Some historical notes on Allensmore

Unlike Chingstone (Kingstone), Wilehalls (Winnal), Thruxton and Cobewell (Cobhall), Allensmore does not appear in the Domesday Book as it didn’t exist then. A transcript from the book states:

“In Dunre Hundred the same Roger De Lacey holds Cobewell. Alward held it and could betake himself whither he would. There is one hide geldable. Girold holds it of Roger. On the demesne he has 2 ploughs and 4 borders with 1 hide and 9 serfs and bondwomen. Together it was worth 50 shillings, now as much”

Allensmore appeared in the 13th century:

“Alan de Plokenet, or Plugenet inherited Kilpeck Castle in 1269. One of his main claims to fame was reclaiming from waste a large portion of the Haywood. This redeemed tract forms part of the parish of Allensmore (“Alan’s moor”)

Allensmore hits the headlines

Allensmore’s moment of greatest notoriety came in 1605 when it provided the spark for a 6 week uprising by Catholic recusants (those who refused to attend C of E services), which came to be called “The Herefordshire Commotion”

South-west Herefordshire was a staunchly Catholic area, and Allensmore had a Catholic landlord, John Seabourne of Sutton St Michael and the powerful influence of a seminary priest, Roger Cadwallader, who ministered in Allensmore, Hungerstone, Thruxton, Winnal, Treville, Wormbridge and Kilpeck…….

On 20th May, Alice Wellington, a Catholic, died excommunicate from the Church of England, and was therefore refused burial in the churchyard by the Vicar of Allensmore, Richard Heyns. At 5a.m. On Tuesday 21st May he was woken by a funeral procession of between 40 and 50 people. By the time he was up and dressed the ceremony was nearly over and the Alice’s body was in the ground. His indignant protests were met with rude responses and threats to his person. So he rushed off to the Bishop’s palace to report the scandal, doubtless mindful of the fact that when the Church Commission had visited the parish the previous year he was forced to admit that he had not preached a service since Christmas, and very few before then. This time he was not going to be found at fault. He told the Bishop that he had recognised, among others, Philip Giles of Winnal, James Cole of Hungerstone and William Chadnor, a weaver.

On 24th May, George Wealond, High Constable of the Hundred came with a warrant from the Bishop. He and his men arrested James Cole and William Chadnor, but both struggled furiously and escaped Cole having cut and stabbed two of his captors. The Constable ended up with one prisoner, Leonard Marsh, who struggled and resisted nearly all the way back to the city, until he was rescued by almost 50 men armed with sword, bows and arrows, staves and bills. When the Constable saw this mob, he decided that discretion was the better part of valour and handed over his prisoner.

Church and State, fearing a major Catholic rebellion in SW Herefordshire, reacted to further outbursts with raids on and arrests of gentry, farmers and villagers. They encountered resistance, attempted ambushes and abandoned village homes, full of evidence of Catholic worship, whose occupants had fled, probably to Wales. After 6 weeks the “Commotion” died down, when the recusants found themselves leaderless and priestless, thanks to arrests and/or departures.

It is claimed that these events led to the Gunpowder Plot in November that year. So an Allensmore funeral lead to a attempt to blow up Parliament!

Early in the 17th century, apart from the gentry and farmers, the local population of the whole area was desperately poor, and Allensmore Winnal, Hungerstone and Thruxton were squatters villages, with hovels strung out singly along the lanes. There was no real village centre and this pattern survives today, although with fewer “hovels”!

In 1725 the manor was bought by Edward Pateshall, who built Allensmore Court – next to what is now Home Farm – which was demolished in 1957.

The poverty of the 17th century was still in evidence in the early 19th. Many people were said to be flax and hemp spinners – actually they mostly begged, gleaned fields and pillaged orchards and gardens. The Commons of Cobhall Winnal Hungerstone and Arkstone were enclosed by Act of Parliament in 1811.

In Lascelles Directory of 1851 Allensmore was a “populous village” and Cobhall Common was “Cobble Common”. In Littlebury’s Herefordshire of 1876 it was “an extensive and populous parish. Evan Pateshall is Lord of the Manor and chief landowner. The soil is gravel, subsoil mare. Chief crops are wheat, barley, fruit and turnips.”

Population of Allensmore
  • 1842 – 670
  • 1861 – 612
  • 1871 – 603 (147 houses)
  • 1881 – 579
  • 1891 – 520 (142 houses)
  • 1901 – 480
  • 1911 – 480
  • 1921 – 502
  • 1931 – 459
  • 1971 – 441
  • 1981 – 446 (156 houses)
  • 2001 – 552
  • 2011 –        (213 houses)

Oldest house – Little Cobhall Farm, a cruck-framed late medieval hall.

Allensmore School

Site donated by Evan Pateshall in 1870. It was a church school, which cost £800 to build. It had a capacity of 100 pupils and had an average attendance of 65. It was closed in 1958, to become our Village Hall.

Church of St Andrew

Mainly 14th century, but Norman south doorway. 15th century tower with peal of 6 bells.

Oak porch added in 1857. East window has fragments of blue, green and gold glass, said to be from the cathedral. South wall has large early 14th c window with three trefoiled lights, one of only two in the county. Roof of nave and chancel is 14th c trussed rafters. The church was restored in 1880 at a cost of £1000, largely donated by Evan Pateshall. The family vault is in the vestry.

  • A History of Hereford – Victoria County History Series
  • History of the Mansions and Manors of Herefordshire – Robinson
  • Whitsun Riot – Roland Mathias