Ludlow, Shropshire - Architecture and Buildings in Ludlow

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Ludlow's Buildings & Architecture

Ludlow's Architecture & Buildings

Situated on the River Teme in the outstanding countryside of the Welsh Marches, Ludlow's medieval street pattern survives almost intact, along with many ancient properties including a magnificent ruined castle and one of the largest parish churches in England. Modern buildings are few and far between in the town centre, whose streets are lined with medieval and Georgian buildings. Broad Street, which leads from the Buttercross down through the Broadgate, has been described as the most beautiful street in Britain.

A walk through Ludlow's main streets and quiet lanes is to walk through over 900 years of architectural history. There are almost 500 listed buildings in the town; including five grade I listed buildings, The Buttercross, St. Laurence's Church, Ludlow Castle, The Readers House and The Feathers Hotel.

Click for more information about the History of Ludlow

Ludlow Castle

The impressive ruins of the castle occupy the oldest part of Ludlow. Building of the castle started around 1086, with many later additions in the following two centuries. It is one of the most interesting castles in the Marches, in a dominant and imposing position high above the river Teme. It features examples of architecture from the Norman, Medieval and Tudor periods.

More information about Ludlow Castle.

St Laurence's Parish Church

Dominating the town centre is the exceptionally fine 15th-century parish church of St. Laurence, with its 41m (135ft) elegant tower, wonderfully carved misericords and stained glass windows. The church reflects the town's prosperity as a centre of the wool trade.

More information about St Laurence's Church

St Laurence's Church

The Readers House

The Readers House, Ludlow was once the home of the Bible Reader for Saint Laurence's Church, which is directly opposire. In the times when reading was a relatively rare skill, this was a position of some prestige.

The Readers House is Grade I-listed, and dates from the 16th and 17th centuries; although the history of the site can be traced back even further, to the early 1300's. It has also been a grammar school (around 1430), a private museum and (from 1713), the official residence of the Reader, one of the assistant clergy in the parish church.

The Readers House is not open to the public but it can be easy viewed by walking around St. Laurence's Church.

The Readers House, Ludlow

The Buttercross
Occupying a prime location at the junction of Broad Street, High Street and King Street, The Buttercross is considered by most Ludlovians to be the centre of the town. Built in 1746 in the classical style, the building was designed by William Baker. The ground floor was originally a butter market and todays is still used on market days by various traders. The upper rooms have had a variety of uses: the chamber for the Town Council, a boys’ charity school and the Ludlow Museum.

The Buttercross, Ludlow

The Feathers Hotel
The Feathers Hotel
The oldest part of the Feathers, including the world famous timber facade, was built in 1619 (during the reign of King James I) by Rees Jones, a successful attorney in the town, who had frequently appeared before the Council of the Marches, which from 1536 until 1689 was situated in Ludlow making the town in effect the capital of Wales.

The name of the hotel springs from the motifs of ostrich feathers forming part of the timber framed facade. They can still be seen by the discerning eye on the collars of the three street gables, although now weathered by the centuries. Ostrich feathers (traditionally the badge of the Prince of Wales) were still very much in vogue in the town at the time that the timber facade was being constructed following celebrations in 1616 for the investiture of Charles (the future King Charles I) as Prince of Wales.

Ludlow was a town with Royalist sympathies and remained loyal throughout the English Civil War, during which it is thought that Royalist soldiers were billeted at the Feathers. Indeed Rees Jones' son Thomas Jones fought as a Captain in the King's Army and well after the Civil War he converted the Feathers to an inn, around 1670.

The Feathers remained an inn for the next 200 years during which time, as well as providing sleeping accommodation, food and much beer, the inn was occasionally used as a venue for cock-fighting and prize-fighting. It was also at the centre of politics in the town when candidates for parliamentary elections would make speeches from the hotel balcony then invite voters inside for a drink to help secure their votes.

From 1863 the Feathers became known as a hotel and since then has gradually evolved and expanded through the acquisition of properties on either side of the original house to become established as Ludlow's leading hotel with a fine international reputation. A new programme of expansion and refurbishment is currently underway which will help the hotel to enhance its reputation still further and meet the increasing demands of the 21st century. Visit The Feathers Hotel


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