History of Holmer and Shelwick

Holmer and Shelwick is a parish two miles north of Hereford.

In the 1870s Holmer and Shelwick was described as: “HOLMER, a village, a township, and a parish, in the district and county of Hereford. The village stands near the Shrewsbury and Hereford railway, 2 miles N of Hereford; and has a post office under Hereford.-The township includes Shelwick hamlet, and bears the name of Holmer and Shelwick.”

Holmer and Shelwick was founded and created in 1837, however was then abolished in 1884 and became three separate parishes, these were Holmer, Holmer Within and Breinton. Holmer Within was also created out of the parish All Saints but was later abolished in 1932 and became a part of Hereford. Holmer is now what the parish of Holmer and Shelwick is known as, although Holmer and Shelwick is still used by some as the name of this small village.

In 1881, Holmer and Shelwick had a total population of 2,154, this was made up of 1,075 males and 1,079 females. The 1881 total population is a huge increase compared to 10 years earlier when there was a total population of 1,905 in 1871.

Holmer and Shelwick Population from 1871-2011
In 2001 Holmer and Shelwick had a population of 1,427 people, with 664 males and 763 females. The total number of households during thise year were 523. The total population had decreased to 1,386 in 2011 according to the 2011 census. The 2011 total population was made up of 665 males and 721 females with a total of 535 households.

Holmer, the Parish Church of St Bartholomew

Holmer Parish Church of St Bartholomew
Holmer Parish Church of St Bartholomew

The church of St Bartholomew is the principal monument and is Grade I listed . It is built between 1180–90 in Norman and Early English styles consists of a continuous Chancel and Nave and a 13th Century detached tower, thought to be intended for defence against the Welsh. The tower is partly stone but topped with a 16th Century black and white timber belfry containing six bells, some of which are the oldest in Herefordshire.  The tower original was either unfinished or  partly destroyed; the existing timber-framed upper part was added  in the second half of the 16th century. The church has been restored in modern times, when the South Porch and West Vestry were added.

The Chancel (31 ft. by 23½ ft.) is of late 12th-century date and the original windows have concave splays. In the E. wall are two original lower windows each of a single lancet-light with chamfered internal labels, continued as a string-course round the whole church; below the sills is a second string-course also continued round the church; in the gable is an early 13th-century lancet-window with moulded jambs and external label. In the N. wall are two lancet-windows similar to the lower E. windows; both have been slightly widened; between them is the blocking of a former doorway now destroyed. In the S. wall are two original windows both subsequently altered; the eastern has two late 13th-century trefoiled lights and the western has two 14th-century trefoiled ogee lights; between them is an original doorway with chamfered jambs and round arch and hollow-chamfered imposts and label. There is no chancel-arch.

The Nave (57¼ ft. by 23 ft.) is of the same period as the chancel and has, in the N. wall, three windows, the easternmost perhaps modern and the other two original, but with the lights widened and all modern externally. In the S. wall are two windows, uniform with the western pair in the N. wall; the late 12th-century S. doorway has jambs and two-centred arch of two orders, the outer chamfered and continuous and the inner roll-moulded and interrupted by hollow-chamfered imposts; there is a restored moulded label. In the W. wall is a doorway probably modern; the 15th-century W. window is of three cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head.

The South Tower (11½ ft. square) is of three storeys, the two lower of stone and of early 13th-century date and the top storey timber-framed and covered with a pyramidal roof and probably of late 16th-century date. The ground storey has a doorway, in the E. wall, with chamfered jambs, two-centred head and label; the S. and W. walls have each a lancet-window with a chamfered label. The second storey has, in the E., S. and W. walls, a taller lancet-window, that on the S. having a chamfered label. The top storey has fairly close-set timber framing in three heights; in each wall are two square-headed openings.