Wigmore, Herefordshire

Extract from Littlebury's Directory and Gazetteer of Herefordshire, 1876-7
with Private and Commercial Residents

Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2004


WIGMORE is a large parish and village intersected by the main roads leading from Leominster to Knighton and from Ludlow to Presteigne. It is distant 8 miles S.W. of Ludlow, 10 N.W. of Leominster, 8 E.N.E. of Presteigne, and 21 N.N.W. of Hereford; is in the hundred, polling district, highway district, and petty sessional division of its own name; Ludlow union and county court district. The population in 1861 was 499; in 1871, 483; inhabited houses, 104; families or separate occupiers, 117; area of parish, 3,388 acres; annual rateable value, 13,150. Robert William Dacre Harley, Esq., of Brampton Brian, who is lord of the manor, and the Rev. William Trevelyan Kevill Davies, of Croft castle, are the principal landowners. The soil is gravelly and loamy; the subsoil varies, and is bounded with a curious fossil limestone. The chief crops are wheat, barley, beans, peas, oats, apples, potatoes, &c. The parish is plentifully watered with brooks. Fairs are held on May 6th for hiring servants, and August 5th for cattle and sheep. Wigmore has a court of petty sessions, which are held at the Police station on the first Tuesday in each month.

The district comprises 15 parishes. The church is a stone building, erected in the 14th century, in the Decorated style of architecture, and dedicated to St. James. It stands on the very pinnacle of the hill, and close to a precipice whose chasms are filled by large trees. It has a square ivy-mantled tower (containing six bells), nave, chancel, south aisle, north chapel, wooden porch, font, clock, old register chest, and four beautifully stained glass windows, with figures representing eight of the apostles. The church was thoroughly restored in 1864 at a cost of £1,180, towards which the parishioners and landowners contributed £730, the Church Building Society £120, and the remainder (£330) was raised by a rate. The chancel was restored in 1868 at a cost of £270, towards which the late Bishop Hampden gave £200. The living is a vicarage in the diocese and archdeaconry of Hereford and rural deanery of Leominster; yearly value, £155, with residence and 24 acres of glebe; patron, the Lord Bishop of Hereford; vicar, Rev. Edwin Barton, B.C.L., of Christ's College, Cambridge, who was instituted in 1871, and is also a surrogate for the diocese of Hereford.

The parish registers begin with the year 1571. A small charity, belonging to the church, is distributed in bread quarterly. There is a national school for boys and girls, with a certificated mistress, under government inspection. The number of children on the books is 70; average attendance, 42. The present trustees of the school are - the Vicar (Rev. E. Barton), A.R. Boughton Knight, Esq., Major-General Franklin, C.B., Robert William Dacre Harley, Esq., Mr. S.W. Urwick, Mr. Forty, and the churchwardens for the time being. The Primitive Methodist chapel was erected in 1863. The Wesleyans have also a chapel, which is situate in the township of Limebrook.

The interesting ruins of Wigmore Castle, which are beautifully mantled with ivy, are situated on a commanding eminence, irregularly intersected by ravines, covered with underwood, and surrounded by an amphitheatre of mountains. The massive fragments of the keep occupy the summit of a lofty artificial mound, and present a very grand and picturesque appearance. The outer wall is the most perfect, though of this a very considerable part is destroyed. When this structure was originally founded is unknown; but it is certainly of very early origin, having been repaired by Edward the Elder. The ancient barony of Wigmore, in the reign of Edward the Confessor, belonged to Edric Sylvaticus, Earl of Shrewsbury, who, after the Conquest refusing to submit to the Norman yoke, and being vanquished and taken prisoner by Ranulph de Mortimer, was deprived of all his extensive possessions, which were then granted to Ranulph by the Norman Conqueror, in reward for his important services.

From this period Wigmore became the head of the famous barony of the Mortimers, Earls of March, and was reputed one of the most ancient honours in England, having twenty-one manors that owed suit to the honour-court, holden here once every six weeks. All the land wherein the manors lay was called Wigmore land; it had two constables, and gave name to the hundred. The privileges granted by our kings to this manor were even Jura Regalia, power over the life and death of its vassals, as appears by Stat. Parl. 18th of Edward I. The Mortimers were descended from Richard, first Duke of Normandy, and came into England with the Conqueror. From their intrepid spirit, and the vast influence they acquired from their immense estates, they were enabled, more than once, to disturb the peace of the kingdom; and at length the throne itself became the patrimony of their descendant Edward IV. After the castle was taken from Edric Sylvaticus, as before mentioned, by Ranulph de Mortimer, it appears to have been rebuilt by William Fitz-Osborne, Earl of Hereford.

"It is impossible", observes Mr. Gough, "to contemplate the massive ruins of Wigmore castle, situate on a hill, in an amphitheatre of mountains, whence its owner could survey his vast estates, from his square palace, with four corner towers, on a keep at the south-west corner of his double-trenched outworks, without reflecting on the instability of the grandeur of a family, whose ambition and intrigues made more than one English monarch uneasy on his throne; yet not a memorial remains of their sepulture". On the hills west of the castle, were two parks, now ploughed up and cultivated. The northern extremity of Darvold hill displays vestiges of a small camp. About one mile from Wigmore, on the north, is the site of Wigmore abbey and grange, founded for Augustine canons by Ranulph de Mortimer and his son, Hugh de Mortimer, previous to the year 1179.

The endowments made by the latter were very great; and this establishment continued to flourish till the period of the dissolution, when its annual revenues amounted to £302 12s. 34d. In the abbey church, many of the Mortimers were buried, and among them five Earls of March; all of whose monuments were destroyed, together with the building itself, at the dissolution. About a century ago, a stone coffin was discovered, with a small urn, holding ashes, "with some silver coin in the leaden coffin, which contained a body perfect, but mouldered on opening". Limebrook is a township, partly in this parish and partly in Lingen. Here was formerly a priory of the order of St. Augustine. Wigmore Hall is the seat of Major-General Charles Trigance Franklin, C.B., J.P.

ACTING MAGISTRATES FOR WIGMORE PETTY SESSIONAL DIVISION.- (The justices meet on the first Tuesday in each month at the Police court.) Andrew Rouse Boughton Knight, Esq., Downton Castle (Chairman); Rev. William Trevelyan Kevill Davies, Croft Castle; Rev. Edward Jonathan Green, Leintwardine; Rev. David Rodney Murray, M.A., Brampton Brian Rectory; Thomas Dunne, Esq., Bircher Hall; Rev. John Rogers, M.A., Stanage Park; Major-General C.T. Franklin, C.B., Wigmore Hall; Alfred Salwey, Esq., The Moor, Ludlow; R.W. Daker Harley, Esq., Brampton Brian; George Smythies, Esq., Marlow; and J.G. Rodney Ward, Esq., Yatton Court. Clerk to the Magistrates, Henry Thomas Weyman, Esq., Solicitor, Ludlow. The following is a List of Parishes and Places comprised in Wigmore Petty Sessional Division:-Aymestrey, Adforton, Stanway, Paytoe, and Grange, Aston, Brampton Brian, Buckton and Coxafl, Burrington, Downton, Elton, Leinthall Starkes, Leintwardine (part of), Linden, Ludford (part of), Shobdon, Walford, Letton and Newton, Wigmore, and Willey.

POSTAL REGULATIONS.- William Edwards, Sub-Postmaster. Letters arrive via Kingsland at 9.30 a.m.; despatched thereto at 4.30 p.m. Leintwardine, Shobdon, and Kingsland are the nearest money order and telegraph offices. Letters, &c., should be addressed - Wigmore, Kingsland, R.S.Q. (Herefordshire.)
Parish Church (St. James's).- Rev. Edwin Barton, B.C.L., Vicar Major-General C.T. Franklin, C.B., and Mr. Mason, Churchwardens; John Preece, Parish Clerk.
National School (boys and girls).- Mrs. Mary Ann Powell, Mistress.
Primitive Methodist Chapel.- Ministers various.
Wesleyan Chapel, Limebrook.- Ministers various.
County Police Station.- Mr. Thomas Dykes (of Leominster), Superintendent; James Philpotts, Sergeant; William Edwards and Thomas Jenkins, Constables.
Wigmore Highway Board.- Andrew Rouse Boughton Knight, Esq., Chairman; F.T. Southern, Esq., Ludlow, Clerk; Mr. John Morgan, Wigmore, District Surveyor.
Carrier to Ludlow and Leominster.- Frederick Bywater to the Elephant and Castle Inn, Leominster, on Fridays at 8 a.m., returning at 5 p.m.


Barton Rev. Edwin, B.C.L. (vicar of Wigmore; curate of Leinthall Starkes; surrogate for the diocese of Hereford), The Vicarage
Franklin Major-General Charles Trigance, C.B., J.P., Wigmore hall
Beavan James, wheelwright & carpenter
Burgoyne Wm., beer retailer and mason
Bywater Frederick, carrier to Leominster
Darby Edmund, farmer, Wigmore hills
Edwards William, sub-postmaster
Evans George, Castle Inn, and dealer
Faulkner Benjamin, blacksmith
Forty Mr., farmer, The Haven (and in Aymestrey parish)
Griffiths Richard, boot and shoe maker
Harrison William, farmer, Green hill
Hudson Miss Ann, grocer, &c.
Jones Thomas, farmer, Brick house
Jones Mrs. Charlotte, shopkeeper
Lewis William, farmer
Mason C., shopkeeper
Mellin John, wheelwright, Deerfold
Miles Charles, butcher
Monnington Mrs. William, farmer, Brinsop farm
Morgan Jn., district surveyor of highways
Muscott Thos., farmer, Gathermint farm
Mytton Richard, farmer, Court house
Mytton Richard, jun., farmer
Nott Charles, farmer, Bury house
Owens James, farmer, Limebrook
Philpotts James, police sergeant
Powell Mrs. Mary Ann, schoolmistress
Preece John, parish clerk
Prince Henry, farmer, Woodbatch
Vale John, Compasses Inn, carpenter and joiner
Watkins John, farmer, Lodge farm
Went Mrs. Mary, shopkeeper
Wynd John, tailor

OCR/Transcription by Rosemary Lockie in July 2004.

This is a Genealogy Website
URL of this page: https://texts.wishful-thinking.org.uk/Littlebury1876/Wigmore.html
Logo by courtesy of the Open Clip Art Library