then built in the pseudo-Gothic
style of the period.
The re-erected arches are remarkable examples of
Romanesque ornament of c. 1140, and among the fittings
the font, of the same date, and the tablet to Ann Chaplin
Architectural Description—The West Tower (11¼ ft.
by 13¼ ft.) is of two stages externally and of four
storeys internally; it has a battered plinth and an
embattled parapet. The ground storey has, in the S.
wall, a blocked doorway with a three-centred head.
In the W. wall is a doorway and two windows all of mid
18th-century date. In the W. wall of the third storey
is a 13th or 14th-century window of two pointed lights.
The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a 13th or 14th-century window of a single light with a segmental-pointed head.
Fittings—Bells: two; 1st by T. Clibury, 1674;
sanctus, uninscribed and probably mediæval; bell-frame for four bells, old. Brass Indent: In churchyard—N.E. of nave, of man in armour with sword and
dagger, feet on lion, two shields and marginal inscription, late 14th-century. Chest: In second storey of
tower—of oak, panelled front with arabesque ornament with the initials A.S., carved posts and top-rail;
plain panelled top, sides and back, mid 17th-century.
Font (Plate 54): round bowl and stem of ogee section,
bowl plain but stem carved with four passant lions,
moulded base, mid 12th-century. Monuments: In tower
—on S. walls, (1) to John Handford, 1678, stone
tablet of cartouche form, with drapery, slate panel
and cartouche-of-arms; (2) to Ann (Tomkins), wife
of Robert Chaplin, 1684, also to Mary, daughter of
John Peers, 1696, both buried in St. Swithin's church,
London, and removed to Shobdon 1697, also to Robert
Chaplin, 1704, stone wall-monument (Plate 69) with
oval panel, enriched border and scrolled side pilasters,
cornice and pediment with urn, three cartouches-of-arms
and swags, enriched apron at base of monument. Miscellanea: Retaining walls at entrance to churchyard, with
some loose stones of the 14th century.
The re-erected chancel-arch and doorways (Plate 166)
stand ¼ m. N. of the church. They are all of c. 1140–50.
The chancel-arch, of about 10½ ft. span is semi-circular
and of three orders, the inner and outer with cheveronornament and the middle order with a roll flanked by a
type of arrow-head ornament; the label is enriched
with an arcaded ornament with round bosses at the
base of the arches or cusps; the responds have each
three shafts elaborately enriched—on E., (a) with
rings connected by grotesque heads and enclosing
doves; (b) with winged monsters in interlaced vineornament; (c) with rings and grotesque heads as on
(a) but with birds and beasts in the rings and interlacements in the spandrels; on W., (a) with scrolled
enrichment; (b) with a series of figures of 'Welshmen'
in pairs set in interlacement; (c) with scrolls and birds;
the capitals of the inner shafts have either gone or been
weathered away, but those of the outer shafts are
carved with spirals, simple leaves, dragon and interlace
and vine-scroll, the abaci are also enriched; the bases
are enriched with interlacing ornament. The doorway
on the E. is semi-circular and of three orders, the two
outer square and the inner roll-moulded; all are
carved, the outer with an elaborate scrolled band
terminating in a grotesque head at the W. end; the
middle order is carved with a series of animals and
human figures, some of which, such as a ram, bull,
twin figures and two fishes, appear to be Zodiacal signs;
an Agnus Dei also appears; the inner order was carved
with a series of animals and birds but is now almost
entirely weathered away; the outer order of the jambs
is enriched with cheveron-ornament, but the other
two orders have each an attached shaft carved with
interlacing ornament of varying design; the capitals
are carved with two beasts, a row of standing figures,
scrolls or volutes and a winged dragon respectively;
the bases on the E. are moulded, and those on the W.
carved with interlacing ornament or leaves. The
tympanum (Plate 167), now set over an adjoining opening, is carved with a Majesty in an oval band supported
by four angels. The doorway on the W. is generally
similar to that just described; the outer order has four
conventionalised and intertwined snakes; the middle
order has each voussoir carved with a beast; the roll-moulded inner order has interlacing designs; the
outer order of the jambs has cheveron-ornament; the
others have attached shafts, those on the E. carved with
interlacing ornament and those on the W. with figures
of 'Welshmen' and bands of interlacement; the
capitals are carved with a dragon, three small figures and
scrolls. The tympanum (Plate 167), now set over an
adjoining arch, is carved with a figure-subject—the
Harrowing of Hell, with a figure of Christ in the
middle, souls in limbo on the right, and two standing
figures on the left. The carving of both the main arch
and doorways is much weathered by exposure.
Condition—Of church, good.
(2). Shobdon Court (Plate 34), house and outbuildings, immediately S. of the church. The House is of
two storeys with cellars and attics; the walls are of red
brick with stone and cement dressings, and the roofs are
slate-covered. It was built early in the 18th century
by Sir James Bateman, Lord Mayor of London, and
seems to have been finished before 1717, when a plan
and account of it were published in Vitruvius Britannicus.
About 1861 the house was largely remodelled by the
second Lord Bateman, and further alterations were
made later in the same century. During this period,
small square blocks and a loggia were added in the
recessed portion of the N. front, the original eaves-cornices of the house were replaced by the existing
cornices and balustrades and the chimney-stacks re-built.
Some alterations were made also in the internal
The Elevations are symmetrically arranged, but the
whole of the facing has been repointed and rusticated
heads in cement added to the windows. The plan is
rectangular with projecting wings or pavilions at the
four angles. All the angles have rusticated quoins.
The doorways appear to have been all replaced by
modern work, as has the arched terrace on the S. front.
Interior. The plan in Vitruvius Britannicus indicates that the original main entrance was on the E.
front; it is now, however, on the N. front. The
arrangement and position of the staircases has been
entirely altered, and these are now all modern. The
main hall, occupying the W. part of the central block,
is carried up through two storeys, but the decorations
are entirely modern.
The Kitchen Block stands to the S.W. of the house,
with which it is connected by an underground corridor.
The block is of the same date as the house and is of two
storeys with attics; the walls are of brick with modern
cement dressings. The Stables, to the W. of the house,
are also of the same date, and are built round a courtyard. The walls are of brick with a band between the
storeys, but part of the W. wall of the W. range is
timber-framed. The building is of two storeys, and
the windows have solid frames. Over the E. range is
a timber clock-turret of two stages; the upper stage
has pilasters at the angles, a square-headed opening in
each face, and is finished with an entablature, pediments
and a weather-vane. Inside the building are some
original door-frames, doors and staircases; these last
have turned balusters, moulded strings and hand-rails.
The Pigeon-house (Plate 40), S.W. of the stables, is an
early 18th-century octagonal structure of brick with a
stone plinth and a pyramidal roof terminating in a
small timber lantern. Re-set in the garden-wall, running
S. from the Stables, is an early 18th-century stone
doorway with enriched architrave, entablature and a
carved grotesque key-stone; it is fitted with a panelled
door with enriched mouldings.
Condition—Good; house since demolished, 1933.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys,
timber-framed, and with tile or slate-covered roofs.
Many of the buildings have exposed external timber-framing and internal ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good or fairly good.
(3). House and shop, on the N.W. side of the road,
820 yards S. of the church, is of rubble, partly rough-cast.
(4). Outbuilding, opposite (3).
(5). Tanhouse Farm, house, on the S.E. side of the
road, 110 yards S.W. of (4), has an 18th-century
extension at the N.E. end.
(6). Cottage, 70 yards S.W. of (5).
(7). House and barn, 100 yards S.W. of (6), and
1,050 yards S. of the church. The House is perhaps of
mediæval origin with a central block and cross-wings
at the N.E. and S.W. ends; the existing features,
however, are of late 16th or early 17th-century date.
The central block and S.W. wing were heightened in
the 18th century. Inside the building is an early 18th-century fireplace with a moulded and eared surround
and brackets below the cornice.
The Barn, S.W. of the house, is partly weather-boarded.
(8). Cottage, on the N.W. side of the road, 250 yards
W. of (7), is of three main bays of framing.
(9). Hillhampton Farm, house, 1,050 yards S.S.W.
of the church, is of late 16th or early 17th-century date.
The late 17th-century chimney-stack has panels with
arched heads on the faces.
(10). Cottage, at Downwood, 1,150 yards W.S.W.
of the church, has a thatched roof.
(11). Cottage, two tenements, at Uphampton, 700
yards N. of the church, has a thatched roof.
(12). Cottage, 40 yards S. of (11).
(13). Cottage, 60 yards S. of (12), is of late 17th or
early 18th-century date. The chimney-stack has a
square shaft set diagonally.
(14). Cottage, on the N. side of the road, 630 yards
N.E. of the church, is stone-built, and probably of early
(15). Ty'n-y-Coed, house, nearly ¾ m. E. of the church,
has been largely re-built but retains an original W. wing.
The S. gable of this wing has a moulded base-beam.
(16). Hole Farm, house, about 1¼ m. E. of the church,
has been refaced in stone.
(17). Ledicot, house, barn and moat, nearly 1 m.
E.S.E. of the church. The House is of L-shaped plan
with the wings extending towards the E. and N. The
walls are of brick with stone dressings. The main or
E. wing is of early 18th-century date, and the N. wing
was probably added shortly after. The S. front is
symmetrically arranged, and has rusticated angles and a
slightly projecting central bay finished with a pediment.
The central doorway has stone side-pilasters and a
moulded semi-circular arch.
The Barn, S.W. of the house, is weather-boarded.
The Moat is very fragmentary. It appears to have
enclosed a fairly large area S.E. of the house and on the
opposite side of the road.
(18). Cottage, two tenements, 150 yards E.N.E. of
(17), was built probably early in the 16th century. The
upper storey originally projected, on curved brackets, at
both ends of the building, but has been under-built and
chimney-stacks added, probably in the 17th century.
(19). Cottage, on the S. side of Ledicot Lane, 1,050
yards S.E. of the church, was built early in the 18th
(20). Cottage, immediately S.W. of (19).
(21). Cottage, immediately W. of (20).
(22). Cottage, on the S.W. side of the road, ½ m.
S.S.E. of the church, has a thatched roof.
(23). Ox House Farm, house and barn, nearly 1 m.
S.E. of the church. The House is of L-shaped plan
with the wings extending towards the W. and N. It
has been extensively modernised and has a modern
addition in the angle of the original wings. The Barn,
S. of the farmyard, is weather-boarded.
(24). Mound, 130 yards W. of the church, is round
and has a flat top, 148 ft. in diameter and rising 10–
12 ft. above the surrounding ground; it is surrounded
by a dry ditch with slight traces of an outer bank and
causeway towards the N.E. It was probably a castlemound or tump.
(25). Mound, 270 yards S. of the church, is roughly
circular, 64 ft. in diameter at the base and about 11 ft.
high. There is a slight sinking in the top.