Ledbury: People and Parish before the Reformation

Medieval Ledbury Front Page
Edited by: 
Sylvia Pinches
First Published: 
1 March, 2010

Ledbury is a small town in the lush Herefordshire countryside. How did it come to be here and who and what shaped its development? This volume explores a quiet corner of England from the earliest times until the middle of the 16th century. Hunters, herdsmen and the fi rst farmers left but faint traces to mark their passing. Enigmatic structures like Wall Hills and British Camp stand as monuments to a time before writing. The woods and fi elds, streets and lanes bear the imprint of countless generations, to be deciphered by archaeologists.

By the time it emerges in the written record, the site of Ledbury itself had become the main focus of the area, and in due course it developed into a small town with some remarkable buildings, among them a well-endowed hospital and a lavish church. Events, including the Black Death, conspired to ensure that its full potential was never realised, but it remains marked by its medieval past: to this day an exceptional - and most attractive - place.

Using the evidence of the landscape itself, physical remains, artefacts and buildings, and tantalising glimpses from old documents it has been possible to chart the history of this little market town and the surrounding countryside for nearly 500 years. The story ends in 1558 when the Protestant Elizabeth succeeded her Catholic sister Mary as Queen of England. Religious changes were afoot in the nation at large and Ledbury was no different. There were new families, new ideas and the glimmerings of a new wealth which would fl ourish at the end of the century. That wealth, its legacy of timber-framed houses and the story of Ledbury through the next 500 years are the subject of a companion volume in the England's Past for Everyone series.