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St Peter, Pudleston, Herefordshire

(52°14′1″N, 2°38′18″W)
SO 565 597
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Herefordshire
now Herefordshire
medieval Hereford
now Hereford
medieval St Peter
now St Peter
  • Ron Baxter
31 October 2017

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Feature Sets

Pudleston is a village in the N of the county, 4 miles E of Leominster. It is built around a junction of minor roads in the triangle between the A44 and the A4112, and the church, surrounded by pasture land, is at its heart. Ford Abbey, formerly a possession of Reading, mother house of Leominster Priory, is ¾ mile to the S.

St Peter's consists of a chancel with a N vestry, a nave with N and S aisles and a S porch, and a W tower with a truncated pyramid roof carrying a short, slender spire. To judge from the windows, the tower is of c.1200, but the W doorway is earlier, with typically Romanesque chevron and the dart foliage motif. A window into the tower from the nave (splayed on the nave side) suggests that the 12thc church originally had no tower, and when one was built around 1200 the W doorway was reset as a W tower doorway, and the original W window was obscured by the new tower. The body of the church belongs mostly to Woodyer's restorations; the nave in 1850-51 when aisles were added and the porch built, and the chancel and vestry in 1856-57.


Pudlestone was held by Wulfweard in 1066 as a manor of 3 hides, and by Hugh from Roger de Lacy in 1086. On the death of Hugh de Lacy in 1115 x 1126 his estate was divided according to Henry I's policy of breaking up large marcher honours. Pudlestone was granted to Miles of Gloucester along with other Herefordshire manors to the E of Leominster (Holden (2008)).


Exterior Features



Neither Pevsner (1963) nor Brooks (2012) offers any closer dating for the W doorway than Norman, but a date in the 3rd quarter of the 12thc seems reasonably secure to the present author. The tympanum merits special consideration. The earliest available notice, in Wade (1917) calls it a plain tympanum, while RCHME (1934) describes it as modern. Brooks (2012) oddly describes it as restored. The similarity to a Tree of Life design as at Yatton and churches in the Dymock School, e.g. Kempley, is striking and it would be surprising if this were simply a wear pattern. The dart foliage in the label is a typical Herefordshire motif, liberally used on the W doorway of Leominster Priory and at Shobdon and Bromyard. The ultimate source is apparently Reading Abbey. The churchyard boundary is very close to the building at the W - within a few metres.


A. Brooks and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. New Haven and London 2012, 560.

B. Holden, Lords of the Central Marches: English Aristocracy and Frontier Society 1087-1265, Oxford 2008, 17-19.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. Harmondsworth 1963, 273-74.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, 3: North-west, 1934, 169-70.

G. W. and J.H. Wade, Herefordshire (Little Guides), London 1917, 2nd ed. 1922, 225-26.