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.