"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Return to Herefordshire - Part 2: Walk round Leominster.


On the Thursday we went for a walk around Leominster town centre as E hadn't been with us last time we went there.

Sorry, a lot of photos and some of you will have seen some of the subjects before but we did visit one different area around Grange Court.

Sculpture in the car park- the words "Lemster Ore" on the left one refer to Leominster being the home of the historically famous Ryeland sheep. The name derives from the pastures of rye where monks from the Priory used to graze them.  The wool was renowned in Europe as well as England for hundreds of years and was regarded as the best in England. Apparently, Queen Elizabeth I wore Ryeland stockings as she liked them so much.

The Coach House

This house marks the site of the Red Crosse Bridge which once crossed the Pinsley Brook - a canalised river that runs under Broad Street and around the priory.

This timber framed house was built in 1600.

I was very tempted to go inside this bookshop especially as there didn't seem to be any customers inside. I could see at least one Logaston Press book on hop picking that I wanted to buy.

The Corn Square

The Leominster Millennium Clock partly obscured by what I assume is a large Christmas Tree waiting to be decorated.

We detoured from the walk we did on the last visit to go and look at an area of green space called Grange Walk and Grange Court.

In case you can't read the above - Grange Walk links Corn Square with the Grange.  As I've mentioned before a religious community lived in this area from 660 - 1539.  The earliest site was founded by St Edfrith from Lindisfarne.  The monastery remained throughout Anglo Saxon times and by the 11th century the location had become become a wealthy nunnery visited by pilgrims.  In 1121 King Henry I refounded the monastry and a community of Benedictine monks arrived. The priory survived until closed by Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539.

The green space here was once part of the priory and in medieval times the area would have contained outhouses, a mill and brewhouse. The Great Barn or Grange after which the area is named was where monks stored grain supplied by their tenants. It once stood on the area where there is now a pavilion.

The building I really wanted to see was Grange Court which is a Grade II listed timber-framed market hall built in 1633 by John Abel.  In 400 years the hall has been used for many different functions. Orginally the market hall was situated at the top of Broad Street and was used for the weekly butter market where eggs, chicken and butter were sold. It was called the Butter Crosse.  The market hall started to become a traffic hazard in the town centre in the 19th century and was dismantled and lay in pieces in a builder's yard until 1859.  That year it was bought by John Arkwright who had it rebuilt in the area of land known as The Grange.  The Moore family leased it and it remained a family home until 1939 when Leominster District Council made a compulsory purchase to save it from being bought and moved to South Wales.  Today it is a Community Heritage and Enterprise Centre and, as you can see, contains a cafe.

The domed cupola with weather vane is dated 1687.

There were so many carvings at the front and along the sides of the building. Sadly, B and E, were nearly out of sight so I only had time to take photos of a few.

I did make some notes from Pevsner about the building to bring home but I seem to have left them at the caravan!

This metal sculpture near the War Memorial is Mr Granger mowing grass.

The Leominster War Memorial, listed at Grade II, comprises a statue of winged Victory by William Storr-Barber 1922 with an adjacent memorial wall.

We walked back to the town centre and continued on the route walked last time.  I did plan to go into this cheese shop as we all love cheese so much until I saw the shop assistant cutting up cheese and wrapping it was not wearing a mask even though a sign on the door asked customers to do so!!!!!! I did not go in!

I love "ghost signs".

The Christmas lights seem to be going up.

Grafton House - possibly built in the late 14th century.

At this stage I got a bit annoyed!  I was lagging behind as usual trying to take photos but thought I saw B and E disappear into the mini mart in what looks like a converted church.  I waited for about 20 minutes but no sign of a re-emergence so I wandered off down the street in case I had missed them leaving. No sign so I went back and waited and waited and waited. In the end I gave up and walked back to Broad Street where luckily I saw them in the distance. Somehow I had missed them leave.  That 30 minutes could have been more profitably spent on my own in the bookshop where I might have been able to make a few sneaky purchases!! :)

I did manage to persuade them to walk back to the car park via Leominster Priory - not many pictures as try as I did I could not persuade either to have a look at the Romanesque carvings on the West Porch!

In the end we didn't go anywhere on the Friday before coming home -  one disadvantage of the clock change is that it gets dark so much earlier and neither B or I are keen on driving on country roads with no street lights at night.

I hope everyone is staying safe and well.

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera.