Stretton Sugwas is 4 miles W of the centre of Hereford, just off the A438 Brecon road. Although it is far enough outside the city to be largely unaffected by its expansion, the village lies between a new bypass and the former RAF base at Credenhill, now the headquarters of the 22nd SAS Regiment, so its ancient communications are massively disrupted, including a Roman road that runs westward from Hereford through the village centre . A mile and a half to the NW is the important Iron Age hill fort of Credenhill. The old church was situated at the N end of the village; its site is now in the grounds of Stretton Court Hotel. The present church was built in 1877-80 on a site outside the village to the S, 0.7m SW of the old church. The architect was William Chick of Hereford, who used some pieces taken from the old building. Chick’s church consists of a nave with a S porch and a two-bay N aisle, with a tower at the W end of the aisle, and a chancel with a N organ room. The ground storey of the tower is a vestry, entered through an external W doorway, or through a S doorway inside the church. Stretton Sugwas is justly famous for the great tympanum of Samson and the Lion, brought from the old church and set over the S entrance to the vestry. The S and W doorways are also 12thc. as is the font. The church is of sandstone except for the timber-framed upper part of the tower, based on Holmer.
In 1086 Roger de Lacy held 2½ hides of ploughland and a mill in Stretton Sugwas and Robert (de Baskerville) held from him. A smaller holding of half a hide was in the hands of Hugh l’Asne. In neither case does the Domesday Survey record a church. In 1142 a Bull of Pope Innocent II recorded the gift of the churches of Eardisley, Stretton Sugwas and other churches on the lands of Robert de Baskerville’s heir, Ralph de Baskerville, to the Augustinian house of Llanthony Secunda. Thurlby attributes the patronage of the tympanum to Ralph de Baskerville.
|h. of lintel||0.39 m|
|h. of opening (int)||2.03 m|
|thickness of lintel||0.17 m|
|w. of lintel (ext)||1.69 m|
|w. of opening (int)||1.21 m|
|h. of opening||1.90 m|
|w. of opening||0.77 m|
|h. of block||0.95 m|
|w. of block||1.54 m|
|ext. diam. of bowl at rim||0.68 m|
|h. of bowl and base||0.77 m|
|h. of bowl (block)||0.59 m|
|int. diam. of bowl at rim||0.52 m|
Herefordshire Sites & Monuments Record 2207, 2208. Now available online at http://www.smr.herefordshire.gov.uk/db.php/p
G. Zarnecki, 'The Priory Church of Shobdon and its Founder', in: D. Buckton and T.A. Heslop (ed), Studies in Medieval Art and Architecture presented to Peter Lasko. Stroud 1994, 211-20.
G. Marshall, Fonts in Herefordshire. Hereford, Woolhope Naturalists’ Field Club. Published in 3 parts: I (1949); II (1950); III (1951).
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire, Harmondsworth 1963, 295-96.
RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, 2: East, 1932, 176.
M. Thurlby, The Herefordshire School of Romanesque Sculpture, Logaston 1999, 127-28 & passim.
G. Zarnecki, Later English Romanesque Sculpture 1140-1210, London 1953.