The Italinate St. Catherine's Church at Hoarwithy has unique styling when compared to the numerous other 'traditional' churches in the area. The church
is, in fact, a chapelry attached to Hentland Parish Church.
Originally there was a chapel on the site (the foundation stone was laid by Miss Catherine Hoskyns of Harewood) which was built by Reverend Thomas Hutchinson in
1840 and Hutchinson was, at that time, the curate in charge of Hentland parish.
The Prebendary William Poole was appointed vicar of the Parish of Hentland in 1854 and he considered the chapel to be an "An ugly brick building with no pretensions
to any style of architecture" so he decided to beautify the Chapel.
Rent from land he owned in the North Country was used to fund the activity whilst his friend Seddon, who had designed the Vicarage and School at Hentland, was
appointed as the architect.
| || |
It was decided that the old chapel would not be pulled down but instead it had its brick walls completely encased with local red sandstone to form the Southern
Italian Romanesque and Byzantine style building that can be seen today. Evidence of the encasement in stone can be seen on the outside of the North wall of the
church which has a marked offset in it.
Although initially local masons were employed, skilled workmen were brought in during the latter stages to build the interior. This can be seen from the
Altar Mosaic (details below).
The oak for the interior, such as the sanctuary stalls, came from an estate at Homend, Ledbury, that was owned by Poole and was carved by Harry Hems of
Exeter under Poole's direction.
The figures on the Choir stalls represent British Saints of the district such as Saint Weonard, Saint David, Saint Cynog and Saint Tysilio. The end panels
on the stalls and prayer desk depict scenes in the life of Saint Dubricius who is the Patron saint of the Church at Hentland.
The lamps are copies of ones in Saint Mark's Cathedral, Venice. Although they were stolen and damaged in 1974 they were later recovered.
| || |
There are four central pillars supporting the ceiling of the domed Apse and these are made of French and Cornish marble which are seated on solid bases
of porphyry (green marble) and the capitals (the tops) of the pillars are deeply and ornately carved.
There are two floor slabs which are of pale green and white marble with a deep red purple rim border mosaic above which is the white marble altar which
is inlaid with Lapis Lazuli and the central cross is made of Tiger-Eye.
The mosaic above the Altar shows Christ in Glory holding an orb in his left hand and giving a blessing with the other.
This was installed by Italian workmen who were working on Saint Paul's Cathedral and were brought in specially to work on this.
The Church is well worth a visit and more details on the history, design and features can be found [ here ].
Hoarwithy means at the willow tree on the boundary and its earliest reference occurs in 1005.
The Hoarwithy Toll Bridge spans the River Wye and links Hoarwithy with King's Caple. Originally Travellers cross the river using the ford or ferry crossing. These were replaced by a timber bridge in 1856. After 20 years of use it was replaced by an iron structure which was 260 feet long and 15 feet wide. This was built in a novel way as the bridge was built on top of the old one and then lowered into place by hydraulic pumps.
An iron bridge was erected in 1876 and consisted of a narrow road bridge with a weight limit of 7 tons and was unsuitable for modern vehicles. The inhabitants of King's Caple were reliant upon the bridge it was then replaced in 1990 by a stronger structure.
In 1935 the Herefordshire County Council purchased the bridge and freed it of tolls and then also took over the maintenance of the bridge.
These are a selection of old postcards and photos of Hoarwithy.
[Page updated: Apr 12 2012 12:43:04]