A CHURCH near Hereford will be declared closed for regular worship and sold to a family whose relatives are buried inside, if plans are approved.

The Bishop of Hereford has approved proposals to close St Mary's Church, Stoke Edith, between Hereford and Ledbury for regular public worship.

He has also recommended to the Church Commissioners that the ownership of the church building and annexed churchyard be transferred to a specially formed charitable trust for use as a private chapel.


It will also include the building being used for community and cultural purposes, and/or occasional public Christian worship in accordance with the rites and customs of the Church of England.

The grade I-listed church, with no parking, is said to be in a "poor state of repair" and is on the Historic England at Risk Register, documents showed.

It is a former estate church for the Foley family of Stoke Edith Park with a "tiny community and small congregation", they added.

Hereford Times:

The Church Commissioners have considered the proposals for the future of the church and deemed them appropriate.

It now means they need to consult on the draft pastoral church buildings scheme, which will see the building, land and contents sold to the Stoke Edith Church Trust.


The patron and founder of the Stoke Edith Church Trust is a member of the Foley family, who rebuilt the church in 1740, and who has family members buried at the property.

While burials have been at a different site since 1910, there is evidence of a Foley family vault beneath the chancel and a number of ledger stones.

Documents said this suggested in-situ burials across the footprint of the church which appears broadly to correspond to that of the pre-existing building.

Consultation is open until Monday, April 3, and more details on how to send comments can be found here.

It was in February 2015 when the parochial church council passed a resolution to seek the formal closure of the church, but delays have meant a scheme has only now a draft scheme has been put together.