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Our business name is ...

St Mary
  Our business activity is ...

Christian religion
Foy
Ross-on-Wye
Herefordshire
Contact:
The Reverend Sarah Geach
Position: Team Vicar
Tel: 01989 562 010
E-Mail: sarah.geach@rtm.org.uk
About Us...

The first church on this remarkably well chosen site was first consecrated after 1050, and probably after 1066, and was dedicated to St Tvyoi or Ffwy. As the Normans refused to recognise Celtic saints, they turned this into St Faith (french - Foi), and later into St Mary. It was served then by the priest of St Tysillio's Church, Sellack. All that remains of Foy's first church are a few stones in the North doorway and the broken font and stoup in the churchyard.

The second church is represented by the North wall of sandstone rubble, the chancel with its fine arch, and the narrow lancet, which is now to the left of the altar. But the church as we know it refects the prosperity of the High Middle Ages in the 14th century, with its South wall, tower and ashlar, or well cut stone, the (unusually) remaining floor of its rood-loft, delicately carved, and its ten-sided font, with the largest bowl in the county.

Foy, so little known today, has had its links with the great world. Outside, on the arch of the Northwest window, is the head of a bishop. He could be St Thomas Cantilupe and the lady to his right his sister Juliana, wife to Sir Robert de Tregoz, of the vanished castle opposite, over the Wye. He was killed at Evesham, fighting for constitutional reform with Simon de Montfort - his hands and revenues therefore forfeit to the Crown, Juliana's son was known as "John the Poor" and his uncle, the Bishop, gave him Holme Lacy. What other bishop has had a special link with Foy? What other lady could be carved next to the Bishop - and in 13th century style?

The altar-tomb behind the pulpit, of cathedral standard with its cusped canopy and little piscina, or drain, for the mass-priest's use, on the sill, is almost certainly that of Sir Hugh Waterton, once Chamberlain to the last Duke of Lancaster, Earl of Derby and Hereford, who in 1399 usurped the throne as Henry IV. In 1397 Henry had entrusted the three youngest of his six motherless children to Waterton at Hole-in-the-Wall. Thither, from London, came a Latin grammar for Humphrey, aged 7, and zither strings and ABC books for the two little girls. Blanche, then 5, was married at 10 to the Duke of Bavaria (and died at 14). Phillipa, then barely 3, was married at 12 to King Eric of Denmark. Humphrey, later Duke of Gloucester, is chiefly remembered for the superb library he built at Oxford.

Thirty years later the Abrahalls appear as Lords of the Manor, but not as important figures on the national scene. They filled the walls and floor of the Chancel with their monuments, and nine members held the benefice successively (with only two interuptions) from 1642 till 1937, under the names of Abrahall, Jones, Aubrey and Wilton - surely a record!

John Abrahall, whose father built him, in 1616, a fine Jacobean mansion at Ingestone, was the greatest lay benefactor of the village. He endowed three almshouses across te river, the finely proposrtioned pulpit dates from his time, and he left money to rebuild the East wall, and put in it a window copied from Sellack's East window - a bequest delayed for 35 years by defaulting executors. His initials are on the East gable. The Abrahall heraldic 'urchin' (or hedgehog) is carved under the ceiling of the screen.

 
 


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