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Bradshaw’s Guide

Ludlow, England. Taken between ca. 1890 and ca. 1900. Original: Library of Congress


Ludlow is a parliamentary borough, with 6,033 inhabitants, returning two members, and standing on a beautiful bend of the Teme, in Shropshire, but close to the borders of Herefordshire, from which the river divides it. Several country seats are planted on the hills around, of which there are very pleasing prospects from the walls of the old Castle. This fine ruin was originally built by Roger Montgomery, one of the Conqueror’s favourite knights, to whom the defence of the Welsh borders was entrusted. The only remains are the keep, 110 feet high, with some other towers, under various names, a chapel in the Norman style, and a great hall. In this hall Milton’s Comus (which he wrote at Horton in Buckinghamshhe) was performed before Lord President Brackley, the story being founded on an incident which befel two members of his family. Here Henry VII. a Tudor, and Welshman by descent, kept his court, and married his son Arthur to Katherine of Arragon, an important event in its consequences; for being afterwards married to Arthur’s brother Henry, and divorced by him, the great Reformation of religion followed. In Elizabeth’s time the wise and sagacious Sir Henry Sidney, father of Sir Phillip, was Lord President of Wales; and after the restoration, was succeeded by Lord Carbery, the patron of Butler, who found a home, and wrote the first three cantos of Hadibras here.

Ludlow is well built. Two bridges cross the Teme which, north of the town, is joined by the Corve. One of these leads over to Ludford, in Herefordshire, which belongs to the Charltons of Ludford House; the other is close to the only remaining town gate. St, Lawrence’s, near the Market Place, is a large cross-shaped church of Henry VII.’s time. 230 feet long, the tower, porch, and oak roof of which deserve notice. Edward the Sixth’s Grammar School, and the Guildhall, where the sessions are held, are in Mill Street. A little paper is made here, but the trade is almost entirely agricultural.

Within a short distance are the following seats: — Dinham House, belonging to the Earl of Powis, formerly occcupied by Prince Lucien Bonaparte; Hay Park and Moor Park are the Salweys’ scats; Oakley Park, the seat of the Honourable R. W. Olive; Croft Castle, William Kevil Davies, Esq.; Caynham Court, Sir William Curtis; Downton Hall, Sir Charles Rouse Boughton. Kinlet Hall, near Cleoberry Mortimer, is a seat of the Childes. Wigmore, (7 miles), is in a rocky picturesque spot, with a ruined castle, on a hill above it, built by the Norman kings to command the Welsh marches, for the Mortimers, who took their title of Earl of March from this circumstance. One of them was the opponent of Henry IV.

Revolted Mortimer!

When on the gentle Severn’s sedgy bank
In single opposition, hand to hand,
He did confound the best part of au hour
In changing hardimeut with great Glendower.
Three times they breathed, and three times did they drink
Upon agreement of sweet Severn’s flow — 
Who then, affrighted with their bloody looks
Ran fearfully among the trembling reeds.

Richard’s Castle, took its name from another border fortress. Downton was the seat of Knight, author of an “Analytical Inquiry into the Principles of Taste,” who built it, to exemplify those principles, with “Gothic towers and battlements without, and Grecian ceilings, columns, and entablatures within;” his design being not to copy the style of any particular age or country, but to produce a picturesque dwelling compounded from all, and adapted to the character of the scenery, which is equally irregular. Brampton Bryan, seat of the Earl of Oxford, descended from Lord Chancellor Hailey, whose MSS. are in the British Museum.

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Places nearby

  • Herefordshire : Hereford

    Hereford, stands at a military Ford on the Wye, which King Harold protected by a castle, the site of which, at Castle Green, is now occupied by the Nelson Column.

  • Shropshire : Shrewsbury

    This fine old capital of Shropshire, and parliamentary town, is 42 miles beyond Birmingham.

  • Worcestershire : Great Malvern

    A healthy, fashionable, and agreeable watering place, consisting of Great and Little Malvern, about four miles apart.