The church of St. Faith as it stands today is made up of mostly 13th century features, but there have been many renovations and alterations including the tower which was added in the 16th century. It stands in a glorious position overlooking the Golden Valley and the River Dore.
Within the church is the most magnificent monument to Blanche Parry – the Chief Gentlewoman of Queen Elizabeth’s Privy Chamber, and also the keeper of the Queen’s jewels as well as being her confidante. She was actually buried in St. Margaret’s Westminster, but whilst alive had expressed a wish to be interred at Bacton, so with this in mind the monument in St. Faith was made in the late 1500s. Sadly for Blanche, she remains in Westminster and the tomb at Bacton is empty, but it is hugely important as it is the earliest known depiction of Elizabeth 1st as an icon……..as Gloriana. On the monument Blanche is kneeling, with Queen Elizabeth playing the role of St. Faith.
Elizabethan Altar Cloth
The altar cloth at Bacton has been on display since 1909 and it has long been known that it was given to Blanche Parry in around 1590 by Queen Elizabeth.
It was recently discovered after extensive research, that the embroidered cloth is strikingly similar to the fabric of a dress worn by the Queen in the Rainbow Portrait in Hatfield House, and it is believed that the altar cloth could have been taken from her skirt. The cloth has been positively identified as being 16th century, and it is virtually certain that it did indeed come from the Queen’s dress – it is insured for £1 million pounds but is thought to be worth far more and sadly for Herefordshire it has been taken to Hampton Court in London for preservation. Probably a wise move though, and a replica will take its place in Bacton church.