St James's Church, Canon Frome

Recent Photograph of St James's Church (Canon Frome)

Directly behind the Church in this photograph is Canon Frome Court, and access to the Church is via the drive to the Court. This grassy path in front of the Lych Gate looks to me as though it would have been the original entrance for villagers attending services, but there is no vehicular access in the present day.

This is the third church to be built on this site. The first church was built in the 12th century on land given to the Augustian Priory at Llanthony by the Lacey family. The guide leaflet suggests this church was probably built of timber, and lasted for around 400 years.

The story of how the Hopton family inherited the estate comes right of of Peter Bowles and Penelope Keith's TV series “To The Manor Born”! After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, it was bought by Richard HARFORD of Bosbury. When he died, his widow Martha leased it to Michael HOPTON of Hopton Hall near Ludlow, and susbsequently they were married.

During the Civil War, the Hoptons supported the Royalists, and the moated Manor House which Michael HOPTON and his new wife had built was beseiged. The medieval Church was demolished to help with its defence.

After the Civil War, Edward HOPTON and his wife Deborah returned from exile and began rebuilding. The new church was built of brick, which was very unusual in Herefordshire (or even anywhere?) However all that survives of it now is the tower, which dates from about 1680.

The building which we see today dates from 1860, when the Revd. John HOPTON, the 8th generation of Hoptons at Canon Frome instituted a rebuild. The architect was George Frederick Bodley, who was a pupil of George Gilbert Scott - Canon Frome was one of his first commissions.

(Information provided by Rosemary Lockie)

Image contributed by Rosemary Lockie on 29th November 2007.
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