England's Past for Everyone Herefordshire


The Herefordshire project was a four-year project formally launched on 2 December 2005 by Sir Roy Strong, former director of the National Portrait Gallery and Patron of the Herefordshire Victoria County History Trust at the Burgage Hall, Ledbury. This report has been compiled from project files dating from May 2001 to December 2009 containing meeting minutes, letters and agreements. Separate, more detailed volunteer and schools evaluations have also been undertaken. Other sources of evidence include the EPE website, volunteer reports, EPE News, and the EPE annual reports.

The Herefordshire project was led by Dr Sylvia Pinches in conjunction with volunteers and local partners. Dr Janet Cooper (Herefordshire VCH Trust) had the key role of Volunteer Group Leader. The project formed a number of partnerships. University of Gloucestershire provided financial and administrative support to the team leader. Herefordshire County Council also contributed resources and funds. Other grants were given by Ledbury Civic Society and The Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The project was divided into two phases. Between 2005 and 2007, research focused on the post-medieval history of Ledbury, exploring how the town flourished in the Tudor period and the subsequent ups and downs it has experienced as a market town ever since. The second phase (2007 – 2009) focused on the earlier history of the town from prehistory to the medieval period.


Ledbury: A market town and its Tudor heritage (ISBN: 978-1-86077-598-7) was written by Sylvia Pinches and published by Phillimore in 2009. Duncan James was employed as architectural consultant for the book and produced a report ‘An Analysis of the Historic Fabric of Late 16th and early 17th century Ledbury, Herefordshire’ which was incorporated into the text. Towards the end of the project John Chandler was employed as consultant editor and helped in finalising the text. Other contributors were Matthew Bristow and John Harrison. The book focused on the history of Ledbury as a market town from the Tudor period up until the present day. The book had a print run of 1,500 copies and is selling well. By the end of November 2009, Phillimore reported that 482 copies have been sold.

The book was launched by Sir Roy Strong (historian and broadcaster) in St Katherine’s Hall (Ledbury) in July 2009 and was attended by over 80 guests. Janet Cooper, Chairman of the Victoria County History Trust for Herefordshire thanked Herefordshire Council and the University of Gloucestershire for supporting the Ledbury venture (see gallery). Author Sylvia Pinches specially thanked volunteers who had undertaken so much of the research, as well as those who had helped with the school project and Explore website.

The second book Ledbury: People and Parish before the Reformation, focused on Ledbury’s earlier history from the prehistoric period to the 16th century was published and launched in April 2010. Herefordshire Archaeology were contracted to carry out some research and training for this book. This volume has contributions from Nigel Baker, Keith Ray and Christopher Atkinson (all Herefordshire Archaeology) and Janet Cooper (VCH Trust).

There were a number of other outputs from the EPE Herefordshire project. Volunteers and authors were involved in writing short articles for a local magazine called Ledbury Focus. Articles were largely based on what was found during the research process e.g. information from archives and wills etc. They covered a wide range of subjects about Ledbury’s past which were of general local interest and helped in promoting the EPE project.

As a result of their experiences with EPE, volunteers decided to carry out their own publishing project. A booklet on Ledbury Street Names was compiled by Angela Bishop, Gillian Murray and Beryl Rowley and published by Logaston Press in 2007. EPE volunteers also assisted in the production of a booklet entitled Exploring Firth Wood in 2008 which was supported by the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Beauty, Sustainable Development Fund.

Since the end of EPE, a Herefordshire VCH Trust has been formed and has pubished two VCH 'Shorts' on Eastnor and Bosbury with a third, on Colwall to follow. More information can be found on the Herefordshire pages of this site.

Schools Resources

The schools project closely tied in with the academic research and volunteer projects by focusing on the Tudor heritage of Ledbury. The project was created in partnership with Hereford Museum and Art Gallery, with contributions from Herefordshire Archive Service, Ledbury Town Council and the History People.

The project involved 80 Year 4 pupils (ages 8 – 9) from Ledbury Primary School during the autumn term in 2007. The children took part in a creative tour of the town’s Tudor heritage which included visits to museums, workshops, period buildings and churches, as well as interactive activities within the classroom. Pupils both viewed original wills and wrote their own with quills and ink. They also learnt about the everyday lives of rich and poor Tudors through related artifacts, and found out about techniques of building with wattle and daub. The project gave inspiration and confidence to the teachers, who do not normally have the time to develop such learning activities.

Education Consultant Carolyn Olney produced the educational material for the project, available from the Schools Learning Zone: www.EnglandsPastForEveryone.org.uk/schools. These resources are downloadable and can be used for future years.