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Churches of Herefordshire

St. Mary & St. David's Church

The most famous church in Herefordshire and probably the most famous Norman church in the country; Kilpeck is a perfect example of an unaltered small post-Conquest church. More than this, however, it a showpiece of the Herefordshire School of carving. Stoneworkers of incredible skill and imagination worked in this area in the late 12th century and the hard red sandstone at Kilpeck has preserved even the external decoration.

Best known, perhaps, is the south doorway where an extraordinary collection of beasts, birds and swirling foliage exude from very knook and cranny. The two armoured soldiers, on the western shaft, in trousers and pointed caps are particularly striking. The depth and richness of the carving is quite incredible. The are huge dragon heads projecting from the west wall and a fascinating series of corbels around the whole building. The 'Dog & Rabbit' and 'Shiela-na-Gig' are especially renowned.

Internally the carving continues with saintly figures, one above the other, decorating the arch to the apsidal chancel, while the stoup (water basin) is clasped by two human arms. Also note the Jacobean gallery used for musicians and choristers.

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