New House, a Grade I listed sixteenth-century mansion, whose name changed to Ledbury Park in 1820, is considered the most important domestic building in Ledbury, belonging to Edward Skynner, a clothier, in around 1595. Edward and his wife Elizabeth are buried in the church, with their baby daughter, who was reputedly killed by the last wolf in the district.
In 1680 the estate passed to the Biddulph family, an influence in Ledbury into the twentieth century.
Unusually, for a grand mansion, the building is on the corner of busy streets. During the Civil War, Prince Rupert made New House his headquarters. In 1830, Princess Victoria (later Queen Victoria) named an elm tree on the estate. The parkland is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In 1996, the buildings were converted into houses and apartments.
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.
When Miss Hall died she left enough money to provide for a school mistress and twenty-four children, and for a schoolmaster to teach eight of those to write.
In the 19th century for half a penny pupils could receive school dinners. On Mondays this was pea soup, Tuesdays rice pudding, Wednesdays Irish Stew, Thursdays boiled beef and suet pudding and Fridays pea soup again. The School was rebuilt in 1910 and was now known as the 'New School of Domestic'.
During the 1990s, the ground floor was occupied by The Collection Gallery. The building is now used as offices and owned by a firm of solicitors Daniels Ferraby, DF Legal.