Much Marcle historic church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Walter de Helyon painted effigy
Chief among these monuments is the quite extraordinary painted effigy of Walter de Helyon in the north aisle of the nave. De Helyon was a minor nobleman whose family became owners of an estate in Much Marcle. The name 'Helyon' eventually evolved into 'Hellens', the name of the manor in the village. Walter de Helyon died around 1350, and is portrayed lying on his back, with his feet resting on a small dog. What really makes the effigy worthy of note is the wonderful vernacular costume. De Helyon is dressed smartly in a jerkin, with a sword by his side and a belt and wallet alongside.
Unlike most surviving tombs, this one is not made of stone, but rather of solid oak painted with gesso. The colours are so vibrant they look as though they had been painted yesterday. It would be nice to think they had survived unaltered in this condition, but actually the gesso was renewed in 1971 to repair damage caused by mold and damp. The finished product is as close as we can guess to what it would have looked like at the time of its creation.
I've mostly described the interior treasures of St Bartholomews, Much Marcle, but there is one more treasure here. It is to be found outside the south door of the church. A huge old yew tree stands here, its trunk so large and worn that a bench has been constructed within it. The yew is thought to be at least 1500 years old.
In the village are several examples of the black and white half-timbered buildings for which Herefordshire is famous, and just a short distsance from the church is the old manor house of Hellens.
About St Bartholomews church, Much Marcle
Address: Much Marcle, Herefordshire, England, HR8 2NB
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: Take the B4024 off the A449 (signposted Dymock). The church is to the right, in the centre of the village. Limited parking on the side of the lane.
OS: SO 657 327
Photo Credit: David Ross/Britain Express
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Hellens Manor - 0.2 miles (Historic House)
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