Much Marcle

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Much Marcle
St. Bartholomew's church, Much Marcle - - 895988.jpg
St. Bartholomew's parish church
Much Marcle is located in Herefordshire
Much Marcle
Much Marcle
Much Marcle shown within Herefordshire
Population 660 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference SO6532
Civil parish
  • Much Marcle
Unitary authority
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Ledbury
Postcode district HR8
Dialling code 01531
Police West Mercia
Fire Hereford and Worcester
Ambulance West Midlands
EU Parliament West Midlands
UK Parliament
Website Much Marcle
List of places
51°59′30″N 2°29′58″W / 51.99169°N 2.49948°W / 51.99169; -2.49948Coordinates: 51°59′30″N 2°29′58″W / 51.99169°N 2.49948°W / 51.99169; -2.49948

Much Marcle is a village and civil parish in Herefordshire, England, between Ross-on-Wye and Ledbury. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 660.[1] The name Marcle comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for a boundary field, mearc-leah.[2] Much, in this case, means large or great, from the Middle English usage of the word.

Historic village[edit]

The Kyrle Tomb, Much Marcle Church
Second World War Memorial in St Bartholomew's parish church

The Church of England parish church of St Bartholomew is 13th-century[3] with historic carvings and an ancient 'hollow' yew tree thought to be at least 1500 years old.[4] The church contains the tomb of Blanche Mortimer, of the dynasty of Marcher Lords, the Mortimers; the tomb bears the Mortimer coat of arms. She married Peter de Grandison.

The Kyrle Tomb is located in the centre of the chapel of Much Marcle Church. The recumbent effigies are those of Sir John Kyrle of nearby Homme House and his wife Sybil Scudamore. Sir John was born in 1568 and served as High Sheriff of the county in 1609. He was created a baronet in 1627. Later he protested against the payment of Ship Money, and in the English Civil War his sympathies lay with the Parliamentarians. He died in 1650.

Hellens Manor,[5] which is in the centre of Much Marcle, is a monument to much of England’s history. In 1096 the manor was granted by King William II to Hamelin de Balun,[6] whose family later witnessed the signing of the Magna Carta. It contains a wealth of period furnishings, paintings and decorations, as well as a Tudor garden. The Manor plays is open to the public and provides a venue for educational, musical and literary events the year round.

The other principal seat is Homme House, surrounded by ancient parkland. There are also two ruined medieval castles in the parish. One is Mortimer's Castle, also known as Much Marcle Castle. The second is Ellingham Castle which is situated at Quarry Wood.[7]

The Wonder[edit]

About three miles north-north west of the village, on the eastern face of Marcle Ridge, a massive landslip, estimated at 60,000 cubic metres, took place over three days starting on 17 February 1575. Named "The Wonder", it was so large that full-grown trees were carried down the slope onto an adjoining property. In his book The Natural History of Selborne, Gilbert White (1720–93) quotes the words of John Philips:

I nor advise, nor reprehend the choice
Of Marcley Hill; the apple nowhere finds
A kinder mould; yet 'tis unsafe to trust
Deceitful ground; who knows but that once more
This mount may journey, and his present site
Forsaken, to thy neighbour's bounds transfer
Thy goodly plants, affording matter strange
For law debates!

In Victorian times, people came from far and wide to view "The Wonder". It is shown on the Ordnance Survey map at reference SO6236, but on the ground the site is not readily discernible.[8]

Farming traditions[edit]

Notable local farms include the Bounds, home of Weston's Cider and the multi award-winning "Scrumpy House Restaurant". Other principal farms include Chandois, Street Farm, Great Moor Court, Bickerton, Gammage Ford, Caerswall, Upper Woltan, Walls End and Noggin, all of which are of ancient origin but with buildings dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. Many of the ancient cottages that appear in the 18th century maps no longer exist, although there are several good examples of "black and white" half-timbered buildings that have survived, especially in the village's main street.

In 2012 Noggin Farm won the Flavours of Herefordshire "Sausage of the Year."[9]

Modern times[edit]

The village has a Church of England primary school next to the church's property and a local cider and perry mill producing Weston's brands.

Notable people[edit]

Much Marcle is the birthplace of the serial killer Fred West, and where he buried three of his victims: his nanny Anne McFall and their unborn child, in 1967; and his first wife, Rena, in 1970.[10]


  1. ^ "Area: Much Marcle (Parish): Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  2. ^ W. St C. Baddeley (1916). "Hereford Place-Names" (PDF). Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society. Retrieved 18 September 2015. 
  3. ^ "Much Marcle Church (C) Philip Halling :: Geograph Britain and Ireland". Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "Yew Tree, St. Bartholomew's Church, Much... (C) Bob Embleton :: Geograph Britain and Ireland". 15 October 2005. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Hellens Manor (C) Bob Embleton :: Geograph Britain and Ireland". 15 October 2005. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  6. ^ Sanders, English Baronies, states the manor to have been granted by Henry I (1100–35), p. 66
  7. ^ "Ellingham Castle, Much Marcle at the Gatehouse Gazetteer". 20 November 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  8. ^ Probably the best place to view it is by the road junction at map reference SO634365. Take the track leading south-south west uphill from this junction. This track was created since the landslip occurred, and slices through the edge of the landslip. On the left there is a drop of about 10 feet to the adjacent field, and on the right is a 6½ feet-high cross-section to the slip, above which is a patch of rough ground on the top of the slip.
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ Ferguson, Euan (14 February 2004). "There's nobody home...". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 

External links[edit]