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The River Wye



Ballingham Herefordshire


Ballingham sits in a great loop in the Wye. This view is from the north-east in August 2005



St Dubricius church, Ballingham and hall

Photograph © Chris Musson & the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club


Ballingham has been associated with the old British name Badgualan. However Bruce Coplestone-Crow suggests that this is probably wrong and that the Badgualan site is more likely to have been at Carey in the same parish.

He suggests that Ballingham derives from an unrecorded Old English form Badelingaham - 'land in a river-bend belonging to Badela's people'.

Some time after 1237 Devereux to St Guthlac's Priory in Hereford. In exchange the prior paid 65 marks and an annual rental of 5 marks and 32 gallons of honey. The church was re-built in the 13th century and it is likely that it this was associated with the acquisition of the manor by the monks.

St Dubricius, Ballingham. The nave is 13th century. The chancel was rebuilt and the west tower erected in the late 14th century.

Image courtesy of Hereford City Library



Records of St Guthlac's priory from the years 1237 to 1271 record land and property transactions at Ballingham. This business would have been conducted in the manorial court in the manor house, a predecessor of the current manor house. The prior's bailiff would preside over the court, while other officials were John the provost and Radulf the summoner.

Adam, son at Alfrich with his wife Sybil lived at Kilfodes, an earlier name for what is now Kilforge.

Saycell's in 2006. The recent name Saycell's farm may be associated with one or more Seysils in the 13th century - Seysil, son of Adam and Amabla, Seysil, son of Elias, and Seysil 'le souper'.

Dunn's farm is likely to derive from the Dun family which included in the 13th century Mael, David Wogan and Jago Dun.

At the dissolution St Guthlac and its properties was acquired by John ap Rice.

'Pope Nicholas’ Taxation, circa 1291, records that the Prior of Hereford had at Ballingesham two ploughlands, each worth £2 6s 8d, with rents af assise 18s and pleas and perquisites 3s. These incidents imply a court baron; therefore the Prior of the Benedictine monastery church of Hereford held, as an appendage of his office, the Manor of Ballingham.'

Ballingham had a long association with the Scudamore family. In 1436 John Scudamore was seneschal of Ballingham at a fee of 20 shillings a year. In 1453 Philip Scudamore of Holme Lacy conveyed his interest in an estate in Ballingham (which he had derived from his father George) to his younger brother William. It is this William Scudamore who is assessed on goods worth 26 pounds in 1536 or 57, when the three people with property of a high enough value to be taxed were:-

William Scudamore (gentleman)
Richard Cope
William Witherston

26 pounds
20 pounds
20 pounds

This estate descended down this branch of the family until 1704 when Sir Barnabas Scudamore sold it to Viscount Scudamore, who held a mortgage on it. From that time it formed part of the Holme Lacy estates.

Tax assessment from Herefordshire Taxes in the Reign of Henry VIII edited by M A Faraday: Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club, Herefordshire, 2005


Ballingham Hall in 2006

An interesting insight into 17th century ideas of diet and observance of Lent has been researched by Cherry Newton.

In 1632 Penelope, the wife of John Scudamore of Ballingham, was pregnant. She had already given birth to three children two of whom were stillborn and the third a sickly child.

The Lenten diet forbade 'meat' - that is mammals and birds. Penelope was not well and apparently the diet of fish and vegetables that was allowed was very dangerous. The curate of Ballingham therefore wrote a note granting her and her son John dispensation from the diet on medical grounds.

From Ballingham Church Records researched by Cherry Newton for LOWV



‘To all to whom this writing shall come and apportion. I Richard Charles Clark Curate of the Parish Church of Ballingham do send greetings in our Lord God and …..and whereas Penelope Scudamore, the wife of John Scudamore of Ballingham, Esq. being now with child, and having borne three children before this time with great sickness and danger that two of ye said three children were borne dead and ye third a very weak & sickly child, and that ye said Penelope is at this present sick and cannot eat fish & such other things as one appointed to be eaten on fish days without much danger to herself and the child she now breedeth, now know ye that I the said Richard

Charles tending ye safety and health of ye said Penelope and of her son John Scudamore now living who is at this present a very weak child and sick have given and granted, and by those presents do give and grant licence and liberty generally and respectively to ye said Penelope & John her said son as ………by the laws and statutes of this realm of England I beg to eat all sorts of flesh, Beef & Veale excepted, during the continuance of the general sickness of the said Penelope and John.’


History has recorded that Penelope and her son John survived; Penelope gave birth to at least another five children. The frail John, born in 1630, was knighted and lived at Ballingham Hall built by his grandfather in 1602 before his death in 1684.


Holme Lacy estates were frequently surveyed, beginning in the 16th century. This map of Ballingham dating to 1780 is by Richard Frizell and is very accurate - it can be overlain onto a modern OS map. North is to the right.

The map is reproduced here by kind permission of the Scudamore family.


An earlier estate map of Ballingham. It is entitled A SURVEY of Sr Barnabas Scudamore's land in BALLINGHAM CARY, and Severall other Lands and Woods on the other side Wie in the County of Hereford Surveyed Ano Dni 1695 by John Pye.

map in British Library - BL, Add. MS. 36307, G3.


In about 620 King Gwrgan gave Podum Sancti Badgualan to Bishop Inabwy together with two and a half unciae of land. At this period all the surrounding area would have been British. The name Carey seems to have originally applied to the Carey Brook and is almost certainly the original British one.

The dotted red line marks the bounds of Podum Sancti Badgualan in the 7th century. Modern parish boundaries are in yellow

Aerial photographs courtesy of English Nature.


A re-grant of Lann Badgualan in hostio Crican super Guy was made in the 9th century. By this time the northern part of Erging (Archenfield) had been taken by Mercia. The Taratyr brook  which flows into the Wye at the northern point of the land of Lann Badgualan formed the boundary between the Welsh of Erging and the English. The English would by this time have occupied Fownhope on the opposite bank from Ballingham, although Kings Caple, also on the east bank, was in Archenfield (and still is). 



This site of the original, 7th century, monastic church might have been at Carey in the south-west of the parish.


Click for walk through Carey and Ballingham in March 2006




Ballingham GENUKI pages

Archaeological records from Ballingham are held on Historic Herefordshire On Line


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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.