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VISIT | Staring at Ceilings in Kinnersley Church | Herefordshire

Interior Ceiling at Kinnersley Church
Interior Ceiling at Kinnersley Church

Kinnersley's History in Ecclesiastical Gothic Revival Design

Uncover the secrets of this intriguing Norman church with its fascinating tower and interior

Reveal the wonder of Bodley's Gothic Revival designs within this Herefordshire church adjacent to Kinnersley Castle

Influential architect Bodley's influence was far and wide and his end lies in the churchyard at Kinnersley

Kinnersley Church
Kinnersley Church

"...the gorgeous beauty of Gothic Revival design..."

Description |

This chaotic and crazy church is a record of its history. Tucked in behind St James church in the Herefordshire village of Kinnersley lies the once Norman, now largely Elizabethan private castle of Kinnersley. The Church is therefore allowed to take centre stage.

The most striking feature on first notice is the Norman tower which looks for all intents and purposes like it should be attached to a castle; and that the rest of the church look, well, like an add on. But quite an add on.

Admittedly, when we visited this church – time and tide had allowed this quietly attended church to become in needs of funds. With temporary straps holding important memorials and a certain degree of pleasant untidiness. But if you just remark on that, you would be losing out on the wonderful unique eccentricity that you can only find here.

Eyes up. The roof of the chancel is covered in stunningly beautiful murals designed by George Frederick Bodley who made several changed to this church. He had a hidden interest to do it as he married the daughter of the incumbent castle owner Minna Reavely.

Bodley is one of the names of Gothic Revival Victorian architecture and design. His fingerprints are on hundreds of churches. He designed them, he tinkered with them. Together first under the tutelage of Sir George Gilbert Scott, then in partnership with his friend Thomas Garner and then with Gilbert Scott the younger as part of a textiles, furnishings and design company called Watts and Co which remarkably in still in existence.

Bodley was the first chairman of Watts and Co and it is his design which lies on the ceiling at Kinnersley. Bodley’s legacy lies across churches and cathedrals across the globe but also in his gothic revival designs still in use. Although he died elsewhere, Bodley was brought back to Kinnersley and is buried next to the Reavely plot. A master of design.

The Smalman Monument is another stellar piece of design hidden in this quiet church. A memorial to Francis Smalman of Kinnersley Castle and MP under the Stuart Kings.

But sit yourself down and find yourself in this wonderful legacy of Gothic Revival and a story of design.

Directions and Map |

Find the village church of Kinnersley on the A4112 on the road from Leominster, north-west of Hereford in Herefordshire

Longitude: -2.958553

Latitude: 52.140923

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