Ludlow Self Catering Holiday Cottages, Shropshire
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Shropshire is a large rural county with numerous, unspoilt open spaces. It's mainstay is still agriculture. Shrewsbury is the county town and Ludlow is its most famous market town. Indeed, in the medieval period Ludlow was the most important town in Shropshire and one of the largest towns n England being the administrative centre of the Marches .
Ludlow is still dominated by the castle and St. Laurence's Church and are clearly visible as you approach the town. The castle was built after the Norman Conquest and it is thought that Walter de Lacy who was granted lands in South Shropshire in order to subdue the area. Walter had two sons Roger and Hugh and they were responsible for the earliest surviving parts of this medieval fortress, started around 1086. Stone was quarried on site and from Whitcliffe Common from across the river. At this time, the only other inhabitants were at the Dinham hamlet. As the castle developed the town was laid out in its present Norman grid form. Much of this grid system still exists but two roads are missing as you can see when looking at a Ludlow street map. For instance, St John's Lane once continued north, through Brand Lane to join up with Pepper Lane. From about 1233, as the castle developed in importance the town walls with seven gates were built by raising a murage tax. The only surviving gate is Broad Gate between Broad Street and Lower Broad Street. The cellars at The Wheat sheaf go under the road by the Broadgate and you can still the supports of the draw bridge in the pub cellar. Ludlow Castle has many links to royalty. Roger Mortimer owned the castle and with Queen Isabella deposed Edward II and put his Edward's young son on the throne in 1327. For 3 years Roger and Isabella ruled England. In 1459, the future Edward IV slipped out of Ludlow Castle after defeat at the Battle of Ludford. Arthur, eldest son of Henry Tudor brought his bride Catherine of Aragon to Ludlow and Mary Tudor stayed here. As you would expect there are many ghosts that are supposed to haunt the castle. The most famous is that of Marion de Bruer. Marion was betrayed by her lover Arthur who brought troops to capture the Castle when they had planned a lovers' meeting. The castle was over run and Marion killed her lover and then threw herself off the battlements. Many locals claim to have seen her ghost when walking round the Castle at night. Some claim you can hear her mournful cries as well. In November a Medieval Fair is held in the castle and it is possible if you attend the fayre in the evening it is almost believe you are back in those times with the flickering candle light coming through the old windows.
St Laurence church is mainly 15th century, the time of Ludlow's greatest prosperity, when it was rebuilt in the perpendicular style,. There was an earlier Norman church of the site and some bits dating back to 1200 still exist. The church is very large and is one of the finest in England and certainly the finest in Shropshire. It is one of Greater Churches Group. It has many treasures such as medieval and later stained glass but my favourites are misericords in the high chancel, dating back to the 1450s. These exquisite wood carvings, under the seats, show, mainly, every day life in medieval England. There is one of a woman warming her feet by a fire and another of a tapster taking drink from a barrel. As you go round the church there is evidence of the coloured decorations that was covered the whole building, For one of the best views of Ludlow climb the bell tower. It is well worth the aching leg muscles. Years ago, I brought some children to Ludlow.
We climbed the tower when the bells were ringing. Some of the children were horrified that the tower was moving.