A History of Leominster, Herefordshire.,

Brief History  -  Town Seal  - Events (Archæology & History) 


Leominster is a market town (c 11,000 population) in Herefordshire, 13 miles north of Hereford, owing its origins to an Anglo-Saxon royal estate and a minster church of the 7th century. (Early Church in Herefordshire)  (Legend of St Etfrid)

Domesday records it as the centre of a rich and extensive manor, which included many of the surrounding villages. In 1123 these lands were given by Henry 1 to his new abbey at Reading, as a source of revenue, and henceforth, until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, Leominster was a dependent cell of Reading abbey (Hillaby and Hillaby),  and the town was governed by the Prior.  (Price)

scan of cast from ME seal, fliped l/rIt was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Mary in 1554,  though it had been, in effect, a borough since 1221, with an official seal. Growing outside the walls of the Benedictine community the town became, in medieval times, internationally famous for the quality of its wool, and regionally important as a livestock market. (Reeves)

The wool, linen and leather trades brought prosperity to the town in the 15th & 16th centuries, (Leominster hats and caps were a speciality) and in the 18th century it was nationally important as a glove-making centre, but the collapse of this trade in the 19th century led to a period of great hardship and Leominster struggled to find a role in the new industrial Britain. Public Library esablished 1892.

Railways connecting South Wales and the north-west of England brought temporary prosperity, but links east to the Black Country met geological difficulties and the town settled into a small trading centre manufacturing agricultural machinery and goods related to the farming community of its hinterland. (Lion Ballroom)

This is the role it fulfills today, but with the addition of a thriving tourist trade, being in the middle of the Welsh Borderland, close to Offa’s Dyke, hill-forts, castles, stately homes and rolling countryside. The Priory Church, many half-timbered buildings, including the magnificent former market hall, (History of the Buttercross) and some fine Georgian frontages give a taste of its former importance.  Peter Holliday

THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY SEAL (above) reads " SIGILLUM COMMUNE LEOMINISTRIE †," and shows St Peter (tonsured, and in cassock and cope, carrying keys to set free or to bind, holding a book because he wrote two Epistles). (Printer scan of plaster-cast of cold wax impression of seal: image flipped l/r.)

Leominster Priory NW corner  mural painting: a Wheel over 2m wide of the Countenance Divine radiating towards ten stages of life

  Mitis sum et humilis ; lacte vivo puro.           
  Nunquam ero labilis ; etatem mensuro.

  Vita nitens sacule : speculo probatur.
  Iam procursus specule ; set vita letatur.

  Rex sum rego seculum ; mundus meus totus.
  Sumo michi baculum ; morti fere notus.

De/crepitati deditus ; mors erit michi esse.
In/firmitati sorditus ; incipio deesse.

  Putavi qd viverem ; vita me decepit.
  Versum sic in cinerem ; vita me decepit.

LEOMINSTER MUSEUM (formerly Folk Museum) Open from March 23rd to September 28th
Mon-Fri 11am - 4pm | Sat 11am - 1.30pm. Free Admission. 

THE LOST PUBS site has a page of Public Houses known to have existed in Leominster but now closed. Anchor, Bakers Arms, Barrel Inn, Bird In Hand, Birdcage, (+13 more) and then also - Golden Cross, Golden Lion, Greyhound Inn, Harp Inn, Lion Hotel, (closed 1851) ,New Inn, Pheasant Inn, Prince Of Wales, Prince Of Wales,  Radnorshire Arms, Ring Of Bells, Three Horseshoes, (2011). White Hart, White Horse. Most of them busy only on Market Day.


FAMILY HISTORY,  Herefordshire Family History have a flourishing site for help on questions of family history:   <http://www.herefordshirefhs.org.u/k>

has a considerable collection of photographs and stories at  

Meetings now take place at 7:30pm on second Mondays in the Community Centre.

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

MORTIMER SOCIETY  <  mortimerhistorysociety.org.uk 
  Source:    www.kingslandlife.com   

ABBEY DORE Laudian Restoration & ELIZABETHAN COURT LIFE       www.blancheparry.com

  English Administration in France around the time of the Black Prince.  
People from this area are mentioned: Hakelut,  Mortimer,  on the first pages opened.