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Thursday 15th June: A visit to Much Marcle, Hellens Manor, St Bartholomew’s church and St Mary’s Church Kempley:

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June 15, 2017
February 17, 2018

We arrived at the Hellens’ Manor at 11.30am. The present house dates from the 16th /17th centuries, is built of brick, and has gardens redeveloped to reflect the age of the building.  Most of what you can visit is Jacobean, with period furnishings, but it has the feel of, and is, of  a lived-in house.   The house is run by a trust and the aim is to ‘protect and maintain, in perpetuity, two houses of historic interest – Southside House, Wimbledon, and Hellens Much Marcle, Herefordshire – and to make both houses available for educational and cultural activities relevant to the local communities.’

We divided into two groups and had two excellent guides. Hellens Manor stretches back to 1096 when it  was granted to the de Balun family. It then passed to the Lords Audleys by 1301, who were created Earls of Gloucester in 1337. We enjoyed the tour which began in the Stone Hall with a fireplace bearing the Black Prince’s crest and the Minstrel Gallery and finished in the rooms prepared for Mary Tudor and her tutor Fetherstone,

The gardens alone are well worth a visit.



Hellens 1       Hellens 2      Hellens 4


Hellens 5       Hellens 6

Following the tour we had an excellent lunch in the barn.

After lunch we will visit:- St Bartholomew’s Church (13th -15th century) was  nearby which has several fine tombs, including the unusual effigy of Sir Walter de Helyon, of painted oak (14th century), Blanche Mortimer (d.1347), portrayed realistically with drapery flowing over the side of the tomb, and effigy of Sir John Kyrle. We were met by the Church Warden who greatly added to the experience.

Kempley Church  a Norman church now in care of English Heritage, which was founded in the early 12th century by Hugh de Lacy, who also founded Llanthony Priory. It’s best known for the exceptional 12th – 14th century wall-paintings, revealed when white-wash was removed in the last century. Five people went on to the church while others went back to the Hellens’ gardens.

Below members viewing the frescos in Kempley.

Fresco      Fresco ceiling    Fresco 3


From the bell tower    The Nave 2   The Nave

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