"LUDLOW, a parish and market and borough town near the southern extremity of Shropshire.
LAT. 52.24 N. LON. 2. 49. W. Market on Monday, Fairs on Monday before old Candlemas Day, Tuesday before Easter, Wednesday in Whitsun-week, August 21, September 28, and December 6.
Broad Street and Castle Wards contain 443 houses, 2,208 inhab.
Corve Street Ward 160 740
Old Street Ward 403 1,272
Ludlow is situated on a hill, with a declivity on every side; it has an elegant and cheerful appearance, and is surrounded by a country full of delightful prospects, in every direction. It was formerly inclosed by a strong wall, which was about a mile in circumference, including the castle, which, as Leland says, hemmed in part of the town, and is the most prominent object of attention.
This edifice rises from the extremity of a headland, and its foundations are laid in a bare, grey rock. The part towards the north, consists of square towers, with high connecting walls, embattled with deep interstices. The old fosse, or ditch and part of the rock have been converted. into promenades, which the late Countess of Powis planted with beeches, elms, and lime trees. These, having now arrived at maturity, dispense a soothing and grateful shade, and add not a little to the beauty and solemn grandeur of the scene.
Parallel with the castle, on the western side, runs a naked and precipitate ridge, beautifully crowned with wood. Below is a chasm through which the broad shallow Teme pours its waters. The principal entrance is by a gateway under a low pointed arch. On the right hand are the ruins of the barracks, which when the castle was the residence of the lords presidents of Wales, were in constant use. Beyond these is a square tower, the embattled rampart of which, pierced with loops, remains in picturesque masses. On the left, a range of stone buildings presents itself, which is supposed to have been the stables. The arms of Queen Elizabeth, and those of the earl of Pembroke, who, on the death of his relation, Sir Henry Sidney, succeeded to the presidency, appear on these stables. Not far removed from them are the ruins of the Court-house, beyond which rises a lofty tower, called Mortimer's tower.
This tower has been denominated semilunar; but it forms rather a half oval than a semisphere. The lowest apartment appears to have been a prison, of which the original entrance was through a circular aperture, in the ponderous key-stone of its vaulted roof.
The castle is guarded on the north and west by a deep fosse cut in the rock, and the place of the ancient draw-bridge is supplied by a stone-bridge, with two arches. On this bridge are some remains of an embattled parapet.
The portal is a modern erection, having been built during the presidency of Sir Henry Sidney, and remarkable neither for strength nor beauty. The arch and the adjacent building have a mean appearance.
Over the portal, below the arms of England and France, is the following inscription:
ANNO DOMINI MILLESIMO QUINGENTESIMO OCTAGESIMO COMPLETO, ANNO REGNI ILLUSTRISSIMAE AC SERENISSIMAE REGINAE ELIZIBETHAE VICESIMO TERTIO CURRENTE, 1581.
In a compartment below, with the armorial bearings of Queen Elizabeth, and Sir Henry Sidney, is this inscription:-
NOMINIBUS INGRATIS LOQUIMINI LAPIDES. ANNO REGNI REGINAE ELIZABETHAE 23. THE 22 YEAR COPLET OF THE PRESIDENCY OF SIR HENRY SIDNEY KNIGHT OF THE MOST NOBLE ORDER OF THE GARTER, ETC. 1581.
The Sidney papers afford an explanation of the querulous commencement of this inscription. Sir Henry, who had been entrusted with the government of Ireland, had made, in the course of a rigid administration, many enemies, whose opposition to his measures, had proved successful. He therefore willingly retired to this place, where he employed himself in superintending the education of his son, the celebrated Sir Philip Sidney.
The interior of the castle, even at the first view, strikes us with solemn and awful feeling. The court is irregular, and not very spacious; but the lofty, embattled structure by which it is inclosed, preserving, though in ruins, its original outline - the masses of light and shade, produced by the deep recesses, - the rich tints of age, - the luxurious mantling of ivy, - and the sullen silence which holds its empire throughout these deserted towers, - once the seat of royal splendour, and feudal revelry - fill the mind with reflections on past magnificence, and present degradation. The tout ensemble is highly interesting. Near the gate are the various apartments of the Porter, the Warder, and the lower retainers of the Presidents, and adjoining the entrance are the remains of a beautiful doorway, with a frieze of quatrefoils, charged with shields, and flanked with small ornamental buttresses. This doorway conducts to a staircase,
The Keep is a large, square, embattled tower, of Norman Architecture, divided into four stories. It rises on the left side of the gate, to the height of 110 feet, and is covered with ivy. There is a small square turret at each of the angles, rising the whole height. The ground floor is the dungeon, half under ground. The arched roof is twenty feet in height. In the arch are three square apertures, which, communicating with the chamber above, served for the purpose of admitting and inspecting the prisoners, and were probably intended also for raising supplies of ammunition and provisions, during a siege. A strong arched doorway on the north side, was evidently inserted a long time after the erection of the tower. The ground. floor measures 31 feet by 16. In the northeast turret there is a winding staircase to the top of the Keep. On the second floor is a large room, 30 feet by 18; with a fire-place. This room communicates on the left with a square arched chamber, and on the right with a narrow, oblong room, which has a grand roof, having two deep recesses in the dividing wall. At the south-west angle of the larger apartment, is a lobby formed of three grand arches, which leads to a narrow passage, communicating externally with a walk, once probably a covered way, on the rampart, which conducts to a small, but strong tower at a distance. The arches of the doors and windows of this tower, were all round and plain, the latter approaching externally to narrow loops; many of them have been enlarged, and altered to pointed arches without,- but within they mostly bear their original forms. This tower measures 46 feet by 34, and the walls are from 9 to 12 feet thick. A wide fire-place in the wall marks the place of the kitchen. In that part in which the brew-house is said to have been situated, there is a deep well, nine feet in diameter. The oven is on the ground floor of a tower next to the outer wall, and near it is the bakehouse, measuring 15 feet in breadth by 9 in depth.
Facing the gate is the hall, which was originally approached by a flight of steps, now no longer in existence. Under the hall is a low room with five deep recesses in the south wall. The hall door is a beautiful pointed arch, in the style of Edward the fourth's reign, and is ornamented with delicate mouldings. The hall measures 60 feet by 80; its height is about 35 feet. On the north side, looking to the country, are three lofty pointed windows, diminishing outwardly to narrow lunettes, with trefoil heads. On the opposite side, next the court, are two windows in the same style, but of larger dimensions, each of them divided by a single mullion. Between these is a chimney, with an obtuse arch, of the time of Elizabeth. It is inserted within a more lofty pointed arch, which, from its similitude to those adjoining was, it is supposed, originally, a third window, answering to the same number opposite, since there were certainly, no fire- places in halls when this building was erected.
Neither roof nor floor now remains,- so completely dilapidated is this once elegant saloon, in which the splendid scene of Comus was first exhibited, where chivalry exhausted her choicest stores, both of wealth, and invention; and where hospitality and magnificence blazed for many ages in succession. Two pointed arches point to a spacious tower at the west end of the hall, in which are several apartments, one of which still bears the name of Prince Arthur's room. The room on the first floor measures 37 feet by 88. At the north-west angle is a deeply recessed closet, but all the floors are either much decayed, or entirely destroyed. At the opposite end of the hall, with a pointed arch door of communication, is another spacious square tower of three stories, of which the principal apartment is said to have been the banqueting room. A chamber above, appears to have been more ornamented than the rest; the chimney piece has an uncommon degree of rude magnificence, and the corbels of the ceiling are finely wrought into busts of men and women, crowned. A door on the south side of the room, on the ground floor, opens into a winding passage, which ends in some small gloomy rooms, and on the left to two angular recesses, terminated in narrow loops, looking outward. Each of these towers has a newel stair case, in an elegant octangular turret.
On the left hand is a circular building, with a window and doorway of the early Norman period. This is part of the chapel, of which the nave only is standing. A beautiful arch still remains, but the choir with which it communicated is destroyed; this, as well as that of the western window, is a rich Saxon arch, covered with chevron lozenge, and reticulated ornaments. The outside of the building is encircled by a band with a billeted ornament, and there are three windows circularly arched, ornamented with chevron mouldings. In the interior, rising from the floor, are fourteen recesses in the wall, formed by small pillars, with indented capitals, supporting round arches, which have alternately plain and zigzag mouldings. About three feet above this arcade are projecting corbels, carved as beads, capitals of pillars, &c. The whole length of the chapel extending to the eastern wall of the Castle, was, when entire, seventy feet, of which the choir was forty two, and the nave twenty eight.
From an inventory of goods found in Ludlow Castles bearing date, 1708, the seventh year of the reign of Queen Anne, we learn that about forty rooms were found entire at that period. Among these were the hall, council chamber, Lord President's and my Lady's withdrawing rooms, the Steward's room, great dining room, chief Justice's room, second Judge's room, Prince Arthur's room, Captain's apartments, &c.; also the kitchen, brew-house, &c., and as in this inventory a table and altar are stated to have been found in the chapel, we may presume the choir was at that time remaining.
The progressive stages of ruin to which this noble edifice was doomed to fall may be distinguished in the accounts of travellers who visited it at various periods. In the account prefixed to Buck's antiquities, published in 1774, it is observed that many of the apartments were entire, and that the sword of state, and the velvet hangings were preserved. An extract from a tour through Great Britain, represents the chapel as having abundance of coats of arms upon the panels, and the hall as decorated with the same kind of ornaments, together with lances, spears, fire-locks, and old armour. Dr. Todd, in his learned edition of Comus, says, 'a gentleman who visited the castle in 1768, has acquainted me, that the floor of the great council chamber was then pretty entire, as was the staircase. The covered steps leading to the chapel were remaining, but the covering of the chapel was fallen; yet the arms of the Lords Presidents were visible. In the great council chamber was inscribed on the wall a sentence from I Samuel, Chapter 12, Verse 3; all which are now wholly gone.'
Soon after the accession of George the first, an order is said to have came down for unroofing the buildings, and stripping them of their lead. Decay of course soon ensued. Many of the panels bearing the arms of the Lord Presidents, were converted into wainscotting for a publick house in the town, a former owner of which enriched himself by the sale of materials clandestinely taken away. There remains also a richly embroidered carpet, hung up in the chancel of St. Lawrence's church, said to be part of the covering of the council board.
The Earl of Powis, who previously held the castle in virtue of a long lease, acquired the reversion in fee, by purchase from the crown, in the year 1811.
The architecture of Ludlow castle may be referred to three distinct periods. The first is that of EARLY NORMAN ARCHITECTURE, from the time of William the conqueror, to that of Henry the first. The Keep of the castle is to be referred to this period, since it possesses the general characteristicks of the buildings erected by the first Norman barons,- towering height, massive strength, embattled turrets, &c. The whole range of buildings on the north side of the court, consisting of two great square towers, connected by a curtain, in which are the hall and the rooms of state, are attributed to the middle of the third period of architecture, from 1250 to 1400. This architecture was a mixture of Saxon and Norman, commonly, but improperly called Gothick. The sharp pointed arches, delicate ribbed mouldings, &c., direct us to this era, which appears also to have been that of the offices and ramparts. Lastly, the modern additions and repairs will be included in the fourth period, from 1400 to 1600. Some chimney pieces and arches, with several windows in the Keep, and a flat arched door, within a square inserted in it, as a new and more airy entrance to the dungeon, may be referred to the fifteenth century. The ornamented remains of a small door to a stair-case in the gatehouse, may be assigned to the time of Prince Arthur's residence, and the gate with its adjoining rooms are of Queen Elizabeth's reign, as are also the stables in the exterior court.
The castle in the approach to it from different parts of Whitecliffe hill has a grand and imposing aspect; it is also seen to advantage from the road to Oakley Park; from various other positions the effect is truly grand, and in some points of view, the towers are richly clustered with the largest in the centre.
The opening towards the north, displays the windings of the Teme, with the mansion of Oakley Park, half hid by trees, and is terminated by a bold outline, formed by the Clee hills, Caer Caradoc, and other hills near Stretton. The more confined view towards the west exhibits a bold eminence, partly clothed with wood, the rocks of Whitecliffe with the rapid stream at their base, and in short a full union of those features in rural scenery which constitute the picturesque. The loveliness of nature is heightened by contrast with the venerable grey towers of the castle, and the effect of the whole is calculated at once to awaken the enthusiasm of fancy, and to diffuse the calm of contemplation.
This castle was founded, according to generally received opinion, by Roger de Montgomery, soon after the conquest. It was held by his descendant, Robert de Belesme, on whose rebellion it was seized by Henry the first. Becoming thus a princely residence, it was guarded by a numerous garrison. In the succeeding reign, the governor Gervas Paganel having betrayed his trust in joining the Empress Matilda, [Rapin] King Stephen besieged and, according to some authors, took it, [Speed, p. 483] though others are of opinion that he abandoned the attempt. In conducting the operations of the siege, the king gave a signal proof of his courage and humanity. The young Prince Henry of Scotland, son of King David, who was actively concerned in this enterprise, having approached too near the walls of the castle, was caught from his horse by means of an iron hook fastened to the end of a rope. Stephen observing the perilous situation of the young prince, boldly advanced, and rescued him at the risk of his own life. [Matthew Paris] Henry the second, about the year 1176, presented the castle, together with the vale below it on the banks of the river, called Corve Dale, to his favourite Fulke Fitzwarine, surnamed De Dinan, to whom succeeded Joceas de Dinan. Between him and Hugh de Mortimer, Lord of Wigmore, terrible dissensions arose. In the predatory warfare which ensued, it happened that Mortimer, wandering about Whitecliffe Heath, was surprised and seized. He was conveyed to Ludlow castle and confined in one of the towers, which to this day bears his name. In the fifth of Richard the first, Gilbert Talbot had lands given him for the custody of Ludlow castle, and eight years afterwards, Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury seized it for the crown. King John presented it to Philip d'Aubigny, from whom it descended to the Lacies or Lessais of Ireland. Walter, the last of the family, dying without issue, bequeathed it to his grand-daughter Maud, the wife of Peter de Geneva or Jeneville, a Poictevin of the house of Lorraine, by whose posterity it descended to the Mortimers, and from them passed by inheritance to the crown. During the troublesome reign of Henry the third, the ambitious Simon Montfort, Earl of Leicester, on his junction with Llewellyn, seized this castle as well as that of Hay.
During the next two centuries scarcely any thing of importance occurs respecting it. In the 13th of Henry the sixth it was, as we have elsewhere mentioned, in the possession of Richard Duke of York, who here drew up an affected declaration of allegiance to the king, pretending that his army of ten thousand men was raised for the security of the publick welfare. The subsequent conduct of Richard belied his professions, for, at the distance of eight years only, from the date of the declaration, he was again engaged in raising forces in the Welsh marches, and exciting the friends whom his recent success over Lord Audley at Bloor-heath, [see p. 110] had gained him, to meet at Ludlow. The king's adherents immediately took up arms to punish this perfidy; and through the influence and exertions of the Dukes of Somerset, Exeter and Buckingham, a force was speedily raised, superior to that of the Duke of York. On the arrival of the royal army at Worcester, the king sent offers of pardon to the rebels, on condition that they would lay down their arms and return to their allegiance. This proposal being contemptuously rejected, [it was called by them a staff, or reede, or glasse- buckler] the royalists advanced, and on the 13th of October, 1459, arrived at Ludford, a village near Ludlow. The Yorkists then lowered their tone, declaring in terms of the most abject submission, that they wished nothing more than the redress of certain grievances introduced into the government by the king's ministers, and that they hoped to be considered as good subjects and restored to favour. This piece of hypocrisy had an effect directly opposite to their design. The royalists concluding that fear had dictated the concession, determined to give battle the next day, and they contrived in the mean time to disperse the king's offers of pardon among the rebels, which worked so strongly that numbers began to desert, and a whole detachment under Sir Andrew Trollope went over to the king's camp in the night. This revolt was immediately followed by the flight of the duke and his two sons, the Earls of March and Rutland, with Warwick, Salisbury, and other chiefs leaving the rest to the mercy of the king, who, ordering a few executions for the sake of warning, granted a general pardon. The ill effects of these proceedings were severely felt; not only the castle but the town of Ludlow was given up to rapine and plunder. The king's troops seised every article of value, and, if we may credit the authority of Hall, the Duchess of York and her two sons, with the Duchess of Buckingham, were for a long time kept close prisoners in the castle. In the course of the war it came into the possession of Edward Duke of York, afterwards Edward the fourth, who then resided at Wigmore. On his accession to the throne he repaired the castle, and made it the court of his son the Prince of Wales. That monarch granted the first charter of incorporation to the town of Ludlow, which had been an ancient corporation by prescription. The charter bears date in the first year of his reign, and recites the grant to have been made in consideration of the services the faithful burgesses of the borough of Ludlow had done in aid of recovering the rights of the crown. On the death of Edward the fourth, [Speed, p. 900] the youthful prince, his son, was here proclaimed king, and shortly afterwards removed to London along with his brother, at the instigation of his uncle Gloucester, who had caused himself to be proclaimed protector, in order that he might the more securely effect the murderous usurpation of the crown.
After the close of that tyrant's short and turbulent reign, when the feuds of the kingdom were healed by the union of Henry the seventh with a princess of the house of York, Ludlow castle again became a royal residence. Arthur, the eldest son of that monarch, held here a court with great splendour and magnificence after his nuptials with Katharine of Arragon, the fourth daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella. On this marriage, which had been negotiated during the course of seven years, Speed's words are ' the Lady Katharine being about eighteen years old, and born of so great, so noble, so victorious and virtuous parents, is with just majesty and solemnity openly married to Arthur Prince of Wales, aged about fifteen years, and eldest sonne to Henry the seventh, King of England, and Elizabeth his wife. The Archbishop of Canterbury, assisted by nineteen bishops and abbots mitred, joined their hands and performed all the other church rites upon that great day. The vulgar annals can tell you the splendour and glory thereof, in apparel, jeweils, pageants, banquets, guests, and other princely complements, the only weighty business of any weaker brains. A grave lady, as some have written, was laid in bed between the bride and bridegroom, to hinder actual consummation in regard of the prince's green estate of body; but others alleadge many arguments to prove that the consummation really took place; however she herself (when that afterwards came in question) appealed to the conscience of King Henry the eighth (her second husband) if he found her not a maid. But prince Arthur enjoyed his marriage a very short while, for in April following he died at Ludlow, being under sixteen years, being a prince in whose youth the lights of all noble virtues did clearly begin to shine.' [Hist. of Great Britain, p. 988] According to the same historian the body of this lamented young prince was buried in Worcester cathedral. There is a tradition that his bowels were deposited in the chancel of Ludlow church, and it is said that his heart, inclosed in a leaden box has been found. This account, generally discredited, seems to derive a degree of probability from the following circumstance: on opening a grave in the chancel of Ludlow church, a number of years ago, a leaden box was discovered, and sold by the grave-digger to a plumber of the town.
This affair coming to the knowledge of the then rector, the box was repurchased, and restored unopened to its former situation.[Hodge's Account of Ludlow Castle.] Such means of preserving the remains of the illustrious dead were in that age not unusual.
The most splendid era of Ludlow castle was the reign of Henry the eighth and that of Elizabeth, during which the lords presidents of the marches held their courts there with much grandeur and solemnity, and a continual concourse of suitors was attracted to the town. One of the most eminent of these lords was Sir Henry Sidney, who appears to have made the castle his favourite residence; and about the year 1554, put it into a state of thorough repair, adding much to its elegance. He introduced many salutary regulations and ordinances in the proceedings of the court, and devoted himself to the exercise of his office with exemplary fidelity and zeal. He died in the twenty eighth year of his presidency, at the bishop's palace in Worcester, A.D. 1586, and was conveyed thence to his house at Penshurst, in Kent. But previously to this his bowels, pursuant to his own request, were buried in the dean's chapel of Worcester cathedral, and his heart was taken to Ludlow, and deposited in the same tomb with his beloved daughter Ambrosia, within the little oratory he had made in the church. A leaden urn, said to be the same which contained his heart, was some years ago in the possession of Edward Coleman, Esq., of Leominster; it was about six inches in diameter at the top. The following inscription, was upon it:-
HER LYTIL THE HARTE OF SIR HENRYE SIDNY L.P. ANNQ DOMINI 1586.
A print of this urn is given in the Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. LXIV. p. 785. Interesting as such a memorial of that great man may be, it is of less consequence to posterity, than the virtuous example which his life afforded, and which was reflected with fresh lustre in the character of his son Sir Philip Sydney. A model of accomplished learning and a mirror of chivalry, that extraordinary person, in the course of his brilliant life, attracted the admiration and esteem of the most eminent warriors, statesmen, and scholars of his time. His end was as heroic as his career was glorious; and he left behind him a name which will be venerated by Englishmen as long as a portion of their national spirit exists.
In 1616, the castle was honoured by a visit from Prince Charles, son of James the first, who there entered on his principality of Wales and earldom of Chester, with great pomp and magnificence. It was next distinguished by the representation of the Masque of Comus, in 1634, during the presidency of John Earl of Bridgwater. That exquisite effusion of the youthful genius of Milton had its origin in a real incident.
When the earl entered on his official residence he was visited by a large assemblage of the neighbouring nobility and gentry. His sons, the Lord Brackley and Mr. Thomas Egerton, and his daughter the Lady Alice, being on their journey
to attend their father's state And new intrusted sceptre,
were benighted in Heywood forest, in Herefordshire, and the lady for a short time was lost. The adventure being related to their father on their arrival at the castle, Milton, at the request of his friend Henry Lawes, who taught musick in the family, wrote the Masque. Lawes set it to musick, and it was acted on Michaelmas night; the two brothers, the young lady, and Lewes himself bearing each a part in the representation.
[The Lady Alice Egerton became afterwards the wife of the Earl of Carbery, who, at his seat called Golden Grove, in Carmarthenshire, afforded an asylum to Dr. Jeremy Taylor in the time of the usurpation. Among the doctor's sermons is one on her death, in which her character is finely pourtrayed. Her sister Lady Mary was given in marriage to Lord Herbert of Cherbury. CHALMERS'S BRITISH PORTS. Vol. VII. p. 274. note.]
This poem, familiar to every English reader, has been allowed by the most competent judges, to be one of the finest compositions of the kind in the English language, and will ever be held in peculiar estimation, as exhibiting the fair dawn of that genis which burst forth in full splendour in the divine poem of Paradise Lost. Its faults, however, called forth the rigorous animadversion of Johnson, who, sparing of his praise and profuse of his censure on all the works of the poet, considered this juvenile effusion without reference to the circumstances under which it was written. For this reason his opinion will lose its weight when compared with the candid and liberal criticism of Warton. We must not, observes that judicious writer, read Comus with an eye to the stage, or with the expectation of dramatick propriety. Under this restriction the absurdity of the spirit speaking to an audience in a solitary forest at midnight, and the want of reciprocation in the dialogue are overlooked. Comus is a suite of speeches, not interesting by discrimination of character, not conveying a variety of incidents, nor gradually exciting curiosity, but perpetually attracting attention by sublime sentiments, by fanciful imagery of the richest vein, by an exuberance of pictaresque description, poetical allusion, and ornamental expression. While it widely departs from the grotesque anomalies of the mask now in fashion, it does not approach nearly to the natural constitution of a regular play. There is a chastity in the application and conduct of the machinery; and Sabrina is introduced with much address after the brothers had imprudently suffered the enchantment to take effect. This is the first instance in which the Old English Mask was in some degree reduced to the principles and form of a rational composition; yet still it could not but retain some of its arbitrary peculiarities. The poet had here properly no more to do with the pathos of tragedy than with the character of comedy, nor can there be found any rule that should confine him to the usual modes of theatrical interlocution.
To this eulogy may be added the praise of having displayed the loveliness of virtue, and exposed the deformity of vice by a lively and consistent allegory, and by a succession of just and moral sentiments enforced with all the enchantment of poetic eloquence. So well sustained is the tone of Milton'a numbers throughout the piece, that to give a specimen of its excellence any passage might be promiscuously taken.
The song, with which the benighted lady concludes her soliloquy, in order to make herself heard by her brothers, who are in search of her, is most happily introduced, and has a wildly pleasing melody well adapted to its subject:-
Sweet echo! Sweetest nymph that liv'd unseen Within thy airy shell, By slow meander's margent green; And in the violet embroidered vale, Where the lovelorn nightingale Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well; Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair, That likest thy Narcissus are? O, if thou have Hid them in some flowery cave, Tell me but where: Sweet queen of party, daughter of the sphere ! So may'st thou be translated to the skies, And give resounding grace to all heav'n's harmonies.
In the conduct of his fable, in the structure of his blank verse, and in certain peculiarities of diction, he closely copies Shakespeare. The following passage is a curious instance of the success with which he studied his model:-
He that has light within his own clear breast, May sit th' centre and enjoy bright day: But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts, Benighted walks under the mid-day sun; Himself is his own dungeon.
The conclusion of the Masque strongly evinces that the author never intended it for general representation, and that on the contrary he had no other view but to answer the particular purpose for which, at the hint of his friend, be undertook it. The scene changes from the magick palace of Comus to a view of the town and castle of Ludlow; and one of the songs is addressed to the earl and his countess, congratulating them on the constancy of their children, in the trials to which their virtues had been exposed.
It is observable that this composition met with a reception much more favourable than the later and more mature works of Milton, being represented by noble actors on a stage and before an auditory equally noble. But whatever honours accrued to the poet on this account, were in the lapse of a few ages to reflect on his patrons from the splendour of his name. The pomp and pageantry, the princely magnificence that attended the court of the marches were soon to disappear, and the stillness of desolation was to succeed the bustle of festivity and merriment. This proud castle, which once held dominion over a whole principality was to be abandoned to decay, to be spoiled of every memorial of its illustrious inhabitants, and to be left an awful monument of the mutability of human affairs. Yet even in this state it might still excite interest; though ruined it might be venerable, though solitary it could never be wholly deserted, and the traveller, who turned aside to view its ruins, would pause, ere he passed on, to do homage to the memory of the divine poet, who had hallowed them with his immortal strains:-
Here Milton sung.- What needs a greater spell To lure thee stranger, to these far-fam'd walls? Though chroniclers of other ages tell That princes oft have graced fair Ludlow's halls. Their honours glide along oblivion's stream, And o'er the wrecks a tide of ruin drives; Faint and more faint the rays of glory beam That gild their course - the bard alone survives; And when the rude unceasing shocks of time, In one vast heap shall whelm this lofty pile, Still shall his genius, towering and sublime, Triumphant o'er the spoils of grandeur smile; Still in these haunts, true to a nation's tongue, Echo shall love to dwell, and say, here MILTON sung.
To return from this digression to the history of the castle, during the civil wars in the reign of Charles the first, it was for some time kept as a garrison for the king. In the summer of 1645, a force of near two thosand horse and foot, drawn together out of the garrisons of Ludlow, Hereford, Worcester, and Monmouth, were by a less number of the parliament forces defeated near Ludlow. [Sir E. Walker's Historical Discourses. fol. p. 129.] The castle was delivered up on the 9th of June in the following year.
At the restoration, during the presidency of the Earl of Carbery, the celebrated Butler, who was made secretary to that nobleman, wrote in one of the towers of this castle, a part of his incomparable Hudibras. It was about this period that he married Miss Herbert, a gentlewoman of good family, and he seems to have enjoyed in his retreat, a life of comfort, though not of affluence, and to have had leisure to revise and correct his work. In 1663, the first part containing three cantos, was published, and in the year following the second part appeared. Its success drew him forth into the publick world, sure of praise, and full of hopes of emolument. His poem was universally admired; the king quoted, the courtiers studied, and the royalists applauded it, but the author was the dupe of promises which were trifled with and forgetten: in the midst of disappointment and neglect he published the third part in an unfinished state, and in 1680 he died in indigence.
The church of Ludlow stands on the highest part of the town, and is a stately and spacious structure in the form of a cross, with a lofty and well adorned tower in the centre, in which is a melodious ring of eight bells. The principal entrance from the town is by a large hexagonal porch. The nave is divided from the aisles by six lofty pointed arches on each side, springing from light clustered pillars, each consisting of four taper shafts, with the intermediate spaces hollowed. Above them is a clere story, with a range of heavy unpleasing windows. The great eastern window is entirely modernised, and its highly ornamented mullions destroyed. The four great arches under the tower are remarkably bold; beneath the eastern arch is the choral rood left, the lower part of which is embellished with open carved work, but upon it has been erected a modern gallery. Above the gallery stands a large and very fine-toned organ, given by Henry Arthur, Earl of Powis, in the year 1764; it cost £1,000. A set of chimes was put up at the expense of the parish, in the year 1795, to play seven tunes for the respective days of the week; viz., the 104th. Psalm; Conquering Hero; Highland Laddie; Innocence; Rule Brittania; Life let us Cherish; and Britons strike home.
The choir is spacious, and is lighted by five lofty, pointed windows on each side, and one of much larger dimensions at the east end, which occupies the whole breadth, and nearly the whole height of this part of the building. This great window is entirely filled with painted glass, though not of rich colouring, representing chiefly the legend of St. Lawrence, the patron saint of the church. In the side windows are also large remains of stained glass, principally figures of saints, of richer colouring than those of the eastern window. The oak stalls are still perfect, but injudiciously daubed over with paint.
On each side of the choir is a chantry chapel, and at the north transept is a square building, called 'fletchers chancel,' on the top of which is an arrow. It is a probable conjecture, that this erection was for the use of a company of arrow- makers, or fletchers, (as they were anciently denominated) who are supposed to have held their meetings here, and to have kept their books and records in the recess, at the north-east corner of the building.
In the windows of the north chancel, (called St. John's chapel) are paintings representing the history of the apostles, and also very splendid remnants of stained glass, pourtraying the story of the ring presented by some pilgrims to Edward the confessor, who, as the Chronicles relate, "was warned of his death certain days before he died, by a ring that was brought him by certain pilgrims, coming from Hierusalem, which ring he had secretly given to a poore man that asked his charity in the name of God, and saint John the Evangelist. These pilgrims, as the legend recites, were men of Ludlow."
The whole of this noble parish church is ceiled with fine oak, and embellished with carving. The extreme length from east to west is 203 feet, of which the nave is 93, the space under the tower 30, and the choir 80. The breadth of the nave and aisles is 82 feet; the transept measures 130 feet; and the breadth of the choir is 22 feet. The tower rises 131 feet, and, forming a prominent object, gives considerable beauty to many prospects from the neighbouring country. It is quadrangular, and the upper part near the battlements was originally formed with highly finished statues of saints, &c. These were deemed by Oliver Cromwell's officers, when they were possessed of this town, superfluous and irreligious, and were accordingly, either much mutilated or entirely destroyed. Numerous similar works in various parts of the church, suffered the same fate.
In the church there are two highly finished effigies of Judge Bridgeman and his lady, but much mutilated. The head of Sir John Bridgeman's Tomb was opened in 1806, (on sinking a grave for the body of Mrs. Turner) when the hair of both Sir John and his lady was found perfectly entire; the coffins mouldered on exposure to the air. There are monumental inscriptions of Ambrosia Sydney, a daughter of Sir Henry Sydney, 1574 ' Sir Robert Towneshend, Knyght, chief Justice of the counsell in the marches of Wales and Chester, and his wife - Edmund Walter, Esquire; and chieffe Justice of three shiers in South Wales, and one of his Majestie's councill in the Marches of Wales, and Mary his wife, 1592. Dame Mary Eyre, wife of Ralphe Lord Eyre, Baron of Malton, Lord President of the Principallities, &c., 1712, and Theophilus Salwey, Esq. who was the eldest son of Edward Salwey, Esq. a younger son of Major Richard Salwey, who, in the last century, sacrificed all and every thing in his power in support of publick liberty, and in opposition to arbitrary power. 1760.'
Sacram Memoriae Dui Johannis Brydgman, Militis, servientis ad legem, et capitalis Justiciarii Cestriae, Qui Maximo omnium Bosorum Maerore (cum 70 annos, vixisset) 5 Feb. anno 1636. Pic Placideque animam Deo reddidit.
Francisca uxor maestissima posuit.
O Quisquis ades Reverere manes Inclytos Edoardi Vavghan, e Trawscoed, Arm. Johannis Vavghan, Equitis Herois, Haeredis ex Traduce; Proin' patris magn' ad instar Per onmigenae literaturae, sive academicae, sive forensis Spatia Huc eccerrime vel a puero contendit; Vt Principi et patriae Egregie inserviret; Quod feliciter assecutus est, Utrique gratus et amabilis, Et spectatissimus civis in ipsa temporum Vertigine; Ut scias hic condi quem antiqui dixere Virum cubicum Et divinum. Talis tantusq; flentibus etiam inimicis, Commorientibus paene amicis, Ipso solo Iaeto et lubente, Receptus est In Beatorum patriam Anno Dni MDCLXXXIV Conjugi, parentiq; desideratissime Vidua sum liberis Perpetim Iugens Hoc mortale momentum P. Ipso sibi immortale epitaphium.
The time of the building of this church is not recorded, but from an attentive survey of its architecture, it is supposed to have been erected early in the sixteenth century. Though it was never, strictly speaking, collegiate, it possessed a chantry of ten priests, supported by the Palmers, [he pilgrims who brought the ring to Edward the Confessor. See page 258.] which gave to its choral service, the splendour of a cathedral. It is a rectory, and its present value is said to be £200 per ausum. There are a reader and a lecturer, whose salaries are paid partly by the corporation, and partly by the parish. It is in the bishoprick of Hereford, and Ludlow is the capital of this division of the diocese.
The visitations, or ecclesiastical courts, are held twice a year, generally in May and October, for proving wills, granting letters of administration, &c. The Proctors reside at Hereford. Four apparitors officiate, who reside at Ludlow.
Adjoining the church is a handsome structure, containing thirty three very comfortable apartments. It was founded by Mr. John Hosyer, a merchant, in the year 1486, but was rebuilt in 1758, at the expense of the corporation.
It is intended for the accommodation of poor people, to each of whom is allowed 4d., but nothing further is discoverable respecting its origin, or its founder. Over the door, and under the arms of the town, is the following inscription:-
Domum hanc Eleemosynariam Munificentia Johannis Hosyer, mercatoris, Anno salutis MCCCCLXXXVI primits extructam, Temporis injuria labefactam din et ruituram, In Dei optimi Maximi gloriam, pii funditoris Memoriam, et commodiotem Pauperum receptionem; ab ipsis usque Fundamentis propriis sumptibus, Resuscitarunt, Ampliarunt, Ornarunt, Ballivi, Burgenses, et communitas Villae hujus de Ludlow, Anno Demiai MDCCLVIII, Augustissimi Regis, Georgii secundi Tricesimo primo.
The allowance to the poor by this charity has been advanced by the corporation to two shillings and sixpence weekly. Besides Hosyer's, there are the following charities,-
Walter's. Left by James Walter, Esq., £10 annually to the poor, and £10 to the parson and preacher.
Tomlyne's. £33 6s. 8d. annually to the poor.
Candlaud's. Left by Thomas Candland, £1 annually to the poor.
Archer's. Ditto Ditto.
Susan Gay's. £6 annually to the inmates of Hosyer's, and the Corve street alms-houses.
Morgan Lloyd's. 13s. 4d. annually among the inmates of Hosyer's foundation.
May Beetenson's. £2 13s. 4d. half-yearly to be divided among the thirty three alms people.
Ann Smith's. £2 10s. 8d. annually to the poor.
Susannah Smith's. The interest of £100 in the navy, 5 per cents given half yearly to the poor.
Lane's Charity. Left by Thomas Lane,- the rent of land amounting to £23 10s. 0d, per annum, distributed to the poor in twelve nine-penny loaves, to twelve poor widows.
Phillips, Charity. Left by Evan Phillips,- the sum of £34, laid out in land, which produces £13 a year, distributed among decayed old men and women.
Alderman Darien's. Left by Alderman Richard Davies, amounting to £ 6 annually, to eight poor widows.
Mrs. Sandford's. Left by Mrs. Eleanor Sandford, the interest of £25, to the poor of Castle street ward.
Long's. The interest of £20 annually; to twenty selected poor persons of the parish of St. Lawrence.
Mrs. Robinson's. Called in the charity book, the bishop of Londen's Lady; the interest of £100 in equal portions, to the charity school, and twenty poor-house keepers.
Meyricke's and Sir} £140 to be lent to poor tradeimen, and
Timothy Turner's.} £40 a year to the charity schools.
Gwilliams's Charity. Left by Richard Gwilliams, £3 annually to the parish of Ludlow; the Vicar of King's chapel, and the vicar of Leominster, £1 of which to be by each of them distributed yearly to poor impotent persons in those places.
Dr. Sonnibank's. Left by Charles Sonnibank, D.D., £13 13s. 8d. per annum, to be given quarterly to ten poor widows of Ludlow, by the rector, who is allowed 6s. 8d. for his trouble in the distribution.
Horne's Benefaction. Left by Robert Horne, £10 per annum to the rector of Ludlow, for the time being.
Mrs. Higginson's Charity. Left by Mrs. Jane Higginson of Doddingtoh, in the parish of Whitchurch, £5 per annum, to five decayed tradesmen's Widows who are to keep clean the chancel of the church; and £5 per annum, to the Rector of Ludlow.
Morgan's Charity. The Rev. Richard Morgan, rector of Clungunford, left to the rector, Lecturer and Reader of Ludlow, for the time being, £140 in trust, to pay for the schooling of poor children.
Hollingsworth's Charity. Left by Thomas Hollingsworth and Richard Nash; the interest of £150 which is distributed in bread to the poor.
There were formerly other charities, which are now lost. Some of the most important of these were from the Palmer's Guild, or Club, of which ancient fraternity little is known.
There was anciently a college of white friars situated out of Corve gate. It was demolished at the dissolution, in the time of Henry the eighth;- an alms house has however survived the chapel, and, according to the will of its founder, is contributory to the maintenance of four poor and impotent persons, two from the parish of Bromfield, and two from Ludlow.
Near the bottom of Corve street is a chapel belonging to the independents. The original institution of this society seems to have been between the years 1731 and 1738; and its advancement from a private meeting of about 20 persons, to a number capable of supporting an officiating minister, was, it appears, owing in a great degree, to the injustice of persecution.
On Sunday, March 21, in the year 1781, somewhat more than twenty persons met together in the house of Mrs. Jones, in High street, Ludlow, for the purpose of religious worship, which had scarcely commenced, when a mob collected, who furiously attacked the house, and threw stones through the windows, to the great terror and danger of the persons within; on which Mrs. Jones, Peter Griffin, and James Wynde, went to the High Bailiff, Mr. Henry Davies, to request his assistance. But he, instead of helping, charged them with the riot, threatening to prosecute them with the utmost rigour of the law, notwithstanding Mrs. Jones and her friends produced a license for religious worship in her house, signed by fourteen justices of the peace. The mob hearing how matters stood, returned to the charge, and broke every window in the house. Mrs. Jones and her friends were now ordered before the bailiffs, and a justice of the peace, who told them they stood fined in £20, and bound to appear at the next Quarter Sessions. In the mean time, after urgent and repeated solicitations, the riot act was read, and the mob dispersed. A narrative of this case having been presented to the London Committee of Dissenting Ministers, the celebrated Dr. Samuel Chandler, who was one of that body at the time, advocated the Cause of the sufferers, and by a legal process compelled the Ludlow magistrates to make ample compensation. In the preface to a narrative of this transaction, published by Mrs. Mary Marlowe, it is stated that ' it is well known that the gentlemen who by their offices and stations should have suppressed the mob, were subpoenaed to London, and there fined, reprimanded, and brought to beg pardon on their knees. Yet the good people generosly forgave the fine, and required no more than to have the damages repaired, and the charges defrayed, as they only desired peace and quietness.'
Corve river which gives denomination to Corve street, passes under a handsome stone bridge, at the bottom of it. This bridge was built by the corporation in 1787, and the foundation is said to have been made with stones from the chapel of St. Leonard,
A little above Corve gate is an antique building, known by the name of the Feathers Inn, which has formerly been an elegant mansion. In the mantle-piece of one of the front rooms, well preserved specimens of carved work remain, from which the traditionary account of its having helonged to one of the jstices of the court of the marches, is sufficiently confirmed; and the initials I.R. over the royal arms, point out the time of James the first.
From the top of Corve street, three other streets branch out in opposite directions, forming there an area or square of considerable dimensions. This was formerly an open place, but is now encumbered with buildings. From its having been the theatre of the barbarous amsement of bull baiting, it is, still known by the name of the Bull- ring.
Eastward from the Bull-ring is Goalford tower, the common prison of the town, which has of late been much improved. On the front is the following inscription:-
' This building was erected at the charge of the corporation, in MDCCLXIV, in the fourth year of King George the third; for the common prison of this town; is the place of Goalford's tower, an ancient prison and gate, by length of time, having become ruinous.'
From the road which strikes off in as eastern direction from, Goalford gate, at the place where the range of buildings called Lower Goalford terminates, there passes a narrow lane, called Friar's lane, which joins the bottom of Old street, at the place where Old gate formerly stood, and where there are yet to be seen some remains of the gate-way. This street comes in a direct line southward from the Bull-ring; and the lane below it, paying a chief rent to the manor of Holdgate, is called Holdgate fee. Behind Old street there is a suite of gardens, occupying a triangular piece of ground, bounded on one side by lower Goalford, and on the other by Friars' lane. On this inclosure was situated the religious establishment for Augustine Friars, or Friars Eremites. The founder of this Friary is not known. Edmund de Pontibus, that is Bridgeman, was a benefactor. The first religious house of this order established in England, was Wodd House, near Cleobury.
Passing along the road which leaves the town at the bottom of Holdgate fee, we come to a small mound of earth and stones; which marks the boundary of the township. The name of the Weeping Cross' still retained by this landmark, serves to preserve the traditionary record of a Cross, and indicates the probability that not far distant from it, there may in ancient times, have been a monkish cell or anchoretage. It is generally believed that the Maen Achwynfan, or stone of lamentation, was peculiar to the ancient Britons, and erected by them, sometime previously to the mission of St. Augstine. Erections of this denomination consisted of one solid stone; upwards of twelve feet high, with a rounded head, on which was the figure of a cross, ornamented with singular sculptures. Beside the sacred pillars the weeping penitent was conducted to confess his sins to the officiating priest.
Adjoining to Old gate is the workhouse, with a small prison or cell attached to it, called the House of Correction, for securing Vagrants, and other delinquents. The original institution of this parochial establishment was by an individual of the name of Thomas Lane, of Ludlow, who had, in early life, been a domestick servant in the Charlton family, and who by will, dated 20th. November, 1674, bequeathed the greater part of his estate to Sir Job Charlton, and two others, to be by them disposed of as he should appoint, or, in default of such appointment, to such charitable use as they judged best.
From the will of Sir Job Charlton, the last survivor of these trustees, dated December 6th., 1691, it appears that the money derived from this bequest had been employed in repairing and furnishing an old house, which had been granted to the trustees of Ludlow, and in purchasing certain lands in Middleton, called the Measles, of the annual value of about £30, and, by his said will, Sir Job Charlton. desires his son Francis to take care that the charitable fund of his grateful servant Thomas Lane, be employed to maintain a work-house, and a house of correction, (which it appears he had already established in the old house above-mentioned,) for the benefit of the poor of Ludlow, and the neighbouring villages; and he directs that the rents and profits of the lands at Middleton, and whatever else should arise from the property bequeathed, should go for the maintenance of the master of the said work-house, and for keeping it in repair; and that his right heirs, or in default thereof, the rector of Ludlow, and the vicar of Ludford, and the chief magistrate of Ludlow, should nominate one of the chamber, or at least one of the inhabitants of Ludlow, to be the master of the said work-house. Under the residuary clause of Thomas Lane's will, a reversion passed to the use of this charity, of certain premises granted to his widow, during her life. These consisted of a house in Broad street, now let to Mr. W. Smith, joiner, for £20 a year; and also a garden near Brand Lane, a meadow between Mill street mills, and Ludford bridge, and a meadow in the township of Halton. These last-mentioned premises, together with the lands in Middleton, were exchanged with Sir Charles William Rous Boughton, Bart., for some meadow and pasture lands called East Fields and Partners, in the parish of Staunton Lacy, let for £56 a year in 1790; these lands are let from year to year, to Benjamin Flounders, Esq., a a rent of £100. There was in 1820, in the bands of E. L. Charlton, Esq., of Ludford, (the present trustee of the charity, as heir of Sir Job Charlton,) the sum of £16 8s. 3d, the amount of a balance due in 1816 arising from the savings of income. This sum was destined by Mr. Charlton to the erection of a new house of correction, the present one, a singla small apartment at the back of the work-house, being totally unfit for the purpose; but the design has been for the present suspended, in consequence of a proposal new in agitation, for building a house of correction, in the jail yard, at the joint charges of the corporation and the charity.
The income of this charity, now amounting to £120 a year, was, in 1818, applied as follows:-
£. s. d.
Governor's Salary 20 0 0
Repairs 24 8 8
Raw materials and charges
for weaving and dyeing 45 5 6
Taxes 7 16 0
97 10 2
leaving a surplus of income (which in 1818 was £114, the rent of the house in Broad street being only £14,) of £16 9s. 10d; and in 1816, there remained in the hands of the Receiver, a surplus of £14 9s. Od. exclusive of the sum of £216 18s. 3d, paid in that year to Mr. Charlton.
The Governor is appointed by Mr. Charlton, and receives from the parish an additional salary of £20.
From the Workhouse, the narrow lane called Frog Lane conducts us to the bottom of Broad Street. The foundations of the Town Wall may be traced here, and the Fosse has been converted into Garden ground.
The arched passage of Broad Gate remains entire; from which, lower Broad street conducts us to Ludford Bridge, near which, to the left, is a field called St. John's close, indicating the place where St. John's college formerly stood. In the catalogue of suppressed religious houses, neither the time of the foundation of this college, nor the founder's name, is to he found; but it is stated in the Monasticon, that "St. John Baptist's Hospital, founded by Peter Undergot, near the river of Temede water, for a master and religious brothers, was endowed by him with several lands, that the brothers, after his death, were authorised to choose their own masters for ever without any obstruction; and that the said masters and brothers may admit such as they should think fit into their brotherhood, and receive the poor and infirm, and do all such other things as should become religious men."
Perfectly consistent with this account is that of Leland, if we consider Jordan of Ludford to have been the descendant or heir of Undergot;- He says "there was formerly on the north side of the bridge, a church of St. John, standing without Broad gate, which had a college, with a Dean and Fellows, of the foundation of Jordan de Ludford." The historical account of Walter Lacie, and Gilbert his son, as benefactors, and of Peter Undergot, as patron or founder of this college, mark out distinct periods of antiquity, approaching to, and almost coeval with, the conquest; and as long as the name shall remain which the site of this religious foundation has given to the inclosure on which it stood, the traditionary record of its former existence will not be forgotten.
The well built stone Bridge is supposed to have been erected by the corporation, but at what time is not known: the river here parts the two counties of Salop and Hereford.
Near the top of lower Broad street, is a chapel or meeting house, belonging to the Wesleyan Methodists, built in the year 1800. Service was first performed there, the 18th. of August, in the same year.
The stranger who enters Ludlow through Broad gate, will see the town in an advantageous point of view; the gate itself is an interesting object, and upper Broad street is spacious and well built.
From Broad gate, (the gate-way to which is the only one now remaining entire,) Barnaby lane passes into the bottom of Mill street. Barnaby lane receives its name from an ancient religious foundation called Barnaby house, famous in the age of pilgrimages, as the temporary resting place of the numerous devotees passing through Ludlow, on their way to the holy well of St. Wenefrede, in North Wales. Adjoining this building, there formerly stood a chapel dedicated to St. Mary of the Vale, on the site of which a silk factory was sometime since erected, which is now converted into a wool warehouse. This vicinity has received the name of Merry Vale, derived from the familiar epithet of Mary Vale, applied to the chapel.
The gate-way of Mill gate is at the end of Barnaby lane, and Mill street, like Broad street, rises in a northern direction, up a considerably elevated ascent, many of the buildings on each side of which, are suited to the liberal dimensions, and elegant appearance of this street. A little above Mill gate, to the right, is the free grammar school, the original foundation of which, is not known.
The school premises comprise two houses, in which the two masters reside; and the school room and bed rooms over it. Some years ago the enlargement and repairs cost near £700; and the head master's house is now sufficiently large to accommodate forty boarders. The masters live free of rent and parochial rates, but pay the king's taxes. They are allowed to take boarders without restriction.
All children who apply to the head master, who are able to read decently, and reside in the town, are immediately admitted. The scholars are taught Latin and Greek, if they wish it, and read English, gratis. For reading and arithmetick, the boys in the lower school pay three guineas per annum, and in the upper, two guineas. The under master teaches writing and arithmetick, and receives the whole emolument. Four boys of this school receive a benefaction of £2 13s. 4d. each, by the year, under the will of Dr. Langford; these four boys are to be nominated by the Bailiffs, ' out of such poor and towardlie for learning as are born in the town of Ludlow,' to be nine years of age, and to continue until sixteen, and no longer. These boys wear black gowns on Sundays, when they go to church, and are called Langfordian boys.
The school is also entitled to two exhibitions to Baliol college, Oxford, upon the endowment of the Rev. Richard Greaves, in the year 1604, the trusts of which are vested in the college. The annual expenditure of this school, is as follows.
£. s. d.
Salary of the head Master, 80 0 0
Ditto of the under Master, 60 0 0
Average of Repairs, 15 0 0
Poor and Parish Rates, 10 0 0
165 0 0
Opposite the school is an old building formerly a distillery, now converted into a Theatre, which is occasionally occupied by the Worcester company of actors, especially during the Races. Toward the top of this street is the Guildhall,- an elegant modern building erected at the expense of the corporation, in the year 1768, on the site of the old building of that name, originally belonging to the Palmer's' Guild.
The suburbs below Mill Gate receive the name of Lower Mill Street, from which place distinct traces of the town wall are to be seen, almost to the new Bridge. This is a plain, wooden bridge, on stone piers, over the Teme, nearly opposite the castle.
The lane leading from the bottom of Mill street to Dinham, bears the name of Camp lane, from the frequent encampments of soldiers on the ground extending from it to the river. In 1786 Dinham gateway remained entire, and many persons now living remember the Chapel, approached by a flight of steps to the right, on entering the town. We might have been induced to believe this the chapel built by Roger Mortimer, in the year 1329, had it not been distinctly recorded to have stood within the outer court of the castle, and, as is generally believed, contiguous to the courthouse. Immediately under the south wall of the castle, is a handsome brick built mansion, the occasional residence of the Clive family. This building receives the name of Dinham house, and the neighbourhood that of Dinham from the original name of Dinan, iudicating the existence of a Palace or princely residence, which doubtless stood here, when the Britons occupied Ludlow, previously to the time when the kingdom of Mercia began to extend itself beyond its ancient boundary, the Severn.
Dicas and Dinas, are words frequently occurring in the accounts of British antiquities, and are sometimes found applied to pieces of apparent insignificance, yet a careful investigation will generally discover that places so denominated, have been formerly occupied by some Chief, or Prince, of the country.
Towards the close of the late war, Lucien Buonaparte, being detained a prisoner in England, was conducted to Ludlow, and Dinham house was selected for his residence.
Out of Dinham we pass into Castle street, in which is a plain brick building, called the Market house, containing large and convenient rooms, used for meetings of the Corporation, Balls, Subscription Assemblies, &c. Beneath is an open space for the corn market. Attached to this building are two reservoirs, to one of which, water is raised from the river by machinery, at the bottom of lower Mill street; the other receives spring water from a place called the fountain, under Whitecliff coppice.
Raven lane passes from the Market house into the Cross lane, called Bell lane, which connects Mill street and Broad street; in a line with which, is Broad lane, passing from Broad street into Old street. Near the end of this lane is the house appropriated to the use of the girls belonging to the National school, which was opened on the 11th. of February, 1814. The school room is lofty and spacious, measuring in length upwards of 28 feet, and 15 in breadth; the number of scholars is about 80. The school room for the boys belonging to this institution is over the Market cross, at the top of Broad street, and is that formerly occupied by the Blue Coat school, with which it is incorporated. The room measures in length 52 feet 6 inches; in breadth 28 feet 8 inches, and in height 11 feet. The number of scholars taught, is about 200. The National school was first established on the 3rd. of February, 1818. It is supported by voluntary subscriptions, by annual collections made in the church, and by various legacies, together with the income arising from the funds of the Blue Coat school.
The annual income of this establishment will vary according to circumstances, but perhaps the differenee not be very material; the followhg it an abstract of the account for the year 1821:-
£ s. d.
Receipts, 253 12 11
Payments, 267 7 11
leaving a balance in favour of the charity of £46 5s. 0d.
The Market Cross is a modern erection, chiefy occupied by market women, who expose for sale, butter and other productions of the farm; on which account it is sometimes called the Butter Cross. In the cupola of this elegant building is a bell, formerly belonging to the chapel of St. Leonard, on which is the following inscription,- All prayse and glory to God for evermore. 1684.
Eastward from the top of Broad street, is King street, leading to the Bull-ring; and the opposite street which conducts is to the Market house is called High street.
Here the circuit of the town ends; in the course of which every thing remarkable has been noticed, that can be supposed to interest the passing traveller, or the more attentive observer of the relicks of former ages. Except the castle and the friary of St. Mary, the more ancient buildings cannot be distinctly traced back to their origin; though it is sufficiently evident that some of them were of great antiquity.
The town of Ludlow had previously to its first charter given by the fourth Edward, been governed as at present, by the twelve and twenty five, through a period defectlve in historical records, and extending far beyond human recollection. Hence an enquiry into the origin of its former and present civil institutions would be altogether fruitless. The phrase Free Burgh, is understood to be synonimous with the Roman appellation of Municipal, or free city; both of them denoting, in reference to the place to which they were applied, an exemption from the immediate jurisdiction of any foreign power. The system sanctioned by Edward the fourth for the government of Ludlow, was nearly the same as it had previously enjoyed: the citizens were too much attached to their ancient constitution to desire any alteration, and the monarch's gratitude for the important services he had received in his greatest difficulties would not allow him to oppose their wishes. This character was renewed, and in some particulars altered, during the succeeding reigns, from Edward the fourth to Charles the second, but in the time of William and Mary, in the year 1690, its original form was restored, in conformity to the wishes of the principal inhabitants, who petitioned parliament for that purpose.
Ludlow is governed by a Recorder, two Bailiffs, two Justices, twelve Aldermen, twenty five Common Council Men, a Town Clerk, a chief Constable, a Coroner, and several other inferior officers.
In the process of forming this civil establishment, thirty seven individuals are first selected from among the burgesses of the town. Out of these twelve are chosen as Aldermen, or principal Burgesses, and one of this number is selected High Bailiff. The remaining twenty five are the Common Council, from which the low Bailiff is chosen.
The privilege of Burgesship is inherited by the sons of Burgesses, and those who marry their daughters are entitled also to be admitted into this body; for which purpose they are required to petition, according to the prescribed form given in the bye law, made in the year 1663.
The annual election of the bailiffs is on the 13th of October, and they enter upon their office on the 28th. of the same month, on which occasion, a publick dinner is provided, which is always numerously attended by the principal inhabitants of the towns and by the neighbouring nobility and gentry. A ball is afterwards given, and the whole of these entertainments is on a liberal scale, splendid and extensive, far above any thing of the kind in this part of the country.
The Quarter Sessions are held here, before the Recorder, the high Bailiff, and the Justices of the town. This court has, in former times, passed sentence of death, but the Recorders of late years not being Barristers, all persons liable to be tried for capital offences are removed by Habeas Corpus to the county jail.
A court of Record is held every Tuesday, the Recorder and Bailiffs presiding as Judges.
Ludlow was authorized to send two representatives to Parliament, by King Edward the fourth, in the year 1461, the first of his reign; which privilege it appears ever since to have enjoyed. The right of electing is understood to be in all the resident Burgesses; and the Bailiffs are the returning officers.
Among the customs peculiar to this town, that of the Rope Pulling is not the least extraordinary. On Shrove Tuesday the Corporation provide a rope three inches in thickness, and in length thirty six yards; which is given out at one of the windows of the Market-house, as the clock strikes four; when a large body of the inhabitants, divided into two parties; one contending for Castle street and Broad street wards, and the other for Old street and Corve street wards, commence an arduous struggle; and as soon as either party gains the victory, by pulling the rope beyond the prescribed limits; the pulling ceases; which is however renewed by a second and sometimes, by a third contest; the rope being purchased by subscription from the victorious party, and given out again. Without doubt this singular custom is symbolical of some remarkable event, and a remnant of that ancient language of visible signs, which, says a celebrated writer, ' imperfectly supplies the want of letters, to perpetuate the remembrance of publick, or private transactions.' The sign in this instance, has survived the remembrance of the occurrence it was designed to represent, and remains a profound mystery. It has been insinuated that the real occasion of this custom is known to the Corporation, but that for some reason or other, they are tenacious of the secret. As obscure tradition attributes this custom to circumstances arising out of the siege of Ludlow, by Henry the sixth; when two parties arose within the town, one supporting the pretensions of the Duke of York, and the other wishing to give admittance to the King: (See Drayton) one of the Bailiffs is said to have headed the latter party. History relates, that in this contest many lives were lost, and that the Bailiff, heading his Party in an attempt to open Dinham gate, fell a victim there. If this custom were intended to represent the scene of civil strife referred to, we will leave our readers to judge, whether or not it be an apt emblem of it.
In common with other ancient places, Ludlow still preserves the custom of walking over the limits once a year. This procession is on the Wednesday before Holy Thursday; on which day the boys of the different schools, attended by one of the clergy, proceed from the church to a place near Corve Bridge, where a cross formerly stood. Here the Epistle of the preceding Sunday is read. From hence, passing to the Weeping Cross the boys again kneel down, and the Gospel for the same day is read by the Clergyman, after which the ceremony is completed at the Guild hall.
A publick dispensary was established in the year 1780, which by the benevolent exertions of the presiding Physician, and the assistance of very liberal subscription, proves extensively useful in administering relief to the diseased poor. There is also a society for the relief of lying-in women, who are in indigent circumstances. The persons relieved are poor men's wives, of reputable character, to whom shirts, napkins, bedgowns, caps, and various other necessary articles are supplied, during the time of their confinement; to be returned on their recovery. In some came, pecuniary relief is also given. A committee of twelve ladies conducts the business of this society. Each subscriber is allowed to recommend one woman, for the annual sabsctiption of 10s. 6d. This very excellent charity is well supported.
Three companies yet remain of the incorporated tradesmen. First, that of the Stitchmen, consisting of glovers, tailors, breeches makers, stay makers, &c. Second, the Hammer men, blacksmiths, braziers, masons, &c. The Third, Leather men, tanners, curriers, shoemakers, &c. These have annual feasts, which they call ' Halls' from their having been formerly held in the town Guild.
Ludlow cannot boast of any particular manufactory on a large scale; the greater part of the town being inhabited by genteel families, attracted probably by the healthy and pleasant situation of the place. Its chief trade is in gloves, in the manufacture of which, a great number of persons of both sexes are employed, Besides this, there is a considerable business done in paper making, tanning, the timber trade, and cabinet making.
The town is built on a foundation partly rock, and partly a hard gravel; and the water, which on digging rises through the strata, is superior to that which is supplied by pumps in the generality of the town. Upon evaporation this water leaves a small portion of a whitish salt on the sides and bottom of the vessel, which deliquidates on exposure to the air, and is conceived to be muriate of lime, a substance frequently formed in wells contiguous to buildings.
The town being excellently supplied with water, there is little occasion to seek for springs in the neighbourhood, though there are several worth attention, particularly one, in a field beyond Linney, called the Boiling Well, another called Sugar Well, near the Paper Mills, and the far-famed well of St. Julian, in Ludford.
The river Teme, after being joined by the Corve, at a short distance north of Ludlow, embraces its southern and western sides. In this river are found Pike, Trout, Greyling, Perch, Eels, and various other kinds of fish; the Corve supplies Trout, Greyling, Chubb, &c.
The Corve in its course by the bottom of Corve street and Linney, turns a wheel to grind bark for the tanners, and puts in motion machinery for manufacturing cordage, sacking, &c. and on the Teme are several Corn Mills, a Paper Mill, and at the foot of Ludford Bridge, a small Factory, belonging to an industrious thriving individual who manufactures Woollen Cloth; Flannels, Yarn, Blankets, &c.
Thomas Johnes Esq. was born at Ludlow, in the year 1748. He received his early education at Shrewsbury school, and at Eton, and from the latter place removed to Jesus College, Oxford, where, in 1783, he took his degree of master of arts. Previously to this he made the tour of Europe, and had been elected into parliament for the borough of Cardigan. He was also appointed auditor for the principality of Wales, and colonel of the Carmarthenshire militia. In 1795, he was returned knight of the shire, for the county of Radnor. It is impossible to speak too highly of this much respected and learned man, this local patriot, and friend of literature. His death caused a vacancy in society which cannot soon be filled. His extensive improvements at Hafod, afford abundant proof of the benevolence and taste of its late inhabitant, Before the year 1783, when Mr. Johnes began to erect his first residence, the roads were impassable, and there was not a post chaise in the county. He transformed the miserable huts of the peasantry into comfortable habitations, and supplied medical attendants. He employed the population in planting millions of forest trees, upon the cheerless barrenness of the wastes and mountains, and instituted schools, which he and Mrs. Johnes personally attended.
Having in view the twofold design- to patronize literature and the arts, and to combine objects which, together with the natural grandeur of the scenery, might induce travelling to this remote part of the principality, and thus increase the wealth, and ameliorate the condition of the natives, he enriched his residence with paintings and sculptures by the best masters,- stored his library with the most valuable literature, ancient and modern; and in his pleasure grounds developed and gave increased effects to the sublime scenery of nature. So intent was Mr. Johnes on improving the agriculture of this forlorn country, that he brought farmers from Scotland, and other districts, and proposed at one time, to introduce 100 Grison families, and place them on the uncultivated grounds; but various circumstances and objections prevented the latter plan. An agricultural society was commenced for the purpose of encouraging cottagers, by giving premiums, and purchasing their productions; and he wrote and distributed an excellent tract, entitled "A Cardiganshire Landlord's advice to his tenants." While Mr. Johnes was thus employing his talents and his fortune for the benefit of his country, a destructive fire in 1807, consumed his house, with much of its valuable contents; the loss amounting to £70,000. Notwithstanding this disaster, Mr. Johnes resolved to re-inhabit his Eden, and Hafod was rebuilt and adorned anew. Amidst these various occupations, and his business in Parliament, Mr. Johnes indulged his passion for elegant literature, by translating and publishing superb editions of the travels of Brocquire, 1 vol., 4to. The Chronicles of Froissart, 4 vols., folio; Monstrellet, 4 vols., and Joinville, 2 vols., 4to. The three latter were printed at his own press at Hafod. During the last few years of his life, he continued indefatigable in his improvements at Hafod, and in making roads and erecting bridges, for the accommodation of the publick. He also succeeded in establishing a fund for the relief of families who might suffer by casualties. In the winter of 1814, Mr. Johnes had an alarming illness, from which however he appeared to have recovered; and he purchased a residence in Devonshire, 'for a cradle,' as he expressed it, ' for his age.' Here it was that the hand of death arrested him, after a short illness. His remains were removed to the church which he had built at Hafod, and were deposited in the same vault with those of his daughter, for whom a marble monument of interesting design and exquisite workmanship, was executed in London. They who have beheld the romantick situation of Hafod church, embosomed in plantations, upon the elevated point of a hill, may imagine how such a scene would accord with the melancholy procession, followed through the entangling path ways, by the numerous peasantry, who here bade their last farewell to the master spirit of Hafod. [See a description of this enchanting spot, in the " Cambrian Traveller's Guide."]
The late Richard Payne Knight, Esq. was, for many years, a member of parliament for the borough of Ludlow. He was long distinguished in the literary circles of Europe, having the reputation of being one of the most eminent Greek scholars of his day, and being deeply conversant in all matters of literary antiquity. In 1786, he published a work entitled " An account of the Remains of the Worship of Priapus, lately existing at Ionia, in the Kingdom of Naples, to which is added a discourse on the worship of Priapus, and its connection with the Mystick Theology of the ancients, 4to." This work excited great attention at the time of its appearance, but from the nature of the subject, was not likely to come into general circulation. Mr. Knight was known to be eminently skilled in matters of Vertue; and his fine collection of bronzes, pictures, and various other valuable articles, abundantly demonstrates his taste and knowledge in those subjects. He was also a poet, and his works display great ease, learning, and taste. He is supposed to have been for some years a voluntary contributor to the Edinburgh Review; for his fortune placed him above all pecuniary recompence. He was reserved, and by no means conciliating in his manner, but not repulsive. He was ready to give information on all subjects of learning that were submitted to his judgment, and his observations were always marked by courtesy and intelligence. He was hospitable in his disposition, and desirous of cultivating literary connections, and the acquaintance of persons distinguished for knowledge and talents in the Fine Arts. He was formerly very intimate with the late Mr. Kemble; and and some literary communications which took place between him, and that gentleman, respecting the state of Dramatick Performances, and the estimation in which Actors were held, in ancient Greece, some of whom acted as Ambassadors, and even as Legislators, would be well worthy of publick attention, not only at the present period of theatrical taste, but as meriting a place in the records of general literature.
Mr. Landseer, in his Sabean Researches, pays the following compliment to Mr. Knight: ' The known value of your opinion on subjects connected with ancient art and mythology, combined with your candour, and your caution in admitting novel and ill-principled interpretrations have induced me to address the present essay to you. Your knowledge of ancient languages too (not to mention your astronomical science) by seeing where I sink, may, as I flatter myself, come in aid of that mutual conviction, and that publick information which are my eventual purposes.'
Mr. Knight bequeathed his matchless collection of medals, drawings, and bronzes, worth at least £30,000 to the British Museum. They include a single volume of drawings, by the inimitable Claude, which was purchased for £1,600 from a private individual, who a short time previously had given £3 for the same volume
The first part of this collection contains principally compositions, and memoranda of pictures, which he had painted, draws on paper mostly in brown, with an occasional mixture of grey, and heightened with white, but all by Claude himself. Many of these are masterly, and others are valuable even though it be from the associations inseparable from the certain knowledge that we touch the very paper that had delighted his intelligent mind, under his living hand.
Many of these have been engraved, and are familiar to the collector. In the same volume, which is a large folio, the drawings lately purchased are inserted, and have been cut out of the book in which they were brought over and carefully laid on coloured paper, and arranged by Mr. Payne Knight. Very few of the original drawings which are engraved is the "Libor Veritatis," and of several of the same character in various private collections, can be compared with these, or are capable of elating the same interest; for here we behold the studies of the painter as he wrought from nature, with that pictorial identity and severe truth which can be inspired only upon the spot.
In 1805, Mr. Knight published "An Analytical Inquiry into the principles of taste,"- a work which establishes his character, both as a man of taste, a classical scholar, and a philosopher. As a specimen of this work we select the following extract from the second chapter of the second part, p. 223.
' Rules and Systems have exactly the same influence upon taste and manners, as dogmas have upon morals. If a person is polite by rule, how just soever his rules may be, or with whatever strictness and exactitude he may observe them, his behaviour wlll be constrained and formal; and void of all that graceful ease, and ready adoption to every varying shade of circumstance and situation which constitute what is called good breeding, and which can only proceed from a just and discriminating tact, cultivated and reined by habitual exercise. Persons, who attempt to display their taste and talents in art or literature by rule, always err in exactly the same manner. Their rules and systems can never reach every possible case; and, even if they could, the very act of applying them would distract the attention from the sentiment excited; and, consequently, prevent or destroy all just feeling, by making them hesitate and doubt whether they ought to feel, or not, till they had tried their sentiments by the standard of their opinions: but sentiment, that is checked or impeded, is at the same time enfeebled; and thus, though rules and theories may prevent those who have no just feeling or natural tact, from judging totally wrong, they, in an equal degree, prevent those who have, from judging entirely right.
More than a century has now elapsed, since the taste and magnificence of the principal sovereigns of Europe first formed academies in their respective kingdoms, for the study of the arts of painting, sculpture, &c.; in which professors of all the different sciences, connected with those arts, were appointed, models provided, and such of the students as seemed to make the greatest progress, and possess the most promising talents, sent to travel at the expense of the institution, that they might profit by a comparative view of the different styles and manners of all the different schools, and acquire all the information which the remains of antiquity, and the most perfect works of their predecessors in the respective arts, could afford. Under the fostering influence of institutions so favourable, it might naturally be supposed that these arts must have been ever since in a progressive state of improvement; and, considering the high degree of excellence from which that of painting started, that it must be little short of abstract perfection. This is, however, so far from being the case, that not one of these academies has yet produced an artist, whom publick opinion has ranked among painters. [The candid reader will observe that I am speaking only of the regular students of academies, and not of thorn who have incidentally belonged to them.]
Heaven-born geniuses have been continually announced by them; and students of the highest expectation, every year sent forth; but all went and returned through the same beaten track of mediocrity, and just acquired enough of the art to make them miraculous boys, and contemptible men.
This effect has been so uniform and universal, during so long a period of time, that it cannot be merely accidental, or proceed from the casual incapacity of individuals; but must be owing to some radical vice in the institutions themselves: which radical vice, I believe to be nothing more than system: which whether it be good or bad, true or false, equally teaches men to work by rule, instead of by feeling and observation. Those who live and study together, naturally and imperceptibly imitate each other: whence every academy acquires a style and principle of its own; which, by degrees limits and cramps all the exertions of those who belong to it. Whatever they look at, either in nature or art, is seen through a particular medium of their own, which characterizes and vitiates every copy or imitation which they make from it. Hence whatever acquisitions they make, either of theorical knowledge or practical facility, are merely the knowledge and facility of doing wrong; so that the figures with which they cover canvass, become as much the result of mechanick labour as the canvass itself.
That which constitutes the great characteristick difference between liberal and mechanick art; and which gives to the former all its superiority, is feeling or sentiment; a quality, that is always perceived, but incapable of being described. It is this which gives in different ways, those inexpressible charms and graces to the works of Corregio, of Rubens, of Rembrandt, and of Claude; which, amidst inaccuracies, that every student of every academy knows how to reprobate and avoid, still continue to fascinate every beholder; and will continue to do so, as long as a trace of them shall remain.
The most complete establishment of the kind, that has ever existed, is the French academy: but though France produced several great painters before its institution, it has not produced one since. Generations of academicians have arisen and passed away one after the other, each the pride and wonder of their day; but we look in vain for a Pousain, a Le Sueur, or a Bourdon among them.
Had these great artists been bred in the trammels of an academy, they also would have avoided their inaccuracies: but the same cases that restrained their deviations one way, would have restrained them another; and by preventing them from transgressing rules, prevented them from soaring above them. Their knowledge in this case might have been more correct, and their practice more regular: but their observation would have been less various and extensive; their use and application of it less free and vigorous; and their execution more mannered, and less adapted to the respective subjects, upon which it was occasionally employed.
If, however, academical science and precision can be united with feeling and sentiment, there is no doubt that the result would be a degree of perfection hitherto unknown to the art; and which perhaps the limited powers of human nature are, not capable of reaching. Annibal Caracci has combined them in a greater degree than any other painter: but yet how inferior is he, in the first, not only to the great artists of antiquity, but to Raphael; and in the second, to the great Flemish. painters, Rubens, Vandyke, and Rembrandt! In the expression of sentiment and passion, he is indeed superior to all the moderns, except Raphael; but the sentiment or feeling, of which I am now treating, is of a different kind; and belongs to the execution, rather than the design of the picture. It is that felicity in catching the little transitory effects of nature and expressing them in the imitation, so that they may appear to be dropped as it were, fortuitously from the pencil, rather than produced by labour, study or design: it is that, in short, which distinguishes a work of taste and genius, from one of mere science and industry; and which often raises the value of an inaccurate original above that of the most correct copy.
Mr. Knight died April 23, 1824, at his house in Soho square, of an apoplectick affection.
"Sir John Walter, son to Edmund Walter, chief Justice of South Wales, was" says Fuller, "born at Ludlow, in this County; and bred a student of our common Laws, wherein he atteined to great learning, so that he became when a pleader, eminent; when a Judge, more eminent; when no Judge, most eminent.
1. Pleader. The character that learned James Thuanus gives of Christopher Thuanus, his father, being an Advocate of the Civil Law, and afterwards Senator of Paris, is exactly agreeable to this worthy Knight:
' "Ut bonos a calumniatori } ' "That be suffered not good bus, tenuiores a potentioribus, } men to be born down by slan- doctos ab ignorantibus oppro- derers; poor men by more po- mi non pateretur."' tent; learned men by the ignorant."
2. Judge. Who (as when ascending the Bench, entering into a new temper,) was most passionate as Sir John; most patient as Judge Walter; and great his gravity in that place. When Judge Denham, his most upright and worthy associate in the Western Circuit, once said unto him, "My Lord, you are not merry !" "Merry enough" returned the other " for a Judge."
3. No Judge. Being outed of his place, when Chief Baron of the Exchequer, about the illegality of the Loan, as I take it. He was a grand Benefactor, (though I know not the just proportion) to Jesus College, in Oxford; and died anno 1630, in the parish of the Savoy, bequeathing £20 to the poor thereof,""
" CASTLE STREET, a place in the parish of Ludlow(St. Lawrence). Broad Street and Castle Street ward contain 443 houses, 2,208 inhabitants."
" ST. LAWRENCE, a church in the parish of Ludlow, a rectory remaining in charge, in the diocese of Hereford, the deanery of Ludlow, and archdeaconry of Salop. 1,006 houses, 4,820 inhabitants."
[Transcribed information from A Gazetteer of Shropshire - T Gregory - 1824](unless otherwise stated)
[Description(s) transcribed by Mel Lockie ©2015]