Herefordshire HR6
Leominster (pronounced ‘Lemster’) is an ancient market town with a wealth of black and white, half-timbered buildings. It is located at the confluence of the River Lugg and its tributary the River Kenwater, approximately 12 miles (19 km) north of the English city of Hereford, and near the county’s north-west border with Wales.
It is well worth spending some time in Leominster, exploring its jumble of historic streets and lanes and discovering its quirky memorials. Make your first stop the Tourist Information Centre (Leominster TIC) in Corn Square where you can pick up a printed town map and guide.
In early times, Leominster’s proximity to the Welsh Border meant it was constantly being fought over by the Welsh princes.
A raid by Gruffudd ap Llywelyn in 1052 resulted in the Battle of Llanllieni (Leominster), between the Welsh and a combined force of Normans and English Saxons. The Welsh settled down for a while but not forever.
Leominster had grown up around a Saxon monastery, founded about 660AD; however, in 1124 the English King Henry II was responsible for founding a Benedictine monastery at Leominster but the Welsh were growing restless again.
In 1402 the Welsh forces of Owain Glyndŵr ransacked the priory and all that has survived is the 12th century parish Priory Church of St Peter and St Paul.
In medieval times Leominster was famous for its fine wool, produced from the local Ryeland sheep. "Lemster" wool, known as 'Lemster Ore', was prized above all other English wool in trade with the continent of Europe in the Middle Ages. It was the income and prosperity from this wool trade that established the town and possibly attracted the envy of the Welsh and other regions.
Increased prosperity brought highly qualified craftsmen, and the town supported nine Craft Guilds covering bakers, butchers, dyers, glovers, mercers, shoemakers, tailors, fullers and weavers.
Wealth was ostentatiously displayed with the building of new homes and premises, and the construction of a new market hall in the town centre at the junctions of Broad, High, Church and Burgess Streets, and Drapers' Lane.
The market hall is no longer at this location but a delightful bronze model marks the spot. The actual building has been moved, reused and re-named ‘Grange Court’; it now overlooks the park. Built in 1633 by John Abel this magnificent, ornately carved wooden building is open to visitors free of charge.
Another building full of interesting historical objects with free admission, is Leominster Museum.
The Ducking Stool
Leominster is famous (or some say infamous) for being the last town in England to use a ducking stool as a form of punishment. Ducking stools were mainly reserved for the punishment of females and involved tying them to a chair and dunking them in a pool or river.
Crimes such as malicious gossip, nagging, bearing an illegitimate child and prostitution were punishable by undergoing Ordeal by Ducking Stool. One of the last Ordeals took place in Leominster in 1809, with Jenny Pipes as the final incumbent.
Public humiliation was the aim of the punishment, and the actual oak wood contraption can be seen in the Priory Church.
Millennium Clock
To see a mechanised version of this old form of punishment, visit the Millennium Clock in Corn Street. The clock is on the wall of the Oxfam charity shop and the inclusion of the ducking stool on the clock face caused a bit of controversy when it was erected. Nowadays, most people wait to see the woman ducked in the river when the clock chimes the hour.
Apart from the sheer attractiveness of the timber-framed buildings, the town has a good range of independent shops and antiques retailers. It is also a good starting point for the Picturesque Village Tour of north Herefordshire.
Contact & Further Information
Telephone  +44 (0)1568 616 460
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Website  Show me Leominster    External Link
Getting There
- By Car
Leominster is on the A49 between Hereford and Ludlow, and the A44 between Worcester and Aberystwyth (Wales).
- Parking
Information about car parks in Leominster can be found on  Web:  Leominster Car Park    External Link
Central Area HR6 8EP Short Stay
Etnam Street HR6 8AE Short Stay
Broad Street HR6 8DD Long Stay
Dishley Street HR6 8NY Long Stay
- By Rail
Leominster is served by regular Arriva Trains Wales services.
Trains to Manchester travel via Ludlow.
Services to Cardif and Newport, South Wales run via Hereford.
Links to London can be achieved by changing at Hereford, for services via Worcester and Oxford, or at Newport, South Wales.
For train timetables, fares and ticketing go to Web:  National Rail Enquiries    External Link
- By Bus
Local Bus services serve Leominster. The Bus Station is situated on Dishley Street by the Co-op Supermarket. Timetables available from the Tourist Information Centre. For information on travel in Herefordshire by bus go to  Web:  Herefordshire Bus Services   External Link
Google Maps - Leominster