History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
A simple Norman two-cell church with a rounded apse. Kilpeck is famous for the wealth of ebullient carvings left by the 11th century masons; there are dozens of amusing, grotesque, and intricate carvings around the doors, windows, and roof line of the church. One of the finest small Norman churches in Britain.
The church at Kilpeck is unusual for its rounded apse; this is not a common element in English parish churches, though not unique by any means. But it is the carvings that attract visitors to this tiny rural community. The south door is quite exceptional, with a rounded arch and tympanum supported on intricately carved columns. The carving is exceptional both in variety and quality of the work. Even today most of the relief lines are sharp and crisp, but it is the sheer vitality of the carvings that takes your breath away. I was lucky enough to come here when the sun was attempting to shine, adding a bit of contrasting light to the church exterior, and the effect was breathtaking.
Each boss is carved with a unique figure. A few are intricate patterns of lines, but most are heads of animals and people. Some are humourous - note the examples in the photos below - some are even upside-down! Some are grotesque. A few are engaged in activities; one man is playing a bowed musical instrument, others are merely grimacing.
Exterior of Kilpeck Church - 1 - 2 - 3 - Next >> (photos of most of the carved figures for which Kilpeck is famed) - Interior of the church
Address: Kilpeck, Herefordshire, England
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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