Kilpeck Church (1), Herefordshire, England
Kilpeck is a small village about 9 miles south-west of Hereford and although the village itself is rather ordinary its church is anything but. There was also a castle here, of which very little remains, situated off to the left. There is access from the churchyard.
By 1259 Kilpeck possessed a weekly market and annual fair and the population of the village was likely to be as many as 600. So it would have been on a par with Harlech and Wrexham at the time and it even had its own defences which were independent of the castle.
The date of the building is estimated to be about 1140 and there seems to have been a Saxon church predating the current one as there is evidence of Saxon work on the north side. What makes Kilpeck Church stand out are the carvings.
The carvings are remarkable for the number and preservation, particularly round the south door, the west window, and a row of corbels which run right around the exterior of the church under the eaves. These carvings are original and in their original positions.
How has this church survived for so long relatively unaltered? Because the area was almost unknown and therefore was probably poor such that there were not the funds to alter it.
One of the first things that one notices are the elaborate carvings around the South Door which, interestingly, has double columns each side. All the carvings are made from the local sandstone.
A close view of the semicircular Tympanum showing the carving detail which depicts a tree of life. The detail on the tympanum and the arch above it is truly astonishing.
The outer arches depict both mythical and actual birds and beasts.
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