Ludlow

Dinham Bridge

Back to Previous PageLudlow - Shropshire - England
20 May 2001

Accommodation - Eating Out

A well-preserved market town near the Welsh border, 42 km / 26 miles south of Shrewsbury and often called
"The perfect historic town"

DinhamLudlow extends up the hill overlooking the crossing of the River Teme. The river curves around the southern end of the town and is crossed by Ludford Bridge and Dinham Bridge. To the north of the town the River Corve meanders down from Corvdale and joins the Teme to the West. Like most places in Britain, Ludlow's councillors have given themselves a reason to holiday abroad and have twinned the town with San Pietro in Italy and La Ferte-Mace in France. If the citizens of San Pietro or La Ferte-Mace ever pay a visit to Ludlow, they'll be overjoyed at the Tudor surroundings - they could have found themselves looking at the dreadful concrete cows had they been twinned with Milton Keynes!

St. Peters RC ChurchThere are nearly 500 listed buildings in Ludlow and the original medieval street layout survives to this day almost unchanged. The town has many half-timbered buildings, notably the Jacobean Feathers Hotel and buildings in Dinham which borders the castle wall. Its grammar school, founded in 1282, is now a sixth form college. To the north of the town, is the impressive St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church. The Clee Hills lie east and northeast of the town.

There was no settlement of any consequence on the present site of Ludlow before the Norman Conquest, although it is possible that there was a small Saxon agricultural hamlet at Dinham.

Ludlow CastleLudlow Castle, on a hill overlooking the rivers Teme and Corve, was built as one of a line of castles along the Marches to keep out the Welsh. The castle was founded by the de Lacy family of Stanton Lacy, probably between 1086 and 1094, at that time occupying a much smaller area than it does now. A planned town was laid out at the castle gate very soon afterwards. Ludlow seems to have been taken from the existing parish of Stanton Lacy, the church which lies about three miles to the north-west. Until the last century the keep of the castle remained an isolated part of Stanton Lacy parish, the boundary of the parish extended up to the very edge of the town.

Ludlow Castle
Castle Square
Ludlow SY8 1AY
Shropshire, England
Tel 01584 873355

Castle WallsIn the late 12th and early 13th centuries the castle was extended, and part of the grid pattern of streets immediately to the south was obscured by the enlarged outer bailey. From 1233 onwards the town walls were constructed, and as at Southhampton and Canterbury, the castle stood within the circuit of the walls and shared a common line of defence. Ludlow had several medieval suburbs laid out in a planned fashion beyond the gates. An arts festival is held annually in the castle with open-air theatrical performances of Shakespeare plays. John Milton's masque Comus was first presented at Ludlow Castle in 1634.

Ludlow CastleThe watchtower and round chapel of this ruined castle date from the late 11th century. Ludlow Castle played a key role in some turbulent events in English history. Its 14th-century owner, Roger Mortimer, helped his mistress Queen Eleanor, to murder her husband Edward II. In 1473, the Prince of Wales and his brother were held here before their mysterious death in the Tower of London. In 1502 Prince Arthur, Henry VII's son and heir to the throne, died at Ludlow. The castle became crown property in 1461, though it was acquired by the 2nd Earl of Powis in 1811. Edward V, Prince Arthur and other royal children were brought up at Ludlow and the castle became the headquarters of the Council of the Marches, which governed Wales and the border counties until 1689. The Council's courts were very active, and the town was full of lawyers, clerks and royal messengers.

Dinham BridgeLudlow was a highly successful plantation. By 1377 it had 1,172 tax-paying residents, which placed it thirty-third in the list of English towns of that date. Ludlow was a fortified town, one of just over a hundred in England and Wales which had a full circuit of walls. Apart from the Castle, it retains some well-preserved stretches of town wall and the sites of its seven gates can readily be identified. As in most fortified towns, the walls and gates served many purposes other than defence. They were a means of controlling the entry of all sorts of undesirables, many of them far less formidable than invading armies. They enable market tolls to be collected easily and gave support to lean-to buildings. In times of peace they were a ready source of building stone, and continued to exercise a strong influence on the topography of the town long after their defensive function had ceased.

In the 18th and 19th centuries Ludlow was a fashionable social centre and county families built elegant brick houses. Glove making was now the major industry reaching a peak production of 660,000 gloves in 1814. Population grew rapidly, causing many back buildings in the congested town centre, though after 1850 there was expansion eastwards.

River TemeToday, the population of Ludlow is just under 10,000 and industries include precision engineering, cabinet making, and the manufacture of agricultural machinery. Tourism is important, particularly retailing to the town's visitors.

Dominating the town centre is the exceptionally fine 15th-century parish church of St Laurence, with its 41m / 135ft elegant tower, with wonderfully carved misericords and stained glass windows, reflecting the town's prosperity as a centre of the wool trade in the Middle Ages. The ashes of the poet A. E. Housman (1859–1936), the author of 'A Shropshire Lad', were scattered in the churchyard.

Castle Lodge'Oh, Come you home on Sunday when Ludlow's streets are still
and Ludlow's bells are calling to farms and land and mill,
Or come you home on Monday when Ludlow market hums
and Ludlow chimes are playing the conquering hero comes'

A. E. Housman.

Broad StreetIn ancient British times Ludlow was known as Dinan and Llystwysoc, whose derivation implies it was the Palace of a Prince. The Saxon name Leodlowe implies an administration center.

ButtercrossA stroll through Ludlow's streets is pure pleasure, one striking individual structure is the Feathers Hotel, with its timber frames and decorative carving. Broad Street has a delightful parade of shops which include De Grey's famous tearooms. There are a plethora of good eating places in Ludlow - in fact it is claimed that Ludlow has more restaurants per person than any other place in Britain. Buttercross stands at the far end of the market Place and is home to the Town Council offices

We recommend the Feathers Hotel, worth a visit for the architecture alone whilst the Church Inn is has good food but is an excellent venue for trying a wide range of cask ales and ciders. The Bull has a Tudor yard which is worth a visit and the Blue Boar is a pleasant 16th Century inn despite being one of an ever increasing number of 'Pubmaster' chain pubs.

 

Eating Out

THE BULL HOTEL The Bull Ring, 01584 873611 Home cooked bar snacks and meals.
CHARLTON ARMS HOTEL Ludford Bridge, 01584 872813. Home cooking in riverside setting. Bar meals and snacks.
DE GREY'S CAFE-RESTAURANT Broad Street, 01584 872764 Morning coffee, luncheons and teas. Evening restaurant. Licensed.
ARAGONS and THE KITCHEN DOOR 5 Church Street, 01584 873282. Restaurant and take-away
KOO JAPANESE RESTAURANT 127 Old Street, 01584 878462 Authentic Japanese cuisine and presentation in an intimate and friendly atmosphere.
ASSEMBLY ROOM 1 Mill Street, 01584 878141. Morning coffee, lunches, snacks, pre-theatre meals. Licensed bar.
BLUE BOAR INN 52 Mill Street, 01584 872429 16th century inn, traditionally connected with Festival. Morning coffee and restaurant.
THE CHURCH INN Buttercross, 01584 872174. Bar and la carte menu, centrally situated.
THE COURTYARD 2 Quality Square, 01584 878080. Licensed restaurant. Coffee, lunch, tea, dinner.
DINHAM HALL HOTEL Dinham, 01584 876464. Secluded setting near the castle.
EGO CAFE-BAR Quality Square, 01584 878000. All-day venue serving food and drink with a distinctly European flavour.
EMPOROS COFFEE HOUSE Bull Ring, Morning coffee, snacks and lunches.
THE FEATHERS HOTEL The Bull Ring, 01584 875261 Variety of meals available in Housman Restaurant with its Al Fresco Terrace.
LES MARCHES RESTAURANT at OVERTON GRANGE HOTEL Old Hereford Road, 01584 873500. Serving French, la carte, and light lunches. Booking essential.
THE MERCHANT HOUSE Lower Corve Street, 01584 875438 Restaurant
HIBISCUS RESTAURANT 17 Corve Street, 01584 872325 Classical and modern dishes, beautiful restaurant.
THE OLD BAKEHOUSE 6 Tower St, 01584 872645. Home cooking.
THE OLIVE BRANCH Bull Ring, 01584 874314. Restaurant and coffee house. Licensed.

ROSE & CROWN INN

8 Church Street, 01584 872098 One of Ludlow's oldest inns. 15th century courtyard/patio. Home-cooked food.

SHAPLA BALTI HOUSE

58 Broad Street, 01584 875153. Full menu served all day. Balti dishes as well as English.

SHAPLA TANDOORI RESTAURANT

17 Tower Street, 01584 872033 Indian and continental food. Take-away facilities.

MR UNDERHILLS

Dinham, 01584 874431. Highest quality food.

UNICORN INN

Lower Corve Street, 01584 873555. Quality home-cooked food in beamed and panelled lounge bar or restaurant.

 

Accommodation

The Bull Hotel 14 Bull Ring, SY8 1AD Tel 01584 873611 Fax 01584 873666
The Charlton Arms Ludford Bridge, SY8 1PJ Tel 01584 872813
Number Twenty Eight 28 Lower Broad Street, SY8 1PQ Tel 01584 876996 Fax 01584 876860
Arran House 42 Gravel Hill, SY8 1QR Tel 01584 873764
Broadgate Cottage Silkmill Lane, SY8 1BJ Tel 01584 876009 
Castle View 7 Castle View Terrace, SY8 2NG Tel 01584 875592
Cecil Guest House Sheet Road,   SY8 1LR Tel/fax 01584 872442
The Church Inn Buttercross, SY8 1AW Tel 01584 872174 
The Cliffe Hotel Dinham, SY8 2JE Tel 01584 872063 
Eight Dinham 8 Dinham, SY8 1EJ Tel 01584 875661 
Hen & Chickens 103 Old Street, SY8 1NU Tel 01584 874318 
Henwick House Gravel Hill, SY8 1QU Tel 01584 873338
Nelson Cottage Rocks Green SY8 2DS Tel 01584 878108
Mr Underhill's at Dinham Weir Dinham Bridge, SY8 1EH Tel 01584 874431
Overton Grange SY8 4AD Tel 01584 873500
The Wheatsheaf Inn Lower Broad Street, SY8 1PQ Tel 01584 872980