VISIT | Finding Faith at Yazor Church | Herefordshire
An Empty Church of Victoriana
Discover the gothic church of St Mary at Yazor in rural Herefordshire countryside
Beautiful outlook with views of countryside and the Black Mountains
Reveal a true gem and an echo of a former life in this grand and mystifying church
"...a truly remarkable church in a breath-taking setting..."
It is an astonishing building even for a church. An empty interior that resonates with sound when it appears, even when you speak and your voice echoes. Beautifully situated in a valley in northern Herefordshire surrounded by peaceful farmland on the road between Hereford and Kington with tree-lined valley sides and distant views of the Black Mountains. Built on the entrance to the road up to the Foxley Estate where the Price family made their home. This is Yazor Church of St Mary the Virgin.
It was built at the behest of Uvedale Price who was the very essence of a Georgian society man rooted in the beauty of the natural world, informal gardens and landscape; who spent extensive time conversing on literature, culture and beauty. A man at the heart of the landscape debate in the picturesque movement. A man of his time. He wanted a church to replace the old Norman church near the farm on the other side of the road and where the graveyard still remains. But Price never lived to see the church completed.#
It was finally completed in 1851 but Uvedale Price had been dead since 1829. It was his son Robert Price who initiated the opening and to an audience of at least one hundred invited guests and over thirty vicars, reverends, vergers and the Bishop himself, Yazor Church was officially consecrated. Every available space was filled by religious figures and the great and good of county titled gentry, as well as the locals, many of whom would work on the estate.
There was an almighty celebration at the big mansion at Foxley where in a separate barn generous amounts of ale, cider and beef were laid out for the locals and in the big house champagne, fine wines and a banquet was sampled during the afternoon frolics.
Fast forward to today and the vast church at Yazor is empty. Now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, the estate and its population dwindled into nothing. Leaving a extra-ordinary church to be maintained with no finances to keep it going.
Churches now are used as community buildings more and more, but this church has little of the community that existed when the estate prospered. Now for visitors, it gives us an amazing chance to inspect a remarkable building. With its narrow impressive steeple, its voluminous size, a cavern of a theatre and striking religious imagery and paintings. Even the pulpit and its iconoclastic imagery is the very remembrance of Victoriana.
Access is tight these days, with a small pull-in in the lane off the main road and where people must trundle back down to the road and pull themselves through an oft missed gate up to the church lined with bramble, thistles and wildflowers.
This church is a wonderful building. It sleeps in quiet slumber for too many of its recent days. But once was of Foxley estate, the house now long gone and so too the Prices and now only the plaques inside the church remain. One thing of note is that Foxley estate was once home to American hospital bases during the Second World War and then became part of the Polish resettlement scheme. Where people come and then go, echoes remain like the echoes inside Yazor Church.
For more information | https://www.visitchurches.org.uk/visit/church-listing/st-mary-yazor.html
Directions and Map |
Find the remarkable church at Yazor on the road north of Hereford on the A480