1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ludlow

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LUDLOW, a market town and municipal borough in the Ludlow parliamentary division of Shropshire, England, on the Hereford-Shrewsbury joint line of the Great Western and London & North Western railways, 162 m. W.N.W. from London. Pop. (1901) 4552. It is beautifully situated at the junction of the rivers Teme and Corve, upon and about a wooded eminence crowned by a massive ruined castle. Parts of this castle date from the 11th century, but there are many additions such as the late Norman circular chapel, the Decorated state rooms, and details in Perpendicular and Tudor styles. The parish church of St Lawrence is a cruciform Perpendicular building, with a lofty central tower, and a noteworthy east window, its 15th-century glass showing the martyrdom of St Lawrence. There are many fine half-timbered houses of the 17th century, and one of seven old town-gates remains. The grammar school, founded in the reign of John, was incorporated by Edward I. The principal public buildings are the guildhall, town-hall and market-house, and public rooms, which include a museum of natural history. Tanning and flour-milling are carried on. The town is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. Area 416 acres.

The country neighbouring Ludlow is richly wooded and hilly, while the scenery of the Teme is exquisite. Westward, Vinnal Hill reaches 1235 ft., eastward lies Titterstone Clee (1749 ft.). Richard’s Castle, 3 m. S. on the borders of Herefordshire, dates from the reign of Edward the Confessor, but little more than its great artificial mound remains. At Bromfield, 3 m. above Ludlow on the Teme, the church and some remains of domestic buildings belonged to a Benedictine monastery of the 12th century.

Ludlow is supposed to have existed under the name of Dinan in the time of the Britons. Eyton in his history of Shropshire identifies it with one of the “Ludes” mentioned in the Domesday Survey, which was held by Roger de Lacy of Osbern FitzRichard and supposes that Roger built the castle soon after 1086, while a chronicle of the FitzWarren family attributes the castle to Roger earl of Shrewsbury. The manor afterwards belonged to the Lacys, and in the beginning of the 14th century passed by marriage to Roger de Mortimer and through him to Edward IV. Ludlow was a borough by prescription in the 13th century, but the burgesses owe most of their privileges to their allegiance to the house of York. Richard, duke of York, in 1450 confirmed their government by 12 burgesses and 24 assistants, and Edward IV. on his accession incorporated them under the title of bailiffs and burgesses, granted them the town at a fee-farm of £24, 3s. 4d., a merchant gild and freedom from toll. Several confirmations of this charter were granted; the last, dated 1665, continued in force (with a short interval in the reign of James II.) until the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835. By the charter of Edward IV. Ludlow returned 2 members to parliament, but in 1867 the number was reduced to one, and in 1885 the town was disfranchised. The market rights are claimed by the corporation under the charters of Edward IV. (1461) and Edward VI. (1552). The court of the Marches was established at Ludlow in the reign of Henry VII., and continued to be held here until it was abolished in the reign of William III. Ludlow castle was granted by Edward IV. to his two sons, and by Henry VII. to Prince Arthur, who died here in 1502. In 1634 Milton’s Comus was performed in the castle under its original style of “A Masque presented at Ludlow Castle,” before the earl of Bridgewater, Lord President of Wales. The castle was garrisoned in 1642 by Prince Rupert, who went there after the battle of Naseby, but in 1646 it surrendered to Parliament and was afterwards dismantled.

See Victoria County History, Shropshire; Thomas Wright, The History of Ludlow and its Neighbourhood (1826).