Wandering through the house this moring I saw a book called “A Journey Around England, Nostalgic Travels through England’s Counties, the Francis Frith collection” and it caught my attention because it looked old.
It was actually published in 2004 and turning to the pages on Herefordshire I was treated to some great black and white photos of Hereford, High Town, Leominster, Bromyard and Ross on Wye.
The chapter starts with a few incredibly evocative lines written by Thomas Parker, a joiner living in Kington around 1785.
‘Of all the counties England can record,
Few are so blessed as this of Hereford
For wheat and wool, and wood and water famed,
And for good cider very much esteemed.
Few counties can afford a better place
For fishing, fowling or the healthy chase;
England has not more rich or fertile fields,
None that a better annual produce yields….’
According to the book, there are several historical celebrities associated with Herefordshire such as Nell Gwynne, who is believed to have been born in Hereford. Other places make the same claim, but the diarist Samuel Pepys mentioned a conversation with Nell in his diary in which she spoke of her early life in Hereford. He described her as “pretty, witty Nell”.
Queen Elizabeth I had her stockings woven from a local woollen cloth known as ‘Lemster Ore’ which is a wonderful claim to fame for Leominster.
And of course, Elizabeth Barrett came to live in Ledbury as a child; her fatherr called her the “Poet Laureate of Hope End” (the name of their house). A genuine Poet Laureate, John Masefield was born in Ledbury in 1878.
If you have never been to Herefordshire you should come soon – contrary to popular belief, its not just wellington and walks here!