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St Mary Magdalene, Turnastone, Herefordshire

(52°1′23″N, 2°56′18″W)
SO 357 365
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Herefordshire
now Herefordshire
medieval Hereford
now Hereford
  • Ron Baxter
09 October 2013

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Feature Sets

Turnastone is a hamlet in the Golden Valley, in the South Herefordshire district. It is 10 miles W of Hereford and the nearest village is Vowchurch, less than half a mile to the E. The church has an aisleless nave and chancel in one with a low weatherboarded timber bell turret with a pyramid roof over the W gable and a timber S porch. There is a 12thc breccia font, but the S nave doorway of c.1200 is the oldest dateable fabric. The church is of decoratively coursed roughly-shaped sandstone and shows signs of work c.1300 (nave windows) and c.1500 (chancel doorway). There was a restoration by T. Edgar Williams of London in 1884.


Neither Turnastone nor nearby Vowchurch is mentioned by name in the Domesday Survey. Marshall (1938) suggested that Turnastone was the unidentified Domesday manor of Edwardestune, held by Walter from Roger de Lacy in 1086 and assessed at 1 hide. In 1221 it was in the possession of William de Anesyia (Dansey), who held it from the Chandos lord of the Honour of Snodhill.


Exterior Features




The doorway is dated late Norman by Pevsner (1963) who calls its imposts ‘illiterate moulded capitals’; a piece of whimsy discarded by Brooks (2012), who prefers c.1200 for its date. The font is one of eight in the county, dated c.1140-50 by Halsey (1987), although Zarnecki preferred a date in the third quarter of the 12thc and RCHME says 'probably 13th-century'.


A. Brooks and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. New Haven and London 2012, 628.

R. Halsey, “Eight Herefordshire Marble Fonts”, Romanesque and Gothic: Essays for George Zarnecki.Woodbridge,Suffolk, 1987, 107-09.

Herefordshire Sites and Monuments Record 5120

G. Marshall, ‘The Norman Occupation in the Golden Valley, Ewyas and Clifford, and their motte and bailey castles’, Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists’ Field Club, 1938, 141-58.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. Harmondsworth 1963, 301.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, 1: South-west, 1931, 241-42.