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Our business name is ...

St Michael
  Our business activity is ...

Christian religion
Sollershope
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 name Sollershope derives from the family of Norman Knights called de Solers owning the valley in the 11 th , 12 th and 13 th centuries – their name is perpetuated in the other four places:- Sollers Dilwyn, Bridge Sollars, Hopton Sollers, and Neen Sollers in Shropshire.

The de Solers family inherited Hope through marriage and inheritance from Ansfrid de Cormeilles, the Norman of rank who was granted 20 manors at the time of the Norman conquest in 1066. Seven of these manors were in Herefordshire and thirteen in Gloucestershire. Sollershope must have been one of the most important, for in the Domesday Book, 1086, twelve slaves are noted here (more than anywhere else in the area) and one soldier. Sollershope and Pauntley in Gloucestershire were inherited from a Cormeilles grandmother in 1260, and these manors in turn were inherited by Sir John de Solers' daughter and heiress in 1311. She was married to a William Whittington and the Whittington family then owned the valley for over 200 years until 1546.

The building of the Church is believed to have been financed by Robert Whittington, Member of Parliament and High Sheriff of Gloucester. His son Guy commanded a Company of Archers at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.

His younger brother of Dick was three times Lord Mayor of London in 1397, 1406 and 1419. As the 5th son of a Member of Parliament, he was not from the poor family as described in legend. However, his father was made an outlaw in 1357 so it was likely that he brought his wife to the remote, isolated and fortified hamlet of Sollershope for the child to be born. Dick eventually became one of the first merchant bankers in London, and lent money to the Kings Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V.

The church was dedicated to St Michael in 1390. It is built of sandstone with a timber bell-cote of oak panels and oak shingles and is on the site of a Saxon and early Norman church. The surprisingly lofty interior has a fine barrelled roof and consists of a nave and chancel. The windows have remnants of medieval glass, representing the arms of Whittington and Staunton. The two-sided pulpit is 17 th Century. When the Church was restored in 1887 the tombstones on the floor of the chancel were removed to the porch, and the Chancel floor tiled. These tiles show the arms of the City of London, and the shield of Dick Whittington, Lord Mayor of London. His shield shows the cadency mark of an amulet, a small circle denoting a 5 th son, with the arms of Whittington. The corbels at the west end of the church supporting the weight of the tower show four heads. On the south side the man has a forked beard as worn by Saxons. This may represent Hagene, the Saxon freeman who was dispossessed in 1066. On the north side the face resembles a portrait of Richard Whittington. The font dates from c1120 and so remains from the very small early Norman Church.

The tump, north-east of the Church, had a small castle with the brook forming wet defences all round. This brook joins the River Wye at How Caple. Snowdrops grow on its little bays and promontories and cowslips grow in the churchyard. The old Churchyard Cross has a medieval base. The Preaching Crosses were used in churchyards so that congregations were in the open air at the time of the Black Death. It is our War Memorial for eight men lost in the Great War 1914-1918.

 
 


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