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Pembridge Church of St Mary Belfry

In the civil parish of Pembridge.
In the historic county of Herefordshire.
Modern Authority of Herefordshire.
1974 county of Hereford and Worcester.
Medieval County of Herefordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO39115808
Latitude 52.21765° Longitude -2.89267°

Pembridge Church of St Mary Belfry has been described as a Timber Castle but is rejected as such.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


It has been suggested by several writers that the detached belfry at Pembridge Church is built on a lowered motte and that the corner posts of the bell tower are the remains of a timber motte tower. However, there is no firm evidence to substantiate this theory. (Shoesmith)

The Belfry (Plate 154) stands detached to the N. of the chancel and is a timber-framed structure of 14th-century date. It is of octagonal plan and of three diminishing stages with hipped and pyramidal roofs covered with stone slates and shingles. The lowest stage has stone outer walls of varying thickness, and in the S.W. wall is the doorway with moulded jambs and a wooden lintel. In the E. wall are two rough openings, in the N. and N.W. sides a loop-light, and in the S.W. wall a square-headed window originally of two lights. The second stage is supported on four main oak posts with cross-framing which does not appear to be original, as the posts have cuttings for raking struts now removed; this stage is square, as is the small top stage, which has diagonal framing in the sides. (RCHME)

Dendrochronological dating and structural analysis indicate that the bell tower was built as a single structure between 1207-1216. It seems likely that the entire surviving structure was completely rebuilt shortly after 1668/9. The tower is made almost entirely of oak. The belfry is well described in Higham and Barker, 2005, Timber Castles as an example of the form timber towers on mottes may have taken, but not as a suggestion this was actual such a tower.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:32

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