St John the Baptist, Eastnor, Herefordshire

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Feature Sets (4)


The church of Eastnor stands in the wooded parkland of the Eastnor Castle estate, just outside the eastern edge of Ledbury in the Malvern Hills. The church is of local sandstone rubble, and consists of a nave and chancel, both with north aisles and a west tower. On the north side of the north chancel aisle is the Somers-Cocks mortuary chapel. The oldest parts of the church are 12thc – the south nave doorway (under a 19thc porch) and the east respond of the 3-bay north nave arcade. The badly damaged plain font is also a 12thc piece. The rest of the nave arcade is 13thc, as are the lower parts of the west tower, while the upper part is 14thc. The tower is the only part of the church not to have been affected by the drastic restoration of Sir G G Scott in 1851. Scott took down the rest of the church, numbering the stones, and re-erected it with the stones in their original positions, except for the damaged ones which he replaced. A large proportion of them must have been damaged. He also built the Somers-Cocks chapel in an Early English style.


In 1086 Eastnor was held by the canons of Hereford Cathedral, and consisted of 4 hides and 6 acres of meadow and woodland 4 furlongs long and 2 broad. Of this, half a hide was held from the canons by a knight and half a hide and half a virgate by a mason. The land is presumed to have remained with the canons throughout the Middle Ages.


Exterior Features


S Nave doorway

Round headed, two orders under a 19thc porch.

Height of opening (to top of step) 2.55m
Width of opening 1.22m
1st order

Plain and continuous with a quadrant roll on the inner angle.

2nd order

Cylindrical coursed nook-shafts with slight keels on low roll and hollow bases with roll neckings, carrying double trumpet-scallop capitals with quirked hollow-chamfered impost blocks. The arch is as the 1st order, and there is a plain chamfered label.

Interior Features



N nave arcade,

3 bays, pointed

The 13thc arcade is carried on octagonal piers and has moulded capitals, octagonal in plan, with two-order chamfered arches. The east respond must be a survival from an earlier state (or an earlier design). The respond itself is semi-cylindrical and so is the necking of the capital, but the capital’s body and impost are semi-octagonal; the capital having two trumpet scallops on each face, and the impost being plain chamfered. The respond base is a replacement, with a roll and necking on a tall drum plinth.




At the east end of the north nave aisle, a tub-shaped bowl on a later drum plinth with a chamfered base. There are catastrophic losses to the NE and SW of the bowl, which must render it unusable, and it has no lining.

Calculated exterior diameter at bottom 0.57m
Exterior circumference at bottom of bowl 1.78m
Exterior diameter at top 0.62m
Height of bowl 0.53m
Interior diameter at top 0.46m


The trumpet scallop capitals inside and out are similar and suggest a date after c.1170. The font must surely be older than this.


  • A. Brooks and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. New Haven and London 2012, 218-19.

  • EH, English Heritage Listed Building 152465.

  • Herefordshire Council, Herefordshire Sites and Monuments Record 3766.

  • G. Marshall, Fonts in Herefordshire., Hereford (Woolhope Naturalists’ Field Club), II, 1950, 37-38.

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire, Harmondsworth 1963, 122.

  • RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, 2: East, 1932, 73.

Exterior from N
Interior to NE


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SO 731 372 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Herefordshire
now: Herefordshire
medieval: Hereford
now: Hereford
now: St John the Baptist
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
06 June 2011