Project Info


The River Wye


Past Events - Autumn-Winter 2005/6

Caplor Farm, Fownhope, Tuesday 28th February

Processing finds from recent archaeological fieldwork

Upper Orchard, Hoarwithy, Monday 27th February

Translation and transcription of Latin documents concerning the study area

Ballingham, Friday 24th February

A small band from LOWV investigated sites of interest in Ballingham along a route starting from the Cottage of Content Inn, originally known as the Miner’s Arms (see Pubs of Ross and South Herefordshire). A lane led past Ballingham Court marked as Lower Ballingham on the Ordnance Survey of 1888, and Ballingham Hall which once belonged to the Scudamores and is depicted on their estate map of 1780. The church is dedicated to St. Dubricius and was re-built in the 13th century and restored in the 1880s. A footpath from the chapel led past Saycell’s Farm before crossing over the tunnel of the disused Hereford, Ross Gloucester Railway which ran between 1855 and 1964. A return was made alongside a deep hollow-way, the route of an abandoned 18th century turnpike road leading from Hereford to Hoarwithy Passage (see Old Roads of South Herefordshire). A LOWV walk based on this route will take place on Weds 29th March at 2.30 pm starting from the Cottage of Content where refreshments will be available.

Caplor Farm, Fownhope, Thursday 23rd February

Introduction to Earthworks surveying

Presentation by Mark Bowden of English Heritage in preparation for field training on the weekend of 4th/5th March



Upper Orchard, Hoarwithy, Wednesday 22nd February, evening

English Documents study

The LOWV transcribers discovered some fascinating details of goods conveyed along the Wye between Mordiford and Wilton.


Brinkley Hill and Capler Camp, Wednesday 22nd February, afternoon

Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Autumn/Winter 2005 events - On Wednesday 22nd February local historian Heather Hurley led a group from Brinkley Hill car park and followed paths along the Wye



The group visited the offices of Archenfield Archaeology for a brief talk about the local archaeology by Huw Sherlock. before looking at Capler iron age hill-fort.


Holme Lacy, Saturday 18th February

A reconnaissance walk by Heather Hurley around Holme Lacy from the College along the Green Drive, across to Tars Mill and around Ramsden Coppice and Widow's Wood

Holme Lacy Park from the Green Drive


Foy, Sellack and Backney, Sunday 19th February



the old railway bridge at Backney

Upper Orchard, Hoarwithy, Monday 13th February

Translation and transcription of Latin documents concerning the study area. The group worked on one of the 14th century accounts of the Dean and Chapter of Hereford Cathedral. The document was concerned with the repair of one of their mills (a fulling mill) with timbers from Ramsden Coppice in Holme Lacy parish.

Holme Lacy, Saturday 11th February

A reconnaissance walk by Archenfield Archaeology around Holme Lacy began at Bower Farm; the original core and home farm of Holme Lacy College, part of the Pershore group of colleges.


Click to view walk around Holme Lacy


Upper Orchard, Hoarwithy, Monday 6th February

Translation and transcription of Latin documents concerning the study area


Wilton, Bridstow, Sunday 5th February

On the afternoon of 5th February over thirty members of the group, led by Heather Hurley, walked around Wilton near Ross-on-Wye. The walk, of approximately 3.5 miles, started from Wilton Road car park, examined the hollow-way leading to the old ford at Wilton, then crossed Wilton Bridge to the site of the 18th century barge quays there.


Click to view Wilton Walk



Click image to view Wilton Castle page



Dockhill Well Farm, Brockhampton, Saturday 4th/Sunday 5th February

The group field-walked three fields near Capler Hill-fort and recovered artefacts from many eras - recent, medieval, Romano-British and prehistoric.


Examining archaeological artefacts spotted in the ploughsoil


Fownhope Memorial Hall, 3rd February

On the evening of 3rd February at David Lovelace of the Landscape Origins group gave a talk on the history of Haugh Wood at Fownhope Memorial Hall.


Dockhill Well Farm, Brockhampton, Tuesday 31st January

On Saturday 28th January Archenfield Archaeology staff fieldwalked three fields adjacent to the B4224 on the edge of the study area. Prehistoric flint flakes and medieval and Romano-British (RB) pottery was recovered. Romano-British pottery had not previously been found in this area.


Caplor Farm, Fownhope, Saturday 28th January

On Saturday 28th January Archenfield Archaeology staff fieldwalked a field adjacent to recorded circular cropmarks at Caplor Farm. Very few finds were recovered but even  the lack of finds is significant in surveys of the type that the LOWV project are undertaking. Negative evidence in some areas emphasis other areas where there are numerous finds and helps us locate past settlements and other activities.

Caplor Farm

How Caple Court, How Caple, Wednesday 25th January

The group walked a field opposite the entrance to How Caple Court, where a rectangular cropmark had been seen on aerial photographs. Although this is the only cropmark site in the parish of How Caple, there are several other cropmarks of this type in the LOWV study area, and they have the appearance of a Roman period features.

There were very few finds from this fieldwalking exercise. Several sherds of Roman pottery were found and some medieval. Although it had been hoped to find more material, these finds included the the first recorded sherds of Romano-British (RB) pottery found in the parish and only the 15th group of such pottery found in the LOWV area.


This exercise added a little more to our picture of Romano-British activity in the area


Ross-on-Wye, Monday 23rd January

Translation and transcription of Latin documents concerning the study area


Caradoc Farm, Sellack, Saturday 21st/Sunday 22nd January

On Saturday 21st a group walked two ploughed fields at Caradoc Court Farm. This was an area near to what had been in the past considered an 'ancient camp' site. There were very few finds although a few sherds of Romano-British pottery suggested that there had been some activity in that period somewhere nearby. This RB pottery represented only the 14th find spot of such material the the LOWV study area.


On Sunday 22nd it was not possible to walk the second area planned. This had been planted and as it was a frosty morning walking would have damaged the crop. Instead the small group walked around the farm and the lanes in the area. Caradoc Court Farm is one of the farms which we will be covering with one of the planned farm surveys.


Upper Orchard, Hoarwithy, Thursday 19th January

Transcription of English documents concerning the study area


Upper Orchard, Hoarwithy, Monday 9th January

Translation and transcription of Latin documents concerning the study area.

At this session we were without our Latin experts Janet and Sue so we struggled slowly through one part one of Hereford Cathedral Archive accounts for the canons’ Hereford mill, complied by the custodian of mills, John Penks, for the years 18 and 19 Richard II (1394/5) but we were rewarded for our efforts with some choice details of repairs to cogwheel teeth (‘coggez’), mill wheel rungs (‘rongez’) a broken shaft (‘fusillus defractus’), carpenters hired for the lopping and truing up (‘persternendum’) of timber in the woodyard (‘wodecoate’). Also in the document we have pulleys (‘pullez’) and sawing wood (‘meremium sarrendum’) and buying board nails (‘bordnailli) for what I assume are sluices (lez fflodezatez’). It is interesting that many of the technical terms are rendered into Norman French as with the Wye fish traps we had last year (‘Lez upmouthez’).  All the wood for the repairs came from Ramesden Wood (‘boscus vocatur Ramesden’) still extant at SO533348 parish of Holme Lacy. The expense of carriage from Ramesden wood was significant: John of Glasbury was paid 14d for bringing ‘le shaft’ from the woodland, and another time, 3s for carriage of timber from the same wood.

Ecclesiastical rights to this wood are woven into the complex arrangements over this manor involving the Bishop and the de Lacy family. All this from just one paragraph of one of the many un-catalogued rolls of mill accounts, who knows what treasures await us when we look at others. Fast forward five and half centuries to 14th May 1953 when a Forestry Commission surveyor known only as ‘L.H.’ recorded that the 74 acre Ramesden Coppice was ‘Coppice with Standards’, that the standards comprised 60% ash, 30% oak and mixture of birch and Sweet Chestnut 10% and the coppice layer was 10-12 years old of 60% hazel and 40% ash. Over half a millennium of ecological and traditional management continuity was brought to an abrupt end in the early 1970’s when all the wood clearfelled and planted with worthless upturned bog brushes, sorry, I mean high yielding economic conifers. Anyway, Ramsden Coppice is a good case for the restoration of an ancient woodland, perhaps we should visit it in the spring to determine how much of the its history and ecology survives.



To celebrate the festive season the LOWV group held an evening showing local films of Foy and Sellack, slides of Ballingham station, a display of archaeological finds ranging from flints to clay pipes, and reproductions of documents and maps from the Hereford Record Office, Hereford Library, Hereford Cathedral Library, National Archives private collections. The highlight of the evening was the tasting of festive food and drink made from an 18th century recipe book found at Aramstone in Kings Caple.  Members of the group baked and brewed Royal Punch, Rasberry Wine, Tunbridge Biscuits, Sugar Biskets, Cracknells, Gingerbread, Almond Biscuits and French Bread from recipes collected by Mary Garrett. 

The Tunbridge Biscuits were baked with the following ingredients‘ Take a pound of fine flour well dryed, rub 2 ounces of butter into it then take 4 ounces of sugar a quarter of an ounce of Carraway seeds & a little Salt, mix it well together then take 6 eggs well beaten and make it into a past, roll it into thin cakes and bake them in a quick oven on tin plates on buttered papers’. The Royal Punch is featured on our recipe page.

The group did not attempt the more bizarre dishes such as Minc’d Pyes, Lady Berkeleys Way made from ingredients including veal, beef suet, white wine, sack, rosewater and a mixture of fruit well mixed, which ‘’twill make a Dozen and half of Pyes’ and ‘You must not put in Wines, ‘till just before they are put in ye oven’.

While investigating the archaeology, history, landscape and mapping of the area the Landscape Origins of the Wye Valley together with the help of the local community have discovered some old documents relating to Christmas.

The owner of Caradoc in Sellack, allowed the LOWV to copy a manuscript written by Miss Edith Dew, who died aged 104 in 1971. Her family had occupied Caradoc during the 18th and 19th centuries and left her with many memories. She wrote ‘Many old customs were kept, especially at the Seasons of Christmas (both new and old days). On the twelfth eve the oxen were christened with ale, and the oldest servant on the Estate threw the ale, after which the oxen were bountifully supplied with grain. A huge supper was held at Craddock for all classes, and all adjourned to see the ceremony’. Miss Dew continued ‘On St. Thomas’ Day [21st Dec]  a bag of flour, a bottle of wine, and a large mince pie was given to every widow and widower in the parish at the door, and taken to those unable to fetch them. The best of everything was put in the pies. The 10 days of Christmas were kept festive for all, and a log fire kept burning in the hall for the time.  A party or Ball for the family, and one for the servants was held, and Mrs. Dew started the dancing with the head man on the estate.’


Upper Orchard, Hoarwithy, Wednesday 14th December

Translation and transcription of Latin documents concerning the study area


Ballingham Village Hall, Tuesday 13th December

On Tuesday, 13th December  there was a talk on Bolstone, local woodlands and the Landscape Origins of the Wye Valley Project by David Lovelace and Heather Hurley at Ballingham Village Hall.



Upper Orchard, Hoarwithy, Monday 12th December

Translation and transcription of Latin documents concerning the study area

Upper Orchard, Hoarwithy, Monday 5th December

Translation and transcription of Latin documents concerning the study area

Upper Orchard, Hoarwithy, Wednesday 30th November

Transcription of English documents concerning the study area

Upper Orchard, Hoarwithy, Monday 28th November

Translation and transcription of Latin documents concerning the study area

Brockhampton Court, Saturday 26th November

On Saturday, 26th November there was a display of the work of the Landscape Origins of the Wye Valley project at Brockhampton Winter Fair, Brockhampton Court.

Bunch of Carrots, Hampton Bishop, Wednesday 23rd November

7.30pm Landscape Origins of the Wye Valley  presentation at the AGM of the River Wye Preservation Trust.

Caplor Farm, Fownhope, Tuesday 22nd November

A session of washing the finds from fieldwalking at Kings Caple. The group cleaned all the material found on November 13th

Fownhope Memorial Hall, Friday 18th November

Heather Hurley, local author and member of the Landscape Origins group gave a talk on the 'History of Fownhope's old pubs'

Kings Caple, Sunday 13th November

Fieldwalking at Kings Caple recovered, among other things, only the 13th find-spot of Romano-British pottery in the area.

Upper Orchard, Hoarwithy, 10th November

More information from the 16th and 17th centuries in Hentland, Kings Caple, Ballingham and other parishes

Talk, Ross Civic Society, Wednesday 9th November

Talk on the Landscape Origins project at the Larraperz Centre, Ross-on-Wye by PJ Pikes of Archenfield Archaeology

Caplor Farm, Fownhope, Monday 7th November 

Translation and transcription of Latin documents concerning the study area

Walk, Bolstone Woods, Sunday 6th November

A walk through Bolstone Woods, Sunday 6th November. Woodland is a particularly interesting aspect of traditional land use and centuries ago was closely associated with the local iron-working industry. The walk started at Trilloes Court Wood, Bolstone and proceeded through Upper Bolstone Wood to Gannah Farm. It then passed through Lower Bolstone Wood to Bolstone Church and then to the site of Trill Mill. Before returning to the starting point it passed through Trilloes Court Wood where there the group viewed a little-known medieval moated site. Part of this last stretch was through private property and was by kind permission of the owner.

The walk was led by Heather Hurley and David Lovelace.

Medieval earthwork features in the landscape in the northern part of Bolstone parish.



Click image to view Bolstone project


Upper Orchard, Hoarwithy, 27th October

Transcription of English documents concerning the study area. The group worked on English documents from the 16th and 17th centuries for Hentland, Kings Caple, Ballingham and other parishes

Hollow-ways group, Caplor, 21st October

There was a meeting of the hollow-ways group to discuss progress in recording the hollow-ways of the area. The late David Bick and his son William recorded those in Brampton Abbotts parish.


William Bick and deep hollow-way at Brampton Abbotts


Identifying and washing finds, Caplor, Tuesday 18th October

The group washed finds from the recent fieldwork at Pengethley and Red Rail. Many sherds of Romano-British Severn Valley Ware among the finds as were several sherds of Samian Ware.


Caplor Farm, Fownhope, Monday October 17th

Translation and transcription of Latin documents concerning the study area. The group continued working on the reading and translating of documents relating to the Eaton Tregoz estate in Foy parish.

Red Rail Ford - Excavation and Diving, October 14th/15th

On Friday 14th and Saturday 15th October the group resumed excavation on the line of the old trackway leading to Red Rail Ford from the west of the River Wye. Following visiting the site on August 17th, Ross Sub Aqua Club dived at the site of this old river crossing at Hoarwithy.

Upper Pengethley Farm - Fieldwalking, October 4th

On Tuesday 4th October the group continued field-walking at Upper Pengethley Farm, Sellack, looking for archaeological artefacts. Part of this field had been walked over the previous Friday (30th September) when quantities of Romano-British pottery had been found. This was only the 12th find-spot of RB pottery in the LOWV area.


Click image to view Upper Pengethley Farm project


Transcribers and translators meeting, Caplor, October 3rd

The group continued working on the reading and translating of documents relating to the Eaton Tregoz estate in Foy parish.

Fownhope Memorial Hall, 23rd-24th September

The Landscape Origins group presented a small display for 'Fownhope at School', an exhibition by the Fownhope Local History Group.


Overdine Farm, September 16th

On Friday 16th September, as part of h.Art – Herefordshire Art Week (10th-18th September 2005) Heather Hurley and PJ Pikes of Archenfield Archaeology presented some of our work at a special event:- Cracks in our landscape; Shapes in the Sky - music, art, poetry, archaeology at local artist Caroline Hands' studio at Overdine Farm, Fownhope. Interpretations of the local landscape were given by three other artists living in the area - Bridget Drakeford, Jane Smith and Nicky Hopwood - members of the the Trackways to Remember group who are all also helpers in the Landscape  Origins project.

Transcribers and translators meeting, Caplor, September 19th

The group worked on the reading and translating of a lease of 1286 regarding the manor of Baysham in Sellack parish. The document refers to buildings, fields, timber and a mill of the manor being leased by the church of Hereford.

Fawley, September 10th - Geophysics

On Saturday, 10th September, the group carried out a fieldwalking exercise at Fawley together with geophysical survey on a cropmark site. Unfortunately this was an extremely wet day with the Ross-on-Wye area had the greatest amount of rainfall in the country with flash flooding in the lanes and the exercise was abandoned by 2.30pm.

However a reasonable quantity of Romano-British pottery was found indicating a settlement of some sort in the area at the time. 


Geophysics equipment waiting to be used. This piece is called Sabrina (The Roman name for the River Severn - there isn't one called Vega yet)


Tithe Apportionment working group, September 5th, 2005

The group working on the tithe apportionments met on September 5th at Caplor Farm. The parishes of  Sellack, Foy, Ballingham and Brampton Abbotts had been prepared for data entry which has.



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This project was part-financed by the European Union (EAGGF) and DEFRA through the Herefordshire Rivers LEADER+ Programme.