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Church of St Mary, Kington

SMR Number
: 6929
Grid Reference
: SO 29136 56763

Large, grey stone. South tower stands outside the south aisle. It is unbuttressed, built c.1200. Spire rebuilt 1794. Chancel is early 13th century. Chancel arch is late 13th century. Shortly after c.1300 the nave was rebuilt and given aisles. North aisle widened and another added in 1874. (1)
A Norman font with a bucket-shaped basin. The bowl has an incised chevron pattern below the rim. The lower part of the bowl has been trimmed to an octagon to fit a modern stem, probably during the rebuilding of the church in 1873-74. The font bowl dates to c.1120-30. (2)
Monuments. (3)
Church stands on dominant hill away from the main area of the planned town. Members of the archaeology section of the Woolhope Club visited the tower of the church of St Mary. They noted that there is evidence of an earlier doorway above the present one and a 14th century doorway high up in the east wall at the second storey. The tower is not quite in line with the existing church but as it is the oldest part of the present church it could have been part of an earlier church. (5)
Full history of Kington and of the church. The only surviving material of a 12th century church is the font, the oldest part of the present church is the tower of c.1200. It was a detached tower built for defence. The chancel is 13th century, the remaining church has been expanded and altered over the centuries. Histories of Ellen the Terrible (15th century), the Reformation, Lady Hawkins School, the 19th century expansion of Kington and the church. (6)
Article on the detached church towers of Herefordshire. (7)
Tree-ring sampling produced felling dates of between AD 1415 - 39 for two timbers in the tower supporting the bellframe. This may date a period of reconstruction of the tower itself. Two corner posts from the lower part of the spire were found most likely to have been felled in the period AD 1267-1297, more than a century before the tower timbers. These may represent reused timbers or a reconstruction of the spire following work on the tower below. The upper part of the double-broach spire was not analysed but it is believed to date to AD 1794. With very few dated timbers from this site it is difficult to draw firm conclusions about the development of the new tower and spire. (8)
A watching brief was carried out whilst a series of trenches for water pipes were dug around the north and west walls of the church in 2009. Finds were limited to a few clay tobacco pipe stems and one stone roof tile. No burials were encountered and just one human vertebra was found. Several modern and 19th century drainage features were also revealed. (9)
A watching brief was carried out during clearance of a section of collapsed boundary wall on the southwest side of the churchyard. This established that gravestones of 18th and possibly later 18th-early 19th Century date had been incorporated into the boundary wall, showing that the wall had been rebuilt after the 18th Century. The use of lime mortar in the boundary wall indicates that the wall was probably rebuilt during the 1860s restoration of the church, before cement mortars became popular. (10)

Monument Type(s)

  1. CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD) + Sci.Date

Associated Files

Sources and Further Reading

  1. <1> SHE10741 - Bibliographic reference: Pevsner, N. 1963. Herefordshire. The Buildings of England.
  2. <3> SHE11771 - Bibliographic reference: Robinson, Rev C J. 1872. A History of the Mansions and Manors of Herefordshire.
  3. <4> SHE1219 - Bibliographic reference: 1848. Acc of Restored tomb in K church. Archaeologia Cambrensis (Journal). III, 60.
  4. <7> SHE13565 - Article in serial: Marshall, G. 1943. The detached church towers of Herefordshire. Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club. XXXI 1943 Part II. Pages 132.
  5. <5> SHE15419 - Serial: Anon. 1996. Herefordshire Archaeological News No. 66. Woolhope Club Archaeological Research Section. 66. Pages 24.
  6. <6> SHE15965 - Bibliographic reference: Fenn, R W D and J B Sinclair with P Horrocks. 1995. The parish church of St Mary the Virgin, Kington, Herefordshire; 2nd Edition. Church Guide.
  7. <8> SHE17199 - Unpublished Report: Bridge, Martin. 2007. St Mary's Church, Kington, Herefordshire. Tree-Ring Analysis of Timbers from the Tower and Spire: Scientific Dating Report. English Heritage Archaeological Science Research Department Report.. English Heritage. 29/2007.
  8. <9> SHE18362 - Unpublished Report: Taylor, Felicity and Harris, Colin. 2009. Archaeological Watching brief at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Kington, Herefordshire. Church & Site Archaeological Services.
  9. <10> SHE18537 - Unpublished Report: Blockley, Kevin. 2011. St Mary's Church, Kington, Herefordshire, 2011: Archaeological Watching Brief. Cambrian Archaeological Projects Ltd. 669.
  10. <2> SHE9912 - Bibliographic reference: Marshall, George. 1949. Fonts in Herefordshire, Part I. Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club. Pages 10.

Associated events

Protected status

  1. Conservation Area: Kington
  2. Listed Building (I) 385797: CHURCH OF ST MARY

Associated Historic Landscape Character Records

  1. HHE177 - Urbanisation - Urbanisation 2