Ledbury

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Ledbury
LedburyMarketHouse.JPG
The Market House, Ledbury
Ledbury is located in Herefordshire
Ledbury
Ledbury
 Ledbury shown within Herefordshire
Population 9,900 [1]
OS grid reference SO710373
Unitary authority Herefordshire
Shire county Herefordshire
Region West Midlands
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LEDBURY
Postcode district HR8
Dialling code 01531
Police West Mercia
Fire Hereford and Worcester
Ambulance West Midlands
EU Parliament West Midlands
UK Parliament North Herefordshire
List of places
UK
England
Herefordshire

Coordinates: 52°02′02″N 2°25′25″W / 52.0339°N 2.4235°W / 52.0339; -2.4235

Ledbury is a Herefordshire market town, lying east of Hereford, and south of the Malvern Hills.

It has a significant number of timber-framed structures, in particular along Church Lane and High Street. One of its most outstanding is the Market House,[2] built in 1617, located in the town centre. Other notable buildings include the parish church of St. Michael and All Angels,[3] the Painted Room[4] (containing sixteenth-century frescoes), nearby Eastnor Castle and the St. Katherine's Hospital [5] site. Founded c.1231, this is a rare surviving example of a hospital complex, with hall, chapel, a Master's House,[6] almshouses and a timber-framed barn.

History[edit]

Ledbury is a borough whose origins date to around 690 AD. In the Domesday Book it was recorded as Liedeberge. It may take its name from the River Leadon on which it stands. Old English burg (fortified or defended site) has been added to the river name.

As a town it was created on a bishop's manor, probably, like Leominster, Bromyard, and Ross-on-Wye, in the episcopate of Bishop Richard de Capella (1121-1127).[7] It returned members to Parliament in the reign of Edward I. The Feathers Hotel was a famous 16th-century drover's inn.[8]

Ledbury was home to poetess Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who spent her childhood at Hope End. It is also the birthplace of poet laureate John Masefield, after whom the local secondary school is named. William Wordsworth's sonnet St. Catherine of Ledbury, dated 1835, begins "When ... Ledbury bells broke forth in concert".[9] In 1901 St. Katharine's priest was Charles Madison Green, whose wife, Ella, was the eldest sister of author H. Rider Haggard.

St Michael and All Angels Church, Ledbury
Ledbury Park, built ca. 1600 by the Biddulph family, has been called one of England's finest timber-framed houses
Funerary monument in St Michael and All Angels Church, Ledbury

The Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal, which opened from Gloucester as far as here in 1798, passed through the lower part of the town with wharves at Bye Street and at what is now the Ross Road near the Full Pitcher public house. After closing in 1885, part of the Ledbury-to-Gloucester section of the canal was used by the Great Western Railway for the Ledbury and Gloucester Railway. The original line of the canal northwards towards Hereford can still be seen, where it went underneath the Ledbury-to-Hereford railway. When the Gloucester railway closed in 1964 as a result of the Beeching cuts it became overgrown, but the route through Ledbury then was used as a footpath. In 1997 a 1.6 miles (2.6 km) section from the bypass / Ross Road roundabout to the railway station was upgraded to a 2 m (6.6 ft) wide path with a surface of compacted limestone chippings that could be utilised by cyclists and wheelchair-users. This included creating several access points, thinning out but retaining many of the trees that had grown since the 1960s and reopening the skew bridge across the A438 Hereford Road. Unfortunately the proposed bridge to take the Town Trail (as it is now known) across the B4214 Bromyard Road into the station yard was never built. The Trail ends at the Hereford/Bromyard road junction.

Transport[edit]

The main roads through the town are the A449 and the A417, and the M50 motorway runs to the south. Ledbury railway station is near the western end of the Cotswold Line and offers direct services to Hereford, Worcester, Birmingham, Oxford and London Paddington.

Industry[edit]

For many years the Robertson's factory, a subsidiary of Rank Hovis McDougall, produced jam. Production was moved to Histon in Cambridgeshire in September 2007 following the parent company's acquisition by Premier Foods.[10] The site is now used by Universal Beverages to process fruit for cider producers such as Bulmers and includes two giant fermentation tanks, each capable of holding 800,000 litres.[11][12]

Ledbury is home to Amcor's flexible-packaging manufacturing plant. This has been awarded both the 'Carbon Reduction Cost-Saving Award - over 250 employees' and 'Most Promising New Low-Carbon Product / Service Award - over 250 employees' in the West Midlands Low-Carbon-Economy 2010 awards.[13]

Ledbury enjoys an income from tourism, being steeped in history in an attractive rural area.

Recreation[edit]

The town is the venue for various events including the Poetry Festival[14] and The Big Chill at nearby Eastnor Castle, which brings thousands of people to the area each year.

The hunts (Ledbury,[15] which dates from 1846, and North Ledbury,[16] established in 1905) are well supported.[17]

Silurian Border Morrismen in Church Lane

It is home to the Silurian Border Morrismen.[18] There are a number of singing groups, including the Choral Society[19] and the Community Choir,[20] the latter with over 60 members.

The Market Theatre,[21] reputed to be the first in the world to open in the new millennium, is situated near the town centre. It has been built on the site of the former Church Room (a typical 'tin tabernacle' constructed in 1910, which became a theatre in 1956, with a change of name to The Market Theatre in the 1970s). From 1963 (following the demolition of the Kemble Theatre [22][23] in Hereford) until 1979, this little building was the only theatre in Herefordshire. Ledbury Amateur Dramatic Society (LADS)[24] runs it, mounting three of its own productions a year. They show films on a regular basis and play host to small and mid-scale professional touring shows, including events in the Poetry Festival.

In 2000, Ledbury formed a twinning association with the Swedish town of Strömstad. Since then, several cultural and sporting exchanges have taken place between the two: the junior football club, Ledbury Swifts,[25] makes an annual trip there.

Eastnor Castle has provided the backdrop to a number of films, perhaps most notably 'One More Time' (1969) starring Jerry Lewis and Sammy Davis Jr.[26] BBC television filmed some scenes for 'The Prince and the Pauper' starring Nicholas Lyndhurst in 1976 [27]

Folklore[edit]

At Tedstone Delamere the Sapey Brook runs its course to Upper Sapey. A story is told of a stolen mare and colt whose hoofprints stopped at the bank of the brook. The owner was Saint Catherine of Ledbury who prayed for their safe return and, upon examining the bed of the brook, saw hoofprints clearly visible in the rocky bottom. These were followed and the thief caught, the horses being safely recovered. The nearby Hoar Stone is said to be the thief petrified for his crimes.[citation needed] A local pastime was once the creation of fake hoofprints for visitors; the original petrosomatoglyphs are visible in the brook to this day.[28]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Population of Herefordshire 2009" (PDF). Herefordshire Council. Retrieved 24 August 2010. 
  2. ^ The Market House - Ledbury Town Council
  3. ^ Parish Church of St. Michael and All Angels
  4. ^ The Painted Room - Ledbury Civic Society
  5. ^ St. Katherine's Hospital - British Listed Buildings
  6. ^ "The Master's House" (PDF). Ledbury Civic Society. 
  7. ^ Joe Hillaby, Ledbury, A Medieval Borough, Logaston Press, 1997
  8. ^ "Eighteenth Century Road Travel"
  9. ^ St. Catherine of Ledbury, in William Wordsworth, The Complete Poetical Works, with introduction by John Morley, Macmillan, London, 1888.
  10. ^ "Robertsons Jam to disappear". The Daily Telegraph. 7 December 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2009. 
  11. ^ "Slow trip for giant cider tanks". BBC News Online. 6 June 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2009. 
  12. ^ "Giant cider vessels close highway". BBC News Online. 7 June 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2009. 
  13. ^ "Amcor Flexibles Europe & Americas Excels at West Midlands Low Carbon Economy Awards". Packaging Europe. 27 July 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  14. ^ Ledbury Poetry Festival
  15. ^ Ledbury Hunt
  16. ^ North Ledbury Hunt
  17. ^ Worcester News 21 December 2009
  18. ^ Silurian Border Morrismen of Ledbury
  19. ^ Ledbury Choral Society
  20. ^ Ledbury Community Choir
  21. ^ The Market Theatre
  22. ^ Herefordshire Through Time - Herefordshire Council (about half-way down the page)
  23. ^ Hereford Musical Theatre Company - Hereford's Theatres (at bottom of page)
  24. ^ Ledbury Amateur Dramatic Society
  25. ^ Ledbury Swifts
  26. ^ [1]
  27. ^ [2]
  28. ^ Westwood, Jennifer (1985), Albion. A guide to Legendary Britain. Pub. Grafton Books. London. ISBN 0-246-11789-3. P. 262.
  29. ^ "Player profile: Robin Gardner". CricketArchive. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 


Further reading[edit]

  • Sylvia Pinches. Ledbury: A Market Town and Its Tudor Heritage (2010)

External links[edit]