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St John the Baptist, Whitbourne, Herefordshire

(52°12′34″N, 2°24′13″W)
SO 725 569
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Herefordshire
now Herefordshire
medieval Hereford
now Hereford
  • Ron Baxter
31 October 2017

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Whitbourne is a village on the E bank of the River Teme, which forms the Worcestershire border at this point. It is 9 miles W of Worcester and 16 miles NE of Hereford. The village clusters around a junction of minor roads, with the chrch and Whitbourne Court, a moated site, on its E edge.

The church consists of a short chancel with a S organ room, a nave with a N aisle and a S porch, and a W tower. The 4-bay nave aisle was added in 1866 by Perkins of Worcester, and in 2000 the W bay was blocked off and divided into 2 storeys with a kitchen below and a vestry above. The nave is 12thc, the chancel was rebuilt in the 15thc, and the tower was added in the 14thc. The S porch is of 1887. Romanesque features are found in the S doorway, 3 reset corbels (1 inside and the other 2 outside) and the font.


Whitbourne is not recorded in the Domesday Survey, but the manor was held by Walter de la Walle from the Bishop of Hereford in 1268-69 (Cal. Inq.).


Exterior Features


Exterior Decoration

Corbel tables, corbels

Interior Features

Interior Decoration





The doorway with its trumpet scallop capitals must date from the late-12thc, perhaps c.1180-90. The form of the hyphenated chevron with its occasional doubled chevron units is unusual and not particularly successful. The carved heads on corbels could well be products of one workshop, and must also date from the end of the 12thc, but their forms - a conventional double corbel, a head treated as a capital, and, inside, what looks as much like a voussoir as a corbel - suggest different functions and locations.


A. Brooks and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. New Haven and London 2012, 664-65.

Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Vol. I Henry III, London 1904, 222-23 (entry 703).

Historic England Listed Building, EH legacy 411805

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. Harmondsworth 1963, 318.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, 2: East, 1932, 212-16.