Herefordshire Places of Worship

St Mary Magdalene's Church, Eardisley (1) (30k) St Mary Magdalene's Church, Eardisley (2) (25k) St Mary Magdalene's Church, Eardisley (3) (38k) St Mary Magdalene's Church, Eardisley (4) (36k) St Mary Magdalene's Church, Eardisley (5) (32k) St Mary Magdalene's Church, Eardisley (6) (26k) St Mary Magdalene's Church, Eardisley (7) (27k) St Mary Magdalene's Church, Eardisley (8) (29k) St Mary Magdalene's Church, Eardisley (9) (20k) St Mary Magdalene's Church, Eardisley (10) (24k) St Mary Magdalene's Church, Eardisley (11) (35k) St Mary Magdalene's Church, Eardisley (12) (34k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Rosemary Lockie
St Mary Magdalene's Church, Eardisley
St Mary Magdalene's Church,
Church Road (A4111) / Park Road,
Eardisley, Herefordshire.


This Church has (or had) a graveyard.

Note: any church within an urban environment may have had its graveyard closed after the Burial Act of 1853. Any new church built after that is unlikely to have had a graveyard at all.

Church History

This Place of Worship was founded in 1100, and we understand it is still open.

The following information about the Church has been provided to accompany the photographs on the right. A list of people who have supplied the information is included in the Acknowledgements, below.

[Image 1] Here is a very simple looking church on the outside, following a traditional church plan, but inside is quite a different story![1]

[Image 2] Note the cross-hatched pattern on the wall above the chancel arch. This extends all the way up to the roofline, which for a small church is quite high.[1]

[Image 3] This rather attractive Lych Gate with its herringbone brickwork barely gets a mention in the accounts of Eardisley, overshadowed by the splendid font.[1]

[Image 4] The most attractive blue and pink hydrangea growing against the side of the church almost gives it the appearance of a country cottage, and the stonework does look quite modern! However this is the south doorway, and the guide book tells us that there was a small, single-storey church where the south aisle is now, in existence as early as 1100, so early worshippers might have stepped over this very same threshold.[1]

[Image 5] Here we see intact a holy stoup, on the right side of the doorway, where pilgrims could dip their fingers in holy water as they went into church. This is offset nicely by the bunch of blue hydrangea blossoms on the right.

Eardisley is a very special church.[1]

[Image 6] This is the wonderful carving everyone comes to see at Eardisley. Tradition says that a group of local stonemasons were inspired by the carvings at Santiago de Compostela in Spain, to produce an exotic blend of Celtic, Saxon and Anglo-Norman designs.

The shrine at Santiago de Compostela (dedicated to St James) was one of the major centres of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages, as also today, although nowadays pilgrims stop at hostels on the way, whereas in latter days, they would have stopped at one of the many monasteries which grew up on the route. One such pilgrim from Herefordshire was Oliver de Merlimond, and on his return he built the Romanesque church at Shobdon (replaced in the 18th century), bringing in Canons from S. Victor in Paris to look after it; however experts believe the font at Eardisley was commissioned by Ralph de Baskerville, lord of the manor of Eardisley as a penance for a dispute in which he killed his father in law, Lord Drogo, the carvings representing the torments of his soul in his struggle between good and evil.

Other examples of this style of carving may be found in the doorway at Kilpeck, at Rowlestone, and in the font at Castle Frome, around which similar legends of the battle between good and evil have arisen.[1]

[Image 7] Pevsner says “the building history of the church is interesting, and can be read more profitably from inside out than from outside in”. He is of the opinion that this arcade is no more than a cutting through an originally aisleless nave, based on the style of the arches, and the date of the original nave to the church, which he believes to be of 12th century at the latest. This is certainly an intriguing proposition, and certainly the south aisle is narrow enough for that to be so.[1]

[Image 8] The pulpit itself does not appear to be old, but behind it is a set of steps leading up to the doorway which originally would have provided access to a Rood Loft.[1]

[Image 9] Showing the Royal Arms of King George II over the doorway into the bell tower.[1]

[Image 10] This niche is between arches in the south arcade, and would have held a statue in the Middle Ages. Today it is a carved wooden plaque in the shape of an inverted shield, with a sun at the apex, and a pair of hands holding a bowl upwards towards the sun, as if to capture the sun's rays.[1]

[Image 11] This most unusual modern stained glass window commemorates several members of the Stephens family. The verse on the window reads:

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee [word obscured on photo] the life I owe,
That in Thine Ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller, be.

And the inscriptions below it record:

Thomas Austin STEPHENS
1906 - 1982
In loving Memory of
Annie Blanche STEPHENS
1910 - 1990
1902 - 1987
Robert James STEPHENS
1908 - 1990
Elizabeth Maud STEPHENS
1904 - 1989[1]

[Image 12] This window is in the south wall of the south aisle, and the inscription on the brass plaque below it records:

To the Glory of God, and in fond memory of “Lily” (Lavine[?] Margaret)
the beloved wife of Francis S. COKE
Born August 12th 1864, died at East Chilagby ???? May 24 1892
This Window is dedicated by some of those who loved her.
[there may be more inscription below this but if so it is cut off on my photo][1]


Now or formerly Church of England.

If more than one congregation has worshipped here, or its congregation has united with others, in most cases this will record its original dedication.


This Church is located at OS grid reference SO3124149122. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:


I have found many websites of use whilst compiling the information for this database. Here are some which deserve mention as being of special interest for Eardisley, and perhaps to Local History and Places of Worship as a whole.

The above links were selected and reviewed at the time I prepared the information, but please be aware their content may vary, or disappear entirely. These factors are outside my control.


A special thanks to the following people who have contributed information for this web page:

1. Information provided by Rosemary Lockie.

Information last updated on 4 Oct 2010 at 00:00.

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This Report was created 22 Sep 2021 - 05:10:04 BST from information held in the Herefordshire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 7 Feb 2019 at 13:34.

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