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The Market House




Ledbury has a fascinating history and there are excellent websites and books recording life in this small market town. Often restricted by time and space a broad sweep of the subject is sometimes adopted but there is still much to be discovered. The nineteenth century seems to be relatively unexplored, which is a pity as it was a time of great change. This web site looks in detail at some little known facts. Scroll down and click on the pictures to enter the various pages.

The Southend.



The Southend in the nineteenth and early twentieth century provided almost any service you could wish for -
boots fixed, hair done, grocery, meat, greengrocery, drapery and legal affairs sorted out.
Today few of these facilities remain.

Look at the history of the street by clicking on the picture and take a walk down from the Upper Cross.
If it is family names you are looking for search in the box above.







The Cemetery and Monumental Inscriptions

A town's history lies in its churchyard. Ledbury is no exception. In 1857 Parliament introduced The Burial Act, its purpose was to protect the public health from infectious diseases by regulating where the deceased were buried. The Act prohibited burials within 100 yards (later 200yds) of a dwelling house, prompting the need for ‘out of town’ cemeteries regulated by Burial Boards.
By the end of the nineteenth century burial grounds around some parish churches had become neglected and it became fashionable to remove headstones for easier maintenance. At a Ledbury vestry meeting in 1892 the Rev Maddison Green sought permission from the parishioners to collect the upright stones and lay them on the ground next to the church or placed flat over the graves. This had the potential for losing a lot history. Headstones are irreplaceable artefacts so, ably assisted by Penny Barton, I have transcribed and recorded those in the ‘old’ part of Ledbury Cemetery for posterity. Click on the picture for a history of our Cemetery in New Street. Here you can also access the Monumental Inscriptions, a valuable resource for family historians. 




The Canal

The arrival of the Gloucester to Hereford canal and later the railway is a good example of how an integral part of a town’s history can be almost overlooked yet it altered the face and the fortunes of Ledbury.
Little is published of the canal’s construction and its route through the town and today the only clues left that it ever existed is the ‘The Old Wharf’ industrial site south west of the town and a couple of street names.




Click the illustration here to discover the history of canal construction through Ledbury












Click on the picture to follow the Towpath through Ledbury















Click on this picture to show cuttings from the Newspapers showing life on the Canal.









The Iron Church








Research of the canal’s route uncovered many interesting buildings nearby, including ‘The Iron Church’ in New Street.

Click on this picture of the Iron Church for the full story including the controversial rector who was its raison d’etre.








Policing Ledbury







Canal trade opened up communication, the population grew, undesirables attracted the attention of the police. How was Ledbury policed during the nineteenth century? Click on the policemen to find out.






Butcher Row Museum






The Butcher Row museum in Church Lane has an interesting history. An Act of Parliament was needed to secure the building's removal from the row of buildings causing obstruction in the middle of the High Street, click on the "Open" sign to read more.








Potted Biographies





This kind of research produces many names of local interest. The people featured here contributed to the life and fortunes of the town and I have collected them together accompanied by a small biography. Most of the names at this time are associated with the Canal but as other subjects are researched new names will be added.
Click the icon to access.




The first Coffee Shop






Click on the cup to take a break and read all about the first coffee shop in Ledbury.









Ledbury Toll Houses





The Toll Road system and the houses associated with it are discussed here. Relevant research and newspaper reports of the nineteenth century give some idea of the life and times of the gatekeepers.
Click the icon to access.







More Ledbury History can be found on Old Ledbury site

I am indebted to all members of the Old Ledbury Facebook Group for their collective memories without which the research for this site would have been even more difficult.

Comments and help with research always appreciated. john@ledburyhistory.uk

© 2019