Our Treasures

For generations Christians have gathered in How Caple to worship. All were on a journey – so we invite you to retrace their footsteps in your exploration of this beautiful church to discover the riches that were so meaningful to them and to the present generation of Christians who worship here.

The parish of How Caple was mentioned in the domesday survey in 1090. Parts of the present Church, however, date back to 1210AD. There is evidence that there was once an earlier Church. In 1210 the Caple family lived in the Court next door, since when only two families have lived there: the Gregorys and the Lees.

In the late 17th Century, Sir William Gregory bought the estate from the last of the Caples. Sir William was the son of a local vicar, and a distinguished lawyer, M.P. for Hereford and Speaker of the House of Commons. Sir William began to restore the Church in 1691. Two years later he resurfaced and largely rebuilt the Nave and the South Porch. He also added the transept, known as the Gregory Chapel.

The Gregory Family Arms

The Gregorys are commemorated in this Chapel and you will find the Arms of this family on the outside of the tower.

The Preedy Window

The Gregory Chapel also contains unusual stained glass that includes the ‘Preedy window’.

The Norman Font

The 13th century Norman Font – the place where our Christian journey begins in baptism – has been placed near the entrance to the Vestry. Its octagonal bowl is carved with foliage, stylised flowers, fleur-de-lys, square and diagonal patterns and an Agnus Dei. The carved wooden cover was given by Lennox Lee in 1938.

The Jacobean Font

The Jacobean Font is now in the West Porch by the main door into the Church.

The present Chancel dates from the 13th Century. The Nave was built in the first half of the 14th Century, when the South Porch (now the Vestry) was added.

This leads you into the body of the church- the Nave which, in the medieval times would have been assigned to the laity and would have been the place where the community would meet together.

The church roof is late 17th Century, and the nave contains a number of features of the church. These include the pulpit made in 1630 with a sounding board copied from that in Christchurch Cathedral in Oxford. From here, the Word of God is preached to nurture the faithful of successive generations.

The Nave is also the place of remembering, holding within it five monuments, dedicated to the memory of those members of the Lee family who were killed between 1915 and 1921- a most tragic decimation of the family.

There is also a Roll of Honour on which are commemorated the thirteen men who died in the Great War. A great many for such a tiny parish and fittingly there is a modern window as a Memorial to the men of How Caple who lost their lives in the Great War.

Of the remaining Nave windows, four are by A J Davies of the Bromsgrove Guild and are excellent examples of modern work, whilst the North window has some fragments of 14th Century glass.

The Parliament Clock

An unusual feature added to the Nave in 1939 is the Parliament Clock dated 1793. These clocks were introduced so that the general public should know the time after a tax on clocks was passed by Parliament.

Chancel Arch

The screen in the Chancel Arch is Jacobean and very unusual. It shows the Arms of William and Mary as a token of Sir William Gregory’s acceptance of the “bloodless revolution” of 1688. It is believed that this carving is by Grinling Gibbons who also did work at Holme Lacy, not far away.

As you pass through the screen you enter the Chancel with its lovely early 16th century roof which was lowered in 1887. This is regarded as the most sacred part of the church.

The Altar

Above the altar is the East Window. It represents the Church’s two Patron Saints- St. Andrew and St Mary- the crests of the three families who, since 1200, have owned the How Caple Estate together with the patronage of the living: the Caples, the Gregorys and the Lees.

Above the Choir stall is the diptych near the Alter painted on wood. It is glowing with gold in colour, probably the two side wings of a triptych. It was brought to England from the Netherlands by the Lee family and given to the Church some hundred or more years ago. It is probably Flemish, of the 15th Century, and a treasure for the Church.

The parish was united with Sollershope in 1743 and close links exist to this day. Sir Richard Whittington, thrice Lord Mayor of London, came from Sollershope. How Caple with Sollershope is part of the combined benefice of 6 local parishes. There are normally three services each month, the first at 8am, the 2nd at 9,30, and the 4th at 11,15am. The Rector, Rev. Crispin Pemberton can be contacted on 07824 444 655. The How Caple Church is both, a much loved parish Church as well as a popular venue for weddings!

Sir William Gregory

GREGORY, Sir WILLIAM (1624-1696), judge, was the second and only surviving son of the Rev. Robert Gregory, vicar of Fownhope and rector of Sutton St. Nicholas, Herefordshire, by his wife Anne, daughter of John Harvey of Broadstone, Gloucestershire. He was born 1 March 1624, and was educated at Hereford Cathedral school. There appears to be no foundation for the statement that he became a member of All Souls' College, Oxford, and was elected a fellow as his father had been before him. He entered the society of Gray's Inn in 1640, and in 1650 was called to the bar. He joined the Oxford circuit, on which, as at Westminster, he soon obtained an extensive practice. He acquired several lucrative stewardships of manors in his native county, became recorder of Gloucester in 1672, and in the following year was elected a bencher of Gray's Inn. In 1677 he was made serjeant-at-law, and at a by-election in 1678 he was returned member of parliament for Weobly, Herefordshire. He was re-elected to the new parliament of 1679, and, after the king had three times refused to confirm the election of Edward Seymour as speaker, was proposed for that office by Lord Russell. Gregory begged the house to select a more experienced member, but when led to the chair by his proposer and seconder offered no resistance. As speaker he is stated to have been firm, temperate, and impartial, but he held the post for a few months only, as on the death of Sir Timothy Littleton in April 1679 he was appointed to his place as a baron of the exchequer, and was knighted. The trial of Sir Miles Stapleton for high treason took place before Gregory and Sir William Dolben [q.v.] in 1681. In Michaelmas term 1685 Gregory was discharged from his office for giving a judgement against the king's dispensing power, and in the next year was removed by royal mandate from his recordership. He was returned to the city of Hereford as a member of the convention of 1689, but gave up his seat on being appointed a judge of the king's bench. As a judge he was distinguished for his firmness and integrity. In his later years he was greatly afflicted with stone, which in the winter of 1694 confined him to his room for three months. He died in London 28 May 1696, and was buried in the parish church of his manor of How Capel, Herefordshire. Gregory had purchased this manor in 1677 and built the southern transept of the church, know as the Gregory Chapel, as a burying-place for himself and his family. He also bought the manor and advowson of Solers Hope, and the manor of Fownhope, but he resided chiefly in London. Besides largely rebuilding the church at How Capel, he gave a garden in Bowsey Lane, Hereford, for the benefit of the Lazarus Hospital. In 1653 Gregory became the third husband of Katharine Smith, by whom he was father of two children: James who married Elizabeth Rodd and died in 1691, and Katharine, who died in infancy. His descendants in the male line failed in 1789.. Talk up your brand.

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© 2021 Friends Of How Caple Church.  Charity Number: 1202508

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