70 STOKE PRIOR (D.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XIX, N.E., (b)XIX, S.E., (c)XX, N.W.,
Stoke Prior is a parish and village on the right bank
of the Lugg, 3 m. S.E. of Leominster. The disused
bridge at Risbury is the principal monument.
c(1). Blackwardine, site of Roman settlement in
the N.E. part of the parish. Coins of Augustus, Trajan
and Constantine the Great are reported to have been
found (Leominster Guide of Rev. J. Williams, 1808),
also large quantities of Roman pottery, human and
animal bones. When the Leominster-Bromyard railway was made in 1881, the workmen found quantities
of coins, a gold bracelet and ring, and many skeletons
buried doubled up in a sitting posture at different
depths, one was said to be 13 ft. below the surface.
"A hypocaust or kiln was found, described as 'like
about 30 ovens full of ashes,' built of worked stones
which were broken up and used in a drain beside the
railway or 'tipped up' on the embankment. The
workmen met with quantities of coarse red and yellow
ware, also some of blue and black colour and a little
fine red Samian, several querns or hand mill-stones,
numerous bones, and cartloads of oyster-shells." The
coin-series included Agrippina, Vespasian, Crispus
Cæsar, Tetricus, Constantine I, Constantine Caesar,
Constans, Honorius and Constantine III (?). Other
finds included a ring of Kimmeridge shale and an
amphora-handle stamped QICSEG. (Woolhope F.
Club Trans., 1885, p. 340.)
a(2). Parish Church of St. Luke stands in the N.
part of the parish. It was entirely re-built in 1863 with
the probable exception of the lower parts of the walls
of the chancel (17½ ft. by 18½ ft.).
Fittings—Bells: five; 4th from the Worcester
foundry, 15th-century, and inscribed in Lombardic
capitals "Missi de celis habeo nomen Gabrie[li]s";
5th by John Martin, 1666. Chest: In second stage of
tower—plain, of hutch-type, with two strap-hinges
and two hasps, one broken, late 17th or early 18th-century. Font: octagonal bowl with moulded underside, plain octagonal stem and double chamfered base,
14th-century. Monuments: Loose in second stage of
tower—(1) to Cecilia (Coningsby), wife of William
Watson, rector of Sutton Coldfield, 1705–6, stone tablet
with shield-of-arms; (2) to William Watson, 1688–9,
stone tablet. Plate: includes an Elizabethan cup (Plate
60), with band of engraved ornament and a cover-paten
with the engraved date 1584. Stoup: Loose in nave—
round bowl, octagonal outside, with chamfered under
edge, formerly projecting from wall, mediæval.
d(3). Bridge, in a field S. of the road and a few yards
S.W. of the modern Risbury Bridge. A causeway
about 6½ ft. wide and rising about 3 ft. above the level
of the field, is carried on two rounded arches with
ashlar voussoirs and rubble filling. This would appear
to represent the earlier course of the road before the
modern bridge was built. The general appearance
and the narrowness of the causeway would seem to
indicate a mediæval date for the work, but only the
upper parts of the arches are now uncovered.
a(4). The Priory, house, on the N. side of the road,
300 yards E.N.E. of the church, is of two storeys with
attics; the walls are mainly of rubble and the roofs are
slate-covered. It is perhaps of mediæval origin, and is
of half H-shaped plan with the wings extending towards
the W. There is a 17th-century addition on the N.
and modern additions on the N.W. and S. The house
was probably heightened in the 17th century. The
N. and S. walls of the S.W. wing have each a 14th-century window of one pointed light, and both are now
blocked. The 17th-century wing and the gable of the
N.W. wing have exposed timber-framing.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys,
timber-framed, and with stone, slate or tile-covered
roofs. Many of the buildings have exposed external
timber-framing and internal ceiling-beams.
Condition-—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
a(5). House, on the E. side of the road, 100 yards W.
of (4), is of rubble and has modern additions on the E.
a(6). House and shop, immediately N. of (5), has
been re-built except for the framework of the E. wing.
a(7). Devon Cottage, 40 yards W. of (5).
a(8). Cottage, 80 yards N.N.W. of (6), has modern
additions on the E. and S.
a(9). Cottage, 60 yards N.W. of (8), was built c. 1600.
a(10). Croft Gate Cottage, on the S.W. side of the
road, 275 yards N.N.E. of the church.
a(11). Cottage, on the S. side of the road, 800 yards
N.N.W. of the church.
a(12). Cottage, on the N.E. side of the road, 50 yards
S.E. of (4), has a cross-wing of c. 1600; the W. wing
was added late in the 17th and extended in the 18th
century. The upper storey formerly projected at the S.
end of the cross-wing but has been under-built.
a(13). Wall End Farm, house, ¼ m. E. of the church,
incorporates material from a mediæval house, but is
substantially of late 16th or early 17th-century date.
There is an 18th-century extension on the S. The E.
side has been refaced in brick.
a(14). Great House and dovecote, immediately S.E.
of (13). The House has a cross-wing at the W. end;
the S. gable of this wing has original dentilled bargeboards with a pendant at the apex. The central
chimney-stack has two shafts with diagonal pilaster-strips.
The Dovecote, S.E. of the house, is a square building
of rubble, with a pyramidal roof and a timber lantern.
The doorway has a chamfered frame and an original
door with strap-hinges.
a(15). Cottage, on the S.W. side of the road, 400 yards
E. of the church, is of two dates in the 17th century.
a(16). Cottage, 160 yards S.E. of (15).
a(17). Cottage, on the N.E. side of the road, 750 yards
E.S.E. of the church, has a thatched roof.
a(18). Cottage, on the S.W. side of the road, 825 yards
E.S.E. of the church.
a(19). Cottage, 50 yards S.E. of (18).
a(20). Cottage, on the N.E. side of the road, 60 yards
E. of (19).
c(21). The Luce, house, near Steen's Bridge, nearly
1½ m. E.N.E. of the church, has been extensively
re-built, and the main block heightened and refaced.
b(22). Wickton Court, 1¼ m. S. of the church, is of
L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the
W. and S. Both wings have been extended, and there
are modern additions in the angle between them. The
original porch on the E. side is of two storeys, the
upper projecting at the E. end on a moulded
bressummer with pendants at the ends; the outer
entrance has a moulded frame and the gable has
moulded and enriched barge-boards; in the N. wall is
an original window with moulded frame and mullion.
The inner doorway has an original battened door with
moulded fillets and ornamental strap-hinges. Inside the
building, the N.E. room is lined with original panelling.
d(23). Hollywall Farm, house, over 1½ m. S.E. of the
church, has original moulded barge-boards to the N.
gable, with a shaped pendant at the apex. The
chimney-stack has two diagonal shafts of stone.
a(24). Lynchets, on the S. slope of the hill, about
¼ m. N.E. of the church.