Thursday, June 2, 2011

Richard's Castle, Herefordshire


On the edge

Border country: Wales a short distance beyond the nearby ridge. Thick pasture. Black and white villages. Castles on hills. And also, here at Richard’s Castle, a church on a hill, with a solid square tower a few feet away. Herefordshire has a number of detached church towers like this one of around 1300. Their plain architecture – here there’s just that Y-traceried window to suggest a date and a style – quite different from what we normally expect of a church tower, different too from the carved and pewed church next door. It’s a bell tower but also a lookout and a refuge – no doubt the priest needed somewhere safe to go when the tensions between English and Welsh broke into violence. It’s a small building that looks as if it means business. No doubt the Welsh and their English opponents meant business too.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello- I just wanted to write and thank you for your blog and regular posts. I live in the U.S. & have my MA in art/architectural history. I had the privilege of studying in London and once lived in Exning, near Newmarket for a glorious 6 months. I adore British architecture! It is such a pleasure arriving home from a busy day at work and learning about something interesting out in the countryside (or in a town)from your travels. I really appreciate your efforts and work and wanted to thank you.
Warm regards, Elizabeth Hickman, Nashville, TN

Vinogirl said...

Quite a formidible little building...is/was there a bell in there?

Philip Wilkinson said...

Elizabeth: Thank you so much for your lovely, appreciative comment. It means a lot to me to learn that there are people who read this blog regularly and enjoy my architectural finds.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Vinogirl: Yes this tower certainly would have had bells in it. I am not sure, actually, whether the bells still hang there - they probably do.

Gaw said...

What a great find! You've reminded me of the tremendous fortified farmhouse you can see from the bottom end of the M50 (on your left as you travel south).

Philip Wilkinson said...

Gaw: Do you mean quite near the Ross end of the M50? - I think I know the place you mean, although there's an interesting looking farm on the other side of the motorway a few miles north too.

Gaw said...

Yes, I probably do. I think it's quite near the Wye. I always feel a bit guilty that I'm able to see it as their view must be spoilt by the motorway!