Dorstone, Herefordshire

Extract from Littlebury's Directory and Gazetteer of Herefordshire, 1876-7
with Private and Commercial Residents

Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2004

DORSTONE is an extensive parish and village situated on the river Doyer, at the opening of the Golden valley, about 6 miles E. of Hay and 15 W. of Hereford; is in Webtree hundred, Hay union and county court district, Bredwardine petty sessional division, and is a polling place for county elections. The population in 1861 was 547; in 1871, 494; inhabited houses, 109; families or separate occupiers, 109; area of parish, 4,5142 acres; annual rateable value, £4,286. The Rev. Sir George Henry Cornewall, Bart., of Moccas court, and the Principal and Fellows of Jesus College, Oxford, are owners of the manorial rights in Dorstone. The principal landowners are Rev. Sir G.H. Cornewall, Bart., Rev. Thomas Powell, Thomas W. Higgins, Esq., Mrs. Maddy, J. Lawrence, Esq., John Austin Carwardine, Esq., Mr. Richard Williams, and others. The soil is sandy and loamy; subsoil, clay and sandstone; chief crops, wheat, beans, barley, oats, and roots.

The river Dore, Doyer, or Dwyr, takes its source in the Golden well in this parish, and in which tradition states a fish to have been caught with a golden ring in its gills. It is expected that Dorstone will soon have the advantages of railway communication, a new line having been proposed for the Golden valley to join the Great Western main line at Pontrilas. The line (if made) will prove a great boon to the inhabitants of this outlying agricultural district. Dorstone is in the diocese and archdeaconry of Hereford and rural deanery of Weobley; living, a rectory; value, £408, with residence and 38 acres of glebe; patron and rector, Rev. Thomas Powell, M.A., who was instituted in 1842.

The church of St. Faith was erected in the year 1171 by Ricardus de Brito, and was dedicated by him ex voto to St. Faith, as an atonement for the share which he took in the murder of Thomas à Becket. It is a large and handsome stone building, in a good state of repair, with a square embattled tower of Norman architecture, containing four bells. It has nave, chancel, porch, font, and several monuments and tablets. A beautiful new stone pulpit, elaborately wrought, has been presented by J. Trumper, Esq. The parish registers begin with the year 1733. There is a national school for boys and girls with about 60 scholars. It was enlarged in 1872 at a cost of £177, raised by subscription. The charities belonging to the parish amount to about £20 yearly. The Primitive Methodists have a chapel here erected in 1864. Arthur's Stone is situated in this parish, on the summit of a range of hills that extends from Whitfield to Bredwardine, and about 2 miles from its N.W. termination.

Arthur's Stone is a corruption of Thor-Stein, the Stone of Thor, or Thor's Altar, from which also the parish takes its name, Thorstein, or Dorstone. It is close the south-western side to an ancient road, probably British (as most of the British roads ran along the summits of the hills), in the angle proved by another ancient road that comes up the hill to Dorstone, and is now only used as a bridle-road. The lower end of this road has been worn away, by traffic and water to a great depth, about 12 feet, and is now impassable. This monument is due north of the Skirred-fawr, 15 miles as the crow flies, which crow in his flight northwards would pass over successively the following places, viz., The Camp, on the southernmost point of the Hatterall hill, Old castle, Longtown castle, Urishhay, and Snodhill castles.

It consists of several stones - about eighteen to be counted now, besides fragments. The chief feature is the large horizontal stone broken into three parts, and resting on about ten smaller upright stones of various dimensions. Its form at present is somewhat oval, with two straight sides; E. and W.; two irregular sides, the one at the N. end somewhat curved, with a point at the N. extremity, and evidently much worn by time; and the other at the S. end short, and plainly the result of fracture. Its long axis is due N. and S., measuring 19 feet; the short axis, E. and W., is 12 feet. The N. end, as above stated, is irregular and curved. The S. end narrow (4 feet) and fractured. The W. side, straight, is 15 feet, and the E. side 13 feet. The greatest thickness is rather more than 2 feet.

The ground has been hollowed out under the stone to the depth of about 4 feet from its under surface, though, of course, this is much less than it was formerly, owing to washings and débris of various kinds that have filled up the hollow. Eight feet from the S. end of the large stone is an upright one, 5 feet high and 5 feet 6 inches broad, standing with its edges E. and W. A little further on is another similar but smaller stone. Several fragments are scattered about. At the N. end of the large stone is a small avenue of five or six stones, standing erect, with their edges N. and S., and leading from the stone to the old road. They now stand from 1 to 3 feet above the turf, and the avenue is in width about 4 feet, in length 2 or 3 yards or more.

Numerous fragments lie scattered about, half or entirely buried by the turf. The whole is situated on a mound or embankment of oval shape, its long axis 20 yards, its short axis 10 yards. It was probably a sacrificial stone for grand national occasions, and if not the work of the ancient Britons, was that of their predecessors in this country. A splendid panoramic view is obtained from the hill on which this cromlech is situated, more especially from that part of the hill "Maerbach", commonly known as Merbage Point, and from whence may be seen parts of nine counties, together with a long reach, and the Wye valley and river. A Druidical remain, about 5 or 6 feet long, and resembling an effigy, was found on the Llan farm about two or three years ago, and is worthy the attention of the antiquary. There was formerly in this parish a castle, the origin of which does not appear to be recorded. The ruins of a watch tower, formerly belonging to Snodhill castle, are still to be seen.

POSTAL REGULATIONS.- Miss Jane Lewis, Sub-Postmistress. Letters arrive from Hereford via Peterchurch at 10.40 a.m.; despatched at 3.30 p.m. Peterchurch is the nearest money order office. Post town, Hereford.
Parish Church (St. Mary's).- Rev. Thomas Powell, M.A., Rector; Messrs. Henry Medlicott and Andrew Andrews, Churchwardens; George Harris, Parish Clerk.
National School (boys and girls).- Mr. George Harris, Master; Mrs. Harris, Mistress.
Primitive Methodist Chapel.- Ministers various.
Carrier to Hereford.- Thomas Maddox, every Wednesday and Saturday; leaves about 7 a.m. and returns about 10 p.m. the same day.
Carwardine John Austin, Esq., The Llan
Field Mr. William Court house
Jones Miss Maria, Court house
Powell Rev. Thomas, M.A., J.P., D.L. (rector and patron of Dorstone, and rector of Turnastone), The Rectory
Andrews Andrew, farmer, Cwm farm, Drain and Nant-y-bar farms
Andrews John, farmer, Llanavon and Lodge farms
Andrews William, farmer, Beddow farm
Beavan William, miller, Cwm mills
Bengough Francis, cot. farmer, Devil's nest
Brick William Morris, grocer, draper, baker, butcher, &c.
Carwardine J. Austin, farmer and landowner, The Man farm and the Scarr
Davies Andrew, farmer, Court farm
Davies Andrew, farmer, Pen-y-lan
Davies Mrs. Hannah, blksmith., Penpound
Davies Henry, miller, Dorstone mill
Davies William, road surveyor for Bredwardine highway district and farmer, Llanavon
Farr William, farmer, The Bage
Hammond Mrs., Bridge Inn, and blacksmith, Bage
Harris Geo., schoolmaster and parish elk.
Holl Robert, farmer, Bell farm; res., Rock villa, Winforton
Hughes Charles, boot and shoe maker
Jones George, farmer, Bage
Jones Henry, farmer, Llanach farm
Jones William, cot. farmer, Tredomine
Lewis Jane, sub-postmistress and shopkeeper
Lewis William, farmer, Brynspard
Lloyd Thomas, farmer, Commonbach
Maddox Thos., carrier & frmr., Gannols
Maddy Philo P., farmer, Fomine
Medlicott Thomas, farmer, Great house
Meredith Thos., farmer, Mynydd-brydd
Minton James, shoemaker, Rose cottage
Phillips James, farmer, Pitt farm
Pikes Samuel, wheelwright and carpenter, Penpound
Price Samuel, blacksmith
Price William, farmer, Bodcot farm
Prosser Enoch, wheelwright, carpenter, and machinist, Pump house
Reece Jonathan, farmer, Pen-y-lan
Seborne John, farmer, Pentwyn
Thomas George, farmer, Pen-y-moor
Williams Francis, farmer, Bell farm
Williams Richard, farmer and landowner, Upper and Lower Crossway

OCR/Transcription by Rosemary Lockie in March 2004.

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