St Mary & St David Kilpeck is part of the Ewyas Harold Group of Parishes. For information on services see below.
HISTORY & ARCHITECTURE
Kilpeck Church is a jewel, described as ‘one of the most perfect Norman village churches in England…’ [Pevsner]. In c.850 a charter records [in the Book of Llandaff] the gift of the Church with a surrounding estate to Bishop Crecielis; described as the cil, or retreat / cell, of Pedic in Ergyng, an area in the southern part of Herefordshire, it suggests an earlier dedication to an unknown Saint Pedic. The graveyard was originally rounded denoting an even older religious site. It was evidently an important and ancient site. The present building, in red sandstone, is a typical lay-out of nave, chancel and apse of c.1134-1145, though it may incorporate some Saxon masonry. The builder was Hugh de Kilpeck. The Church’s glory is the wealth of decoration, originally painted and is the prime surviving example of the Herefordshire School of Sculpture. Much of it seems to have been produced about the time the church was given to the Benedictine Abbey of Gloucester in 1143; a priory of this Abbey was nearby. The sculptures on the south doorway, chancel arch and west window are magnificent. The eighty-five corbels, include a ‘sheela-na-gig’, probably a fertility symbol. The massive font, is Norman or earlier, the gallery c.17th century. The church stands between the remains of Kilpeck Castle and the six acre deserted medieval village whose main road still serves as an access road to the church. There is a guidebook on sale in the church, as are copies of 'The Herefordshire School of Romanesque Sculpture' (2nd edition, 2013) by Malcolm Thurlby, along with postcards and CDs.
For guided tours call 01981 570603 or email [email protected]