Last updated

Leominster Priory.jpg
Leominster Priory
Herefordshire UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Herefordshire
Population11,959 (2021 Census) [1]
OS grid reference SO496591
Civil parish
  • Leominster
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district HR6
Dialling code 01568
Police West Mercia
Fire Hereford and Worcester
Ambulance West Midlands
UK Parliament
List of places
52°13′42″N2°44′19″W / 52.2282°N 2.7385°W / 52.2282; -2.7385 Coordinates: 52°13′42″N2°44′19″W / 52.2282°N 2.7385°W / 52.2282; -2.7385

Leominster ( /ˈlɛmstər/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ) LEM-stər) is a market town in Herefordshire, England, at the confluence of the River Lugg and its tributary the River Kenwater. The town is 12 miles (19 kilometres) north of Hereford and seven miles (eleven kilometres) south of Ludlow in Shropshire. With a population of 11,700, [2] Leominster is the largest of the five towns (Leominster, Ross-on-Wye, Ledbury, Bromyard and Kington) in the county.


From 1974 to 1996, Leominster was the administrative centre for the former local government district of Leominster.


The town takes its name from the English word minster, meaning a community of clergy and the original Celtic name for the district Leon or Lene, probably in turn from an Old Welsh root lei to flow. [3] The Welsh name for Leominster is Llanllieni, with Llan suggesting a possible Celtic origin to the town's religious community.

Contrary to certain reports, the name has nothing to do with Leofric, an 11th-century Earl of Mercia (most famous for being the miserly husband of Lady Godiva).


Milepost, showing the old spelling 'Lemster', now in Leominster Museum Leominster Museum - 2014-07-11 - Andy Mabbett - 01.JPG
Milepost, showing the old spelling 'Lemster', now in Leominster Museum

During the Early Middle Ages, Leominster was home to Æthelmod of Leominster, an English saint known to history mainly through the hagiography of the Secgan Manuscript. [4] He is reputedly buried in Leominster.

During the 8th and 9th Century, Danes (or Vikings) frequently raided the area. In 2015, two individuals (operating without landowner permission), using metal detectors, found a large hoard near Leominster (the Leominster hoard) consisting primarily of Saxon jewellery and silver ingots but also coins; the latter date to around 879 CE. According to a news report, "experts believe it was buried by a Viking during a series of raids", while Wessex was ruled by Alfred the Great and Mercia by Ceolwulf II of Mercia. [5]  

According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle , a raid by Gruffudd ap Llywelyn on Leominster in 1052 resulted in the Battle of Llanllieni, between the Welsh and a combined force of Normans (mercenaries) and English Saxons. [6]

Henry I bestowed the minster and its estates on Reading Abbey, which founded a priory at Leominster in 1121, although there was one here from Saxon times. [7] Its Priory Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, which now serves as the parish church, is the remaining part of this 12th-century Benedictine monastery. Quatrefoil piers were inserted between 1872–79 by Sir George Gilbert Scott. [8]

The priory was ransacked by the Welsh forces of Owain Glyndŵr after their victory at the Battle of Bryn Glas near Pilleth in 1402, along with several local manor houses.

Investigations to the north of the priory in 2005 located the position of the cloister, although most of the stone had been stolen following the Dissolution. Discarded animal bones found on the site when submitted to carbon dating showed that the area was occupied in the 7th century. This agrees with the date of 660 CE associated with the founding myth, which suggests a Christian community was established here by a monk, St. Eadfrith, originally from Lindisfarne in Northumbria. [9]

Leominster is also the historical home of Ryeland sheep, a breed once famed for its "Lemster" [ sic ] wool, known as 'Lemster ore'. This wool was prized above all other English wool in trade with the continent of Europe in the Middle Ages. It was the income and prosperity from this wool trade that established the town and the minster and attracted the envy of the Welsh and other regions.[ citation needed ]

From approximately 1748 to 1754, Pinsley Mill in Leominster was home to one of the Paul-Wyatt cotton mills, the first four cotton mills in the world, employing the spinning machines of Lewis Paul and John Wyatt. [10] The mill was financed by Lancashire native Daniel Bourn, and was partly owned by other men from Lancashire. Bourn introduced his own version of the carding engine to work at this mill, and of the four Paul-Wyatt mills, it may have been the most successful, as shortly after the fire that destroyed the mill, it was reported that the cotton works "had been viewed with great pleasure and admiration by travellers and all who had seen them." [11]

One of the last ordeals by ducking stool took place in Leominster in 1809, with Jenny Pipes as the final incumbent. [12] The ducking stool is on public display in Leominster Priory; a mechanised depiction of it is featured on the town clock. [13]


As with all towns in the United Kingdom, Leominster has a maritime climate, with mild winters and summers. The data below is from a weather station in Preston Wynne, a village about 10 miles South East of Leominster.

Climate data for Preston Wynne, elevation 84 metres (276 ft), 1971–2000
Average high °C (°F)6.9
Average low °C (°F)1.1
Source: YR.NO [14]


The 4-mile (6.4 km) A49 £9 million bypass opened in November 1988. The town also has a bus station linking it to Hereford and a number of nearby towns and villages.


Leominster railway station is managed by Transport for Wales who provide services on the Welsh Marches Line.


There are regular buses to Hereford and Ludlow, as well as an infrequent bus service to Ledbury.


Earl Mortimer college, is a state comprehensive school providing secondary education for about 650 pupils. There is also Leominster Primary School and Westfield's Special School. Primary schools in the villages around the town include Ivington, Kimbolton, Kingsland, Luston and Stoke Prior.


In print, Leominster is served by the Hereford Times , The Leominster News and the Teme Valley Times. Local radio stations are Sunshine Radio, Sunshine 855, BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester and Free Radio Herefordshire & Worcestershire.

Notable people

The Grange, Leominster The Grange, Leominster.jpg
The Grange, Leominster

Twin towns

Leominster is twinned with Saverne in France, and Tengeru in Tanzania.

Local attractions

See also

Related Research Articles

Gruffydd ap Llywelyn was King of Wales from 1055 to 1063. He had previously been King of Gwynedd and Powys in 1039. He was the son of King Llywelyn ap Seisyll and Angharad daughter of Maredudd ab Owain, and the great-great-grandson of Hywel Dda.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lady Godiva</span> 11th-century Anglo-Saxon noblewoman and figure of legend

Lady Godiva, in Old English Godgifu, was a late Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who is relatively well documented as the wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia, and a patron of various churches and monasteries. Today, she is mainly remembered for a legend dating back to at least the 13th century, in which she rode naked – covered only in her long hair – through the streets of Coventry to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation that her husband, Leofric, imposed on his tenants. The name "Peeping Tom" for a voyeur originates from later versions of this legend, in which a man named Thomas watched her ride and was struck blind or dead.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kington, Herefordshire</span> Town in Herefordshire, England

Kington is a market town, electoral ward and civil parish in Herefordshire, England. According to the Parish, the ward had a population of 3,240, while the 2011 Census registered a population of 2,626.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ledbury</span> Town in Herefordshire, England

Ledbury is a market town and civil parish in the county of Herefordshire, England, lying east of Hereford, and west of the Malvern Hills.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bromyard</span> Market town in Herefordshire, England

Bromyard is a town in Herefordshire, England, in the valley of the River Frome. It lies near the county border with Worcestershire on the A44 between Leominster and Worcester. Bromyard has a number of traditional half-timbered buildings, including some of the pubs, and the parish church is Norman. For centuries, there was a thriving livestock market. The town is twinned with Athis-de-l'Orne, Normandy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Herefordshire</span> County of England

Herefordshire is a county in the West Midlands of England, governed by Herefordshire Council. It is bordered by Shropshire to the north, Worcestershire to the east, Gloucestershire to the south-east, and the Welsh counties of Monmouthshire and Powys to the west.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Leofric, Earl of Mercia</span> Earl of Mercia

Leofric was an Earl of Mercia. He founded monasteries at Coventry and Much Wenlock. Leofric is most remembered as the husband of Lady Godiva.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Abel</span> English carpenter and mason

John Abel was an English carpenter and mason, granted the title of 'King's Carpenter', who was responsible for several notable structures in the ornamented Half-timbered construction typical of the West Midlands.

The history of Herefordshire starts with a shire in the time of Athelstan (895–939), and Herefordshire is mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 1051. The first Anglo-Saxon settlers, the Magonsætan, were a sub-tribal unit of the Hwicce who occupied the Severn valley. The Magonsætan were said to be in the intervening lands between the Rivers Wye and Severn. The undulating hills of marl clay were surrounded by the Welsh mountains to the west; the Malvern Hills to the east; the Clent Hills of the Shropshire borders to the north, and the indeterminate extent of the Forest of Dean to the south. The shire name first recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was derived from "Here-ford", Old English for "Army crossing", the location for the city.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ælfgar, Earl of Mercia</span> Earl of Mercia and Earl of East Anglia

Ælfgar was the son of Leofric, Earl of Mercia, by his famous mother Godgifu. He succeeded to his father's title and responsibilities on the latter's death in 1057. He gained the additional title of Earl of East Anglia, but also was exiled for a time. Through the first marriage of his daughter he would become father-in-law of the Welsh king Gruffydd ap Llywelyn; a few years after his death, his daughter would become a widow and marry English King Harold.

Richard de Capella or Richard of the Chapel was a medieval Bishop of Hereford.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Leominster Abbey</span> Medieval monastery and convent in Leominster, England

Leominster abbey was an Anglo-Saxon monastery established at Leominster in the county of Hereford, England. The name of the town refers to its minster, a settlement of clergy living a communal life.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Grange Court</span> Market hall in Leominster, England

Grange Court is a former market hall in Leominster, Herefordshire, England. It was built in 1633 by John Abel, and moved to its present location in 1859. It was then used as a private house until the 1930s, and is now once again a civic building.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paul-Wyatt cotton mills</span>

The Paul-Wyatt cotton mills were the world's first mechanised cotton spinning factories. Operating from 1741 until 1764 they were built to house the roller spinning machinery invented by Lewis Paul and John Wyatt. They were not very profitable but they span cotton successfully for several decades.

Pinsley Mill, also known as Etnam Street Mill, is a former watermill in Leominster, Herefordshire, England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eadfrith of Leominster</span>

Eadfrith of Leominster also known as Eadridus was a seventh century Catholic saint from Anglo-Saxon England. Although very little is known of his early life, he is an important figure in the process of Christianisation of Anglo-Saxon England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Leominster Museum</span>

Leominster Museum, formerly known as Leominster Folk Museum, is an independent, volunteer-run, museum in Leominster, Herefordshire, England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hatfield and Newhampton</span> Human settlement in England

Hatfield and Newhampton is a civil parish in the county of Herefordshire, England, and is 11 miles (18 km) north from the city and county town of Hereford. The closest large town is Leominster 4 miles (6 km) to the west. The parish includes the small village of Hatfield, the former extra-parochial liberty of New Hampton, the site of former abbey lands of Fencote, the preserved Fencote railway station, and the Grade II* listed 11th-century Church of St Leonard.


  1. "Leominster". City population. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  2. "Neighbourhood Statistics – Area: Leominster (Parish) – Sex, 2011 (QS104EW)". United Kingdom Census 2011 . Office for National Statistics. 2011. Archived from the original on 12 January 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  3. J. & C. Hillaby, Leominster Minster, Priory, and Borough c.660–1539 (Logaston Press, Almeley, Herefs. 2006), 4–5.
  4. Stowe MS 944 Archived 3 January 2014 at archive.today , British Library
  5. "MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF VIKING TREASURE THAT COULD REWRITE HISTORY STOLEN, METAL DETECTORISTS CONVICTED". Newsweek. 22 November 2019. Retrieved 24 November 2019. An example of a rare two emperor coin, hinting at a previously-unknown alliance between the kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia.
  6. Evans, Gwynfor (1974). Land of My Fathers: 2000 Years of Welsh History. Y Lolfa. p. 156. ISBN   9780862432652.
  7. Hillaby, 53-7
  8. The Buildings of England: Herefordshire, Nikolaus Pevsner, (1963) p226 ISBN   0-14-071025-6
  9. "Our History". Leominster Priory. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  10. Wadsworth, Alfred P.; Mann, Julia De Lacy (1931). The Cotton Trade and Industrial Lancashire, 1600–1780. Manchester: Manchester University Press. pp. 433–448.
  11. Manchester Mercury, reported on 5 November 1754
  12. Rejali, Darius (2009). Torture and democracy (1. paperback printing. ed.). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. p. 282. ISBN   978-0691143330.
  13. "Herefordshire clock on go slow". Hereford Times . 5 August 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  14. "Climate Normals 1971–2000". YR.NO. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  15. Cuthfleda, Oxford Dictionary of Saints, 5th ed, 2011. Accessed 5 January 2014.
  16. The Chronicle of John of Worcester ed. and trans. R.R. Darlington, P. McGurk and J. Bray (Clarendon Press: Oxford 1995), pp.582–3.
  17. "John Abel, King's carpenter", Grange Court website. Accessed 5 January 2014.
  18. Hobbs, Tony (2004). John Scarlett Davis: A Biography. Almeley, Herefordshire: Logaston Press. ISBN   1904396151.
  19. "Arthur Peppercorn", A1 Steam Locomotive Trust. Accessed 5 January 2014.
  20. Fisher, Ben (16 January 2019). "Jarrod Bowen: from playing without pay to scoring for fun at Hull" via www.theguardian.com.