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St Mary, Byton, Herefordshire

(52°16′17″N, 2°55′23″W)
SO 371 641
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Herefordshire
now Herefordshire
medieval Hereford
now Hereford
medieval St Mary
now St Mary
  • Ron Baxter
  • Ron Baxter
11 July 2012

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Byton is a village in the Lugg valley in NW Herefordshire, 1 mile from the Welsh border and 8 miles W of Leominster. The church, sited on a hillside N of the village, was rebuilt by Thomas Nicholson in 1859 in an Early English style, and consists of an aisleless nave with a timber S porch and gabled bays at the E end forming false transepts, and a chancel with a S organ room. A Romanesque tympanum is reset in the exterior S wall of the organ room, and the font is also Romanesque.


Byton was held by Osbern FitzRichard in 1086, and was assessed at 2 hides. He also held the manor before the Conquest, as he was the son of Richard Scrupe, a Norman who settled in Herefordshire before the Conquest and who built the castle which bears his name.


Exterior Features

Exterior Decoration





Brooks and Pevsner (2012) describe the font as Norman and the tympanum as perhaps late C11. The RCHME Inventory offers early 12thc for the font and late 11thc or early 12thc for the tympanum. For Zarnecki (1950) the tympanum at Byton, which he dated to the late-11thc or early-12thc. was typical of a local Anglo-Saxon derived style that formed the background to the work at Aston, just a few miles away and eventually to one element of the Herefordshire School


A. Brooks and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. New Haven and London 2012, 160.

Herefordshire Sites and Monuments Record 6947.

G. Marshall, “Fonts in Herefordshire”, Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists’ Field Club, II (1950), 29.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, 3: North-west, 1934, 32-33.

G. Zarnecki, ‘Regional Schools of English Sculpture in the Twelfth Century: the Southern School and the Herefordshire School’, unpublished PhD thesis, University of London, 1950, 230.