St Bartholomew's, Richard's Castle

The church, perched high above the village, is adjacent to one of the earliest ‘marcher castles’ built in the mid 11th century to defend the Anglo-Welsh border. The large church is mainly 12th century and has, to its east a detached bell-tower, built about 1400 probably as part of the castle’s defences. It is, however, the unrestored quality of much of the interior, its muted and faded colours as well as the architectural vistas that make this building so beautiful and quietly atmospheric. There are marvellous furnishings including Georgian box pews, a gallery and a 17th century canopied pew for the Salweys, Lords of the Manor, and still used by them at the two or three services held each year. On a clear day there are breath-taking views from the porch to the Black Mountains, Malvern and Shropshire Hills.  To the east of the church is a detached tower dating from the 14th century. Some restoration was carried out on it during the 19th century. It has a square plan and is surmounted by a slate pyramidal roof with a weathervane. The tower is in three stages. In the lowest stage is an arched entrance on the west side. There are square-headed windows in the east and south sides in both the lowest and the middle stages. The upper stage contains two-light arched bell openings on the north, south and east sides. The tower has been designated separately as a Grade I listed building.   Below the west window is a tiered set of benches, reached by an oak stair, erected for a church choir or musicians. The benches look east onto a nave filled with wonderful Georgian box pews.  The nave incorporates Norman stonework, with a pair of Romanesque windows in the north wall, and a chancel, north and south transepts were added in the 14th century in Decorated style. The beautifully traceried east window has been dated to around 1350, while at the opposite end of the church, set into the west wall of the nave, is a very large Perpendicular window of the 15th century.