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St Bartholomew, Much Marcle, Herefordshire

(51°59′30″N, 2°30′3″W)
Much Marcle
SO 657 327
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Herefordshire
now Herefordshire
medieval Hereford
now Hereford
  • Ron Baxter
06 June 2011

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Feature Sets

Much Marcle is a village 4 miles SW of Ledbury and under a mile from the Gloucestershire boundary. The village is a centre for cider making, and home to Weston’s, Lyne Down and Gregg’s Pit ciders and perries. The church is near the village centre, alongside a moated site. It consists of an aisled nave with a S doorway under a porch, a central tower without transepts or transept arches and a long chancel with a two-bay north chapel containing the effigies of a 14thc knightly couple, and the tomb of Sir John (d.1660) and Lady Kyrle (formerly Sybille Scudamore, d.c.1635).

The four-bay nave arcades are 13thc, with a mixture of moulded and stiff-leaf capitals. The N chapel is somewhat later, perhaps c.1300, and the chancel must have been extended at the same time. Above the ground floor the tower is 15thc. It is built in deep red coursed ashlar, whereas the rest of the church is of pinker coursed rubble; all red sandstone. There was a major restoration on 1876-78 The only Romanesque feature is the font.


In 1086 Much Marcle was an important royal manor, and had been held by Earl Harold before the Conquest. It was rated at 17 hides, and the inhabitants consist of 36 villans, 10 bordars, a reeve, a Frenchman and a radknight (or mounted retainer), 8 slaves, 6 female slaves, an oxman and a priest with his church. These 66 listed inhabitants could imply a total population as high as 300. The tithes from the manor and the church were paid to the abbey of Sainte-Marie de Cormeilles, a Norman house favoured by William fitzOsbern whose son, Roger of Breteuil, Earl of Hereford, revolted against king William and was stripped of his earldom and exiled, not being released until the Conqueror’s death. He regained some status under Henry I, and was rewarded with the lordship of Much Marcle, which his descendants held under the surname of Balun until the 14thc.





The English Heritage listing text describes the font as ‘C13 with tapering bowl surrounded by three raised bands as if derived from a wooden, band-reinforced tub font,’ and although the date is certainly wrong the comparison with a barrel is an interesting one. Pevsner (1963) does not mention the font at all.


A. Brooks and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. New Haven and London 2012, 528-29.

EH, English Heritage Listed Building 152754.

M. B. Hale, Much Marcle and Yatton. A short guide to church and parish, 1986.

Herefordshire Council, Herefordshire Sites and Monuments Record 7115.

G. Marshall, Fonts in Herefordshire., Hereford (Woolhope Naturalists’ Field Club), I, 1949, 129.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire, Harmondsworth 1963, 260-61.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, 2: East, 1932, 11.