The Parish Church of St. Michael and All Angels
Our Priest is Rev. Julie Read. You can e-mail her here
The Parish Church of St. Michael and All Angels has been the centre of Christian worship in Kingsland, Herefordshire for many centuries. Its large size reflects the importance of Kingsland as a settlement in the Middle Ages. The present building, erected between 1290 and 1310 by the Mortimers, incorporates two narrow lancet windows from an earlier church. They are now blocked up but must have originally served as the east windows of the aisles. One can be seen from the southern exterior of the chancel, the other is hidden inside the organ chamber.
The church consists of a nave, two aisles (which terminate in the chapels of Christ The King and of Our Lady), a chancel, vestry, organ chamber and west tower (heightened in the 15th century), and is today substantially as the builders left it.
The church is entered by the north porch. Opening off the north porch is the Volka chapel – a unique feature of the church – probably built as a chantry in which masses could be said for the soul of an early benefactor or for those killed in the battle of Mortimer’s Cross. The chapel contains an open stone coffin which is said to have had in it the bones of a woman and child when opened in 1826. The 15th century south porch was in 1980 converted into a kitchen and WC.
The nave has a 14th or 15th century king-post roof supported on pillars of unusual and interesting design, and there is a clerestory of round windows. The painted chancel roof dates from the 1866-1868 restoration of the church by G.F. Bodley. He also installed the present pulpit, lectern, choir stalls and pews, together with a stone screen, which has since been removed. Prior to the restoration the nave was ceiled. The encaustic tiles in the chancel are by Mr. Godwin.
The internal furnishings of the church include a 14th century octagonal font, 17th century doors to the tower and the vestry, a cartoon of the Crucifixion, the design for a stained glass window in Bucklebury Church, Berkshire, by Sir Frank Brangwyn R.A. (1867-1956) in the Chapel of Our Lady, and a number of mural memorials
External features of note are the cusped or traceried panelling on the outerfaces of the tower buttresses, the gargoyles at the parapet of the tower, the stone heads in niches at the base of the tower, the 14th century tomb recess in the outer wall of the vestry and the sanctus bellcote on the chancel gable. The bell-cote contains a bell of 1801, placed there in 1979.
On the south side of the chancel door are 2 scratch dials – used to indicate times of services (these are just about still visible – carved into the stonework to the left of the door).
Click here to read the sad story of the Gethin family who have so many graves in Kingsland churchyard :
The Wesleyan Chapel
Worship is held alternate Sundays in the church in Kingsland at 11am
What adventures we have been experiencing!
First of all let us begin with a little history. The land for the church or chapel was donated in December 1856 and the building completed in the following year. Along with the deeds are listed the Trustees who took responsibility for the building through the years until the Methodist Church Act of 1976.
In 1957 there was a big Centenary Celebration with Russell Shearer as guest speaker. Tea followed in the village hall. The church was closed for a few years and worship held in the bungalow next door but it was re-opened in 1982. There was a very successful Kingsland Village Flower Festival held there in 1991 where all the village organizations contributed floral arrangements.
As far as we knew the building had remained unchanged apart from the addition of the porch until this day.
Along with the deeds are kept the lists of Trustees who took responsibility for the building down through the years.
In a recent quinquinnial inspection the surveyor pointed out that at some stage the chapel had been extended towards the car park by about 2-3 metres. We had never noticed! This extension proved to be the beginning of our recent adventure.
We knew the end wall was damp and we had engaged a builder to remove the render which was cracked and replace it. When the render was removed it was discovered that the wall was unstable. We engaged a structural engineer who reported that the wall was without foundation, built on soft clay mud and that the movement in the wall, which was single brick in places, had resulted in pulling the other walls inwards and snapping all but two of the ceiling hangers.
After an urgent meeting of the Circuit Stewards it was decided to proceed with all due haste to stabilise the building by removing and rebuilding the wall having first dug new foundations and installed adequate drainage. Much other work was undertaken to “jack up” the ceiling and secure double the number of ceiling hangers, replacing some of the purlins as well.
We now have a stable, dry church, newly decorated with a loo suitable for wheelchair use (we had already installed a concrete ramp) and a new kitchen!
On 23rd November 2009, we held a Public Meeting and Consultation in the Coronation Hall to gather the views of the village about the future use of the building. The minutes of this meeting are available on request.
In 2012 approval was given to create the Eco-Garden (or Community Garden)on the ground next to the Church. See under Clubs & Organisations/Community Garden for details, There is also more information here - Chapel Lane Community Garden at the Methodist Chapel Kingsland
We very much want the building to be used by the community and we are investigating the demand for a craft and chat group to meet there, an exercise and balance class for older people and a group for children and music. If you have ideas for the use of this historic and very pleasant building (we have chairs which are easily moved) do please contact Mrs Joan Lobb 01568 708223 or Rev’d Deanne Evans on 01568 613339.