St Mary, Kington, Herefordshire

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Feature Sets (3)


Kington is a small market town in the west of the county, 13 miles W of Leominster and less than 2 miles from the Welsh border. Since it is on the Welsh side of Offa’s Dyke it must formerly have been in Wales. It is on the river Arrow and overlooked by Hergest Ridge. The church is in the centre of town and has a complex layout and building history. It apparently began life as a rectangular Norman nave with a chancel. To the S of the E end of the nave, detached from it and on a slightly different axis was a free standing tower of the later 12thc. The chancel was lengthened in the 13thc, and aisles were added c.1300, connecting the tower to the S aisle. In the late 14thc a chapel was added on the S side of the chancel, and in the 19thc the N aisle was widened and a second aisle added on the N side, along with N and S porches. The tower had a timber double broach spire added at some time; it was rebuilt in1794.  The only Romanesque features are the N tower arch linking it to the S aisle and the font. The arch is treated as a tower arch here, although it was presumably an external doorway originally.


Kington was held by the King in 1086, having been confiscated from  Roger de Breteuil, 2nd Earl of Hereford. By the early 12thc it had been given to Henry Port, and it remained in that family until the rebellion of Adam de Port in 1174, when it again passed to the crown and became an appurtenance of the Sheriff of the county.


Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches

S tower arch from S aisle

Single order, round headed, continuous with an angle roll. The arch was formerly the N doorway of the freestanding tower.

Height of opening 2.12m
Width of opening 1.43m




In the S aisle alongside pier 3. The font consists of a cup-shaped bowl encircled towards the bottom by a heavy single cable roll below which the profile flares outwards. The rim has a slight chamfer, and just below it is an incised line with a row of incised zigzags below it, encircling the bowl. It is unlined and there are marks of lock removal at the N and S of the rim. The bowl stands on a later octagonal stem with no base but topped by a concave moulded capital. This stands on an octagonal double step.

External diameter of bowl at rim 0.68m
Height of bowl 0.52m
Interior diameter of bowl at rim 0.52m


Similar designs of font are found in the county at Little Birch, Blakemere, Humber and Peterchurch.


  • A. Brooks and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. New Haven and London 2012, 398-99.

  • Historic England Listed Building 385797.

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. Harmondsworth 1963, 208-09.

  • RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, 3: North-west, 1934, 88-94.

Exterior from E
Tower from SE
Nave from SE
Interior from S aisle to NE
Interior, nave to E


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SO 291 568 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Herefordshire
now: Herefordshire
medieval: Hereford
now: Hereford
medieval: St Mary or St Michael (pre-Reformation)
now: St Mary
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
11 July 2012