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St Michael, Knill, Herefordshire

(52°14′17″N, 3°2′22″W)
SO 291 605
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Herefordshire
now Herefordshire
medieval Hereford
now Hereford
  • George Zarnecki
  • Ron Baxter
20 June 1993, 11 July 2012

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Feature Sets

Knill is a village in NW Herefordshire, close to the Welsh border and some 3 miles SW of Presteigne. It is on a wooded promontory on the N bank of the Hindwell Brook, a tributary of the Lugg, and the church and Knill Court are at the S of the village, alongside the brook. The name Knill is derived from OE cnoll, meaning knoll (Ekwall, 282). The church consists of a late-12thc chancel with a plain N lancet, a nave that is mostly the result of a restoration of 1873-76, with a 14thc S doorway under a timber porch, and an early 13thc W tower.


Knill was held as a manor of 2 hides by Osbern FitzRichard in 1086. 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. The Domesday Survey records that Knill and a number of other manors 'was and is waste' and, by way of explanation, adds, 'it lies in the Welsh March'. It is clear that there was no church there at that time.





Brooks and Pevsner date the font 'probably C13', while the List Description offers a c.1200 date. Zarnecki comments that 'the font is not sophisticated but it has some decorative merit. There seems to be no similar font in the region, so it was probably a one-off effort by a local mason. The dating of a work so isolated is difficult. Both the RCHM and Pevsner (213) say 'probably c.1200' and this seems likely. It was not safe to build a church at a site so close to Wales until the late 12thc., and the font was no doubt made for this new building. Strangely enough, the font is not mentioned by Marshall.'


A. Brooks and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. New Haven and London 2012, 411-12.

E. Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names, 4th ed. Oxford, 1960, 282.

Historic England Listed Building 149153

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. Harmondsworth 1963, 213.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, 3: North-west, 1934, 101-02.