Hoarwithy is a chapelry attached to Hentland Parish Church. The original chapel was built in 1840 by the efforts of the Reverend Thomas Hutchinson, curate in charge of Hentland parish. The foundation stone was laid by Miss Catherine Hoskyns of Harewood (later Mrs. Hawkshaw)
Prebendary William Poole was appointed vicar of the Parish of Hentland in 1854. In 1870 he inherited the family property of Homend, Ledbury and started to beautify the Chapel, which he considered "An ugly brick building with no pretensions to any style of architecture". To do this he put aside rents from property he owned in the North Country. His friend Seddon, who designed the Vicarage and School at Hentland, was to be an architect.
The old chapel was not pulled down, but had its brick walls completely encased with local red sand. The line of the old wall can be seen by the offset on the outside of the North wall of the church. An Apse was built at the East End of the church to form the present sanctuary. Local masons were employed initially but later on skilled workmen were brought in from all parts to build the interior.
The seasoned oak for the sanctuary stalls came from Poole's Homend estate and was carved by Harry Hems of Exeter under his close scrutiny. The figures on the Choir stalls represent British Saints of the district - Saint Weonard, Saint David, Saint Cynog, Saint Tysilio and the panels on the ends of the stalls and prayer desk depict scenes in the life of Saint Dubricius, Patron saint of the Mother Church at Hentland: - the birth of Dubricius, the saint exorcising the devil (who takes the form a bat) from a sick person and some miracle connected with the broaching of a cask of wine; the carver's name is on the end of the barrel. Instead of poppy head finials on the prayer desk, there are biblical figures. One group represents Isaac blessing Joseph's two sons, but Isaac's hands are not crossed, as they should be.
The four central pillars supporting the ceiling of the domed apse is of French and Cornish marble and rest on solid bases of porphyry. The capitals are deeply carved. The two floor slabs are of pale green and white marble with a deep red purple rim bordered mosaic. The white marble altar is inlaid with Lapis Lazuli, the central cross being of Chrysolite (Tiger-Eye).
The Pulpit, similar to the one in Fiesole Cathedral near to Florence, is made of white marble with three panels green marble porphyry.
The Font belongs to the original chapel and, hidden by the organ, installed in what used to be the vestry is tesserae of a large peacock. The Hanging Lamps are copies of those in Saint Mark's Cathedral, Venice. They were stolen in 1974 and to disguise them, the thief cut off the books held by the lions of Saint Mark bearing the inscription "Fiat Lux". The lamps came from Italy and were ordered at an Italian exhibition in London. Originally they were intended to have wicks floating in oil, but were altered to burn paraffin.
The ceiling over the altar has a mosaic of Christ in glory holding an orb in one hand and giving a blessing with the other. The robe is in blue and red, surrounded with gold tesserae. A workman from Saint Paul's cathedral came to Hoarwithy to put this in.
Originally the Church was heated by a hypercaust system as favoured by the Romans many centuries ago. The Church is now heated by much more mundane methods.
The Cathedral of Le Puy in France gave the inspiration for the Church's interior and many of the carvings are copies from Saint Vitale at Ravenna in Italy. The outer cloister is like that of Loan Cathedral, France. The carved capitals are of grotesque birds and beasts.
It was intended to decorate the walls in harmony with the roof of which
the ceiling King Posts and Tie Beams were decorated by George Fox.
The stained glass windows represent types of our Lord in the Patriarchs
and prophets of the Old Testament commencing with Adam and Eve. Above are
the Archangels. The two side lights represent Judah and Levi. The five
stained glass windows in the Apse are a memorial to Prebendary Poole.
They were designed by Seddon, made by H.G. Murray of London and installed
by John Gunter. As Poole admired the colours of the windows in the North
transept of Hereford Cathedral the design was made with these colours in
mind. The central light is of Our Lord as the light of the World "Lux Mudi"
flanked by Saints, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Service of dedication
took place on 23rd February 1904.
A group of enthusiastic volunteers, led by Sir Richard Mynors and with the technical expertise of professional organ Builder David Gallichan, removed the old organ, dismantled the Brampton Abbotts "Nicholson and Lord" organ and rebuilt it in St. Catherines. We now have the second largest organ in the Benefice. An added benefit is that the Tesserole of a Peacock, which was hidden by the previous organ, is now visible after almost 90 years.