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Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of CHURCH OF ST MARY
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
Little Birch
National Grid Reference:
SO 51148 31187


LITTLE BIRCH CP - SO 53 SW 5/47 Church of St Mary GV II* Parish church: 1869; Entirely rebuilt by W Chick. Squared rock-faced sandstone and sandstone ashlar with limestone dressings. Tiled roofs with cresting and large bell in western bell cot. Four-bay nave with north aisle, north porch and south organ chamber. One-bay chancel with polygonal apse. High Victorian Gothic in-Geometrical style. West elevation has a large 4- light traceried window with a two-centred head. Each light has a trefoiled head; the tracery has an octofoil and a pair of quatrefoils: Moulded label and foliated stops: Kneelers to gable verge running into base of gabled bell cot with weathered sides, two-centred arch with continuous roll mouldings and moulded label with stops: Inner arch is trefoiled and gable carries a cross. To right of west window is a weathered angle buttress. To its left is a weathered pier buttress dividing the nave from the 2-light quatrefoil-traceried window of the south aisle, each light of which has a trefoiled head: West side of porch, and opposed window, has a pair of roll moulded traceried lancets each with sub- sidiary trefoiled light and a trefoil in tracery above. North elevation of porch has two-centred arch of three orders, the inner two with part-octagonal shafts, the imposts of which run into outer order and on into weathered diagonal buttresses: Tops of inner orders have small trefoiled heads. Broach stops to bases of jambs. Small trefoil-headed niche above arch. Gable cross. Roof has swept braces to collars above which are curved V-struts. Brattished wall- plates; North doorway has deeply moulded two-centred arch of two continuous orders, the outer are roll-moulded with fillet. Label and foliated stops. Ledged oak door with elaborate strap hinges. North aisle has three pairs of trefoiled lancets, each light separated from its twin by an attached column. Two weathered buttresses separate each pair of lancets. Diagonal buttress to left-hand sided Moulded cornice and enriched rainwater head. North side of chancel has trefoil-headed doorway and continuous roll moulding with fillet. Moulded label with foliated stops: Ledged oak door with scrolled strap hinges into vestry. Above the vestry is a partly obscured window consisting of a round outer arch containing a quatrefoil above two short trefoiled lights. East side of vestry has plate tracery with a trefoil above two trefoiled lancets and a label with foliated stops. Apse windows have two trefoiled lights and multi-foils in tracery. Labels and stops. Diagonal weathered buttress: Four griffons as waterspouts at angles. Wrought iron roof cross: Organ chamber has large south gable. Window has two trefoiled lights, quatrefoil tracery, label and headstops with heads of a king and queen: Above are three roll moulded lancets under rock-faced round relieving arch. One lancet to each return, both with recessed trefoiled head: South elevation of nave has three traceried. windows each with two trefoiled lights: Middle window has quatrefoil in tracery with label and head stops. Outer windows each have a trefoil, label and foliated stops. Moulded limestone eaves cornice with acanthus decoration to rainwater head. Three weathered buttresses: Interior has six-bay nave roof with trusses formed of collars with curved V-struts, supported by curved braces rising from wall posts on facetted corbels. Aisle roof has similar arrangement of corbels, but with single slope. Chancel roof has radiating ribs on carved corbels, all foliated except for four, with angels, one either side of east window and one each to north and south walls. Vestry roof has trusses with curved V-struts to east and west walls. Roof of organ chamber is panelled. Arcade of two-centred moulded arches in two orders on circular piers with moulded capitals. Voussoirs are in limestone of alternating light brown colours, probably Bath and Ham stone, a theme continued around the windows, apse panels, chancel arch and its shafts. Chancel has aumbry in north wall. Trefoiled head on a pair of marble columns with foliated corbel beneath ci11. Foliated stop to left and hoodmould which continues as string around apse and south side. In angled eastern walls beneath the string are a pair of stone inlays each with two superimposed interlaced trefoils. On east wall of apse beneath the window is a cross set in a panel richly carved with foliage and ears of wheat. Continuous roll-moulded trefoil-headed doorway into vestry has ledged oak door, scrolled strap hinges, label and foliated stops. To left of the door is triangular headed shouldered opening into the vestry. The shoulders are supported on foliated capitals which extend rearwards throughout the thickness of the wall. The opening has ornate wrought iron bars and rails. Candelabrum hangs from centre of chancel roof. Wrought iron with two crested circular rings one above the other. The upper ring has three candleholders; the lower, six. Stained glass has floral and geometrical patterns but no figures. The only inscriptions "XHC" and "IHS" are above the vestry in small tripartite window. Altar has two mid-C19 candlesticks with ball-finials to sides: Communion rails are oak with foliated ends to either side of entry and scrolled wrought iron supports. Small oak two- to three-seater choir stalls with benches and desks. Six trefoiled panels to desks. Two-centred moulded chancel arch with label and head stops and king and queen, on clustered two- coloured shafts with fillets and foliated capitals. Richly decorated wrought iron trefoiled chancel screen with gates and overthrow has three bays. On the top of the screen and overthrow are enriched finials and seven candleholders rising to the centre. Decoration includes wrought iron leaves. Low gates have two leaves with central cross-in-circle attached to one. Vestry has shouldered triangular headed arch to north aisle like a larger version of the opening into the chancel. In the arch is another wrought iron gate with rich decoration. Late C17 to C18 oak communion table in vestry has moulded stretchers and rails: Arch into organ chamber is large with triangular shouldered head, five deeply carved orders and label. Each jamb has a grey shaft with waist-band. Beneath arch is open pine panelled screen with trefoiled lancets, arranged 2:4:2. It isdivided by turned shafts and has a quatrefoiled frieze: Or an has two manuals, exposed polychromatic pipes, brass sconces and woodgrained finish to case. Pulpit is oak, part-octagonal with ball-flower frieze and two brass and wrought iron three-branched candlesticks trefoiled panels, enriched with symbols of the Evangelists, and mounted on large clustered shafts beneath frieze with dog-tooth decoration: Stairs to pulpit are supported by dwarf shafts. Font has round C12 bowl with rope moulding. Restored base and stem. Stained glass has patterns similar to that of chancel. Oak lectern has enriched shaft and opposed book wedges. Eleven wrought iron and brass candlesticks about six feet high and with waistbands, distributed around the nave and south aisle. Again they are in the same style as the rest of the ironwork. All the candlesticks have three candleholders, except the two to the front of the nave, which have five. The Church of St Mary is a finely detailed and complete example of High Victorian Art with a fine ensemble of wrought ironwork. (BoE, p 235; RCHM Vol I, p 22).

Listing NGR: SO5114831187


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Inventory of Herefordshire I South West, (1931), 22
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire, (1963), 235


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 08 Sep 2001
Reference: IOE01/04636/29
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Jeff Andrews. Source Historic England Archive
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