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View of Bromyard from Bromyard Downs
Bromyard shown within Herefordshire
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Bromyard is a town in northeast Herefordshire, England with a population in 2010 of approximately 4,500. It lies near to the county border with Worcestershire on the A44 between Leominster and Worcester. Bromyard has a number of traditional half-timbered buildings, including some of the pubs, and the parish church dates back to Norman times. The town is twinned with Athis-de-l'Orne, Normandy.
Bromyard is mentioned in a charter of c. 840 as Bromgeard ("enclosure where broom grew") and in Domesday Book as Bromgerde. 42 villani (villeins, villagers), 9 bordars (smallholders), and 8 slaves were recorded in the Domesday entry, one of the largest communities in Herefordshire.
Like Leominster, Ledbury, and Ross-on-Wye, the town of Bromyard was founded in the early 12th century, probably in the episcopate of Richard de Capella (1121-1127). As with those other three towns, the bishops of Hereford had had a manor and minster there since Anglo-Saxon times. Surveys for the bishop made in 1285 and 1587-8 give valuable information about the town's first few centuries.
A sandstone quarry was opened at Linton, just east of the town, in the 1870s, but the hopes for extensive sales of good quality building stone were disappointed and by 1879 it was producing bricks and tiles from the Old Red Sandstone marls. This business continued until the 1970s.
During World War I, Bromyard was the site of an internment camp, where the Irish nationalist Terence MacSwiney, future Lord Mayor of Cork and hunger striker, was both interned and married. In World War II, between autumn 1940 and 1945, Westminster School was temporarily relocated to a variety of buildings on the outskirts of the town, principally Buckenhill, and including for various purposes Brockhampton, Clater Park, Whitbourne Rectory, Fernie, and Saltmarshe Castle.
The Bromyard & District Local History Society was founded in 1966 and is extremely active, with a centre open three days a week which contains a large archive and library and an exhibition room.
Bromyard is the home of Nozstock Festival of Performing Arts which attracts nearly 3,000 visitors at the end of July every year. This three-day event showcases 30 bands from around the country across three stages, alongside two dance arenas, a cinema, a theatre and comedy stage, circus, and a vintage tractor arena.
At Christmas time, volunteers (also known as the Bromyard Light Brigade) organize an extensive display of Christmas lightswhich are put up at October and switched on the last Saturday of November, which runs for the five weeks up to Christmas until after the New Year. The group established links with Blackpool Illuminations over 2010, and Blackpool's director Richard Ryan performed the switching-on ceremony in the same year and the volunteers were awarded The Queen's Award for Voluntary Services also in the same year.
The Conquest Theatre offers a programme of plays, variety, musicals, operettas, ballet, pantomime and concerts, in a purpose-built centre constructed in 1991.
Bromyard.info is the community website for Bromyard and District. Run as a Community Interest Company by volunteers, it is an 'online daily news site', has a full events calendar, features places of interest, accommodation, pubs, restaurants and shopping directory, together with a full local directory.
The Worcester Bromyard and Leominster Railway, now dismantled, was first proposed in 1845, and an Act of Parliament to build it obtained in 1861. Estimated to cost £20,000, that number of £10 shares were issued. When sold to the Great Western Railway in 1887, the shares were only worth ten shillings. The line had only arrived from Worcester in 1877, and only was connected through to Leominster in 1897. It was a common destination for 'hop-pickers' specials' from the Black Country. There were five trains a day in each direction. The line to Leominster was closed in 1952, the last train ran in 1958, and the railway was closed due troubled financial stability and was a victim of the Beeching cuts in 1963-4. For a short time subsequently the section between Bromyard and Linton was run as a private light railway.
Bromyard is a starting place of the A465 road which runs to the M4 in South Wales.
St Peter's Church is a large building with parts dating back to Norman times, including an effigy of St. Peter, with two keys, over the main (reset) Norman south doorway. Most of the exterior is early 14th century.
An Anglo-Saxon minster church existed before the present St Peter's Church. No physical remains survive, but the minster and manor are mentioned in a document of 840 AD.
The town centre is bypassed by the main road, A44 that stretches from Abergavenny in Wales to Oxford. Bromyard is notable for its many old and historically interesting buildings that are a designated blue-plate building, especially in High Street, Broad Street, Market Square, Sherford Street and Rowberry Street, including a number of half-timbered pubs and dwelling houses.
Lower Brockhampton, a moated farmhouse on an extensive National Trust property, lies a short distance to the east, beyond Bromyard Downs. This is an area of common land lying to the northeast which offers many walks, with extensive views over the town, the Malvern Hills, the Clee Hills, and the Welsh borders, with the Black Mountains and other hills beyond. An attempt by local landowners in 1866 to enclose the Downs was strongly opposed by townsfolk and failed, not least because it was an area of recreation including rifle butts and an annual race meeting.
- "The Population of Herefordshire 2009" (PDF). Herefordshire Council. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- E. Ekwall, Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names
- Joe Hillaby, Ledbury, A Medieval Borough, Logaston Press 1997
- Bromyard – Minster, Manor and Town, Phyllis Williams, Bromyard & District Local History Society
- A transcript of "The red book", a detailed account of the Hereford bishopric estates in the thirteenth century edited by A.T. Bannister, 1929; Swithun Butterfield's survey of the same in 1587-8 in Herefordshire archives
- A Pocket Full of Hops, 1988, revised edition 2007, Bromyard & District Local History Society
- Herefordshire through time, http://htt.herefordshire.gov.uk/smrSearch/Monuments/Monument_Item.aspx?ID=30573
- Journal of Bromyard and District LHS, no. 19, 1996/7
- Journal of Bromyard & District LHS, no. 8, 1985
- Bromyard Folk Festival Retrieved 16 December 2009
- Nozstock website
- Conquest Theatre Retrieved 16 December 2009
- Phyllis Williams, Bromyard, Minster, Manor, and Town
- Anthony J. Lambert, West Midland Branch Line Album, 1978; Keith M. Beck, The West Midland Lines of the G.W.R., 1983
- Nicholas Pevsner, Herefordshire, Buildings of England, 1963
- Bromyard: Minster, Manor and Town, Phyllis Williams 1987;The Buildings of England, Herefordshire, Alan Brooks and Nicholas Pevsner, Yale, 2012
- Berrow’s Worcester Journal, May 26 and October 6, 1866
Media related to Bromyard at Wikimedia Commons