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The River Wye


Bolstone Herefordshire


Bolstone appears to contain the personal name Bola or Bula - Bola's stone.

This small parish on the west bank of the Wye in south Herefordshire belonged to the Knights Hospitallers, and in 1505 Thomas Llewellyn was recorded as tenant of ‘a capital messuage or mansion’ with lands and pastures in Bolstone. After the Dissolution the manor was acquired by John Scudamore of Holme Lacy. In this quiet and remote place, a murder was committed in 1390 by Henry Peytevyn who stabbed David Baker in the chest and killed him. Henry pleaded that it was self-defence as David had struck him on the head with a staff. After being detained in Hereford Castle gaol, Henry was granted a pardon.

In the early 19th century Bolstone consisted of ‘3 noted Farm Houses and ten Cottages, having about 70 Inhabitants: the Cottages contain on an average only four persons’, and ‘The soil is in general gravelly and sandy, and Barley is the Grain best adapted. Tho good crops of Wheat and Peas are sometimes to be had: but the former precarious.’ Displayed on one of the houses was the following sign:

‘I, Andrew Churchman, here do dwell;         
Be it known to all, I am Constable,
Of this parish, and Clerk I am,
Of Bolstone, and of Ballingham;
A Craftsman, ready to attend,
The wants and orders, of a Friend:
As, Weaver, Gardener, and Tree Grafter;
Beehives in plenty, when sought after:
Can cure all desease, in Swine,
If that I am, call’d in, in time.’


Blocked doorway at St John's church, Bolstone

Image courtesy of  Hereford City Library


Bolstone Court and Church

Bolstone Court Farm is said to date from the 17th century, and probably replaced an earlier building. It formed part of the Holme Lacy estate and from the mid 18th century until the 1820s James Smith was the tenant followed by Richard Preece. The 12th century church dedicated to St John stands in the farmyard. It belonged to the Knights Hospitallers and after the Dissolution the tithes passed to the Scudamores. In 1820 Duncumb wrote ‘The Chapel is a small and inferior Building and contains no Inscription of Consequence. The letters SB of date 1641, remain on a common flat Stone near the Rails of the Altar’. The church was restored in 1876-77 at a cost of £700.


The deconsecrated church at Bolstone in 2005.


In the early 16th century the manor of Bolstone had belonged to the Knights Hospitallers. We have translated a rental of 1505. At the dissolution the estate was purchased from the crown by John Scudamore.

On the right is part of the 1505 rental. Click on this image for transcription and translation of the rental.


Until 1884 a small part of Bolstone parish lay on the left bank of the Wye. It was then transferred to Fownhope. This seems to have been a piece of land given by Roger de Chandos to Craswall Priory when the monks held a manor in the Bolstone-Holme Lacy area.

Within the current Bolstone parish, on the bank of the Wye there was a mill called Abbot Tarretts Mill in 1639. In 1191 this was Abethtarada and in 1230 Abbertaret. The 1505 rental calls it Aburtaretts Mill. These must be a corruption of Aber Taratyr - 'the mouth of the River Taratyr' indicating that this small stream was once the boundary between English Herefordshire and Welsh Archenfield.

Bolstone is one of the more wooded parishes in the area, although a large area of what had been Bolstoune Wood (left) was converted to farmland in the mid 19th century. 


Trilloes Court Wood and Moat

In the southern part of the centre of the parish, there is an old moated site in another wood - Trilloes Court Wood (right). A moated house would not been built in woodland and Trilloes Court Wood must therefore have been planted after the abandonment of the site.


This wood and moated site was also part of the Scudamore empire, and the 38 acre wood was cut in 1814 and 1815, and in 1840 the wood was without a tenant. In the 20th century Trilloes Court Wood was managed by the Forestry before being sold in the 1990s to a private owner who lives and works in the wood. The moated site is shown on the 1888 OS sheet and was recorded by the NMR in the late 1920s. In 1934 Richardson recorded the spring in the upper part of Trilloes Court Wood which was known ‘to be good for the eyes’. The Woolhope Club visited the site in 1952 and found it ‘Situated on a slope partly filled with water-washed silt. On a slope above there was a charcoal deposit. Probing it in other places indicated a possible stone wall’. The spring higher up which formed the cause of silting is traditionally know to have curative properties which may have led to the name Trilloes meaning ‘holy’. The site is recorded on the SMR as a ‘Homestead moat’.


Gannah Farm

The name is probably derived from ‘gamen’ meaning game, and it has been suggested that the site served as a hunting lodge in the 16th century, as it adjoined a wild red deer park, a large fishpond and an eyrie for hawks. The first known reference to the place was in 1225, and in 1343 it was recorded as ‘A messuage, 60 acres of land and 10 acres of wood, held by the Dean and Chapter of Hereford.’ In  the 15th century it was already in Scudamore ownership and in1780 Gannah with its 130 acres was  tenanted to James Rogers who farmed the ‘good land fit for dairying and tillage’ adjoining Holme Lacy deer park. At that date the farm house  had ‘ greatly gone to Wreck’ and the estate advised that it ‘should be let to an occupier who would reside’ there. By 1820 James Stevens was the tenant followed by William Powell in 1840. When offered for sale in 1919 Gannah Farm was a ‘Stone and Slated Farmhouse Occupying a pleasant position and containing Two Sitting Rooms, Kitchen, Dairy, Pantry and Cellars... Above are Five Bed Rooms. There is a good Walled Garden’. The Buildings comprise Spacious Barn with two bays, Ten-Stall Beast House, Chaff House, Cart Horse Stable for 4 horses, Pigs Cots, Two-Stall Nag Stable and Coach House’.


Trill Mill

The name dates from at least 1505 when Thomas Cocks held ‘a parcel of customary land called Trill Mill’. It is shown as a mill site on Taylor’s map of 1754, and Trill Mill is the name of a field tenanted to John Dykes in 1840. When the site was surveyed in the 1980s by Coates and Tucker ‘no remains of mill detected, but probable leat can be followed’. There was another water mill with a fishery in 1505 tenanted to Richard Minors. In 1840 the adjoining cottage was occupied by the Andrews family.

Bolstone Field Project

Bolstone GENUKI pages

Archaeological records from Bolstone 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.