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Church of St Mary and St David, Kilpeck

(5/5 based on 50+ reviews on the web)
The Church of St Mary and St David is a Church of England parish church at Kilpeck in the English county of Herefordshire, about 5 miles from the border with Monmouthshire, Wales. It is famous for its Norman carvings.HistoryThe church was built around 1140, and almost certainly before 1143 when it was given to the Abbey of Gloucester. It may have replaced an earlier Saxon church at the same site, and the oval raised form of the churchyard is typical of even older Celtic foundations. Around the 6th and 7th centuries the Kilpeck (Welsh:Llanddewi Cil Peddeg) area was within the British kingdom of Ergyng, which maintained Christian traditions dating back to the late Roman period. The possibility of the site holding Roman and even megalithic remains has been raised, but is unproven.The plan of the church, with a nave, chancel, and semicircular apse, is typical for the time of its construction, the Norman period. It was originally dedicated to a St David, probably a local Celtic holy man, and later acquired an additional dedication to Mary from the chapel at Kilpeck Castle after it had fallen into disrepair. At the time the current church was built, the area around Kilpeck, known as Archenfield, was relatively prosperous and strategically important, in the heart of the Welsh Marches. The economic decline of the area after the 14th century may have helped preserve features which would have been removed elsewhere. However, it is unclear why the carvings were not defaced by Puritans in the 17th century. The church was substantially repaired in 1864, 1898 and 1962, and its unique features were protected and maintained.
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TripAdvisor
  • We visited this stunning church and were amazed by its wonderful ancient carvings which were as crisp and clean as if they had been carved just yesterday. The history is amazing. The inside of the chu...  more »
  • This beautiful and ancient church is not publicised but it is a gem of Herefordshire history. The site dates from the 6thC and possibly back to Roman times, with the present church dated to 1140, thou...  more »
  • Well worth a 30 minute visit. Charming and quaint church - obviously much loved by villagers. Interesting churchyard too.