5 fast facts to know about historical Ludlow

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Written byClaire Hunte
Visitors to Ludlow are perhaps aware of its historical significance and importance in the Marches. Many will wonder at the history behind the facades of the castle, buildings, churches and the marketplace. If you aren’t able to do a guided tour, check out the recently republished book, The Concise History of Ludlow, by David Lloyd. it’s filled with facts about the development of the town from Anglo-Saxon times through to present day. To give you a flavor of what’s inside Lloyd’s book we’ve extracted seven highlights to stun friends and families with on your next visit.
Tower entrance to Inner Bailey credit Keith Ansell
Tower entrance to Inner Bailey credit Keith Ansell
  1. The de Lacys

    In 1086, the parent manor of Stanton and Ludlow was the largest stronghold of the de Lacys, who came from Lassy in Normandy. Walter Lacy I was one of the knights who followed William Duke of Normandy across the English Channel and was gifted a large number of manors (around 200) for doing so. Ludlow eventually becomes the largest stronghold in the Marches.
  2. The Knights Templar

    Gilbert de Lacy, grandson of Walter de Lacy, repossessed the Lacy estates lost after his father Roger was banished from England. Gilbert de Lacy was known to have been a Knight Templar. He gave his land to his son Robert before he went to the Holy Land on crusade. The Mary Magdalene Chapel in the inner Bailey in Ludlow Castle is said to be Knights Templar in origin.
  3. Roger Mortimer and Edward II

    Roger Mortimer suffered from a severe case of overreach, he had a somewhat acquisitive nature and was hung for it eventually. A descendant of the Norman knights who were gifted lands and estates by William the Conqueror, Roger Mortimer was the 8th Baron of Wigmore, which is a few miles west of Ludlow. He gained Ludlow Castle and other wealth and estates through his marriage to Joan de Genevile, a great granddaughter of Walter de Lacy. Roger became the lover of Queen Isabella and implicated in her estranged husband Edward II’s death. He virtually ran England for a brief run before his unpopularity with other Barons found his tried for treason and hung.
  4. Royal castle and the missing princes

    When Edward IV, heir of the Mortimers, was crowned in 1461, Ludlow became a royal castle. He sent his sons Edward and Richard to Ludlow safely away from London. When Edward IV died suddenly, his eldest son was declared Edward V at Ludlow Castle and set off on a journey to London with his brother. They were imprisoned in the Tower of London and were never seen again. The bones of dear uncle Richard III, who is treated as a suspect in their disappearance, was discovered in a car parking lot in Leicestershire. So, it all comes around.
  5. Over 500 listed buildings

    With its historical significance comes buildings of architectural interest and a great number of them (over 500) are listed. Five grade I listed buildings in Ludlow are well-known: The Feathers, Ludlow Castle, Reader’s House, The Buttercross and St. Laurence’s Church. The Reader’s House was rebuilt in 1616 by Thomas Kaye, Chaplain to the Council who added a three-storey porch on the churchyard frontage. Kaye retained the medieval stone walls of the original house that faced the church and built a timber-framed property that overlooks an enclosed rear garden.
Samuel Scott's painting of Broad St 1766
Samuel Scott’s painting of Broad St 1766

For more information about Ludlow’s history order a copy of The Concise History of Ludlow from publishers, Merlin Unwin.  


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