Ledbury, a Herefordshire market town since 1120, is noted for its historic black and white architecture. Occupied since the stone age, the town known first as ‘Ledeberge’, was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.
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One of the town’s most important buildings is the black and white Market House which dates from 1650. During the Civil War a battle took place here between the Roundheads and the Royalists.
Butchers Row House, moved from the High St, is home to a folk museum with objects of local history. Its name comes from its original situation among 15 burgage houses and shops, some of which were butchers.
The Feathers Hotel dates from 1570. In 1991, during renovations in the old council offices, 16th century frescoes were discovered in what is now called the Painted Room.
A timber framed Elizabethan grammar school dating from 1480 now houses the town’s Heritage Centre and the heritage gallery (arts and crafts). At one time it was thought to be a guildhall for local wool merchants.
The church of St Michael and All Angels is a Norman parish church. Its high spire is set on a separate tower. The church has a large arcaded nave, chancel, side aisles, sanctuary and two chapels. Inside the church are medieval brasses. Another historic building is St Katherine’s Hall, dating from 1340.
Ledbury has a literary history. William Langland who wrote Piers Ploughman lived nearby at Colwall, while Elizabeth Barrett Browning grew up close by at Hope End, Wellington Heath. Oppposite the TIC is the Barrett Browning Institute with a collectin of her works. John Masefield, poet laureate, was born in Ledbury and spent his childhood here.
Ledbury puts on a Three Counties show in June and a Three Choirs Festival, Hop Fair, and street carnival in August. In the countryside are cattle, fruit orchards, and hop yards. There are cycle paths and sign-posted walks (see the TIC for routes) in several of the woods. In the spring bluebells and daffodils bloom.
Ledbury Tourist Information Centre
3 The Homend
Ledbury, Herefordshire, HR8 1BN
Tel. 0 1531 636 147
Email: Ledbury TIC
Butchers Row House Museum
Church Lane, Ledbury
Tel. 0 1531 632 511
Ledbury Heritage Centre
Church Lane, Ledbury
Tel. 0 1432 260 692
Photo of Ledbury High St © by Barbara Ballard
Other photos courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland as follows:
Market Hall by David Wright; Butchers Row Museum, Heritage Centre and Church House on Church St by Pauline Eccles; Feathers Hotel by Roger Cornfoot; St Michael and All Angels church by Stephen Nunney; Browning Institute by Bob Embleton