War Memorial

Ledbury war memorial commemorates the dead of two World Wars. In a central position opposite Market House, the memorial was constructed in two stages at the end of each war. It was first unveiled on Sunday 5 December 1920.

The stone is oolitic limestone with granite plaques for the names inscribed.

On the lower First World War section are mosaic pictures of an angel, a soldier and a seaman. On the Second World War upper addition is a decorated tile picture of an airman.

Tilley's

16-17 High Street was originally a house by the name of Kingshead, subsequently the King’s Head public house.

No. 16 High Street was bought by Luke Tilley in 1885, who gutted and extensively repaired the building. His son John opened a studio up the alley behind the shop. His other son, William, ran a motor accessories shop from No. 17.

The Tilley family business – stationer, newsagent, bookseller and printer, hiring of bicycles and motor vehicles, repair garage, poster sites, and a subscription library – was very successful.

John Tilley, a prolific publisher of postcards and photographs, is the man to whom the pictorial history of Ledbury is indebted.

St Katherine's Hospital

The purpose of the St Katherine’s Hospital was to remind those who visited the market opposite of the constant need to pray and carry out works of charity. The misuse of the revenue and property of the hospital that features in the history of St Katherine’s Hospital was reformed in 1819, the estates sold off after 1945. Originally probably a row of timber-framed buildings, and used as accommodation for the brethren and sisters, the Almshouses were built as two wings, the north side in 1822, the other side in 1866.

Butchers Row

Where what used to be Middletown, in High Street, a row of booths stood there for around 700 years that over the centuries became timber-framed structures. Butchers Row was used as slaughterhouses. In 1830, the ‘disagreeable practice of slaughtering pigs in the street’ was abolished in Ledbury. By 1840, the booths had been removed from High Street and destroyed; all except a couple that in recent times have been restored and relocated.

One structure was re-erected in Skipp Alley (off The Homend). When the timber-framing was reassembled, a first-floor beam was put in upside down, as may be seen on the front.

Another booth was stored in a garden behind 14 High Street until it was relocated to Church Lane and renovated by the Ledbury and District Civic Society to become what is now known the Butcher Row Folk Museum

Market House

Market House, Ledbury
In 1617 a group of local citizens bought some property ‘at or near a place called the Corner End’ and here John Abel built the new Market Hall, also known as Lower or Wheat Market, nowadays Market House.

Upon 16 oak pillars, The Market House has a room above. An old deed directs "that the rent of the Market House shall be expended in providing yearly twelve coats or gowns for twelve poor persons of Ledbury, to be delivered every year at Christmas at the direction and appointment of the Rector and Churchwardens".

When the Market House was built, a shop was made under the staircase leading to the upper part of the building and which was let at about £2 a year. However “ in consequence of its situation rendering it a public nuisance, and that by serving as a wall for the playing at fives", it encouraged the resort of idle and disorderly persons, particularly on Sundays so it was removed by order of the Vestry, August 16th, 1818.

A long running dispute as to whether the stilts were constructed of Oak or Spanish Chestnut was decided in the 1980s when one of the supports had to be partially replaced. Analysis of the removed timber proved that they are made of Oak. Earlier major work was carried out in the Victorian times when a change of use to a town hall and meeting room was proposed. Much of what you can see today dates from that time, when the present windows, staircase, floor and staging were put in. Other restoration works were carried out in 1939, the 1970s and 1980s, but the most recent were in 2006, when it was discovered there was something seriously wrong with the stilts. Wood had become infested with insects, notably boring wasps, with further decay from rot. Building technology made it possible to strengthen the stilts while maintaining the 17th Century structural framework: the Market House was raised off the ground a full 600 mm to allow the builders to scrape out the damaged wood from the insides of the bases and the lower part of the supports, and replace with a mixture of lime/grout mortar, strong enough to take the load of the building, which was then lowered back onto its base.

When the Market House was built, a shop was made under the staircase leading to the upper part of the building and which was let at about £2 a year.

However “ in consequence of its situation rendering it a public nuisance, and that by serving as a wall for the playing at fives", it encouraged the resort of idle and disorderly persons, particularly on Sundays so it was removed by order of the Vestry, August 16th, 1818