Pembridge VillageLeominster
Herefordshire HR6 9
The pretty half-timbered village of Pembridge in north Herefordshire, England is all that is left of an impressive medieval market town that once had a population of over 2,000 people.
Pembridge has some unusual attractions to explore which are worth stopping for. A short stroll along the High Street will reveal some fine almshouses , the ancient Market Hall opposite the magnificent timber framed New Inn, as well as a particularly good tea shop and other places of refreshment.
Although Pembridge existed long before the 1086 Domesday Book, the majority of the village’s black and white houses date from the 15th and 16th century, when Pembridge was at its most prosperous. The major period of house building took place between 1425 and 1525. The earliest domestic buildings in Pembridge are West End Farm - at the western edge of the village - and Fig Tree cottage at the opposite extremity. Both houses were built in 1424.
Visitors will notice that many of the black and white houses have closely spaced exposed beams. This was an ostentatious way of displaying wealth because timber was very expensive and the more wood the owner could use, the wealthier he appeared to be. Unfortunately, quite a few craftsmen went bankrupt while building large houses because the owner ran out of money!
Pembridge’s proximity to the Welsh border meant that the English wool merchants came to meet with Welshmen to trade in safety, and the village flourished as a consequence. With the Acts of Union with Wales during the reign of King Henry VIII tranquillity returned to the area; Pembridge was no longer needed as a trading centre and prosperity vanished.
Market Square
In the centre of the village is Market Square and the ancient little Market Hall where farmers’ markets are regularly held. Scientific testing has proved that the eight massive oak pillars that support the stone tiled roof date from 1502 making Pembridge Market Hall the oldest in the country. Careful restoration in 2005 has revealed the intricate timber framing held together with wooden pegs.
Pembridge was first granted a Charter for a Market and two labour-hiring Fairs in 1239 and before a hall was built, markets were conducted around the base of a market cross. One of the oak posts supporting the current early 16th century Market Hall sits on the original mediaeval stone market cross base.
Opposite the Market Hall is the striking 700 year old timber-frame New Inn. Reputedly haunted, the Inn nowadays concentrates on serving food and drink but in previous years it served as a coaching inn, courthouse and a prison.
St Mary’s Church & Bell Tower
The most famous historic building is St Mary’s Church and Bell Tower which stands on a rise overlooking the High Street. It can be reached via steps leading out of Market Square.
Pembridge Castle
Just behind the church you can clearly see traces of the moat that once surrounded Pembridge Castle, built by the powerful Mortimer family. Nothing now remains of the castle except a low motte, or mound.
Alms Houses
In the 17th century two sets of Alms Houses were built for the relief of the poor. These days they provide modernised accommodation for the senior citizens of the parish. Duppa’s Almshouses, at the top of Bridge street were founded in 1661 by Bishop Duppa of Winchester and the Trafford Almshouse at the East end of the village was built for six poor aged women of the Parish by Alice Trafford, whose father and husband were both rectors in Pembridge and are both commemorated on the chancel walls of the church.
After all this exploring, it must be time for a well earned cup of tea or coffee. It is time to visit the best Tearooms in the village - Ye Olde Steppes. Not only are delicious refreshments served here but it is also the Village Shop stocked with outstanding products and produce from the local area.
Originally the building was the church rectory but when it was vacated by the incumbent, it became the village shop in 1773. The shop closed in 2010 and was re-opened as a Tearoom.
Ye Olde Steppes Tea Room & Shop
The Tearoom and Shop are open Tuesday – Saturday from 10.00 - 17.00 This half-timbered building on the High Street is beautifully furnished inside and visitors can relax in the 1940s decor gazing out over the pretty village, sipping tea from fine bone china and enjoying brunches, light lunches or homemade cakes and strawberry cream teas.
- To reserve your favourite table:
Tel:   01544 388506
The Shop is quite unique. It sells a mixture of fresh produce including fruit and vegetables, and locally made artisan products such as tasty treats, alcohol, face creams, soaps, unusual cards and gifts. Prices are competitive.
Contact & Further Information
Telephone  01544 388506
Mail  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website  Ye Olde Steppes    External Link
Pembridge Amenity Trust
The locals are so proud of their village that they have formed The Pembridge Amenity Trust to manage and maintain the major monuments and amenities of the village. They look after the fully accessible public toilets in the Meadow Car Park, provide Information Boards, picnic tables and benches. They have installed a children’s playground on land adjacent to the car park. The Trust rehabilitated this 2 acre field by planting over 100 trees and turning it into a wildflower meadow.
Westonbury Mill Water Gardens
This unusual garden is very different from the usual manicured parkland that we associate with show gardens. It is off the A44 between Pembridge & Kington and is not open during the winter.
Luntley Dovecote
The rolling Herefordshire countryside surrounding Pembridge is a Conservation Area and home to a number of listed buildings. Only 1.7 miles (2.7 km) south of the village is Luntley Dovecote, a charming little black and white building, opposite the beautiful Luntley Court.
After this little diversion, return to Pembridge and turn right from the Market Place onto the main road the A44 to discover another pretty village, Eardisland. To find this village, travel approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) along the A44 before turning left at the junction signed Eardisland.
More useful information can be found on Web:  Pembridge Parish Council website    External Link
Getting There
- By Car
Pembridge is located on the A44 between Leominster and Kington. It is just off the main road, 6 miles (9.7 km) west of Leominster.
Park in the village Meadow Car Park (on the left past the garage) and walk around to enjoy the views.
Google Maps - Pembridge Village