In 1935, some local enthusiasts set up a film-making club. Membership grew and many films were made but lack of space led to the decision to put on a play once a year.
In 1938, Ledbury Amateur Cine & Dramatic Society was formed. During the Second World War, Italian prisoners at the camp at Mabel’s Furlong set up a theatre in a Nissen hut. After the war, LADS (the ‘cine’ had by then been dropped) took over the Camp Theatre. In the late 1950s, LADS moved into the old Market Theatre, then known as the Church Room. In 1986, the building was almost destroyed by fire. In 1999, the old building was demolished and Ledbury’s new Market Theatre opened in January 2000.
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.
An all ability 11-18 school, in September 1999 JMS became an Arts College, specialising in the Performing Arts of Dance Drama and Music.