Article in the
Berrow’s Worcester Journal,
Saturday 19th October 1863, Page 7 column 1
The annual meeting of the above society was held on Monday last [5 October 1863], in the Council Room of the Natural History Society’s Museum, in this city .......
[Following the meeting there was a member’s excursion]
This being the last excursion of the season, a large party, including many ladies, assembled at the Foregate-street Station of the Hereford Railway, a special saloon carriage having been provided by the attention of Mr. Adcock. The excursions of the society have generally enjoyed fine weather, and a pleasanter autumnal day could not have been selected;
The programme embraced an examination of the churches of Colwall, Coddington, Bosbury, and Ledbury, and on arriving at Colwall Station, carriages were in waiting to convey the party onward ......
Entering their carriages, the party then rattled merrily to BOSBURY, which has a street of
many timber houses, and was once probably more important than at present, for the Bishops of
Hereford had a country palace here, some remains of which still exist, and the Knight Templars
had also a location here, though little but the name of Temple Court exists as a memento of it.
The church, with its massive, square, separate tower, makes a very remarkable appearance, and
is a most interesting parochial structure. In the churchyard is an entire cross with its summit
remaining, which is so seldom the case, it having been preserved from mutilation by the Puritans,
owing to the local influence of a parishioner attached to the church, who was yet favourable to
the cause of the Parliament. This inscription was then affixed “Honour not the +, but honour God
for Christ.” This cross was, however, removed from its original position some years ago, as we
understood from a MSS. account of the parish now in possession of the rector, and beneath it was
discovered a large unhewn mass of Silurian rock, which has been placed on the southern side of the
tower. Its location beneath the cross was curious, and seemed to imply that it was an idolatrous
stone, or one held in veneration in heathen times, which, when the people were converted to
Christianity, it was deemed proper to place under the protection of the cross. The Rev. B. L.
Scudamore Stanhope, rector of Bosbury, received the architectural excursionists at the door of his
church, and conducted them within the sacred edifice, which was viewed with much interest and
satisfaction. The interior is very spacious, with nave and side aisles separated by six pointed
arches of the Early English period, above which is range of clerestory windows, which, with the
canted rafters of the roof, produces a noble effect, though the west end has a small round-headed
window. The door, also, is round-headed, with supporting pillars, one of which is cut away for a
stoop to contain holy water. The chancel arch is wide, and beneath it stands a massive oak screen,
in five divisions of carved work, intended for a rood loft. The chancel itself is spacious, with
two lancet windows on either side filled with modern stained glass, but the east window is of
perpendicular date. The whole interior of the church was restored and renovated a few years ago,
and the space before the altar decorated with encaustic tiles. The seats are all open, though plain.
The company having been engaged in contemplation for some time, then settled down in the chancel
to hear Mr. Severn Walker’s history of the church. He mentioned that there was an inscription
on the wall of the south aisle of Bishop Swinfield’s father of the early date of 1282; and described,
in addition to what we have before mentioned, the beautiful chapel of late pointed work attached
to the south aisle, constructed by Sir Rowland Morton, and which had carved on the pendant of its
groined roof the rebus of M upon ton. The tower, Mr. Walker suggested, was built for protective
purposes in the unsettled times when Welch marauders often made a sudden incursion on the inhabitants.
It formerly had a spire, taken down in 1812. On one of the six bells was this quaint inscription:—
All you that hear my clanging sound,
Repent before you go to ground.
The pulpit, which is of modern manufacture, has some curious Flemish carvings upon it. The font is a fine example of its date (very Early English), but an older, though broken one, of rude Norman work is preserved in the aisle behind the pulpit. On the floor of the church are several incised crosses on stones, and one especially in the south aisle, having two subsidiary crosses on it and sword, demands particular attention. One of these forms a “cross patee”, badge of the knights templars, once seated at Bosbury. On either side of the altar are characteristic mural monuments of the Harford family, the one having recumbent effigies of Richard Harford, and Martha his wife, 1578, the entablature supported by queer looking figures of Adam and Eve; and the other exhibiting a figure of John Harford, 1559. This has on it—“John Gildo, of Hereford, made this tombe with his owne hands. 1573.” There is also an inscription to the memory of John Bridges, of Colwall, in the last century, and modern marble one in memory of the Rev. H. Underwood, 1856. The manor of Bosbury had peculiar attractions and advantages to the Bishops of Hereford, who frequently resorted to it, and Bishop Swinfield was frequently at the palace here, where be seems to have breathed his last. Vestiges of the site of the manor house north of the church indicate extensive and strong buildings. A pointed gateway and round dovecot, curious in structure, yet remain, and in the farm-house is a cellar and room above, with low panelled ceiling, having carved bosses at the intersection of the ribs, nearly in their original state, though the transomed window of the upper apartment is stopped up. Having seen these relics, the party went to the Crown Inn, where preserved wainscotted room, with wooden roof, having moulded beams and carved shields at the intersections. This was called “the Steward’s Room,” and belonged to a house where probably some of the Harfords lived, as over the fire-place is a carved arcade of the time of James I., on which are placed the emblazoned arms of the Wrottesleys, Scropes, and Harfords.
Leaving Bosbury, another ride of between five and six miles brought the excursionists to Ledbury, and they immediately hastened to the fine old church, the tower of which, surmounted a spire, is separate from, though in close proximity to, the former. Here the Rev. J. Jackson, the vicar, met them, and the building was examined, as far as the fading light would allow.
As the party had to return by train soon after eight o’clock, the preceedings of the day, which had been of the most agreeable description, thus came to a termination.
See also a report on another visit in 1894.