Sutton Walls

Sutton Walls hillfort is an elongated ovoid Iron Age Hill fort located 4 miles north of Hereford.

The hillfort dates back to the Iron Age. By 100 BC defences began to be constructed in the form of a v-shaped ditch and an internal bank, to accommodate a larger community. The people in the settlement lived in wood and stone huts

Archaeological digs have revealed that in around 48 AD, Sutton Walls was attacked by the Romans under the leadership of Ostorius Scapula and 24 of its inhabitants were slain and their bodies were thrown into the ditch.

After the fort was conquered and its people either banished or put to the sword, the Romans themselves occupied it and did so until about 3c. In this time the Romans greatly strengthened the forts

The fort is also regarded by many as being the location of the palace of Offa of Mercia. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle it was at Sutton Walls where Offa arranged Æthelberht II (
St Ethelbert) of East Anglia to be murdered in 794. Mediaeval sources tell how he was taken captive whilst visiting his future Mercian bride Ælfthyth and was then murdered and buried. In Richard of Cirencester's account of the murder, which cannot be substantiated, Offa's evil queen Cynethryth poisoned her husband's mind until he agreed to have his guest killed. Æthelberht was then bound and beheaded by a certain Grimbert and his body was unceremoniously disposed of. The medieval historian John Brompton's Chronicon describes how the king's detached head fell off a cart into a ditch where it was found, before it restored a blind man's sight. Posthumously Æthelberht was canonised and became the focus of cults in East Anglia and at Hereford, where the shrine of the saintly king once existed.

Cattle Market

Ledbury Cattle Market postcard LHS Cattle Market
Market Street was opened in 1887 by the Ledbury Markets and Fairs Company. It served the new, purpose-built cattle market and was accessed from both New Street and Bye Street, Market Street s still a private, unadopted road.

The Cattle Market closed in 1999, the market site was sold and later redeveloped for a new health centre and doctor's surgery.

During the redevelopment, evaluation trenches were dug to investigate the possible presence of medieval deposits in the area currently occupied by the Cattle Market. Medieval features were seen in both the backland trenches and on the Bye Street frontage.

The central area of the site produced what appeared to be a medieval agricultural soil layer. Only the trench on the New Street frontage failed to produce medieval finds but the area here had been cleaned down for the construction of Market Street.

Another report from Marches Archaeology in 2002 recorded archaeological features were almost exclusively found on the Bye Street frontage and the associated backlands.
Pottery from the site suggests that late prehistoric and Roman activity took place somewhere within the vicinity of the site, but no prehistoric or Roman features were found, the earliest dating to the 12th and 13th centuries.

In the 14th and 15th centuries both sides of Bye Street were built up; the backlands on the S. side of Bye Street being used for domestic or commercial use.

In the 17th century the backlands were no longer being used for the same purpose; by this time the land was being used for horticulture, possibly as orchards as the land was later used in the 18th and 19th centuries.

A brook recorded on a map of 1788 shown running along the middle of Bye Street was culverted in the early 19th century.