EARDISLEY (anciently Herdesleg) is an extensive parish and pleasant village bounded on the south by the river Wye, having a railway station on the Hereford, Hay, and Brecon branch of the Midland railway, and on the newly-opened lines between Eardisley and Leominster, Kington, and Presteigne, which are worked by the Great Western railway company.
The Kington and Eardisley railway was opened for traffic in 1874. The village is distant 5¼ miles S. of Kington (by road), 8 N.E. of Hay (7 by rail), 13¾ W.N.W. of Hereford (15 by road), and 24½ from Brecon; is in Huntington hundred, Kington union, county court district, and petty sessional division, and is a polling place for county elections.
The population in 1861 was 826; in 1871, 903; inhabited houses, 177; families or separate occupiers, 226; area of parish, 4,529 acres; annual rateable value, £6,483.
The executors of the late William Perry Herrick, Esq., of Beau-Manor park, Leicestershire, are lords of the manor and principal landowners. The soil is loamy, producing wheat, barley, roots, and pasture.
A pleasure and hiring fair is held here on May 15th.
Eardisley is in the diocese and archdeaconry of Hereford and rural deanery of Weobley; living, a vicarage, with Bollingham chapelry; value, £255, with residence; patrons, the executors of the late William Perry Herrick, Esq.; vicar, Rev. Charles Samuel Palmer, M.A., of Exeter College, Oxford, who was instituted in 1866.
The income of the benefice is further augmented by the interest of £2,000 at 3 per cent., paid by the late Miss Herrick in 1870 to Queen Anne's bounty endowment trust. The Rev. Donald Cameron, M.A., Oxford, and of the Theological College, Wells, is the curate.
The church is a stone edifice, partly of the 12th and partly of the 14th century, dedicated to St Mary Magdalene. It was thoroughly restored in 1862, at a cost of £2,450, at the sole expense of the late William Perry Herrick, Esq., from the plans of E. Christian, Esq., and was reopened on July 3rd, 1863. It has nave, chancel, aisles, and a tower containing five bells. There is also an ancient and beautifully carved stone font, the figures of which are in an excellent state of preservation. It is of Norman (some think of Saxon) date, and is supposed to be one of the oldest in the kingdom: numerous casts have been taken of it.
A handsome organ has been erected, bearing the following inscription:-
" In grateful remembrance of the protection of
Almighty God in many dangers, especially at Delhi, 1858.
At the entrance to the churchyard is a beautifully restored lych-gate, with the following inscription:-
"To the glory of God, and in memory of
Vicar of this Parish, this Lych Gate was rebuilt 1863"
The parish registers begin with the year 1630. Here is an excellent national school for boys and girls, with residence for the master attached, erected in 1857 by the late W. Perry Herrick, Esq. It has a certificated master, and is under Government inspection; average attendance, above 100. The charities belonging to the parish amount to about £15 yearly. There is a Primitive Methodist chapel in the village erected in 1867. There is a chapel for the Calvinistic Methodists, erected in 1848 on Hurstway common, near a remarkably fine oak tree, said to be one of the largest in England; about 5 feet from the base it measures 30 feet 2 inches in circumference.
There are traces of British and Roman encampments in the northern part of this parish, and like so many other places in this county, the site of a demolished castle, or rather, as recorded in Domesday book, of a fortified dwelling, domus defensibilis; "builded," says Taylor, in his "History of Cavel-kind," "because of its vicinity to the Welsh borders." In cleaning out the old moat at the Castle farm some years ago, several curious antiquities, including helmets, spears, a sword, &c., were found.
Lemore, the residence of Major-General John Coke, C.B., J.P., and D.L., is about a mile and a half N.W. of the parish church. Bollingham is a chapelry in Eardisley, distant about 2 miles N. of the village and about 3 S. of Kington. The chapel was restored in 1867 at a cost of £583, under the superintendence of T. Nicholson, Esq., of Hereford, the diocesan architect. The roofs of nave and chancel are new; the west wall and part of the north wall and porch rebuilt; the windows, paving, seating, and all internal fittings, entirely new. The east window is filled with painted glass (by Clayton & Bell) at the expense of Mrs. Aldworth, in memory of the late vicar, the Rev. W. St. Leger Aldworth. The glass in the west window (by Heaton, Butler, & Bayne) is the gift of the Dowager Lady Cockburn, in memory of R. Whitcomb, Esq., and of his son. The font is the gift of the present vicar. Bollingham House is the property and residence of Mrs. M. Bedward. Spond (Upper) is a hamlet 3 miles N. of Eardisley; Welson (Lower) is 1 mile N.W.; Woodseaves is 1½ miles W.; Hurstway Common is ¾ of a mile W.
POSTAL REGULATIONS.-Post and telegraph office, John Harper, Sub-Postmaster. Letters arrive at 7.24 a.m.; despatched at 6.36 p.m. Most of the letters now come by rail to Kington thence by mail-cart to Eardisley en route to Hay and Glasbury.
A walking postman from Letton meets the mail-cart from Hereford, arriving at Eardisley at 9.15 a.m., and returning at 4.15 p.m. Money orders are granted and paid, post office savings bank, and postal telegraph business transacted from 9 a.m. till 6 p.m. Eardisley being what is termed a Railway Sub-Office, letters should by addressed - Eardisley, R.S.O. (Herefordshire.)
Parish Church (St. Mary Magdalene).-Rev. Charles Samuel Palmer, M.A., Vicar; Rev. Donald Cameron, M.A., Curate;
Major-General John Coke, C.B., and Mr. James Marston, Churchwardens; John Jones, Clerk.
Bollingham Chapel of Ease.-The Vicar, or his Curate, officiates.
National School (boys and girls).-Mr. Jesse Lodge, Master; Mrs. Mary Lodge, Mistress; and two Pupil Teachers.
Great Oak Tabernacle Chapel (Calvinistic Methodist), Herstway common.-Rev. H. Davies, Minister.
Primitive Methodist Chapel, The Village.-Ministers various.
Railway Station (Hereford, Hay, and Brecon Railway, and Kington and Eardisley Railway).-John Williams, Station Master.
Steward of the Manor of Eardisley.-Anthony Temple, Esq., solicitor, Kington.
Assistant Overseer.-Mr. Richard Chaloner, Clyro, Radnorshire.
Road Surveyor.-Mr. Edward Delfosse, Kington.
Eardisley Agricultural Society.-Mr. John Turner, Secretary.