In front of a blacksmith's shop here, occupying a vacant spot a little out of the upper road leading to Ledbury, near Colwall Green, is a mass of rough limestone rock, which bears the name of "Colwall Stone." I observed this name inscribed on an old map of Herefordshire; but have been unable to ascertain the purport of the stone, or its origin. I should feel inclined to consider it of the Druidical age, or at any rate a boundary or manorial "hoar stone;" but Mr. Allies states [... see other Folklore post].
The tradition I myself heard respecting the stone (which would carry us back to the times of Celtic heathenism) was, that it had been a place of worship (an idolatrous stone?) before the church was erected, and that the poor of the parish formerly received pay on this stone.
From Bromyard take the A44 east and then turn south along the B4220.
Take the turning on the right signposted Stanford Bishop and the church is up a little lane on the left. There is room for a couple of cars to park outside the church gates.
A typical pretty medieval church in a typical rural location – or so I thought.
But there was more to this church than meets the eye.
Firstly it has a possible prehistoric standing stone built into the graveyard wall.
I circled the graveyard twice before discovering I had walked right past the stone!
The stone is immediately to the right of the gate – under the lamp post.
It is hard to spot from the inside as it is covered in ivy but from outside the church yard it is obvious. The stone is about 1m high and has some moss growing on it.
Secondly, in the churchyard next to the path is a large healthy looking yew tree.
The certificate inside the church states the yew is approximately 1,200 years old!
Thirdly, whilst looking around inside the church I noticed a chair in the corner, next to the alter. Not the usual place to find a chair I thought? It had a slightly odd design and looked old so I had a closer look. I then noticed a brass plaque attached to the chair that stated the chair was known as St Augustine’s Chair. The plaque is inscribed: ‘The traditional chair upon which St. Augustine was seated at the historic conference with the British Bishops at the Second Synod AD 603?
WOW, a 1,400 year old chair! I of course just had to sit on in and quietly ponder the meaning of life for a few minutes in the calming silence of the church.
How cool is that? (Well, I thought it was good anyway!)
I enjoy visiting old churches. Not than I am religious but I do like old buildings and admire the workmanship which has passed the test of time. Living in a city as I do, it is easy to get a bit despondent with the world when you see the litter, graffiti and crime which take place. Getting out into the countryside and knowing there are still parts of the country where churches can be left open without fear of vandalism and ‘honesty tables’ can be left outside selling eggs, jams, vegetables etc certainly does restore my faith in humanity.
I know things are not as straight forward as that but you know what I mean.
Needles to say I would strongly recommend a Visit to St James’ if you are ever in the area. Not a typical church at all.
From Leominster take the A44 east.
Shortly after passing through Docklow there is a turning on the left for Uphampton Farm.
The Hillfort is situated on the summit of the hill behind the farm.
There is a public footpath running from Docklow, past the farm, and up past the eastern side of the Hillfort.
I didn’t have time to walk up to the Hillfort but could see the trees crowning the site from the A44.
Although marked on the O/S map E.H. strangely have nothing to say on the matter?
From Bromyard take the B4212 north towards the hamlet of Edwyn Ralph. Just before entering Edwyn Ralph the road forks. Take the minor road to the left and then the first turning on the right. This leads directly to Wall Hills Farm and the associated Hillfort.
We drove up the narrow lane and the Hillfort became immediately apparent on the left.
It is difficult to park but we managed to pull in just before the second cattle grid.
If you walk over the grid there is a metal field gate which gives access to the Hillfort.
There is no public right of way so a degree of trespassing is required.
The impressive defences are clearly visible from the road if you prefer.
If you do decide on a closer look you will be confronted by a well preserved bank and ditch.
I would estimate the rampart to be about 6m high from the outside and about 2m high from the inside.
There is a hedgerow / barbed wire fence which divides the southern section of the Hillfort.
All was quiet and I only had sheep for company.
There are no trees growing on the Hillfort and there are great views to be had in all directions.
This is a fairly flat area and you could see for miles.
In view of the hedge/fence and the fact I wasn’t supposed to be there I didn’t hang around too long.
In hindsight it would have been far better to have asked permission at the farm
Just as we turned around and headed back down the lane a car came the other way heading towards the farm. That was a bit of luck as 5 minutes earlier and I would have been spotted!
This is a cracking Hillfort; the best I have visited for quite a while.
I am surprised that no one else has posted Fieldnotes before this.
I would heartily recommend a visit.
Be sure to ask permission first!
From Leominster take the A4112 north east and then the minor road south towards the hamlet of Whyle. Bach Camp can be found to the west of Whyle. A narrow lane runs along the east of the site – parking is difficult.
As you travel south towards Bach Camp it is clearly visible on the right.
The site is free of trees so the remains of the bank / rampart can be easily seen.
The only remaining ‘defenders’ of the Hillfort are the sheep who seemed to be enjoying the spring grass.
The lane running past the site is very narrow and the closest we could find to pull over was outside the nearby farm. This resulted in several dogs barking loudly the whole time we were there.
A public footpath (signposted) runs along the eastern defences of the site.
Due to the dogs barking and the narrowness of the lane Karen didn’t feel comfortable stopping for long so only a quick visit was possible.