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St Mary, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire

(51°54′50″N, 2°35′9″W)
SO 598 241
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Herefordshire
now Herefordshire
medieval Hereford
now Hereford
  • Ron Baxter
07 Jun 2011

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Feature Sets

Ross-on-Wye is a small market town of some 10,100 inhabitants (2001) in SE Herefordshire, situated 11 miles SE of Hereford and 4 miles from the Gloucestershire border. The river Wye runs on the western edge of the town, separating it from neighbouring Wilton and Bridstow. The spire of St Mary's dominates the town. It is a large church with an aisled nave with five-bay arcades, a west tower with its tall spire and a chancel with a south organ room. The nave aisles have doorways under porches, and alongside the S porch is the Markye Chapel, which forms an outer S nave aisle. The entire church was rebuilt in the late-13thc, and dedicated in 1316, but reusing a good deal of earlier material. This includes the nave arcades, originally of c.1200, although the trumpet-scallop corbels supporting the west end of each arcade are stylistically slightly earlier. The spire was rebuilt in 1721 and repaired after it was struck by lightning in 1852. The arcades were heightened in 1743, which accounts for the curious step halfway up the columns. The only significant later addition is the Markye Chapel, added c.1510. The only Romanesque features are the west corbels of the nave arcades.


Ross-on-Wye was held by the canons of Hereford cathedral in 1086, and was assessed at 7 hides, with 18 villans, 11 bordars, 2 boors (a kind of inferior peasant), 3 slaves and a priest. There was a mill there and 16 acres of meadow, while the woodland at Ross was in the king’s preserve.

A Thursday market was granted to the Bishop in 1138 by King Stephen, confirmed by Henry III in 1241 when he also granted an annual fair. A Tuesday market was also granted by Henry III in 1218.


Interior Features



Trumpet scallop capitals first appeared c.1170 and remained current until c.1200.


English Heritage Listed Building 153454

Herefordshire Council, Herefordshire Sites & Monuments Record, 4033.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. Harmondsworth 1963, 276-78.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, 2: East, 1932, 158-65.