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Books on Herefordshire

The Scudamores of Kentchurch and Holme Lacy

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by Heather Hurley

Paperback, 240 pages, 242 x 171 mm
colour illustrations
ISBN 978-1-910839-38-6  £12.95

The Scudamores of Kentchurch and Holme Lacy tells the story of two branches of this prominent and important Herefordshire family – the senior branch originating in the eleventh century and still living at Kentchurch in the Monnow Valley, and the younger branch from the fourteenth century based at Holme Lacy until the early twentieth century. Clear contrasts exist between the two families, with the more liberal ‘quiet and home-keeping people’ of Kentchurch taking little part in national affairs, becoming overshadowed by the ambitious and powerful Holme Lacy family. A wealth of interesting characters emerge, people of fame, fortune and failure, some strong and flamboyant, others quiet and reflective – and with them their stories.

 Although this book is primarily about the Scudamore family, it has been written as a local history, setting the people and places within the wider context of emerging events at Kentchurch, Holme Lacy and beyond, from the eleventh century up to the middle of the twentieth century. The history, traditions and legends of the present Lucas-Scudamore family have been carefully traced through hundreds of documents, maps, papers, paintings and photographs, spanning a period of almost 1,000 years.

Heather Hurley lives in Herefordshire and has a keen interest in local history. She has written a number of books, including The Story of Ross, Landscape Origins of the Wye Valley, The Green Lanes of Herefordshire and Herefordshire’s River Trade – Craft & Cargo on the Wye & Lugg.

Herefordshire's Home Front in the Second World War cover
rdshire's Home Front in the Second World War

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by Bill Laws

Paperback, 176 pages, 242 x 171 mm
Black & white illustrations
ISBN 978-1-910839-33-1  £10

Following the fateful announcement in 1939 that Britain was again at war, a hastily formed Home Guard prepared for a final stand against invasion, Covert Auxiliary Units were instructed to ‘lay low then kill off important Germans’, and schoolboy Henry Moss was dispatched to hide Aconbury church’s silver.

It was all change in Herefordshire. With men off fighting, women stepped in, making munitions, working in farming and forestry as members of the Land Army and Timber Corps, and joining the WAAFs, Wrens and ATS. In came evacuees and refugees, foreign soldiers and POWs.

Moments of fear and tragedy – the loss of Ken Hursey’s family to a runaway bomb at Rotherwas, or the unimaginable journey of Eddie Dzierza – were interspersed with lighter moments: a group of wounded GIs demonstrating the jitterbug in the middle of the Hoarwithy Road, or the Tupsley Home Guardsman who hit his own house during mortar training.

Herefordshire’s Home Front in the Second World War offers a rich insight into all aspects of life in Herefordshire in wartime, through memories and photographs gathered by the county reminiscence group, Herefordshire Lore, and with important new research into the county’s conscientious objectors by Dr Elinor Kelly.

Bill Laws is the author of twenty titles on subjects ranging from rural architecture and a social history of walking, to gardens and local history. He helped found Herefordshire Lore in 1989.

The Story of RAF Madley cover
The Story of RAF Madley

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by Fiona Macklin
Paperback, 88 pages, 171 x 242 mm
49 b&w illustrations
ISBN:  978-1-904396-65-9

The site for RAF Madley Radio School was acquired at the end of 1940 in response to a need for training bases away from the threat of German bombers and that could provide the personnel needed to, at first, keep the RAF operational after the depredations caused by the Battle of Britain. Entering operation whilst still under construction, the 3.5 square mile site, one of the largest RAF bases in Britain, was soon providing training for both Ground and Air crew. The main courses were in Morse and Wireless operation, in flight practice being carried out in Dominie and Proctor aircraft. The base also developed a mountain rescue unit to retrieve crashed and downed crews in the Brecon Beacons and elsewhere. But training covered a multitude of other areas too, such as surviving ditching at sea, jungle warfare, street fighting, how to escape if captured and much more besides.

 This book also tells of the sports and entertainments held on the base, its interaction with the local community and that of Hereford, of some of the personalities and pranks, of life at the base in general.

 It also provides a brief history of the area before the construction of the site, and of what happened to it since it closed as an RAF Radio School in 1946. Likewise the brief passage of its most infamous visitor, Rudolf Hess, is included.

Fiona Macklin was manager of Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms at the Imperial War Museum. Fiona became involved in the RAF Madley book project through Madley Environmental Study Centre.

River Voices:
Extraordinary Stories from the Wye
by Marsha O'Mahony

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A Herefordshire Lore publication
Paperback, 256 pages, 242 x 171 mm
Black & white illustrations
ISBN 978-1-910839-31-7  £10.00

River Voices is filled with stories of the Wye told through the words and photographs of those who have known the river all their lives – ferrymen and ferrywomen, boat builders and bridge builders, rowers and swimmers, anglers and poachers, ghillies and river bailiffs, otter hunters and more.

In the summer of 2017, a team of interviewers travelled up and down the Wye in Herefordshire, recording the experiences of the people who have lived and worked on the river, or simply been drawn to its waters in search of recreation or a jam jar of minnows. Thanks to them, a wealth of memories surfaced, of a much-loved river teeming with often startling tales, and peopled by a rich assortment of characters, many long-gone. Stories, photographs and artefacts have been gathered together and preserved, and the voices of the ‘ordinary’ men and women of the Wye now have their place in the history of the river.

Marsha O’Mahony has worked as a newspaper reporter, is author and contributing writer to a number of books, a blogger, chief researcher and oral historian on a series of documentary film projects and community reporter for BBC Radio Wales. She lives in Herefordshire with her family.

Ethelbert: King & Martyr
Hereford's Patron Saint
Compiled by the Very Reverend Michael Tavinor

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Paperback, 64 pages, 210 x 148 mm
87 colour illustrations
ISBN 978-1-910839-32-4  £5

Hereford Cathedral is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Ethelbert the King.

But who was St Ethelbert? Although not one of the most famous saints, he played a significant role in the development of the church in Mercia. Following his beheading by King Offa in 794, pilgrims flocked to his shrine in Hereford Cathedral, which became a place of healing. Medieval writers elaborated stories of the saint, and although there are no traces of his original shrine, his story lives on and says important things about life and faith today.

Compiled by the Dean of Hereford, the Very Reverend Michael Tavinor, Ethelbert tells the story of our Saint through a wealth of images, a new commentary, a scholarly essay – and a quiz!

Michael Tavinor is Dean of Hereford Cathedral.

Merrily's Border: The Mysterious World of Merrily Watkins – History & Folklore, People & Places (Third Edition)
by Phil Rickman with photos by John Mason

Paperback, 176 pages, 242 x 171 mm
110 colour & 80 black & white illustrations

ISBN:  978-1-910839-30-0  £14.99

What TS Eliot did for Canterbury Cathedral Rickman does for Hereford – Jane Jakeman

 Merrily’s Border explores the real world of Phil Rickman’s Merrily Watkins series. The novels are all set in actual locations – mostly in Herefordshire, but also in Shropshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and over the border into Wales: a region that remains one of Britain’s best-kept secrets. This new and extended edition includes the settings of The House of Susan Lulham, Friends of the Dusk, All of a Winter’s Night and For the Hell of It.

 With their uniquely authentic blend of crime and the paranormal, Phil Rickman’s addictive Merrily Watkins novels, about the diocesan exorcist for Hereford, have virtually established a new fictional genre. But the fiction is never far from an often surprising and sometimes disturbing reality. Revealing the sources and inspiration, Merrily’s Border takes readers into a land where ancient mystery is never far below the surface: the Knights Templar and the Green Man; the secret lore of apples; the lair of the real Hound of the Baskervilles; a pentagram of churches; a serial killer’s dark legacy; the unchronicled links between the composer Edward Elgar and Alfred Watkins, discoverer of ley-lines.

Mistress Blanche, Queen Elizabeth I's Confidante (New Edition)

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by Ruth Elizabeth Richardson

Paperback, 224 pages, with 26 colour and 8 black and white illustrations
ISBN 978-1-910839-28-7  £12.95

Blanche Parry – Chief Gentlewoman of Queen Elizabeth I’s Privy Chamber and Keeper of Her Majesty’s Jewels – was born in Herefordshire’s Golden Valley to a noble family connected, via the Herberts of Raglan, with the House of York. She lived to the great age of 82, and for 56 years was a constant presence in the future Queen's life, from infancy, when Lady Troy was Elizabeth's Lady Mistress, until 31 years into her reign. Blanche was discreet, meticulous, trustworthy, elegant, respected and well-liked; her responsibilities at Court more varied and far-reaching than previously supposed.

This book brings to life the day-to-day realities of Elizabeth’s Household, throwing new light on the Court, with all its hierarchies and intrigues, and revealing the selfless and influential role played for so long by the previously overlooked Blanche. Her family background, upbringing, education and religious influences are explored, together with the effect that Blanche’s views may have had on Elizabeth. The book draws extensively on original documents, many never previously transcribed, including a ‘revelatory’ corpus of bardic poems concerning Blanche’s family.

This revised edition includes the results of recent research on the Bacton altar cloth, proving it to have been part of one of Elizabeth’s dresses – the only known part of more than 1,900 of her dresses to have survived. The motifs and embroidery shed fascinating new light on Elizabeth’s Court. This edition also includes a lost portrait of Elizabeth, rediscovered as a result of the first edition of this book. The whereabouts of another lost portrait, this one of Blanche herself, remain tantalisingly unknown.

The Folk-lore of Herefordshire

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by Ella Mary Leather, with a biography by John Simons
Paperback, 368 pages, with 50 illustrations
ISBN 978-1-910839-29-4  £12.95

Ella Mary Leather’s The Folk-lore of Herefordshire was first published in 1912 and has been a treasured source of the folklore of the county ever since. Living in Weobley, Mrs Leather gathered much of her material from people in the community she loved and supported, including cottage dwellers, workhouse residents and gypsy families living in the vicinity. She wrote down the songs and carols they sang for her, sometimes in the company of Ralph Vaughan Williams, who would note down the tunes and used some of them in his compositions. Her collection of folklore, which is special to Herefordshire but recognized as being of national importance, includes cures for remedies, local sayings, morris dance tunes and dances, love divinations, and tales of ghosts and fairies.

This facsimile edition includes a biographical portrait of Mrs Leather written by John Simons, who lives in Castle House in Weobley, which used to be the Leather family home. Portraits of Ella were found in the house, along with an album of her photographs – some of which are reproduced here for the first time – and other pieces of information which have helped inform the biography.

Hereford Cathedral School: A History Over 800 Years

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by Howard Tomlinson

Hardback, 688 pages, 28 colour and 93 black and white illustrations 
ISBN 978-1-910839-23-2    £25

A grammar school was probably first attached to Hereford Cathedral in the late 12th century. Over the following 800 years, the Cathedral School overcame the absences of medieval chancellors; was strengthened by new cathedral statutes and the generosity of its early 17th century patrons; weathered the storms of the civil war in the 1640s; prospered during the Restoration period, and became the beneficiary (in the 1680s) of the Duchess of Somerset’s largesse; endured the scandal of headmaster who ran into financial difficulties in the late eighteenth century; avoided closure when numbers fell to single figures in the late 1840s; fought off threats of mergers; was restored during the latter part of the Great War and the depression years; muddled through years of austerity during the Second World War and immediately after; was modernised in the 1950s and 60s; adopted co-education in  the following decade and has flourished as a fully independent school since 2004. How HCS survived such traumas and adapted to these changes form a central theme of this book, which also places the school’s development within the context of its wider community in Hereford and beyond.  It is a rich and complex story of survival and growth of one of Hereford’s oldest living institutions.

Poems and Paintings of Herefordshire and the neighbouring Marches

selected by Jonathan Lumby    

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Paperback, 160 pages, over 80 paintings
ISBN 978-1-910839-22-5         Price £12.95

Driving south from Hereford one day in March
memorable for trickling piles of snow, with sideshows,
drift upon drift of snowdrops lapping the hedgerows,
we sighted the signpost, and on impulse, turned up
the winding, vertical road to Orcop.
                                                          Anne Stevenson, ‘Orcop’

Since William of Wycombe carolled “sing cuckoo” eight hundred years ago, poets and painters have told their love of Herefordshire and its neighbouring Marches in the beauty of words and of paintings. This new anthology (selected by Jonathan Lumby) introduces thirty poets. William Wordsworth is here, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Siegfried Sassoon and Frances Horovitz, Thomas Traherne and Henry Vaughan. Thirty artists include Hereford’s own Brian Hatton, Presteigne’s Joseph Murray Ince, Joshua Cristall, who settled in Goodrich, and David Cox, David Jones, Samuel Palmer and Thomas Gainsborough.

This is the boundary: different burrs
Stick, stones make darker scars
On the road down: nightingales
Struggle with thorn-trees for the gate of Wales.
                                                                         Roland Mathias, ‘Craswall’

Voices and visions, poems and paintings, mingle in praise of a much-loved land. Some poems are centuries old, some paintings are hardly dry. Side by side they evoke light and shade, soil and air, mystical reflection and advice to a cider-maker or to a shepherd. We blink at the brightness of angels or of the shining Wye; we hear too of older, darker forces. The history of the Shires merges with locality and both with beauty. A map shows places mentioned, for Jonathan Lumby encourages us to discover for ourselves the ‘loveliness of the Borderland’.

A History of Lyonshall from Prehistory to 1850

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by Sarah & John Zaluckyj

Paperback, 320 pages, 120 mainly colour illustrations

ISBN 978-1-910839-19-5    £15

Starting with the evidence for prehistoric man in the parish, the book covers the recent archaeological excavations and evidence for settlement in the Roman period, the building of the Saxon dyke, and the arrival of the Normans. It is the latter who built the castle, the lords of which were to sometimes play an important role in national events, at times supporting the Crown, at times in rebellion against it. One, Sir Simon Burley, was tutor to Richard II. From the 1600s more can be discovered about the wider population of the parish from their wills and inventories, which give a feel for their homes, occupations and farming methods. The management of the open fields has been gleaned from the records of the manor court, and the process of the gradual enclosure of these fields explored through estate maps. The work of the overseers in supporting the poor, often with sensitivity, is recorded. Stories of crimes, notably theft but also of slander and drunken misbehaviour abound. The appearance and disappearance of local pubs, the shifting of the village centre, the local woollen trade, the various mills, and the coming of the Industrial Revolution and the arrival of the tramway are all covered in a book which is informative not just about Lyonshall, but about rural conditions in north-western Herefordshire over the course of several centuries.


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The Story of Dilwyn    
by Tony Hobbs & Andrew Stirling-Brown

Paperback, 208 pages, 70 colour & 60 b/w illustrations

ISBN 978-1-910839-20-1      £12.95

This book gives an outline history of some of the post Domesday landowners and their families, along with what is known of the castle site and development of the churches at both Dilwyn and Stretford, and the brief appearance Dilwyn made in the Civil War. Much of the book then focuses on the past 150 or so years, giving the history of the Great House, Perrymead and the conversion of barns to form Karen Court and the associated creation of the village green. It tells the story of the school, and those of the local shops, pubs, businesses and some of the farms. It details the arrival of nonconformity, relates anecdotes of the Home Guard during the Second World War, and recounts the writing of The Tangled Garden by Elizabeth Coleman, elements of local folklore, the successes of village cricket and football teams, the construction of the bypass, and the story of the local WI.

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Eardisley’s Early History and the story of The Baskervilles

edited by Malcolm Mason

Paperback, 240 pages, over 130 colour and 50 black and white illustrations 

ISBN 978-1-910839-21-8        £10

Following their book Eardisley: its Houses and their Residents, Eardisley History Group instigated a number of research projects into the history of the wider parish. These included a geophysical survey and archaeological excavation of the castle; a building survey of some of the outlying farms and their barns; an evaluation of the varied earthwork remains at Bollingham and in an area known as The Pitts between The Field and Eardisley Wootton; and an account of the changes in the road pattern in recent centuries, and the various projected routes of the tramway.
    This book sets out the results of these projects and includes analysis of the finds from the excavation at the castle site, including evidence of metal working – a discovery described as being of national importance. The castle was the seat of the Baskerville family, and new research by Bruce Coplestone-Crow reconsiders the various generations of Baskervilles in the 300 years following the Norman Conquest, clearly establishing the role they played in the history of the Marches and occasionally on the larger national stage.This high-quality research and analysis is coupled with a wealth of photographs, maps and plans to provide a range of new and easily accessible information about the Parish of Eardisley and the Baskerville family.

The Her
efordshire School of Romanesque Sculpture

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by Malcolm
Thurlby, with an essay on The Anarchy in Herefordshire by Bruce Coplestone-Crow

320 pages, 400 colour illustrations
ISBN 978 1 906663 72 8        £17.50

The Herefordshire School of Romanesque Sculpture produced a vibrant collection of work carved between circa 1134 and 1155 by a group of sculptors who, it would seem, had received their initial training at Hereford Cathedral. This book explores their work, considering the careers of the two main sculptors, the role of the patrons, the sources of inspiration, the coming together of the work of the sculptor with that of the metalworker and the illuminator and painter, and the intended meaning behind some of the imagery.
    As the authors explain, the sculptors were working in the days of the Anarchy during the reign of King Stephen, and at times they were working on or near the front line between the opposing factions supporting Stephen or Matilda. In those dramatic times, the tower of Hereford Cathedral was used to install siege engines with which to attack the nearby castle, graveyards were dug up to provide trenches for attacking troops, and the bishop of Hereford had to authorise temporary refuges in which people could seek safety. Strange as it perhaps seems, the patrons of the work of the sculptors were also warlords. And despite these troubles, the sculptors and the masons who helped them create their designs produced a collection of work that still gives great pleasure today.

Malcolm Thurlby has spent many years investigating the Herefordshire School, and this book brings together all his latest thoughts, not least on where the sculptors received their training and on the school’s chronology and development. He also discusses the interpretation of many of the images in some detail. The book is illustrated with some four hundred mainly colour illustrations of both the work itself and some of the potential sources.

Bruce Coplestone-Crow
has spent decades researching the history of Norman Herefordshire, and uses his copious knowledge to tease out the story of the Anarchy in the county, the background against which the sculptors worked.

Walking the Old Ways of Herefordshire:

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the history in the landscape explored through 52 circular walks

by Andy and Karen Johnson

Paperback, 384 pages, over 450 colour photographs and 53 maps
ISBN 978 1 906663 86 5    £12.95

The walks in this book have been chosen with the aim of exploring Herefordshire’s past, with each walk passing or visiting a number of features about which some background information is given. These include churches, castle sites, deserted medieval villages, landscaping activity, quarrying, battle sites, dovecotes, hillforts, Iron Age farmsteads, Saxon dykes and ditches, individual farms and buildings, squatter settlements, almshouses, sculpture, burial sites, canals, disused railway lines – to name but a few, and including some that can only be reached on foot.
    They have also been chosen to help you explore Herefordshire’s present, to breathe its good air, from south to north, west to east, from quiet river valleys to airy hilltops, from ancient woodland to meadows and fields, from remote moorland to the historic streets of the county’s towns, and of course Hereford itself. The walks range from 2½ to 9½ miles in length, with the majority being between 3½ and 6½ miles. Each walk has a sketch map and detailed directions, together with background information about features en route.
The combination of photographs and historical information, together with the index, make this more than simply a book of walks, but also a companion to and celebration of Herefordshire.

The Story of Hereford

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edited by Andy Johnson & Ron Shoesmith

Contributors: Keith Ray, Ron Shoesmith, PJ Pikes, David Whitehead, Heather Hurley, Chris Pullin,
Sarah Arrowsmith, Rosemary Firman, Malcolm Thurlby, Ken Hylson-Smith, John Eisel and Derek Foxton

Paperback, 336 pages with over 160 colour and 50 mono illustrations
ISBN 978 1 906663 98 8   Price £15
This book tells the story of Hereford in breadth and depth, including bringing the results of recent research and archaeological investigation to a wider readership. Some chapters cover Hereford’s story in broadly chronological order, while others address particular themes. Alongside more familiar aspects of the city’s history – for example, how it fared in the Civil War, the foundation and history of the cathedral, the navigation of the Wye – there is new material on Saxon Hereford, medieval trade, Georgian Hereford and the activities of freehold land societies in the Victorian period. There is also information on less well known aspects of the city’s past, including Hereford’s prominence as a great centre of scientific and other learning at the end of the twelfth century, and the use of the city as a base by Simon de Montfort, and also by Prince Henry in the wars with Owain Glyn Dwr. Whether you are familiar with Hereford’s history or completely new to it, there is much here to interest, intrigue and surprise.

In the Munitions

Women at War in Herefordshire 

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Edited by Bill Laws

Paperback, 128 pages, 45 b/w illustrations ISBN 978 1873827 98 7    £10

Nearly 6,000 women worked making shells, bombs, landmines and torpedoes at the Royal Ordnance Factory at Rotherwas, Hereford during the two World Wars. It was dirty and dangerous work. At least 29 died a violent death at what was one of Britain’s oldest, and largest, explosives filling plants. Others died from handling the explosives. Compiled from interviews with former workers, and presented as told, In the Munitions is a diary of those days. ‘What a terrible thing, working our lives out to blow other people to pieces.’

The History of Rotherwas Munitions Factory, Hereford

by John Edmonds

Paperback, 128 pages, over 60 black and white illustrations, mainly photographs
ISBN 978-1-904396-27-7 Price £10

This book details the history of the Royal Ordnance Factory, commencing with a look at the Rotherwas Estate on part of whose land the factory was built, through to its closure and use as a military supply depot as it slowly gave way to general industrial use.
The reasons behind the choice of Rotherwas as a site are explored, and then the rapid building programme is detailed which provided an operational factory within a few months. The changing – and improving – conditions of work during the First World War are set out, even though the nature and effects of TNT poisoning were not understood. Rotherwas was used to charge gas shells late in the war, and despite Britain signing the Geneva Protocol in 1925 which outlawed the use of chemical weapons, the author suggests that there is evidence that Rotherwas was upgraded in the inter war years to be able to continue to manufacture gas weapons. It makes one wonder what International Weapons Inspectors would have made of this if there was a certain reversal of roles in recent years.
With the rearmament programme that was started well before the Second World War, further work was carried out at Rotherwas, which soon became a major munitions factory once again. Details of the types of munitions made, the nature of the workforce and its recruitment, accommodation that was provided, attitudes to the women workers and much besides is all covered. Also recounted are the series of explosions that occurred at the factory, from relatively small mishaps in 1940 and 1941, the well known bombing raid in 1942, to the major explosion in May 1944 – the biggest at any munitions factory in Britain in the Second World War.
The use and development of the site since the end of the war is set out, and finally a description, part photographic, shows how much of the First World War and subsequent buildings remain, some of them amazing feats of engineering for their time.

John Edmonds grew up in Birmingham during the war but left the city in 1947 to work in the fields of agriculture and horticulture in Worcestershire and Herefordshire. Industrial archaeology, however, has always been an interest and periods of academic study on the subject led to two years of research into the Rotherwas site.

 Herefordshire’s Rocks & Scenery: A Geology of the County

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edited by John Payne                                                                                                                                                                                Paperback, 256 pages, over 200 colour illustrations
ISBN 978-1-910839-16-4      Price £15

The aim of this book is to explain how, where and when the various rocks that underlie Herefordshire were formed and the forces which subsequently worked upon them to result in the scenery we now enjoy. Why is the landscape, the layout of the hills, valleys and rivers, as we see it today? Why, for example, does the Old Red Sandstone, the main rock of the county, have different qualities in different places? How have the various rocks been brought into juxtaposition through plate tectonics and fault lines? How, in more recent times, did Ice Age glaciers scour and shape the landscape, forcing rivers to change course and creating hummocky scenery through moraines deposited by ice moving from Wales and the north? Why it is that the Malverns are so prominent and different in outline to anywhere else around? How have the different rocks affected building practices?

    With 200 colour photographs, drawings and tables, the book explores the various geological periods and the processes at work, showing the effect on the landscape through a number of aerial photographs and explaining what you can see in the faces of quarries across the county, the places where we can all get to see the underlying geology.

The book has been written by members of the Geology section of the Woolhope Naturalists’ Field Club, which is based in Hereford and is the principal naturalist and local history society in Herefordshire. Each of the several authors has many years of experience in exploring the geology of the county and in explaining it to the public. They are active in local geological work through lecturing, leading visiting groups, geological conservation and research.

Foley Street, Hereford; Its Houses, Residents and Neighbours, Past and Present

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by Win Morgan-Brewer

Paperback, 160 pages, over 25 colour and 120 black and white illustrations, mainly photographs
ISBN 978-1-910839-14-0      Price £10

As a result of exhaustive research in a range of records, and from knowledge built up over the years of living in Foley Street, Win Morgan-Brewer gives a thorough history of each house in the street in terms of when it was built, who was living there at any one time and their occupations. A picture emerges of a number of families settled in the street for the long term – 110 years and counting in one case – and of a number of lodgers, often taken in to help cover bills, who pass through. Many interesting themes emerge – the number of residents who worked on the railways or in the tile industry; how many families adopted children; the widespread place of birth across the British Isles of those who lived in the street at any one time; the age at which many of the boys, especially, began working. In addition, a chronological list of events that have shaped Hereford is provided, giving some interesting details about life and times in the
city as a whole.

Win Morgan-Brewer came to live in Foley Street in 1977 and by the early 1980s she had started researching the family history of both her paternal and maternal relatives. In 2007, with retirement not too far away, she decided to start writing, which resulted in published articles in newspapers and magazines. Around 2010 she started to delve into the history of her house and the people who occupied it, research which snowballed into this history of Foley Street.

Mappa Mundi: Hereford's Curious Map

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by Sarah Arrowsmith

Paperback, 96 pages with over 100 colour illustrations
ISBN 9781906663919     £10

The first chapter of the book tackles some of the questions asked by the many people who visit Hereford Cathedral today to see the Mappa Mundi. Who made the map? Did they think the world was flat? How was it made, and where? The book then shows us the map seen through the eyes of a medieval visitor to the cathedral. It may appear strange to us, with east rather than north at the top, Jerusalem at the centre, and a population of grotesque, semi-human figures and mythical beasts, but – as Sarah Arrowsmith explains – it was intended by its maker to represent a God-centred world view very different from our own. Allowing the book to guide you around the map, you can feel yourself entering the medieval mindset. Perhaps in this medieval world, once you have found Hereford on the map (its image faded from the touches of many pointing fingers), you might trace the route of your pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, relating stories of adventures along the way. You could follow the winding trail taken by Moses and the Israelites, or recount another of the many Bible stories the map represents. You might want to impress bystanders with your knowledge of Alexander’s campaigns, or thrill them with tales of encounters with the strange races that dwell in the lands at the edges of the world – the four-eyed Marmini or the Blemmyes with no heads – or the bestiary of exotic, fabled and mythical creatures that riot across the map, from the elephant and the parrot to the unicorn, the griffin and the defecating bonnacon. For the medieval viewer, the lands of the map and their inhabitants carried moral and divine instruction as well as satisfying, or provoking, their curiosity about what lay beyond the horizon.

Sarah Arrowsmith has worked in the Education Department at Hereford Cathedral since April 2005. During that time she has become well-known for her lively, entertaining and informative talks about the Hereford Mappa Mundi. Talks which, to quote a listener from Bath, ‘make an old map glow with life and colour’.

A Dictionary of Herefordshire Biography

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by Philip Weaver

Hardback, 512 pages with 300 largely colour illustrations
ISBN 978 1 906663 97 1     Price £25

Britain has long had its Dictionary of National Biography; now Herefordshire has its very own equivalent, outlining the lives of over 1,600 people born before 1900 who have exerted their direct influence on the county in one way or another, some of their effects drastic, others subtle, and all recorded in Philip Weaver’s elegant and approachable style. Included are kings and queens, saints, bishops, members of the nobility and politicians, as you would expect, but also soldiers, sailors, diplomats, Roman emperors, martyrs, clergymen, journalists, lawyers, historians, actors, artists, writers, poets, composers, craftsmen, doctors, antiquaries, garden designers, philosophers, philanthropists, social workers, map-makers, explorers, agriculturalists, architects, engineers, mathematicians, iron-founders, builders, tile-makers, swineherds, forgers, outlaws, witches and many others, even a carrier pigeon and those ‘beings’ we think of as county icons such as Hereford Cattle, Ryeland Sheep, and the Redstreak Apple. From medieval effigies to society portraits and early photographs, over 300 illustrations add to the word-pictures painted of the men and women who once walked Herefordshire and left their mark here, whether the gentle tread of saints and princesses, the bloody footprints of knights and warriors, or the measured gait of statesmen and farmers.
    Extensive indexes list not only the subjects of the biographies and those around them but towns and villages, churches and other religious buildings, castles and great houses; and an index of themes gathers together pirates and pilgrims, feminists and footballers, topographers and

Shadows in the Hay

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Landscape, nature and the passage of time on a Herefordshire Farm                                                                                                                                                              
by Colin Williams

Hardback, 144 pages, with 40 black and white photos
ISBN 1 978 906663 89 6    £12.95

The discovery of a batch of old photographs of a farm in Herefordshire that once belonged to his great-grandfather, and a conversation with his grandmother about her memories of life on the farm, inspired nature writer Colin Williams to go there on foot and walk the land his ancestors once tended. The journey prompted reflections: what is it about our relationship with where we live that gives us our understanding of ‘home’, and how has that changed over the generations since the days when his family worked the land of Wolf Point?
    Drawing on his experience of the natural world in many of the places that he loves – the floating world of the Norfolk Fens, the roll of the Hampshire Downs, as well as his explorations of the land and lore of Herefordshire – the author reflects on what it must have been like to live alongside nature and the seasons as his family once did on the farm, and whether and how those of us living in very different circumstances today can find our own relationship with nature.
    Along with the photographs, a sequence of maps – by which the author is clearly fascinated – provide starting-points for a deeper understanding. Initial explorations are made with the help of the Ordnance Survey map, but in the course of his research, he discovered a beautiful demesne map of 1686, estate maps of 1906 and 1919, and – most movingly of all – a detailed 1917 map of a specific section of the trenches, from which, after years trapped in the maze of those spidery lines, his great-grandfather returned to buy Wolf Point and use his skill with horses in those peaceful fields.
    Through sensitive observation and clear reflection, Colin Williams gives us a sense of what it once was, and what it could perhaps still be, to live as part of the natural world that surrounds us, as did the people who look out at us from photographs taken almost a century ago.

Colin Williams is a writer who explores our relationship with the landscape and its wildlife. He grew up on the open country of Norfolk’s fens with a childhood full of nature but now lives on the chalk downs of Hampshire. He’s worked as a conservationist, wildlife guide and has written for BBC Wildlife, Earthlines and Orion magazines as well as curating collections of new work by some of the world’s pre-eminent writers on the natural world. His work on landscape has been praised as having ‘a deeply personal precision’. Shadows in the Hay is his first book.

‘He describes the landscape with a deeply personal precision.’
Ronald Blythe

Goodrich Castle: Its History & Buildings

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by Ron Shoesmith
Paperback, 240 pages, 30 colour and 150 black and white illustrations
Price £12.95       ISBN 9781906663834

The most substantially complete medieval castle in Herefordshire, it is difficult to unpick how Goodrich Castle might have appeared due to the many buildings that have been replaced as it was adapted from a heavily defended castle to a comfortable house. Traces of the original hilltop defences have been all but obliterated by the subsequent rock-cut ditch and the stone buildings constructed within it – although parch marks indicating a double ditch are apparent near to the barbican. These could relate to an Iron Age hillfort, and/or the vallum monasterium of an early church, or even a simple castle ringwork. However, any early Norman timber buildings have long since gone. The first stone castle consisted of a simple small keep with a perimeter wall, built in the early 12th century. Mounding which was placed around the keep, which had a first-floor entry, was later swept away on three sides, the soil and perhaps material from the rock-cut ditch being spread over the courtyard, so raising the ground level. This was when the whole site was being converted into a grand Edwardian castle with round corner towers, a magnificent entrance, and two phases of a barbican that created almost a second castle outside the main entrance. New buildings including a chapel and great hall were erected within the courtyard. Later these, and other buildings, were joined together by a complicated arrangement of passageways and doorways, approached by several wooden staircases long since gone. Eventually the whole was transformed into a country house and manorial offices, only to be battered into partial ruin in the Civil War and left to moulder, though fortunately subject to minimal stone robbing.
The owners were initially Saxon then Norman, including major magnates of the realm. It was also home to a dowager countess whose household accounts survive to give a lively picture of the life of the castle when it was host to up to 150 people. Then there were the subsequent tenants who tried to keep the place in repair, only to see their efforts literally knocked to pieces. Afterwards came visitors in search of the Picturesque, followed by the Ministry of Works who stripped what had become a romantic ruin of its vegetation and repaired much of the stonework. It is now managed by English Heritage.

The Parish that Disappeared: A History of St John’s, Hereford

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by Liz Pitman

Paperback, 128 pages with 30 colour and 30 mono illustrations
ISBN 978 1 906663 99 5  Price £10

From early in the 12th century until its final dissolution in 2012, the parish of St John’s was at the heart of Hereford. Its houses and shops clustered around the cathedral, but it also encompassed other locations: patches of ground along Widemarsh Street, at the foot of Aylestone Hill, along Whitecross Road, and at Blackmarston and other places south of the Wye, with extensive tracts of land at Belmont and what is now Newton Farm. In the 1900s these ‘outliers’ were amalgamated with other parishes, but the core around the cathedral remained until its very recent ‘disappearance’.
    St John’s history was closely intertwined with that of the cathedral, where the parish, without a church of its own, had its altar. As this book explains, the relationship between the cathedral and the parish varied between amity and tension. But the history of the parish is as much the story of its characters, both the clergy who served it and the parishioners who lived within its bounds. There are indications of the awful lives of paupers, and of the range of humanity that lived at one time in the parish, including old sailors, a comedian, actors, feltmakers, wool staplers, Italian apprentices and whores, a Jewish silversmith, a clairvoyant, a reclusive member of Hereford ‘gentry’, a hatter turned manure manufacturer, a Polish émigré who probably committed suicide, and his daughter, who worked as a governess in Poland for many years. Body snatchers also make an appearance.

Images of Creative Herefordshire: its Artists, Craftspeople and Musicians at Work

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by Malcolm Scott

Paperback, 192 pages with 165 black and white photographs
ISBN 978 1 906663 94 0       £10

Within Herefordshire there is a wealth of artists, craftspeople and musicians working away. Whilst there are many opportunities to see the output of the artists and craftspeople, and to hear the musicians, very few of the former keep open workplaces where you can see them making. Indeed, the majority value privacy. And whilst musicians of course perform in public, the hours and hours spent rehearsing are away from the public gaze.
The idea behind this book is therefore to show these people at work and in their workplaces. Malcolm Scott began with those he already knew, extending out through people who exhibited at Herefordshire’s Contemporary Craft Fair as well as any artist, craftsperson or musician who featured in the Hereford Times. Once the project was under way, other contacts were made on the recommendation of those being photographed. Thus the selection of subjects is representative of the local diversity, but it is by no means all-inclusive. As Richard Heatly says in his introduction, the photographs show people completely absorbed in their work, which is unusual in a ‘portrait’. The accompanying text and image of their work tells yet more about the character of the person. And it is these words that indicate why Herefordshire exerts such a pull on artists, craftspeople and musicians through a combination of the tranquillity and character of its landscape, of the draw that Hereford’s College of Art exerts, and the fact that Herefordshire seems peculiarly receptive to an artistic community.

Although he has been taking photographs since he was eleven, it was only when he was semi-retired from his career as an applied physicist and engineer that Malcolm Scott was able to devote time to taking an extensive series of photographs of Herefordshire, having lived in or on its borders for over forty years. The first series, Portrait of Herefordshire, covered all aspects of Herefordshire life – its people at work and leisure, landscapes and town scenes. This new series focuses on the county’s creative community – its artists, craftspeople and musicians.

The Man who Drowned the Meadows: Rowland Vaughan, 1558-1627

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by the Golden Valley Studies Group

Paperback, 160 pages with 85 colour illustrations
ISBN 978 1 910839 00 3  Price £12.95

The story of Rowland Vaughan and his waterworks provides an insight both into an eager and imaginative but rather litigious family man and into his understanding of the benefits of irrigating farmland and managing floodwater. Such thinking was very new at the end of the Elizabethan era. The extensive field work carried out by the Golden Valley Study Group shows in great detail the traces of Vaughan’s meticulous design for his water management system in the Golden Valley in Herefordshire, still clearly discernible in the landscape today – the very gradual gradients, the gentle curves of the spreader channels, the capacity to set water flowing either up or down the main channel (the Trench Royal) as required, and the groundworks in the meadows themselves.
Extensive maps and photographs accompany the text. There are also chapters outlining the extensive Vaughan family connections and relationships, not least at the Court of Queen Elizabeth I.

Herefordshire’s Home Front in the First World War

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by Bill Laws

Paperback, 176 pages, with 85 black and white illustrations, mainly photographs
ISBN 978 1 910839 06 5     £10

Herefordshire in 1913 was an old fashioned shire under the benevolent rule of the Church and the gentry. Its bishop was opposed to war and his successor was opposed to women’s suffrage. Many of its farmers refused to plough on a Sunday: many more regarded women as being incapable of farm work. By 1919 the shire was in mourning for over 4,000 men. It had employed over 4,000 women on munitions and another 2,500 on farms. It had put to the plough more rich, milk meadows than any other county in England or Wales. And it had deprived more children of a proper education than any other English county. Herefordshire’s Home Front in the First World War is the story of what happened in those intervening years during the conflict they called the Great War.
    The author, himself a former provincial journalist, has trawled the local press and history sources for a host of stories that reveal how people coped with the conflict at home: how the king turned former chauffeur George Butcher into England’s most famous ploughman; the persecution of Socialist war protester Stanley Powell; the gaoling of plucky Welsh munitioneer Elsie Abel who saved the Rotherwas National Filling Factory from an explosion; the fate of the German mistress Mary Bernstein and her child, caught hiding in Hereford; and the Belgian baby they called the Little Refugee. From the widowed Walford clergyman who tried to keep his seven servants from the front to the wounded Orcop soldier given his family home by public subscription, this is the story of a county at war at home.

Royalist, but ... Herefordshire in the English Civil War, 1640-51

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by David Ross

Paperback, 208 pages, 45 b/w illustrations
ISBN 978 1906663 63 6    £12.95

On the eve of the Civil War in 1642, Herefordshire’s leading families were all, to a greater or lesser extent, for the King – with the one notable exception of the Harleys at Brampton Bryan. As a result, Herefordshire was seen as a recruiting ground by Royalist military commanders, and as rather backward by some on the Parliamentary side. But once war had broken out with all its consequences, the majority were seen to be rather lukewarm in their support for the King. David Ross has a deep knowledge of this period which he uses with skill to craft a vivid picture of Herefordshire’s inhabitants in these years of turmoil.

Ross on Wye Revisited

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by Tim Ward

Paperback, 96 pages, 78 black and white photographs
ISBN 978 1 906663 71 1     £5

Tim Ward has been a collector of postcards and photographs of Ross for many years, and this book displays some of his latest acquisitions. They include aerial views of parts of the town, a very early photograph of the churchyard, views of Ross’s quiet streets in the days before they became congested with motor traffic – and of the changes after the heavy lorries arrived. There are dramatic images of floods and storms, and nostalgic ones of pubs (some since demolished) and tea rooms, and of festivals. There are several of military parades, for in the early 1900s Ross was a major training base for the newly formed Territorial Army. There are also photographs of some of the old slums, since cleared away, and of fires and accidents. Tim has spent much time researching the events in the photographs, and through words and the images themselves weaves together a seldom-seen and affectionate history of Ross over the years.
    Tim Ward worked for several years in agriculture and horticulture, spending twenty years as a professional grower of salad crops. He then became a postcard dealer and, moving to Ross on Wye, ran a collector’s shop. When not growing fruit and vegetables on his allotment, he enjoys bird watching and researching aspects of local and social history.

Harewood End Agricultural Society

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Celebrating 125 years of farming in South Herefordshire

by Heather Hurley

Hardback, 128 pages with over 60 colour and 60 black and white illustrations.
ISBN 978 1 906663 93 3     £18

This book shows how agriculture has changed in South Herefordshire in the past 125 years as seen in part through the valuable archives of the Harewood End Agricultural Society, established in 1890. The two World Wars saw many changes: with the need to grow more food, increased mechanization of farming and the role of women. By the 1990s, the Society appreciated it needed to grow, shrink or change as farms became ever larger and needed to cope with the advancement of technology. In the event, the 1994 annual show was the last, the Society directing its energies into discussion dinners, farm visits, and helping local children to experience the countryside and learn about farming.

The Hidden History of Ewyas Lacy in Herefordshire

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by Priscilla Flower-Smith

Paperback, 224 pages, 37 colour and 28 mono photographs and maps    ISBN 9781906663810    Price £12.95

The ‘hidden history’ of the title relates to the research carried out by the author and her husband on the details of the lives of the residents of Ewyas Lacy that lay buried in the wills and inventories they left in the three hundred years from the mid 1500s. We see the rise and fall of fashions, from the clothes worn and the furnishings coveted and treasured to the crops grown and stock kept, and how over time people’s homes became more comfortable and contained more possessions. The number of millers, blacksmiths, tanners and other specialists rose and fell from one period to another, and the local mercer emerged as an important figure. Many women are found to have run farms, and some widows became powerful in their own right. From the documents also emerge hints as to how sin was dealt with by the church and changing attitudes to religion. Intertwined throughout are many moving and intriguing individual stories – family dramas, both comic and tragic, played out through the surprisingly eloquent pages of legal documents. While the book focuses on the period 1550-1850, the initial chapters provide an overview of the area’s earlier history and the conclusion brings the story up to the present time.
    Priscilla Flower-Smith gained a doctorate in History at the University of Exeter, where she then taught a local history course before moving to Llanveynoe in Ewyas Lacy. It was while she and her husband were hunting for details of the history of their 16th-century farmhouse in the Olchon Valley that they came upon a cache of wills and inventories at the National Library of Wales, which in turn was to lead to this book. Sadly, after a few happy years at Llanveynoe, illness struck and they were forced to move to Somerset, to be near their two sons.

The Dovecotes and Pigeon Houses of Herefordshire

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by Robert Walker

200 pages with 160 black and white and 8 colour illustrations
Paperback   £12.95  ISBN 978 1 906663 49 0 Reduced to £6.00

The pigeon house which still stands in Garway, Herefordshire, is the earliest-dated dovecote anywhere in Britain, and it is just one of the 300 dovecotes and pigeon houses covered in this book. They represent all kinds of building methods and the architectural styles of many periods: round stone buildings, substantial octagonal brick structures and the vernacular timber-framed style, and accommodation for pigeons built into eaves, gables, and even the occasional chimney or belfry. The author has also traced many possible past sites of dovecotes, now only signified by field names.    This book is a completely fresh survey of Herefordshire’s dovecotes and pigeon houses, building upon earlier accounts, including those by Alfred Watkins in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Israel Cohen in the 1950s and Ian Stainburn in the 1970s. Many of Watkins’ and Cohen’s photographs are included here, being records of dovecotes that no longer exist.
    Robert Walker’s findings which draw on more recent ideas and surveys by writers such as John McCann alter many preconceptions about the purposes for and methods of keeping pigeons in medieval times and more recently. He shows, for example, that the pigeon could not have been a staple winter food for the lord of the manor, and that it was the young birds, or squabs, that provided a delicacy eaten at certain times of the year.
    Robert Walker has a tremendous enthusiasm for his subject and brings to his survey of Herefordshire an extensive knowledge of historic buildings gained from a long career in conservation. His down-to-earth account includes many observations about manorial rights and the messy business it would have been to look after pigeons, and he makes a clear case for the conservation of Herefordshire’s remaining pigeon houses.

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The History of Lea School

by John Powell

96 pages, 40 black and white illustrations
Paperback £7.95 (ISBN 978 1906663 42 1)

As John Powell shows, the history of Lea School, founded in 1858 by the Revd. William David Hall and the Colchester family, is, in miniature, the history of education in Britain from Victorian times to the present. In the early years, teachers had a perpetual struggle to convince parents of the value of educating their children, given the desperate need for help at home and on the land. The fact that the landowners who demanded that children should join their fathers in the fields were in many cases also school managers who were responsible for encouraging school attendance only added to the complexity of the situation. As John Powell points out, a further irony was that – through its Empire – Britain was becoming increasingly prosperous, and yet the poor still struggled to find the pennies needed to keep their children at school.
    Happily, things gradually improved, both through Acts of Parliament which granted free schooling and raised the school leaving age, and through the dedication of Lea School’s succession of schoolmistresses and (later) masters, and the support and guidance of the clergymen who came and went over the decades, the school always having been closely associated with Lea Church.
    The two World Wars left their mark on the school, and in the Second World War, when the resourceful and determined Miss Gladys Davies was headmistress, Lea School was a refuge for evacuees from the Midlands. In more recent times the school was at one time threatened with closure, but, following the building of more family homes in the vicinity and the subsequent determination and generosity of Lea residents and of Miss Davies who left the school a substantial legacy, it has been not only saved but rebuilt, the new school buildings having been opened in 2004.
     Dr John Powell, author of Hard Times in Herefordshire, is the ideal author of this history, having been headmaster of Lea School from 1990 to 1997. As well as placing the school in the context of national and even international history, he conjures up a strong sense of what life at Lea School has been like over the years, from the Victorian schoolmistress lighting the school fire early on a cold winter’s morning to the wonder of Lea schoolchildren visiting the big city for the first time on a school exchange visit – and the equal wonder of city children visiting the quiet fields and lanes of the Lea, and the small school still at the heart of the village deep in Herefordshire’s countryside.

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Herefordshire Place-Names

by Bruce Coplestone-Crow
268 pages with 7 maps
Paperback   £12.95  (ISBN 978 1 906663 21 6)

This book seeks to explain the place-names of Herefordshire — not just those of the major settlements, but also of districts, hamlets and even old farmsteads. For each entry all the known versions of the name that have been used in documents down the ages are set out, these helping indicate how the name has reached what it is today, and the form in which it started life. Thus two exactly similar names today may have different origins and different meanings. These meanings are given, except in the few cases where a meaning is impossible to ascertain, and there is often additional information about the family which may have lent its name to the place, why a name has changed over time or concerning old charter bounds.
        At the beginning of the book the author has used his considerable knowledge to set out in some detail the origins for the old district names within Herefordshire, many of which (such as Archenfield, Leen, Lyde, Maund and Straddle) are a component of many current place-names.
        Bruce Coplestone-Crow has researched estate history in Herefordshire and the south Welsh border for over forty years, and has written and published widely on the subject. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and of the Royal Historical Society.

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The Story of Ross

by Pat Hughes & Heather Hurley

192 pages with 170 black & white illustrations
Paperback    £12.95    (ISBN 978 1 906663 25 4)

The Story of Ross is the history of a unique market town from the first hunter gatherers to the dawn of a new millennium. Ross emerged as a distinct settlement overlooking the River Wye after the Saxon invasions, evolving from the Iron Age hill fort on Chase Hill and the nearby Roman settlement of
Ariconium. The story starts to deepen after the Norman Conquest, and a fascinating tale unravels.
        The book has involved much original research, fleshing out the faint picture of Ross which had previously existed. The authors investigate the importance of the bishop’s manor and market grants; consider the layout of the medieval town and its shopkeepers; the markets and meeting places; Underhill and the Bell Forge; past industries and enterprises; the religious tensions in the Civil War; education and charity; the role of the Wye in trade and tourism and the advent of public services. The famed man of Ross, John Kyrle, takes his place alongside Walter Scott, Nathaniel Morgan, Wallace Hall and Thomas Blake as men who helped
develop and improve the town, and space is also devoted to lesser known people and their contributions. The story is brought up to date with local government re-organisations, coupled with changes in health and education and the recent enhancement of the town centre and riverside.
        This is a revised edition of the book first published by Logaston Press in 1999.


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The Essence of Herefordshire
by Andy Johnson & John Wilson

Paperback, 24 pages, full colour  ISBN 978 1 904396 76 5  £3.95

A look at the land, countryside, towns, villages, prehistory, Roman remains, castles, churches, carving, inns and cider that help define Herefordshire.

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James Wathen’s Herefordshire 1770-1820:
his sketches and paintings
by David Whitehead & Ron Shoesmith

Case bound, 228 pages, over 90 colour illustrations  ISBN 978 1 873827 04 8  £65

A high quality production, this details the life of James Wathen, including his early years in Hereford’s gloving industry before turning to watercolour painting. The paintings show the city gates before demolition, street scenes now disappeared, country houses as they were being rebuilt with the profits from a buoyant agriculture, the Wye Tour and rural scenes and villages before mechanisation.