Our June outing this year will take us to Herefordshire, to visit Hellens, a fine Jacobean Manor House in Much Marcle, and the parish churches of St. Michael, Ledbury and St. Bartholomew, Much Marcle. The date is Thursday, 7th June, leaving from Woodstock library at 9.00 a.m.
Our first stop will be the market town of Ledbury, where we shall walk the short distance up the very attractive Church Lane to reach St. Michael’s. We shall have coffee and a tour of the church, one of the finest in Herefordshire, with many more distinctive features than can be mentioned here. The C13 spire is, unusually, detached from the church. The west front is Norman, as is the ‘floating’ chancel, left stranded by succeeding generations of builders, leaving it like a church within a church, with Gothic isles on either side that continue to the nave. The interior is dominated by splendid windows of the Decorated era, whilst even finer windows light the north chapel.
We shall then drive to nearby Much Marcle and have lunch at the Walwyn Arms or, if you wish, bring a picnic (see booking form below). After lunch we shall visit St. Bartholomew’s Church. This has the Blanche Mortimer effigy which Simon Jones describes as his favourite English effigy, a simple early Gothic nave and the Kyrle chapel. We shall again have a short tour led by a church warden.
We shall then proceed to Hellens Manor for the rest of the afternoon. Hellens has a brick Jacobean exterior, but its history goes back to the granting of a manor to the Balun family, who witnessed the signing of the Magna Carta. It has been occupied by the same family since the Middle Ages, and remains very much a family home today, with pleasing informality – no ropes, signs or instructions. There is a stone hall and fireplace, minstrels’ gallery and Georgian stables, a fine collection of family portraits and a parterre and knot garden outside. The house also has its share of tall stories, including ghostly visitations of the Black Prince and Mary Tudor! We shall have a guided tour, with tea and cakes in the tearoom afterwards, and time to wander round outside before leaving about 5.00 p.m. We should be back in Woodstock about 7.00 p.m.
The cost is £34, which includes morning coffee, small donations to Ledbury and Much Marcle Churches, admission and a guided tour of Hellens Manor, tea and cakes at Hellens, and the coach journeys, with a tip for the driver.
To download load application form click beneath