Project Info


The River Wye



LOWV walks - How Caple


How Caple, Sunday 8th October

'A walk to the Wye'

A short walk at How Caple followed by tea and history of the court and church. Led by Heather Hurley and David Lovelace. The group gather at How Caple Court car park.


From How Caple Court

‘This Parish containing 1018 acres occupies a most picturesque position on the banks of the Wye, which flows around its western boundary towards Foy’

At Domesday, Capel was a manor with one mill, and its name probably derived from a ‘look-out ’or ‘chapel’. From at least the 13th century the manor belonged to the Capel family until 1683 when ‘the manor of How Caple (with appurtenances), the advowsen of the church and lands’ were conveyed from Charles Capell to Sir William Gregory. Since his death in 1696 it passed through the family until being sold after a sale in 1894,when the How Caple Court estate was purchased by Lennox Bertram Lee.

How Capel Court: and buildings date mainly from the 17th century when the property was remodelled by Sir Gregory, but further modernisation and extensions have been added. In 1929 the Royal Commission surveyor noted remains of a circular stone foundation of 100 yards diameter, which continued under the buildings, which ‘may have formed part of an arrangement of formal gardening’ The Edwardian gardens were laid out by L B Lee, and may be visited between March and October.

Church: Only the chancel is mediaeval, the rest dates from rebuilding in the 1690s carried out by Sir William Gregory who died in 1696 but left provision in his will ‘for the completion of the rebuilding of How Caple Church’. The church was restored in 1899 when further alterations took place.

River Wye:  the river is joined by the Totnor Brook which in the past powered at least six water corn mills including two in How Caple. There was a ‘Water Grist Mill called Wilgley’s Mill’ in 1698 which had ceased by 1839, and How Caple Mill  recorded in 1754 owned by Sir James Money Kyrle before it became part of the How Caple estate in the late 19th century.

Lords meadow: Since our survey of the Wye, the location of Lords Meadow has been identified as a landing and loading place for the barges. In 1791 ‘Delivered at lordsmedo for Mr Morris 8 tun of Westmorland Tile’ and the following month ’oak/timber from the lordesmedo’ was exported to Chepstow. The autumn survey of the Wye has identified wharfs and quays along the Wye which will help to understand the barge accounts that are being examined.

This landscape is wood pasture of the sort that was once very common.

Lyndor Wood is recorded in an Inquisition post Mortem dated 1369 ‘There is a wood called Lyndore in which there is no pasture or timber, worth nothing per annum’. The wood was acquired by the Scudamores by the C18th and the 21 acre wood was cut in 1810 before passing to Henry Clifford of the Perrystone estate. According to Foy WI in 1977, all the Perrystone woodlands were operated under the Forestry Commission Dedication Schemes, and the three sections of woods were felled and replanted between 1952 and 1959. The report adds ‘The final crop on Lyndor, is expected to last two, or perhaps three generations, will be broadleaved trees – oak, ash and sycamore, with a few European larch for variety. This depends, of course, on what the squirrels get up to’.

Ingestone, on the west side of Foy is almost surrounded by the Wye. The Abrahalls held Ingestone from at least the 15th century and after John Abrahall married in 1610 he built Ingestone House ‘a lofty building with five gabled wings’. His Marriage Settlement records ‘all that capital messuage farm and tenement with its appurtenances called or known by the name of Ingestone’ and included Eaton Tregoes,  ‘two water corn mills’ and ‘fishing in the river of the Wye’. The house was burnt down in 1785 and rebuilt as a farm house around 1800 possibly by Alexander Baring who purchased Ingestone around that date. The property was inherited by his grandson Lord Ashburton who sold his South Herefordshire estates in 1890. The Morland family were at Ingestone during the first half of the C20th until it was sold in 1955 to Mr Horton. Since then extensive modernisation has been undertaken, and the valuable fishing with named pools were detailed in the 1982 sale particulars.

Heather Hurley




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