Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for LEDBURY

LEDBURY, a town, a parish, a sub-district, and a district, in Hereford. The town stands within a small valley, on the Gloucester and Hereford canal, chiefly on a declivity, near the river Leddon and the Hereford and Worcester railway, at the W skirt of the Malvern hills, 3½ miles WNW of the meeting point of Hereford, Worcester, and Gloucester, and 13 miles E by S of Hereford city. It dates from Saxon times; was given, by Edwin, to the bishops of Hereford; had once a palace of the bishops; became a market town in the time of Stephen; was noted for silk and broad cloth manufactures in the time of Elizabeth; consists now of three principal streets and a number of small ones; contains many ancient houses, of brick and timber, with projecting stories, but contains also some handsome modern houses; and has a head post office, ‡ a railway station, two banking offices, three chief inns, a police station, a market house, a church, three dissenting chapels, a literary institution, two endowed schools, national schools, a magnificently endowed hospital, a dispensary, a workhouse, and charities, inclusive of the schools and hospital endowments, £1, 797. The market house stands near the centre of High street; is an old timber structure, with projecting front; and rests upon sixteen massive oak pillars. The church is variously Norman, early English, and perpendicular; was formerly collegiate, from the year 1401; is almost covered with ivy; has a very fine Norman W door, a beautiful early English N porch, and a handsome early English detached tower, surmounted by a symmetrical spire 60 feet high; and contains stalls, part of a carved screen, an altar piece after Rubens, four stained glass windows, and numerous brasses and monuments. St. Catherine's chapel adjoins the N side of the church; took its name from Catherine Audley, the hermit; and is a good specimen of decorated English. The endowed schools are Hall's with £72 a year, and a grammar school dating from the time of Edward VI. with £8; but the latter has been merged in the national schools. The endowed hospital bears the name of St. Catherine; was founded in 1232 by Bishop Foliot, and refounded by Queen Elizabeth; was rebuilt in 1822, after designs by Smirke, on the site of a previous old timbered house; makes provision for 24 poor persons; has an endowed income of £1, 687; and includes a chapel, which is used two times a week. The workhouse is recent, and has accommodation for 150 inmates. A weekly market is held on Tuesday; a great market, on the last Tuesday of every month; and fairs, on the Tuesday before Easter, the second Tuesday of May, the third Tuesday of June, the second Tuesday of August, the first Tuesday of October, and the Tuesday before 21 December. The old manufacture of broadcloth is extinct; a more recent manufacture of gloves, sacking, and ropes also has much declined; and the present trade has connexion chiefly with agriculture, and includes malting, tanning, and traffic in hops, cider, and perry. The town sent members to parliament in the time of Edward I.; received a borough charter from Elizabeth; is now governed by constables, elected annually at courts leet and baron; and is a seat of petty sessions and county courts, and a polling place. Tonson, the bookseller, died in it. Pop. in 1851, 3, 027; in 1861, 3, 263. Houses, 598. The parish is divided into five sections, called the Borough, Wall-Hills, Wellington-Heath, Leadon and Haffield, and Mitchell and Netherton; and it includes the township of Parkhold. Acres, 8, 194. Real property, £26, 770; of which £156 are in gas works, £3, 138 in the canal, and £80 in quarries. Pop. in 1851, 4, 624; in 1861, 5, 598. Houses, 1, 039. Traces of ancient camps are at Wall-Hills, Haffield, and Vineyard. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Hereford. Value, £656.* Patron, the Bishop of Hereford. The p. curacy of WellingtonHeath is a separate benefice.—The sub-district excludes Parkhold township, but includes the parishes of Coddington, Bosbury, Castle-Frome, Canon-Frome, Donnington, Eastnor, Colwall, and Mathon, -the last electorally in Worcester. Acres, 27, 704. Pop., 10, 295. Houses, 1, 950.—The district comprehends also the subdistrict of Yarkhill, containing the township of Parkhold and the parishes of Yarkhill, Stretton-Grandsome, Tarrington, Ashperton, Munsley, Pixley, Putley, Aylton, Little Marcle, and Woolhope, and parts of the parishes of Bishops-Frome and Much Marcle. Acres, of the district, 48, 783. Poor rates in 1863, £6, 646. Pop. in 1851, 13, 139; in 1861, 14, 880. Houses, 2, 850. Marriages in 1863, 70; births, 398, -of which 35 were illegitimate; deaths, 214, -of which 58 were at ages under 5 years, and 13 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 774; births, 3, 940; deaths, 2, 529. The places of worship, in 1851, were 22 of the Church of England, with 6, 088 sittings; 1 of Independents, with 130 s.; 1 of Baptists, with 250 s.; 4 of Wesleyans, with 580 s.; 3 of Primitive Methodists, with 165 s.; 1 of Brethren, with 20 s.; and 2 undefined, with 135 s. The schools were 22 public day schools, with 1, 461 scholars; 13 private day schools, with 186 s.; and 17 Sunday schools, with 1, 062 s


(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, a parish, a sub-district, and a district"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Ledbury AP/CP       Ledbury Town CP       Ledbury SubD       Ledbury PLU/RegD       Herefordshire AncC
Place: Ledbury

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