St Michael, Kenchester, Herefordshire

Feature Sets (3)


Kenchester is a village in central Herefordshire, some 5 miles WNW of Hereford. The village is clustered along a minor road to the N of the A438 Hereford to Brecon road, and at its S end is the site of the Roman town of Magnis, with the church alongside. St Michael’s is a simple, 2 cell building of roughly-coursed sandstone rubble, sited alongside outbuildings of Court Farm. There is a 15thc S porch, but the 12thc origins of the church are revealed by the plain lancets in the chancel and the S nave doorway, described here. There is also a font that might well be a 12thc remodelling of a Roman column from Magnis. The church was restored by Nicholson and Hartree, 1901-02 and 1909.


A manor of 2 hides was held by the canons of St Peter’s, Hereford, in 1066 and 1086. A further holding of 2 hides was held by Thorkil in 1066 and Hugo l’Aisne in 1086.


Exterior Features


S nave doorway

Round headed, single order. Continuous with an angle roll.

Height of opening 2.20m
Width of opening 1.15m




The font is at the W end of the nave, alongside the S doorway. It consists of a tall cylindrical bowl, chamfered at the upper rim and tapering at the bottom to sit on a cylindrical stem, and this on a drum base with an upper angle roll. There is no step. The basin is unlined, hemispherical in form and very shallow, suggesting that it was not originally a font.

Height of base 0.19m
Height of bowl 0.54m
Height of font 1.03m
Height of stem 0.30m
Depth of basin 0.13m
External diameter of bowl at rim 0.46m
Internal diameter of bowl at rim 0.28m


For the doorway, similar treatment of a continuous order is very common throughout the county. The font was not noted by Pevsner (1963), but RCHME (1932), followed by Brooks (2012) convincingly suggested that it might be a re-used and remodelled Roman column from Magnis, on a 12thc base.


  • A. Brooks and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. New Haven and London 2012, 187

  • Herefordshire Sites and Monuments Record 7230.

  • Historic England Listed Building 154240

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. Harmondsworth 1963, 107-08.

  • RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, 2: East, 1932, 93-96.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SO 438 428 
now: Herefordshire
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Herefordshire
now: Hereford
medieval: Hereford
now: St Michael
medieval: St Michael (pre-Reformation)
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
04 September 2012