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Leominster Priory.jpg
Herefordshire UK location map.svg
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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
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52°13′42″N2°44′19″W / 52.2282°N 2.7385°W / 52.2282; -2.7385

Leominster ( /ˈlɛmstər/ LEM-stər) is a market town in Herefordshire, England; it is located at the confluence of the River Lugg and its tributary the River Kenwater. The town is 12 miles (19 kilometres) north of Hereford and 7 miles (11 kilometres) south of Ludlow in Shropshire. With a population of 11,700, [2] Leominster is the largest of the five towns in the county; the others being Ross-on-Wye, Ledbury, Bromyard and Kington.


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 legendarily miserly husband of Lady Godiva).[ citation needed ]


Milestone, showing the old spelling 'Lemster', now in Leominster Museum Leominster Museum - 2014-07-11 - Andy Mabbett - 01.JPG
Milestone, 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 Herefordshire hoard) consisting primarily of Saxon jewellery and silver ingots but also coins; the latter date to around 879 AD. 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 AD 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]


The town 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
Mean daily maximum °C (°F)6.9
Mean daily minimum °C (°F)1.1
Source: YR.NO [14]


Leominster railway station is managed by Transport for Wales, who operate services on the Welsh Marches Line between South Wales and North West England. Direct services run to Cardiff, Hereford, Ludlow, Shrewsbury, Crewe and Manchester. [15]

The town has a bus station which is the focal point for its bus services. Routes are operated by Lugg Valley Travel and First Worcester, which link Leominster with Hereford, Ludlow and Ledbury. [16]

Leomister is served by the north-south A49, which runs between Bamber Bridge and Ross-on-Wye, and the east-west A44, linking Aberystwyth with Oxford.


Earl Mortimer College, is a state comprehensive school providing secondary education for about 650 pupils. It was formerly known as the Minster school. 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 TV coverage are provided by BBC West Midlands and ITV Central. Television signals are received from the Ridge Hill TV transmitter. [17] Local radio stations are Sunshine Radio, Sunshine 855, BBC Hereford & Worcester, Free Radio Herefordshire & Worcestershire and Greatest Hits Radio Herefordshire & Worcestershire.

Notable people

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

Twin towns

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

Local attractions

See also

Related Research Articles

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  4. Stowe MS 944 Archived 3 January 2014 at archive.today , British Library
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  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
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  14. "Climate Normals 1971–2000". YR.NO. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
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  17. "Full Freeview on the Ridge Hill (County of Herefordshire, England) transmitter". UK Free TV. 1 May 2004. Retrieved 26 October 2023.
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  23. Fisher, Ben (16 January 2019). "Jarrod Bowen: from playing without pay to scoring for fun at Hull" via www.theguardian.com.