Mabel's Furlong

Lady Katherine Audley lived at the Manor of Much Marcle Audley (now Hellens) until pressure there became too much for her.

On 25 February 1308, the Coronation of Edward II, she went missing and ended up as a recluse in Ledbury. Immortalised in a William Wordsworth sonnet and an essay by John Masefield, it is said she would wander until she heard church bells rung without ringers – having heard that sign, she stayed with her maidservant Mabel.

In the seventeenth century, the fields were known as Mabley Furlonge.

During the Second World War, it became a prisoner of war camp. After 1945 until around 1959 the Nissen huts were used as temporary accommodation. Mabel’s Furlong was developed for housing.

Thereafter, the camp was developed for John Masefield School which opened officially on 6 October 1978.

John Masefield High School

John Masefield High School ('JMS') came into existence in 1978, on the amalgamation of Ledbury's Grammar and Secondary Schools and Canon Frome School.

An all ability 11-18 school, in September 1999 JMS became an Arts College, specialising in the Performing Arts of Dance Drama and Music.

Upper Hall

Upper Hall, Ledbury
Upper Hall is sited on elevated position well above the flood plain of the Leadon, close to centre of Ledbury Town, yet well established woodland landscaping ensures that it remains apart from it. The origins of Upper Hall can be traced back to the year 1201 and for more than 800 years the residents of the buildings on the site - during that time it had been known variously as Aula Superior, Over Court, Over Hall, Upper Hall - have played an integral and prominent part in the history of Ledbury and the surrounding district.

An important consideration of the location of Upper Hall is its proximity to the Church. The original buildings have been added to and extended over history. A most attractive part of Upper Hall is a fine Jacobean Wing constructed around 1670. In the 1730s a Georgian Wing was added, the central feature of which is a delightful oak parlour,. In 1766 the Jacobean and Georgian Wings were joined by a three storey house constructed to a mid-Georgian style. From around 1850 a large number of alterations were carried out to Upper Hall to give it a predominately Victorian theme.

Upper Hall belonged to Skyppe family until 1812 and their successors Martin, a banking family (Martins Bank later amalgamated with Barclays). During his ownership, John Martin transformed the external setting and approaches to Upper Hall surrounding it with parkland. Trees from home and abroad, including conifer, cedar and willow to name but a few, were imported and together with imaginative landscaping he created lovely surroundings for the main buildings. Although some of these features have now disappeared, many of them still remain in place, particularly the park and woodland. The original driveway, which extends to approximately 450 yards, leads from the main Worcester Road and was created to enable visitors to appreciate at first hand the superbly laid out grounds and the collection of trees, following as it does, a picturesque route towards the main house.

During World War I, the building was used as a hospital, and later augmented by the construction of further buildings. By 1920, “Upper Hall comprised a commodious family mansion, picturesquely situated and containing a suite of well proportioned reception rooms and 27 bedrooms" . That year Upper Hall was sold to Herefordshire County Council, who converted it into a Secondary School which soon became known as Ledbury Grammar School initially providing accommodation for 150 boys and girls aged 10 to 15 years. By 1970 there were 317 pupils on the roll. In 1978 through re-organisation of the secondary education system in the Ledbury area the buildings became part of the John Masefield High School with the Upper Hall site retained for pupils between 11 to 13 in their first two years of secondary education.

In about 1997, after a period of disuse and neglect, the building was sold by Herefordshire County Council to a London-based solicitor who converted the Hall and outbuildings into private apartments that were then sold off individually, thereby ending, as is the wont of property developers, the benefit of single ownership.