Ledbury lies in a quiet corner of Herefordshire, just about equidistant from the cities of Hereford, Gloucester and Worcester. Remote, but not isolated, the town is surrounded by ancient wooded hills, while the River Leadon, from which the town is thought to take its name, meanders slowly through the meadows to the west. Visitors and inhabitants alike can empathise with Ledbury-born Poet Laureate John Masefield, who 'felt the beauty of the place and the mystery of its past ... through century after century'.
Ledbury: a Market Town and its Tudor Heritage tells the story of this ancient town from 1558, when Elizabeth I confiscated the bishop's manor and estate, through a period of great prosperity in the 16th century to the present day. During the Tudor period the town's cloth trade flourished and the market which served the rural parishes surrounding the town thrived. The resulting physical transformation, including the wide market place and streets lined with timber-framed buildings, still attracts visitors today.
The story extends from the reign of the first Elizabeth to the present day. It traces the ups and downs of a market town which has benefited from its location on the route between Hereford and Worcester but remains a small town. Ledbury has enjoyed its share of changes in trade, transport, social provision, architecture, industry and leisure, developments which have individually and collectively helped to shape the town today. But what strikes the visitor is its Tudor heritage, which continues to reflect the unexpected and untold riches generated, albeit for such a short time, in the later Tudor and early Jacobean decades.