The Leominster History Study Group

has prepared several exhibitions;  has worked on two Summer Schools; and from these created the following publications...

The Lion Hotel and Ballroom, Leominster 1997
Hymns Ancient & Modern and Henry Williams Baker 2013

ISBN 9780953631452  ISBN 0 99511995 5 2 


Previous publications, now sold out include:

French Barns, Cambridge Rolls and Register Grates 1999
The Early Church in Herefordshire 2001
facsimile: Price's History of Leominster 1793
Castle Moat, Leominster archaeology
Kimbolton with Hamnish 1986
Kimbolton with Hamnish into the New Millennium 2001
The Buttercross, 1993  (Leominster crossroads)
CD of Photographs Leominster Grammar Sch 2010

This book, 14th C., contains the Early English and Norman French 'Harley Lyrics.'
On folio 132r "Incipit legenda de S'to Etrfrido,"  there is the Leominster legend.
the legend is on folio 132r (hover in right margin: click f.132r). Isn't it beautiful?

The copyright remains with the  BRITISH LIBRARY.© The British Library Board.

Ye Olde Fashioned Version of the Story in 37 verses.
The Poem EDFRIDE by John Hackluyt of Eaton was written (c. 1605) when Leominster was beginning to sort out the problems left by the Reformation -- school, library, amshouses, law enforcement. It is written in a deliberately old-fashioned style, and Blacklock mischievously claimed it was pre-Conquest. 


It is important to book with Tim Hoverd  early in the preceding week.

Date Time Description
Wed.Dec 14 10am - 1pm Colwall


local books researched and published by the Group over thirty years on Industrial, Social, and Architectural History.

A&M and Henry Williams Baker OUR MOST RECENT BOOK describes a great Victorian endeavour.  Hymns Ancient & Modern sold over 2,000,000 copies in twenty years (from1861) with no institutional  backing from Church or State.   

Success was largely due to the drive of the Rev. Sir Henry Williams Baker,  vicar of the village of Monkland. From this rural base Henry Baker created and financed the entire project, with the help of a few friends.  The foremost musicians, poets, scholars were motivated by him to contribute to the work.
‘Hymns Ancient & Modern and Henry Williams Baker’ describes how this happened,  …and the reinvention of church architecture, music, organ building, decorative arts that was the background to the enterprise.

The book is now also available from  <>
who are advertising the new  A&M:  Hymns and songs for refreshing worship 
And the Hymns Ancient and Modern Anniversary Edition 

Aardvark Books U.K. have kindly agreed to handle overseas sales for us:    Tel: + 44 (0) 1547 530744 


REVIEW    Monkland’s musical baronet 

by Serenhedd James, writing in the Church Times, on our tribute to a hero of English Hymnody:

 "Hymns Ancient and Modern” and Henry Williams Baker: A Herefordshire vicar and his hymn book. Leominster History Study Group, editors
Leominster Historical Society     (978-0-95363145-2)

THIS book was produced as part of the sesquicentennial celebrations for the first words-and-music edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern, and mainly draws on material delivered at a conference aimed at celebrating the book itself, and at restoring the name of Henry Williams Baker — original editor of Hymns A & M and  former Vicar of Monkland in the diocese of Hereford — to a prominent place in history. Baker was one of two great neighbouring Victorian musical clerical baronets, the other being the better-remembered Frederick Arthur Gore Ouseley, 12 miles away at Tenbury.

Chapters from three eminent scholars open the work. Professor John Harper introduces the context in which Baker worked, and provides a useful consideration of the nature and function of hymns, and their place in English worship, both before and after the Reformation. Professor Richard Watson deals with Baker’s choice of words, and Professor Jeremy Dibble writes on his choice of tunes, noting the influence on Baker of  German hymnody.

Anthony Malpas considers the business side of the publication of Hymns A & M, and Ann Malpas deals with Baker’s wider work at Monkland and in the diocese of Hereford. Tim Bridges, Michael Fisher, and James Berrow provide brief and illuminating chapters on the Monkland work of G. E. Street, who restored the church; Hardman & Co., who made the glass; and the organ-builders, J. W. Walker. Two interesting little chapters of a particularly Herefordshire theme close the book: one by Tim Bridges on local Victorian churches, and the other by Ann Malpas on the Herefordshire Choral Union.

There is much in this book to be commended; and not least the efforts of a local-history group to bring to the fore a man and his circle who deserve far greater recognition than they currently enjoy. That said, in terms of its editing, the book is a curate’s egg.

Chapter nine is three-and-a-half pages long, and is the reproduction of an address given by Professor Harper at a modern re-enactment of a choral evensong sung at Monkland in August 1871. A whistle-stop tour of Baker’s life and achievements, it would have been better placed as an introduction to the volume.

 In the early chapters, only certain hymn tunes are printed near their citations. Financial constraints may have made this necessary, but it means that one must either know the rest by heart, or read the book at the Bechstein, Hymns A & M in hand.

Most of the illustrations are useful, pertinent, and clear, but a number of the colour photographs are out of focus. Pages 75 to 77 appear twice, and the last word goes to the Dean of Hereford, Michael Tavinor, who shares in the widespread misconception that “He who sings prays twice” is an accurate quotation from St Augustine of Hippo.

That said, this is a book that anyone interested in the history of the English choral tradition will find interesting and rewarding.

Dr Serenhedd James

is Visiting Tutor in Ecclesiastical History at St Stephen’s House, Oxford, a former Organist of Pusey House, and a freelance church musician. 
( from the CHURCH TIMES - 21 Feb. 2014)


a)  the subject of an article in the Birmingham Post  (6 Oct)
b) written up in one of our best books  The Lion Hotel and Ballroom 



From  Glogauer Liederbuch 

 Bonum vinum cum sapore
bibit abbas cum priore 
sed conventus de peiore

semper solet bibere
bibit semper misere 
qui non habet solvere.

 With the prior every day 
Abbot sips a good Tokay
savouring its fine bouquet.

 Lesser brothers’ tipple worse is,
drinking vinegar with curses,
brotherhood of empty purses.



gives a resumé of events, as well as some resources and addresses and links  (Leominster Historical Society, &  Mortimer Soc. & Archeological Walks & Museum).   But this is not the main purpose of the site.  The History Study Group's main purpose is the research for exhibitions and publications.