Leominster (pronounced “Lemster”) is a charming mediaeval market town in Herefordshire. If you enjoy browsing around antique shops to bag a bargain, then this is the best. Not for the feeble though – there are so many shops with windy creaking stairs you can wind up with creaking joints yourself! So it gives you all the more reason to take the weight off your feet and sample one of the many attractive tearooms.
The town became prosperous from the wool trade and was home to early cotton mills. However there has been a settlement there from 660AD. The Priory Church of St Peter and St Paul is the only remaining part of the 12th century Benedictine monastery. It was here in Leominster that the last ordeal of the ducking stool took place in 1809 as a punishment for disorderly women. The last complete example of this instrument of humiliation is inside the church.The Millennium clock on a wall in the newer shopping area features a ducking stool that moves on the hour.
We took our friends to nearby Berrington Hall owned by the National Trust. The Georgian house itself is magnificent and the grounds are spectacularly beautiful. There was a display of costumes from many of the films and TV dramas, which have been filmed at National Trust properties. For example you can see the costumes from the 1995 film “Sense & Sensibility” starring Kate Winslett, Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson, Billie Piper’s wedding dress from TV’s 2007 production of “Mansfield Park”, costumes from “Pride and Prejudice” starring the mesmerising Colin Firth and one of the dresses from the film “Becoming Jane”. If you are like me, you love those period dramas and try to guess which locations appear as backdrops!
Leominster is potentially a good base to explore the surrounding region of the beautiful Wye Valley, the Malvern Hills or the historic cities of Hereford or Worcester.
Well worth a visit.