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The River Wye


Sellack Herefordshire



photograph by Will Lewis


The Archenfield settlement of Sellack takes its name from Saint Tysilio, another form of which is Suluc  (Suluc and Tysilio are both hypocoristic forms of the name Suliau).  In the 860s Concum, priest of Lann Suluc and Mailseru, priestof Lann Timoi (Foy), witnessed a gift of land to Bishop Nudd from a certain Abraham.

Photograph of Sellack church taken by Alfred Watkins in 1929, courtesy of Hereford City Library)


Sellack church in 1839


From 1291 to 1351 the church was known as the church of Baysham. Pope Nicholas the Fourth’s Taxatio, c1291, values the church of Baysham, with the chapel, at £20 13s 4d a year. The vicar’s portion was £5. The chapel was, presumably, Kings Caple.



The church of St Tysilio, Sellack from the north


The distinction between the use of the names Sellack and Baysham is unclear. Both names were in use in 1301 when it was found by Inquisition that the Chapter of Hereford had acquired lands in Baysham, Selak and Pencoyt.

Inquisition taken at Hereford 26 May 29th year of the reign of Edward I (1301) by the oath of Robert de Chaundoys ------------. 'Who say the THE DEAN AND CHAPTER of the Church of Saint Ethelbert of Hereford acquired unto themselves and their aforesaid church one messuage and 18 acres of land with the appurtenances in Canon’s Moor, before the publication of the Statute of Mortmain by 30 years and more, in pure and perpetual alms, in the gift of John de Brecon, and they are of their proper fee, and they owe no service therefore: and the premises are worth 4d a year.

Also the said Dean and Chapter acquired similarly 60 acres of land with the appurtenances in Baysham and Sellack, 50years before the statute, in free, pure and perpetual alms, of the gift of Aycrop de la More and David de la ffelde; and they are worth 10s.'

In about 1550 John Leland refers to 'Beysham alias Sellack'

Baysham is now the name of a settlement of a few houses within Sellack parish. The name Sellack seems to be the one normally used after about 1350 although the Feudal Aids for 1428 mention 'the church of Baysham, with the chapel'.

The Bishop’s Registers for 1334 state that in the parish of Sellack are the townships of Baysham, Caircaradoc [Caradoc], Grava [the Grove] and Penkelli [Pengethley]. At that time the township of Strangford was in the parish of Fownhope where it remained until the 1880s.

Presentations (appointment of priests) to Selleck are recorded from 1352; before that the presentations are to Baysham - see below.

presentations to Sellack are as follows:-



Roger de Sellake. By the Dean and Chapter
William de Berkford. The like
William Martyn
William Rolf
Lawrence Tughyn
Hugh Willenhale
Roger Heynes
Hugh Donne alias Eynford
Simon Phelyps
John Ledge



In Domesday, listed under a heading which says that 'the villages and lands (villæ vel terræ) below are in Archenfield', the manor of Baysham was part of the lands of the king. It was held of the king by William, son of Norman, and of him by a certain Walter. Before 1066 it had been held by Merwin from Edward the Confessor.



Although not mentioned by name in Domesday, Strangford, to the east of Baysham, may have had the name Etone. There is an entry for a place of this name in the hundred of Sulcet which as a hundred name, appears nowhere else and almost certainly represents Sellack as an area. In the Herefordshire Domesday of the 1160s Etone is marked Strangef', and it may be that a place originally called Etone was later named Strangford - from the ford across the strong current of the Wye there.

Held by Hugh d'Asne at Domesday there was half a hide, two men with two ploughs who, in the Welsh form, paid 2 sesters of honey. Like other Archenfield places it paid no tax.

In Edward the Confessor's reign Strangford was held of Thorkell the White by one Alric. Thorkell was lord of Fownhope and Strangford was in Fownhope parish until the 1880s.

Strangford had a chapel in the Deanery of Ross in 1543 when it contributed nothing - nihil - to Henry VIII devotion money.


Caradoc Court

Click for Caradoc Court and Farm


A British name meaning 'place at the head of the grove', this was Penkelle in 1334. The manor house of Pengethley is now a hotel.

The North aisle of Sellack church is the Pengethley chapel.

A previously unknown Romano-British site has been found at Upper Pengethley Farm during the LOWV project.

The interior of the long demolished hall at Pengethley

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


The Tudor cellars at Pengethley. These were originally below the hall (above).

Sellack Marsh


Sellack GENUKI pages

Archaeological records from Sellack 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.