Nothing quite prepares the visitor for Shobdon…. a complete masterpiece, English Rococo executed with confidence at a time when new churches in the Gothick style were rare.
Simon Jenkins – England’s Thousand Best Churches
The first known church at Shobdon was a timber chapel, built in Anglo Saxon times. The second was a stone church built in the 12th century, the brainchild of Oliver de Merlemond, who employed the knight Bernard to build it for him. A tower was added in the 13th century. The third and present church consisted of a completely new nave, which was built onto the 13th century tower, by the Bateman family in 1756.
The first stone structure was fascinating, mainly for its Romanesque decoration, linked to the important Herefordshire school of stone carving, the remains of which can still be seen on the hill above the church. Read more about the original church.
The current church could hardly be more different. Its bland exterior gives little clue as to what you will find within: a unique combination of Rococo and Gothic, often called ‘Strawberry Hill Gothick’, and reflecting the links between the Batemans and Horace Walpole. It is the striking blue and white interior with its wealth of ornamental arches, lavish pulpit, based on the Kent design for York Minster and extensive Gothic detailing that makes Shobdon unique among churches in Britain.
For suggestions on how you may help us to take care of this iconic building for years to come, read more about how you can help.