Lydbury North

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The large Saxon parish of Lydbury was originally owned by Egwin Shakehead who gave it to the Bishop of Hereford, about 780, in gratitude for a miraculous cure for palsy at the shrine of St Ethelbert in Hereford. The Bishop built Lydbury Castle to protect his properties in the area. This site subsequently became the town of Bishops Castle which formed a separate parish about 1200.

At the time of the Domesday Book in 1086, the priest was William the Clerk. The current stone church in the town of Lydbury North was built in the 12th and 13th centuries, and about 1580, the Bishop exchanged the parish with Elizabeth I for other properties.

Henry III granted a Charter to the town of Lydbury North providing for a weekly Market every Friday and an annual Fair 28-30th August.

De mercato & feria pro Episcopo Hereford

Rex Archiepiscopis, &c. Salutem. Sciatis nos concessisse & hac carta nostra confirmasse venerabili in Xpisto Patri P. Herefordensi Episcopo quod ipse & successores sui Episcopi Herefordenses in perpetuum habeant unum mercatum singulis septimanis per diem veneris apud manerium suum de Ledebur' North. Et quod habeant ibidem unam feriam singulis annis durantam per tres dies, videlicet In viglia, in die, & in crastino decollacionis Sancti Johannis Baptiste, cum omnibus libertatibus & liberis consuetudinibus ad huiusmodi mercatum & feriam pertinentibus, Nisi mercatum illud & feria illa sint ad nocumentum vicinorum mercatorum & vicinarum feriarum. Quare volumus, &c.
Hiis Testibus venerabilibus patribus W. Wintonense & W. Sarresburiense Episcopis, Ricardo de Clare, Comite Gloucestriense & Hertfordense, Rogero Le Bigod, Comite Norfolcense & marescallo Anglie, H. de Veer, Comite Oxoniense, Willelmo de Valenc', Roberto de Tateshal, Alano la Zuch, Roberto de Muscegros, Willelmo Vernon, & aliis. Dat' per manum nostrum apud Westmonasterium xxvj die Aprilis.
About a market and fair for the Bishop of Hereford

The King [Henry III] to the Archbishops etc., Greeting, Know that we have granted and by this our charter have confirmed to the venerable father in Christ P [Pierre d'Aigueblanche], Bishop of Hereford, that he and his successors, Bishops of Hereford, shall forever have a market each week on Friday at his manor of Ledebur' North. And that they shall have there one fair each year lasting three days, that is on the eve, on the day, and on the morrow of the Beheading of St John the Baptist [28-30 Aug], with all the liberties and free customs belonging to such market and fair. Unless that market and that fair are to the harm of neighbouring markets and fairs, Wherefore we wish etc.
These being witnesses. The Venerable Fathers, W Bishop of Winchester and W. Bishop of Salisbury, Richard de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, Roger le Bigod, Earl of Norfolk and Marshal of England, H de Vere, Earl of Oxford, William de Valenc' Robert de Tateshal, Alan la Zuch, Robert de Muscegros, William Vernon and others. Given by our hand at Westminster 28 day of April in the 33rd year of our reign [1249].

In 1662, John Shipman bequeathed £200 towards the support of a free school. This parochial school for boys and girls was supported by an annual endowment of £16 plus voluntary contributions. It was based in the school room above the Walcot Chapel in the church until the present school was built in 1843.

The Countess of Powis established a free library for the benefit of those residing in the parish.

The parish had annual charities worth £58 in 1863.

Walcot Park was built by Lord Clive of India and still contains extensive collections of Indian curiosities. It is a brick building set in extensive grounds and was the occasional residence of the Earl of Powis.

Plowden Hall is the seat of the Roman Catholic Plowden family. It is an ancient wooden building containing a fine collection of family portraits. A Roman Catholic chapel with residence for the priest and a school was erected in 1868.

Totterton Hall is a modern brick building which was the seat of the Bright family, vicars to Lydbury North in the 19th century.

About a mile and a half from the town of Lydbury North is Bury Ditches, the well preserved remains of an Iron Age hill fort, now under the control of English Heritage.

The rivers Onny and Kemp run through the parish.


c780 Lydbury North dedicated to St Ethelbert
1086 Domesday Book completed
c1125 Nave of church built
c1200 Bishops Castle becomes a separate Parish
1215 Magna Carta signed
c1225 Tower and Chancel of church added
1249 Charter of Lydbury North granted by Henry III
c1250 Plowden Chapel added to church
1531 Henry VIII established Church of England
1538 Thomas Cromwell ordered each Parish to keep a register of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials
c1580 Lydbury North exchanged with Elizabeth I
1662 Church School room built
1725 Clock added to Tower
1752 Gregorian Calendar adopted
1754 Hardwicke's Marriage Act required Marriages and Banns to be recorded in separate Registers
1757 Lord Clive won Battle of Plassey to start Empire in India
1774 Lord Clive died
1813 George Rose's Act required the use of separate Registers for Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, on pre-printed forms
1837 Start of Civil Registration for Births, Marriages and Deaths
1843 New School opened
1868 Roman Catholic Chapel and School built
1901 Church restored by Micklewaite
1951 Tower restored
1976 Walcot Chapel converted to side chapel
1995/6 Bells restored

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