Set between the jagged range of the Malvern Hills and the mountains of Wales, Herefordshire is a quiet secretive county of rolling green hills and beautiful wooded valleys. The best known feature of the landscape is the broad and winding course of the River Wye, once a formidable obstacle on the journey between England and Wales. Nestling on the banks of the rivers, in the folds of the hills, beside the orchards and fields of hops, are picturesque small towns and villages of half-timbered or red sandstone houses, some standing close to churches with curious detached towers. The latter, like the many castles, were built for defence, for times past this was the violent borderland in which the English and Welsh fought one another. That the sleepy city of Hereford, with its many treasures and magnificent cathedral, was subjected to a formidable siege in the Civil Wars should come as no surprise, for almost every corner of the county has its own story to tell of past battles, mysterious events and ancient traditions.
In the church at Bacton is the tombe of Blanche Parry who, beginning her career as an infant’s nurse, and progressing through to the position of governess to Chief Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber was the constant companion of Queen Elizabeth I. When the faithful attendant died aged 82 in 1589, the Queens image was sculptured on the tomb – a rare honour.