Place:Ledbury, Herefordshire, England

Alt namesLiedebergesource: Domesday Book (1985) p 128
Ledbury Townsource: name of parish 1968-1974
Parkholdsource: township in parish
Leadon and Haffieldsource: section of parish
Mitchell and Nethertonsource: section of parish
Wall Hillssource: section of parish
TypeTown, Urban district
Coordinates52.033°N 2.417°W
Located inHerefordshire, England
Also located inHereford and Worcester, England     (1974 - 1998)
Herefordshire, England     (1998 - )
See alsoRadlow Hundred, Herefordshire, Englandhundred of which the parish was a part
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Ledbury is a market town and civil parish in the county of Herefordshire, England, lying east of Hereford, and west of the Malvern Hills.

It has a significant number of timber-framed structures, in particular along Church Lane and High Street. One of the most outstanding is Ledbury Market Hall, built in 1617, located in the town centre. Other notable buildings include the parish church of St. Michael and All Angels, the Painted Room (containing sixteenth-century frescoes), the Old Grammar School, the Barrett-Browning memorial clock tower (designed by Brightwen Binyon and opened in 1896 to house the library until 2015), nearby Eastnor Castle and the St. Katherine's Hospital site. Founded , this is a rare surviving example of a hospital complex, with hall, chapel, a Master's House (fully restored and opened in March 2015 to house the Library), almshouses and a timber-framed barn.

According to the list of parishes in Ledbury Registration Districts Ledbury was divided into three sections in 1894: Ledbury Urban District, Ledbury Rural (parish) and Wellington Heath. Ledbury Rural (parish) and Wellington Heath became civil parish within Ledbury Rural District.

For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Ledbury.

In 1968 Ledbury Urban District was abolished and was replaced by a civil parish named Ledbury Town which existed for six years until all Herefordshire urban and rural districts were abolished under the Local Government Act of 1972. This created a new administrative county of Hereford and Worcester which was divided into district municipalities. In 1998, due to local opposition, Hereford and Worcester ceased to exist and all of Herefordshire is now under the unitary authority of Herefordshire District which covers practically the whole of the county of 1894.

A nineteenth century description

A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Ledbury from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:

"LEDBURY, a town, a parish, a [registration] sub-district, and a [registration] district, in Hereford[shire]. 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.
"Population [for the town] 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. Population 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 [perpetual] curacy of Wellington Heath is a separate benefice.
"The [registration] 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. Population: 10,295. Houses: 1,950.
"The [registration] 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. Population 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 [sittings]; 1 of Baptists, with 250 [sittings]; 4 of Wesleyans, with 580 [sittings]; 3 of Primitive Methodists, with 165 [sittings]; 1 of Brethren, with 20 [sittings]; and 2 undefined, with 135 [sittings]. The schools were 22 public day schools, with 1,461 scholars; 13 private day schools, with 186 [scholars]; and 17 Sunday schools, with 1,062 [scholars]."

[The above quote has been separated into paragraphs to assist reading.]

Research Tips

  • Herefordshire Archive and Records Centre, Fir Tree Lane, Rotherwas, Hereford HR2 6LA is where paper and microfilm copies of all records for Herefordshire are stored. The Archives Centre has a website where the index to the archives (and also the wills catalog) can be searched. One item in the catalog is List of all Herefordshire parish register and bishops transcripts holdings which is a PDF file with information provided in an old version of Excel.

Online sources which may also be helpful:

  • GENUKI gives pointers to other archive sources as well as providing some details on each parish in the county. The emphasis here is on ecclesiastical parishes (useful before 1837)
  • A listing of all the Registration Districts in England and Wales since their introduction in 1837 and tables of the parishes that were part of each district and the time period covered with detailed notes on changes of parish name, mergers, etc. Do respect the copyright on this material.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki for Herefordshire provides a similar but not identical series of webpages to that provided by GENUKI
  • A Vision of Britain through Time has a group of pages of statistical facts for almost every parish in the county
  • Unfortunately, only one volume on Herefordshire has been published in the Victoria County History series. British History Online have produced a series of Ordnance Survey first edition maps for the county which may be helpful for mid-nineteenth century inquiries
  • lists its collections of Herefordshire genealogical material.
  • FindMyPast collections of historical records can be searched for Herefordshire. They have collections of parish records for the pre-1837 period.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Ledbury. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.