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Hereford Public Library


Royal Commission on Historical Monuments: Herefordshire, Volume 1: H 936.244


Transcript of Original Publication


Parish Church of St Michael: architecture, construction and history

Place name:

Michaelchurch Escley


Up to 1700



(1). PARISH CHURCH OF ST. MICHAEL (Plate 6) stands towards the S. end of the parish. The walls, where ancient, are of shaly rubble with local sandstone dressings; the quoins are undressed; the roofs are covered with stone slates. The building exhibits nothing of earlier date than late in the I4th or early in the I5th century, to which date belongs the S.E. window of the Nave. Other openings in the Chancel and nave and the South Porch are of late 15th or early 16th-century date. The church has been restored in modern times - when the S.W. angle of the nave was rebuilt and the West Tower added.


Architectural Description—The Chancel (27 ½ ft. by 23 ft.) has a modern E. window. In the N. wall are two windows, the eastern a rectangular light of the 16th or 17th century, and the western an elliptical-headed light, probably of early 16th-century date; farther W. is a blocked early 16th-century doorway with a four-centred rear-arch, but only represented by a patch on the exterior. In the S. wall are two modern windows and between them a patch of later walling which may represent a destroyed doorway. The side walls of the chancel have each an eaves-cornice of wood. There is no chancel-arch.


The Nave (47 ¾ ft. by 22 ¾ ft.) has in the N. wall a window, perhaps of the 16th century, and of two square-headed lights. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern of the late 14th or early 15th century, and of three cinquefoiled ogee lights with trefoiled tracery in a square head; the western window is of two square-headed lights and perhaps of the 16th century; the S. doorway has plain jambs and two-centred arch of rubble and perhaps of 18th-century date. The side walls of the nave have each an eaves-cornice of wood. In the W. wall is a modern archway to the tower.


The South Porch is probably of early 16th-century date, and has side walls of stone with a timber S. front. The outer archway has moulded side-posts and an elliptical arch in a square head. The side walls have each a rectangular loop-light. The roof is of braced collar-beam type with moulded braces, purlins and cornices; the middle purlin is modern. The S. gable is open and has barge-boards ornamented with a series of arched panels or deep foils; the moulded external plates are similar to those in the chancel and nave.

The Roof of the chancel and nave is of early 16th-century date, and of trussed-rafter type, formerly boarded or ceiled on the soffit. The soffit is divided by moulded purlins and alternate moulded rafters to form panels. The roof of the chancel is rather lower than that of the nave. There are four tie-beams, all moulded except the westernmost; the wall-plates are also moulded.


Fittings—Bells: four; 2nd probably early 18th-century, rest 1732. Chair: (Plate 26) in chancel - with turned and twisted posts, legs and two stretchers, back with cresting carved with a crown and two cherubs, similar carving on front stretcher, curved arms with acanthus-enrichment and paw-feet to legs, late 17th-century. Chest: in nave—with panelled front and lid, three strap-hinges with hasps and staples, late 17th-century. Door: in nave—in S. doorway, of battens with strap-hinges, 17th-century. Font: octagonal bowl with moulded upper and lower edge and plain sides, plain stem and moulded base, 15th-century. Glass: In nave—in S. window, shield with emblems of the Passion, foliated spandrel and fragments with sun and foliage, early 15th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments : In nave—at W. end, (1) fragments of dismantled monument consisting of triangular panelled slab with sun, moon, stars, sheaves and book, 17th-century. In churchyard—S. of chancel; (2) to Jane Watkins, 1699, flat slab; (3) to John Watkins, 1711, flat slab. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to Thomas Smith, 1711. In nave—(2) to Phillip Rogers, 1698, Sibil Rogers, 1714-15, and John Rogers, 1714-15. slab with lozengy border; (3) to A. M., 1690, and T. P. 1707; (4) to T. P., 1706; (5) names defaced but with dates 1690 and 169-. In S. porch -(6) name defaced, but with date 1707 and lozengy border. Painting: In nave—on N. wall, large figure of Christ (Plate 184), with nimbus and loin-cloth, left hand held up to shoulder, right hand to breast; background filled with craftsman's tools, etc., including wool-comb, plane, axes, saw, hammer, mallet, mattock, shears, spoke-shave, jug, wheel, sword, cross-saw, gridiron, frying-pan, awl, bobbin, knives, etc., in black, white and yellow on black ground, figure in red line, late 15th or early 16th-century. Panelling: In nave—on S. wall, modern dado incorporating some 17th-century panelling with the date 1691. Plate: includes cup of 1628 with cover-paten inscribed " Yazor 1628 " given by Yazor Church to Michaelchurch Escley in 1852. Screen: between chancel and nave—modern but incorporating pieces of early 16th-century carving, etc., including portions of running foliage-ornament on the middle rail, the head-beam itself with some running vine-ornament, and the moulded fascia on the W. face of the beam. Sundial: In churchyard—S.W. of porch, octagonal wooden post with square head-block and modem metal dial, I7th or 18th-century.




Plate 6

Plate 184



Description documented c 1930 by the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments


Ordnance Survey Map Reference and Index of Parish Properties


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