Goodrich, Herefordshire

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

Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2004


GOODRICH (anciently Gutheridge) is a picturesque village and parish situated on the right bank of the river Wye, a short distance from Symond's Yat and Kerne Bridge stations on the Ross and Monmouth railway. It is distant 5 miles S.S.W. of Ross, 6 N.E. of Monmouth, 16 S.S.E. of Hereford, and 19 W. of Gloucester; is in Wormelow hundred (lower division), Ross union, county court district, and petty sessional division, and Whitchurch polling district. The population in 1861 was 796; in 1871, 780; inhabited houses, 167; families or separate occupiers, 192; area of parish, 2,420 acres; annual rateable value, £5,128: The parish comprises the townships of Goodrich, Glewstone, and Huntsham. Mrs. Marriott is lady of the manor, and owner of the old castle. The principal landowners are Mrs. Marriott, George Moffat, Esq., Colonel J.F. Vaughan, John Maurice Herbert, Esq., and Mrs. Harrison. The soil is a red sandy loam; subsoil, clay and rock; chief produce, wheat, barley, roots, and pasture.

Goodrich gives the title of Viscount to the Robinson family. The parish is in the diocese and archdeaconry of Hereford and rural deanery of Archenfield; living, a vicarage; value, £370, with residence and 35 acres of glebe; patron, the Lord Bishop of Hereford; vicar, Rev. Douglas Seaton, M.A., of Trinity College, Cambridge, who was instituted in 1875. The church, dedicated to St. Giles, is an ancient stone edifice, having a small square tower, with spire and five bells. It was probably built at the same time and by the same person as Flanesford priory. It is in very good repair, and consists of nave, chancel, porch, font, organ, and two handsome monumental marble tablets.

At the north side of the chancel still stands the founder's tomb; on its flat lid probably once reposed the effigy of Sir Richard, second Baron Talbot, who died in 1356. The sides of the tomb are wrought in pointed arches, of the Early Decorated period, to which belong also the nave, the north aisle, the tower, and the porch. The general dimensions of the interior of the building are 73 feet by 36 feet. In the upper part of the eastern window may still be seen, blazoned in the stained glass, the arms of the great Lord Talbot and those of his Countess. On the north side of the churchyard is the tomb of Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick, K.H., and his son Llewellyn.

There is an excellent national school for the parishes of Goodrich and Welsh Bicknor. It is under a certificated master; average attendance, about 70. There are several small charities belonging to the church. In this parish lived the ancestors of the famous Dean Swift, one of whom, the Rev. Thomas Swift, vicar in 1628, and grandfather to the Dean, was remarkably zealous in his endeavours to support the cause of Royalty. This drew upon him the determined enmity of the adverse party. In March 1646 be was ejected from his living; and in August his property was sequestered, and himself imprisoned.

Lord Clarendon observes that "the king received no relief that was more seasonable or acceptable than a sum of money which this clergyman had collected by mortgaging his estate, and every other means in his power, and with which he repaired to Raglan castle, whither his Majesty had retired after the battle of Naseby, in 1645, where his distress was very great, and his resources entirely cut off. The Governor (the Earl of Worcester, with whom he was acquainted, asked his errand. 'I am come', said he, 'to give his Majesty my coat'. As he took it off, the Governor pleasantly, replied, 'It is of little worth'. 'Why, then', said Swift, 'take my waistcoat'; and this being ripped, was found to contain 300 broad pieces of gold."

The chalice used in administering the sacrament at Goodrich church is the one which this admirable man carried about with him for the purpose of celebrating the Eucharist. He died in 1658. The cup was afterwards transmitted to his grandson, Dean Swift, who, in 1726, dedicated it to the service of Goodrich church for ever, as appears from an inscription engraven on the bottom of the chalice. It is still in the keeping of the vicar, and is regarded as a relic of high value. On a finely wooded promontory, round which the river Wye flows in a semi-circular direction, and about 3 miles to the south of the town of Ross, stand the massive ruins of Goodrich Castle, for a long period the residence of the Talbots, Earls of Shrewsbury.

By whom it was originally founded is unknown; though the near affinity of its name to that of Godricus Dux, who occurs as a witness to two charters granted by King Canute to the abbey of Hulen, has given rise to a not improbable conjecture that he was the person. The keep is evidently of a date antecedent to the Conquest; but the surrounding works are principally Norman, though various additions and alterations maybe distinguished of the workmanship of different periods, even down to the time of Henry VI. The earliest authenticated record concerning it is of the date 1204, when it was given by King John to William Strigul, Earl Marshal, to hold by the service of two knights' fees.

His son, Walter, Earl of Pembroke, died here in the year 1246. It was afterwards conveyed by a female to William de Valentia, Earl of Pembroke, whose third son, Aymer de Valence, became his heir, and was murdered in France in 1323. From him it passed to the Talbots, by the marriage of Elizabeth Comyn, daughter of Joan, his second sister, with Sir Richard, afterwards Lord Talbot, who procured the licence from Edward III. to have a prison here. This Richard was a renowned soldier and statesman, and is thought to have expended a considerable part of the ransoms obtained from prisoners taken by him in the French wars on the reparation and improvement of Goodrich castle. His descendant, John Talbot, the great Earl of Shrewsbury, who was killed at the battle of Chastillon in the year 1453, was first buried at Rouen, in Normandy; and in the enumeration of his titles on the monument there raised to his memory, he is styled "Lord of Goodrich and Orchenfield".

Gilbert, seventh Earl of Shrewsbury, was in possession of this castle and manor at the period of his death, in the fourteenth of James I. Elizabeth, his second daughter and co-heiress, conveyed them in marriage to Henry de Grey, Earl of Kent, in whose family they continued till the year 1740, when, on the death of Henry, Duke of Kent, they were sold to Admiral Griffin. They are now the property of Mrs. Marriott. In the civil wars between Charles I. and his Parliament it was alternately possessed by both parties. It was first occupied by the Parliament, but afterwards fell into the possession of the Royalists, who sustained a siege of nearly six weeks against Colonel Birch.

On the 25th of August 1646 the Parliament gave orders that the Countess of Kent should be informed that there was a necessity for demolishing the castle, and that on the demolishing thereof satisfaction should be made to her. On the 1st of March following, they finally resolved that the castle should be totally disgarrisoned and slighted. The breaches in the Ladies' tower were said to have been chiefly occasioned by the battering of the cannon during the siege.

In its general form this castle composes a parallelogram, measuring 156 feet by 144 feet, with a round tower at each angle, and a square keep standing in the south-west part of the enclosed area. The common thickness of the exterior walls is somewhat more than 7 feet. The keep, which is entirely detached from the rest of the ruins, stands close to the outward wall of the castle, and bad no window on the outside next the country. It is of genuine Norman masonry, and evidently had three rooms, one above the other, the lowest being a dungeon. According to local tradition, the great Lord Talbot had his private chamber in this keep.

Flanesford Priory is situated in a fertile valley, about a quarter of a mile below the castle. It was founded in 1347 by Richard, second Lord Talbot, and dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin and John the Baptist. Its occupants were Canons Regular of the Order of St. Augustine. Its revenues at the Dissolution were estimated, according to Speed, at £l5 8s. 9d. yearly. All that remains of the building is now used for farmyard purposes. Goodrich Court, the magnificent seat of George Moffat, Esq., J.P., D.L., was built in 1829 by the late Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick, under the superintendence of Edward Blore, architect. It furnishes an example of the military architecture prevalent in the early part of the 14th century - the period of transition from the Early English to the Decorated style; the former is seen to predominate, the exterior windows being mostly long, narrow, and lancet-headed, without feathering.

This unique mansion resembles an ancient fortress, and from a distance its turrets and towers present a bold and striking appearance. It is built on a rocky height which rises abruptly from the right bank of the river Wye, the north front commanding an extensive view of the beautiful valley through which that river winds its course. To the south and west, rich tracts of land, with the Monmouth hills, form scenes of varied beauty. The late Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick, K.H., was recognised as the most learned antiquary of his day in genealogies, heraldry, weapons of warfare for offence and defence, and mediaeval fortifications. With great skill and taste his magnificent collection of armour and antiquities was disposed in a suite of galleries, and arrangements were liberally made for the admission of the public.

The armoury was the largest and most complete private collection ever formed in England. The late Sir Samuel Meyrick was indefatigable as a collector, and his knowledge led him to publish the best English book on the subject, his "Critical Inquiry into Ancient Armour", in three vols. folio, 1824; and some years afterwards, the descriptive text to Shelton's engraved illustrations "of the Collections at Goodrich Court". He also arranged the collection in the Tower of London; and was throughout life the great authority on all matters connected with armour. The Goodrich collection was sold a few years ago by Lieut.-Colonel Augustus William Henry Meyrick.

The mansion was purchased by George Moffat, Esq., formerly M.P. for Southampton, in 1870. Rocklands is the seat of John, Maurice Herbert, Esq., judge of county courts (circuit 24), and deputy chairman of Herefordshire quarter sessions. It is pleasantly situated on the banks of the Wye. Pencraig Court stands on an eminence, and is the residence of the Rev. William Holt Beever, M.A. Mount Craig (Edmund Jones, Esq., M.D., J.P.), Goodrich House (Mrs. M. Peel), Glewstone Court (Lieut.-Colonel P.A. Roberton), The Yew Trees (Mrs. S. Stevenson), and The Vicarage (Rev. Douglas Seaton, M.A.) are handsome residences in this parish.

Huntsham is a township distant 1½ miles S.S.W. of the church. It is nearly surrounded by the Wye, and consists of one large farm, an inn, and a few cottages. The Symond's Yat station on the Ross and Monmouth railway is about l mile off, and there is a ferry over the Wye near Rocklands. Glewstone is a hamlet partly in Goodrich and partly in Hentland. It is distant about 2 miles N. of Goodrich church, and 3 S.W. of Ross. Pencraig is also a hamlet chiefly in Marstow parish. Harbour Farm was a Roman settlement or camp. Old Forge lies between Goodrich and Whitchurch, about I mile S.W.

POSTAL REGULATIONS.- Post Office, Goodrich; Mrs. Sarah Preece, Sub-Postmistress. Letters arrive by messenger from Ross at. 8 a.m.; despatched thereto at 6 p.m. Whitchurch and Walford are the nearest money order offices. Ross is the telegraph office and post town.- Post Office, Pencraig; Thomas James, Sub-Postmaster. Letters arrive by messenger from Ross at 7.30 a.m.; despatched thereto at 6.30 p.m. Ross is the nearest money order and telegraph office and post town.
Parish Church (St. Giles').- Rev. Douglas Seaton, M.A., Vicar; Messrs. Charles John Smith and William Preece, Churchwardens; Mr. Andrew Martin, Organist; John Hill, Parish Clerk.
National School (boys and girls.- Mr. Andrew Martin, Master; Mrs. S.A. Aucutt, Mistress.
District School (boys and girls), Glewstone.- Miss Ann Morgan, Mistress.
Symond's Yat Railway Station (Ross and Monmouth branch of Great Western Railway).- Mr. John Hunt Station Master.


Beever Rev. Wm. Holt, M.A. (honorary canon of Llandaff cathedral, and examining chaplain to the Bishop of Llandaff) Pencraig court
Herbert John Maurice, Esq., J.P. (judge of county courts-circuit 24; & deputy chairman of Herefordshire quarter sessions), Rocklands
Jones Edmund, Esq., M.D., J.P., Mount Craig
Moffat George, Esq., J.P., D.L., Goodrich court; and 103 Eaton square, London, S.W.
Peel Mrs. M., Goodrich house
Roberton Lieut.-Col. P.A., Glewstone crt.
Seaton Rev. Douglas, M.A. (vicar), The Vicarage
Stevenson Mrs. S., The Yew Trees
Banfield William, farmer, Harbour farm, Pencraig
Carter Cornelius, blacksmith, Pencraig
Cecil Thos., blacksmith and beer retailer
Clark James, mason
Clayton James, coal merchant & haulier
Collins John, Cross Keys Inn
Davis Thomas, tea and coffee rooms, near Symond's Yat railway station
Dew Walter, shopkeeper, Glewstone
Dugmore William, Glewstone
Goode William, Saracen's Head Inn, near Symond's Yat
Hatton Lewis George, farmer, Huntsham
Hill John, gardener and parish clerk, Old Forge
Hunt John, station master, Symond's Yat
Imms William, farmer, New Court farm
James Thomas, tailor and sub-postmaster, Pen craig
Lloyd George, beer retailer, butcher, and dairy farmer, Brampton Bryan farm
Lloyd John George, miller & corn dealer, Old Forge mill
Martin Andrew, schoolmaster & organist
Matthews James, blacksmith, Glewstone
Morgan Miss Ann, schoolmrs., Glewstone
Morgan Theophilus, boot and shoe maker
Morgan Titus, shoemaker, Pencraig
Moss Geo., head gardener for G. Moffat, Esq., J.P., Goodrich court
Preece Richard, farmer, Ash farm
Preece Wm., farmer, Flanesford Priory
Price Allan, carpenter, &c., Glewstone
Price Mrs. Alice, Glewstone's Boat Inn
Russell John C., Hostelrie Inn
Smith Chas. John, farmer, Bryant's court
Watkins James, butcher, Cross house
Watson Peter, gamekeeper for G. Moffat, Esq., J.P., Goodrich court
Weare Henry, gardener, Old Forge
Whittard James Butt, grocer, draper, and provision dealer; and at Whitchurch, Monmouth
Williams David, farm bailiff for Rev. W. Holt Beever, Main Oak farm
Woore Wm., haulier and cottage farmer

OCR/Transcription by Rosemary Lockie in April 2004.

This is a Genealogy Website
URL of this page:
Logo by courtesy of the Open Clip Art Library