St Mary Magdalene, Turnastone

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Turnastone was one of the smallest parishes in Herefordshire, with a handful of dwellings and mostly farm pasture land. A history of the parish was published in 2010, currently out of print but available in local libraries. The name derives from a Norman settler, Ralph de Tournai, and an early chapel dedicated to St Leonard is thought to have been near the bridge further up the Slough valley, south-west of the present church. St Leonard is commemorated in a 20th-century stained glass window in the chancel. From 2019 the parish has merged with Vowchurch, managed by a joint PCC and alternating services between the two churches.

The church building dates from the late 12th/early 13th century with a handsome barrel roof dated about 1500. Having fallen into a poor state of repair, it was restored in the late 19th century. The interior walls are adorned with some fine monuments, notably that to Thomas Aparri (ap Harry) of Poston who died in 1522 (picture below), and the memorial to Mary Traunter (died 1685, age 18, picture also below). A brass memorial plaque adjacent to the main door commemorates the men of the parish who served in World War I, including Lance Corporal William Jones, Royal Engineers, who was killed in France in 1918.

By 2016 the main south porch was badly decayed, and its windows needed re-leading. The main fabric needed repairs to the stonework and rain water drainage. The monument to Mary Traunter on the north wall of the nave also required urgent restoration and stabilisation.  We were awarded generous grants to part fund this work (see below), which has been completed in 2019. If you can help with a donation, however small, towards our own contribution to this work it will help preserve this gem of a church for ongoing Christian worship.  Please contact us for information how to donate, or use the online donation button on the main page (accepts cards, Paypal, or CAF).

Donors to the 2019 restoration of the church and the Mary Traunter monument: ChurchCare, Leche Trust, Lasletts, Hereford Historic Churches Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, Rowlands Trust, Allchurches Trust plus local fundraising by the PCC.

Click here for a list of rectors from 1259 to the present. A historical guide to the church is available in the church or via the contact us page, price £1 plus postage.

Music is provided by a harmonium (a foot-pumped reed organ), or our local recorder duetists. If no musician is available we may use pre-recorded organ music.

Monument to Thomas Aparri. The inscription reads:

Here lie the bodies of Thomas ap Harry, esq. and Agnes his wife. Thomas who died 3 Dec 1522 and the aforesaid Agnes who died 15 ....
Arms: 1st Parry, 2nd uncertain, 3rd Waterton, 4th Delahay.
Monument to Mary Traunter

Monument to Mary Traunter, following cleaning and restoration in 2019.
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To the pious memory of Mary ye wife of Willm Traunter of Bunsill in this county, Gent., the only daughter of Nicholas Philpot of Poston, Esq., and Penelope his wife, now wife to the Honble Sr Charles Hambleton Knt and Bart;
who died June the 26th 1685 aged 18.

The Turnastone harmonium