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The River Wye


Gillow, Hentland Herefordshire


Gillow Manor, Hentland
 Photograph Chris Musson & the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club

Gillow is another Welsh place-name - Cil Luch - 'lake nook'.  In the episcopacy of Herewald of Llandaff the name appears in Lann Mihacgel Cil Luch. This church was probably on the site of the present church of Michaelchurch is, 950 metres to the west of Gillow.

The moated manor house at Gillow was in existence in the 13th century if not earlier. The oldest surviving parts of the present structure are the gatehouse, the adjoining building to the north-west and some of the walls, which were built in the later 14th century.

part of Hentland tithe map showing Gillow

In 1279-80 an Inquisitions Post Mortem was held after the death of Henry de Pembridge who also held Tong Castle in Shropshire. It was found that Henry held 120 acres of land and meadow in the vill of 'Kilho/Gilloch' which were held by the service of doing suit at [the court of] the king's hundred of Wormelow every fortnight and providing a man for 15 days at his own cost to go with the king's army. In the inquisition of Henry's son Fulk de Pembridge in 1296 there is a 'messuage' (house) at 'Gyllouch'. This is presumably the original manor house.

A medieval effigy at Gillow

Photograph by Alfred Watkins courtesy of Hereford City Library

John Abrahall of Abrahall, who held lands adjacent to Gillow and who was the most powerful man in the area of Archenfield and the Hundred of Wormelow, purchased the estate from the Pembridge heir in 1417-18. Abrahall  was also a MP for Hereford city in 1419.

Abrahall had been receiver-general for the widow of Sir Gilbert Talbot, lord of Archenfield, Goodrich Castle, Eccleswall, Penyard castle and a great deal more. On the inhertance of  Sir John Talbot, Gilbert Talbot's heir, who was later to be the first earl of Shrewsbury, John Abrahall was dismissed from office and a bitter quarrel began between the two, with each man at the head of a small army.

The late local archaeologist and historian Elizabeth Taylor has written about these events:-

'The feud was part personal and part political, but the activities of both of these 'companies' made the lives of the inhabitants of the Hundred of Wormelow intolerable, and in 1423 they were driven to petition the King's Parliament for help.  The petition told Parliament about:

'the many extortions, oppressions, murders, homicides, abductions, the forcible oustering from their lands and tenements of men with their wives and children, the taking of fines and the taking of all their goods and chattles'

and about

'the castle of Goderiche  which is in the March of Wales and where the said persons are held in strong prison until they have paid fines and ransoms to Sir John Talbot and other gentlemen... '.

The petition lists the names of 50 other men in Sir John Talbot's company and 27 men and a woman in John Abrahall's.  In other documents John Abrahall was recorded as acting

'along with other Welsh evildoers to the number of sixty  all in warlike array'

on one foray, and with 80 in another.  Stolen cattle and  horses  were driven to Gillow and prisoners were kept there until they paid ransom.  It may be of interest for us today to note that Parliament did absolutely nothing beyond expressing the pious hope:

'And may the act [of telling everyone to keep the peace] and the enrolment of this petition accomplish what is desired.' '

Gillow manor gateway

Image from A History of the Mansion and Manors of Herefordshire, Rev Charles Robinson, 1872



Gillow Bn (Barn) on Bryant's 1835 map of Herefordshire.The kink in the road visible in the photographs above was the point at which the road to Gillow (Gillow Manor) branched off the road between Gillow Barn and Hentland.

The Iron Age hill-fort of Gaer Cop is just to the south-east of Gillow.


An aerial photograph of the field in which Gillow Barn stood in 1835 shows that occupation of the site dates back well beyond the medieval period.

On the right are prehistoric features now only visible as cropmarks.


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Wye Valley History pages

maintained by Archenfield Archaeology Ltd


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