St Mary, Sarnesfield, Herefordshire

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Feature Sets (3)


Sarnesfield is a village in the W of the county, 11 miles NW of Hereford. The two manors into which it was divided at the end of the 14thc are now represented by Sarnesfield, site of the church and the remains of Sarnesfield Court (demolished in 1955), and Little Sarnesfield, with a moated site, 1 mile to the NE. St Mary’s consists of a chancel with a S chapel, a nave with a narrow S aisle and a S porch, and a W tower. The nave is 12thc, and the aisle was added before the end of that century. The tower was added c.1300, and the S chapel in the 14thc. The church was restored by G. C. Haddon in 1869-70, and again (apparently undoing most of Haddon’s work) by Roland Paul in 1906-07.


Sarnesfield belonged to Leominster Priory before it was dissolved in the Confessor’s time, and was given by William I to Roger de Lacy. Gothmund held it from Roger in 1086, and it was assessed at 1½ hides.  By 1109 it was held by Philip de Sarnesfield from Hugh de Lacy, and it remained in this family until 1394 when the male line failed. At this time it was divided between the two daughters of Nicholas de Sarnesfield; the Sarnesfield manor passing to the Monington family and Little Sarnesfield to the Bromwich family.


Exterior Features

Exterior Decoration


Reset stone in S transept S wall

Reset in the S wall of the S chapel, approximately a metre above the ground towards the E end is an almost rectangular stone, tapering towards the top, and carved on the vertical axis of its front face with a design of incised nested vees. The surface of the lower part of the block has flaked off, and there is a smaller, squarish loss on the R edge that has been filled with mortar.

Height of block 0.54m
Width of block at bottom 0.39m
Width of block at top 0.32m

Interior Features



S arcade

The arcade is of 4 very slightly pointed bays, with cylindrical piers on chamfered circular bases carrying arches of 2 orders to each face, both orders slightly chamfered. There are no responds at either end of the arcade; the arches dying into the end walls. The capitals are all multi-scalloped with slightly convex bells and five scallops per face, with keeled cones on the angles. Neckings are plain rolls and the impost blocks are thin slabs, projecting only slightly.


The size and decoration of the reset stone suggests that it may be part of a grave slab. The arcade probably dates from the second half of the 12thc.


  • A. Brooks and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. New Haven and London 2012, 593.

  • Historic England Listed Building 150459

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. Harmondsworth 1963, 286.

  • RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, 3: North-west, 1934, 177-79.

  • Sarnesfield, Wikipedia retrieved 8 March 2016.

Exterior from SW
Interior to E


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SO 374 510 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Herefordshire
now: Herefordshire
now: Hereford
medieval: Hereford
now: St Mary
medieval: All Saints or St Mary (pre-Reformation)
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
05 September 2012