Holmer, Herefordshire

Description from Littlebury's Directory and Gazetteer of Herefordshire, 1876-7

Transcription by Rosemary Lockie © 2004
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HOLMER is an extensive parish, consisting of the places above named, situated on the main road from Hereford to Leominster, and intersected by the Great Western railway and the Hereford and Gloucester canal. It is distant 1½ miles N. of Hereford, and 11 miles S. of Leominster; is in Grimsworth hundred, Hereford union, county court district, polling district, and petty sessional division. A part of this parish is included in the municipal and parliamentary limits of the city of Hereford. The population of the entire parish in 1861 was 1,237 - viz., Holmer and Shelwick civil parish, 1,083, and Huntington township, 154; in 1871 the total population was 2,021-viz., Holmer and Shelwick, 1,905, and Huntington, 116. The inhabited houses number 395 in Holmer and Shelwick and 24 in Huntington - total, 419. The families or separate occupiers number 508 in Holmer and Shelwick and 34 in Huntington - total, 542. The increase of population in the civil parish of Holmer and Shelwick is attributed to the facility afforded for the erection of houses, allotments of land being easily obtained. The area of Holmer and Shelwick is 2,411 acres, and the rateable value £13,843. The area of Huntington is 540 acres, and the rateable value £1,349. Richard Hereford, Esq., who is lord of the manor, Sir Henry Geers Cotterell, Bart., and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, are the chief landowners. The soil is light; subsoil, gravel and clay; produce, wheat, barley, hops, fruit, &c. Bricks and tiles are manufactured here. Holmer is in the diocese, archdeaconry, and rural deanery of Hereford; living, a vicarage, with the chapelry of Huntington annexed; value, £278, with residence and 12 acres of glebe; patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Hereford; vicar, Rev. Edward Arthur Evans, B.A., of Trinity College, Cambridge, who was instituted in 1869. The Rev. George F. Bulmer, M.A., of St. John's College, Cambridge, is the curate. In 1865 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners granted £120 to be added to Holmer living, subject to the employment of a curate. The church (St. Bartholomew's) is an ancient structure in the Gothic style of architecture, with nave, chancel, and a detached tower on the south side, which was restored about ten years ago. The church had been previously restored at a cost of £700. It is not improbable that the tower, like others in this and the adjoining counties, detached from the rest of the church, was intended for purposes of defence against the Welsh; that after the upper part had been destroyed, a short spire was erected on the remaining portion; which was removed, and the present timber work erected at the end of the 16th century, to make room for the five bells - the earliest bearing date 1609, and the inscription "God bless our noball King Jamese". The tenor bearing "My roaring sovnd doth warning give That men cannot here alwayes live. 1626". Three lancet windows in the chancel were filled with rich glass in 1865, by Hardman, of Birmingham, in memory of the late Charles Bulmer, Esq., who for many years was an extensive landowner in this parish. Divine service is conducted at 11 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. in summer, and at 4 p.m. in winter. An additional piece of ground for burials was consecrated by the Lord Bishop on October 23rd, 1873. The parish registers begin with the year 1712. New national schools have been recently erected at Widemarsh in this parish, to accommodate about 160 children. The cost was £1,100, exclusive of the value of the site. There are several charities belonging to the parish. The extensive works of the Herefordshire and South Wales Agricultural Manure Company, Limited, are situated in this parish, about a mile and a half from the centre of the city of Hereford, and contiguous to the Great Western railway and the Gloucester canal. The works occupy about an acre and a half of land; the general plan is nearly square; the north side is devoted entirely to the manufacture of sulphuric acid and oil of vitriol, these corrosive liquids being used in large quantities in the making of the various manures; the west and part of the south sides are occupied with a powerful steam engine, various mills, and machinery necessary for grinding and pulverising bones and other phosphatic materials from which the different manures are made. The flues from the various furnaces, boilers, &c., all radiate to the centre of the works, where the smoke ascends a shaft upwards of 200 feet high; this shaft, forming a graceful column, is seen for many miles round, and is a most pleasing feature in the landscape. The great demand for the manure manufactured by the company, has already necessitated an extension of their commodious buildings and machinery. There are several handsome residences in this parish: Holmer Park (Captain J. A. F. Suter), Munstone House (Captain T. W. J. Downes), Copelands (Henry, J. Jenkins, Esq.), and The Laurels (Daniel G. Secretan James Woodhouse, Esq.) Huntington is a township and chapelry, distant about 1 mile S.W. of Holmer church, and 2 miles N.W. of the city of Hereford. The Midland railway (Hereford, Hay, and Brecon branch) runs through a portion of the township, and the main road from Hereford to Hay and Kington forms the southern boundary. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners are lords of the manor and chief owners of the soil. Miss. Bulmer, R. Hereford, Esq., C. Watkins, Esq., and J. Walker, Esq., are also landowners. The chapel of ease is a neat stone building, rebuilt in 1850 at a cost of £800. Divine service is conducted as at the parish church. The living is united to Holmer vicarage. The great tithes, amounting to £74 5s., are held by the Dean and Chapter of Hereford; and the small tithes, amounting to £55 10s., by the Rev. E. A. Evans, B.A. Huntington Court is the residence of John Lloyd, Esq., J.P. for Brecknockshire, and a conservator of the Wye fishery. (The population, acreage, and other statistics, are given under the head of Holmer.) At the angle of the road, about 1 mile to the N.W. of Hereford, is a stone cross, called the White Cross, the base of which consists of an hexagonal flight of seven steps, gradually decreasing as they ascend; the height of the remaining stage of the shaft is 6 feet, and the breadth of each face 2 feet, exclusive of a pillar between each, which is surmounted, with an embattled parapet. It has been repaired and pointed at the expense of the Right Hon. and Ven. Archdeacon Lord Saye and Sele, D.C.L. The erection of this cross is, by tradition, ascribed to Bishop Cantilupe, who is said to have been returning from his palace at Sugwas to Hereford, when the bells of his cathedral began ringing without any apparent human agency, and that in commemoration of such a miraculous event he erected a cross on the spot where the sounds had first attracted his notice. Mr. Duncumbe, in his "History of Hereford", thus describes it, giving a much more probable reason for its construction: "In the year 1347 an infectious disorder ravaged the whole county of Hereford, and, as usual, displayed the greatest malignity in the places most numerously inhabited; this created a necessity for removing the markets from Hereford, and the spot of waste ground on which the cross now stands was applied to that purpose; in memory of this event, Dr. Lewis, Charlton, who was consecrated Bishop of Hereford a few years afterwards, caused this cross to be erected." Shelwick is a township distant 1 mile N.E. of Holmer, and about 2 miles N.N.E. of Hereford. It is intersected by the Great Western railway and the Gloucester canal. The Burcott is the property and residence of Charles Croose, Esq.

   POSTAL REGULATIONS.-Miss Julia Griffiths, Sub-Postmistress, 2 Holmer terrace. Letters arrive from Hereford at 7.50 a.m.; despatched thereto at 5:35 p.m. Hereford is the nearest money order and telegraph office and post town.
   Parish Church (St. Bartholomew's).-Rev. Edward Arthur Evans, B.A., Vicar; Rev. George F. Bulmer, M.A., Curate; Messrs. Elijah Jones and Wm. E. Haines, Churchwardens; John Preece, Parish Clerk and Sexton.
   Huntington Chapel of Ease.-Rev. Edward Arthur Evans, B.A., Vicar; Mr. John Morris, Chapel Warden.
   National School, Widemarsh.-Mr. Josiah Evans, Master; Miss Evans, Sewing Mistress; Miss Sarah Manton, Mistress of Infants.

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[Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie in April 2004 from scanned images of an original edition
in Hereford Central Library. See Herefordshire GENUKI Service Providers for contact details]