Joined Up Heritage – Ledbury

Since she was appointed at the end of April, the Development Manager of Joined Up Heritage has been busy engaging with the volunteer organisers of some of the heritage sites in the town.  On Sunday July 9th ,working with the Town Council, Ledbury Poetry Festival and Ledbury Food Group, Joined Up Heritage helped to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the building of the Market House in an event called the ‘Great Ledbury Celebration’. This took place on the last weekend of Ledbury Poetry Festival when the Market House and other heritage buildings in Ledbury were open to the public with volunteers on hand to provide information for visitors.

Members of the Ledbury Amateur Dramatic Society also performed a funny and very entertaining piece of street drama that saw the Elizabethan poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe visiting Ledbury. During his stay he was accused of stealing cider, convicted by a Piepowder Court and paraded round the streets in a barrel called a ‘drunkard’s cloak’ as punishment!

Celia Kellett, the Friends volunteer researcher, discovered many facts and figures about the Market House and connected events, starting with the first request for a Market House by Master Cowper (Master of St Katherine’s Hospital 1588) through to its recent restoration in 2006. As a result the Market House now has five pull up banners which present clear details of events surrounding this important building and can be seen on a tour available from the Painted Room.  A booklet was also produced with further information about the Market House as well as short histories of the other heritage buildings included in Joined Up Heritage’s efforts. These booklets are now available from the heritage sites in the town for a small donation.


The Master’s House on Channel 4’s ‘Great British Buildings’


In April this year The Master’s House was included in Channel 4’s programme ‘Great British Buildings’. The Master’s House with its wonderful restoration was one of the buildings in the third episode of the series which concentrated on 13th to 16th century restorations and was shown alongside Hampton Court Palace and The Royal Hospital Chelsea. It had been sifted from the longlist of the UK’s outstanding restorations of historic buildings for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ Restoration of the Year award. Channel 4’s programme is still available to view on the Catch Up site.

Since the completion of its restoration in March 2015 the Master’s House has become a real centre for cultural, heritage and community activities with a wide programme of events taking place throughout the year. With over 100,000 users and visitors in each of the first two years, the Master’s House offers a modern, accessible library in a beautiful heritage building.

All this has been made possible by the £1,174,200 received from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the £3,000,000 that Herefordshire Council invested in the restoration and the support of volunteers from the Friends and the Ledbury Library Development Group as well as the wider community.