A YEAR filled with eventful occurrences, both of a local and general nature, is rapidly drawing to a close. The principal events locally have been the acceptance of a water scheme, which points to being a big success, and the decision of the Urban Council to formulate a comprehensive sewerage and sewage disposal scheme, particulars of which will be found in the following pages.
To agriculturists generally the past year was most favourable. The hay and corn crops were good; the fruit a fair crop; but the hops did not show an average yield. Still, remarkably fine weather prevailed during the harvesting, which is not of the least value or importance.
The final restoration of the Parish Church is a cause of much gratification to all the parishioners. At the time of going to press the weather unusually mild, and fruit trees in the gardens were generally in bud.
With the near approach of the festive season the tradesmen of the town unanimously agreed to close their shops on the Monday and Tuesday following Christmas Day.
We now bring our chronological and chart-like history to a close with the wish that our readers will experience A Happy and Prosperous New Year.
January 1 Did not open with the hoary frost and heavy snowfall which has been so long associated with this date. The weather was rather mild, and in the evening there were the usual parties going "the rounds" singing the "New Year Day Carols”.
January 1 From this date the Chemist's business in High Street, so closely connected with the MEACHAM family for several generations, was transferred from Mr. George BENNETT to Mr. Vincent W. MEACHAM.
January 4 At the Herefordshire Quarter Sessions, Messrs. J. G. BENNETT & Co. appealed against the decision of the Ledbury Magistrates in refusing to renew the license of "The Chequers" Inn, High Street, Ledbury, but the appeal was dismissed
January 3 The Urban Council adopted the sewerage scheme as formulated by Mr. BERRINGTON, which proposed that the defective sewers should be made good and the sewers extended, taking in the whole district, at a cost of £3,200.
January 4 A public meeting was held at the Town Hall, in connection with the Science and Art and Technical Education Classes, under the presidency of Lady Elizabeth BIDDULPH, who presented the certificates to the successful students.
January 6 Mr. and Mrs. W. A. H. MARTIN gave their annual treat to the Union inmates.
January 12 Lady Henry SOMERSET opened a Cake and Apron Sale at the Town Hall, at the initiative of Lady Elizabeth BIDDULPH, in aid of the funds of the Ledbury Temperance Union, of which Lady Elizabeth is President.
January 12 The Ledbury Hunt Ball took place at the Feathers Hotel.
January 14 The Ledbury Cycling Club held another very successful Fancy Dress Social in the Assembly Rooms.
January 17 Mr. Francis BOND. M.A., A.R.I.B.A., gave the first course of six fortnightly lectures on Gothic Architecture, at the Barrett Browning Institute, the subject being "Ecclesiastical Architecture as an Expression of Doctrine and Ritual."
January 17 The Eastnor children performed the fairy play "Princess Perpetua" (songs and music by Lady Henry SOMERSET), in the Royal Hall, the proceeds being in aid of "The Bird’s Nest," Duxhurst.
January 18 Mrs. Mary RIDLEY, of New Town, died at the age of 80.
January 25 The Church Sunday School children had their Christmas Treat in the Boys' school.
January 26 The Ledbury Invitation Ball was held at the Feathers Hotel.
January 26 The teachers of the Board Schools held their fifth Soiree the same evening at the Boys' School.
January 27 The Ledbury Fire Brigade had their Annual Dinner at the Royal Hall.
January 28 It was decided to present the Rector of Ledbury with a piece of plate, in recognition of his efforts towards the successful restoration of the Parish Church.
February 1 The Annual Meeting of the Subscribers and Donors of the Ledbury Cottage Hospital was held, when the report as passed was considered satisfactory.
February 1 The Ledbury Bellringers had their Annual Supper at the Masonic Hall.
February 7 The Annual Ordinary General Meeting of the Ledbury Markets and Fairs Co., Ltd., was held, when a dividend of 5 per cent. was agreed to.
February 10 The Parish Church Choir had their Annual Supper at the Masonic Hall.
February 11 Lady Henry SOMERSET gave an account of the Duxhurst Farm Colony at the Mission Hall, Ledbury.
February 14 Mr. BOND gave his third lecture.
February 17 The Ledbury Musical Society gave their first Matinee at the Royal Hall, which was of a miscellaneous character, and proved most successful.
February 17 The Ledbury Cycling Club organised a Benefit Dance in aid of the Cottage Hospital.
February 18 The Ledbury Cricket Club held their Annual Meeting at the Royal Oak Hotel.
February 21 The Annual Meeting of the Ledbury Cycling Club was held at the Barrett Browning Institute.
February 23 Mr. C.W. STEPHENS was re-elected, unopposed, for the County Council for Ledbury Urban, and Mr. C. A. HEWITT for Ledbury Rural.
February 24 The Ledbury Quoit Club held their Annual Meeting at the Biddulph Arms.
February 28 Mr. BOND gave his fourth lecture.
February 28 At this date the wholesale wine and spirit business of Messrs. J. G. BENNETT & Co. was transferred to Messrs. IND, COOPE & Co., Burton-on-Trent.
February 28 By the end of the month the stained glass window to the memory of the late Mr. E. J. WEBB, J.P., in the south aisle of Ledbury Church, had been completed, and subsequently a brass plate was placed on the wall near the Vestry door, stating that Messrs. WOOD Bros. had restored the Church bells.
March 2 At the School Board Meeting a long discussion took place on the Drummond Hay Endowment question, and it was resolved to ask the Charity Commissioners if the Board were competent to administer the Charity, seeing that the words "Church of England" were mentioned in the Charity.
March 3 The son and heir of Mr. H. SOMERS SOMERSET was born.
March 5 Mr. W. H. WHITEHEAD commenced his temperance revival meetings in the Town Hall.
March 6 On the 6th was born the son and heir of Mr. John BIDDULPH.
March 7 At the monthly meeting of the Urban Council, it was decided to test the water mains and pipes, in consequence of the discovery of a serious leakage. It was reported that the boring operations in connection with the water supply at Massington were progressing favourably. Mr. Ernest H. HOPKINS was re-elected Overseer for the Urban District, and Mr. Thomas S. SMITH was appointed his colleague.
March 14 Mr. Edward MADDISON, manager of the National Provincial Bank, who was a prominent Freemason and was Churchwarden of Ledbury Church for 17 years, died at the age of 57 years.
March 14 Mr. Bond gave his fifth lecture.
March 14 The Parish meetings for the election of Ledbury Rural Parish Councillors, Rural District Councillors and other neighbouring Parish Councillors were held.
March 15 At the Annual Meeting of the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Congregational Union, at Hereford, the Rev. C. Y. POTTS gave the annual address as Chairman.
March 17, 18 "The Sorrows of Satan" was performed at the Royal Hall.
March 27 The Bishop of Hereford held a Confirmation Service in Ledbury Church, the candidates numbering 100.
March 28 Mr. BOND gave his last lecture.
March 31 The Ledbury Hunt Point-to-Point Races were held at Redmarley.
March 31 The Rev. J. G. MUNROE lectured on "Child Life in the Slums of London," in the Town Hall.
April 4 The town underwent the turmoil of the Annual Election for five Urban Councillors, the voting for the successful candidates being as follows :- Messrs. C. W. STEPHENS 356; W. A. C. GABB 309; E. FREEMAN 205; W. MADDERS 166; and H. HODGES 145; the defeated candidates were Messrs. J. FLOYD 142 (an old member), and Frank T. HODGES 67.
April 5 The Annual Dinner to the Ledbury Hunt Keepers was given at the Royal Hall.
April 5 At a meeting of the Ledbury Horticultural Society, it was decided not to hold a Flower Show in 1898.
April 7 The First General Meeting of the newly-formed Ledbury Polo Club was held at the Feathers Hotel, when rules were agreed to and a ground decided upon at Bosbury.
April 8 Good Friday.
April 8 The Wesleyans held their Annual Circuit gathering.
April 10 Easter Sunday.
April 11 Easter Monday.
April 11 The Ledbury Volunteers were engaged in a sham fight at Much Marcle.
April 11 The Victoria Football Club held their Easter Monday Sports in drenching weather.
April 14 The Easter Vestry meeting was held, when Mr. S H. BICKHAM was re-elected Churchwarden, and Mr. C. H. BASTOW was appointed in the place of the late Mr. Edward MADDISON.
April 14 The Vestry Meeting which was adjourned in the morning was resumed in the Mission Hall, for the purpose of publicly presenting the Rector (Rev. Preb. MADDISON GREEN) with a silver salver and an elegant album, containing the names of the subscribers, as a recognition of his services in the successful restoration of the Parish Church.
April 18 The opening day of the Ledbury Polo Club at Bosbury.
April 19 It was decided, at a public meeting held at the Feathers Hotel, to organise a Horse Show and Floral Fete, to be held in July.
April 19 The Annual Meeting of the Urban Council was held. Mr. C. W. STEPHENS was unanimously elected Chairman for the ensuing year, and Mr. E. H. HOPKINS, Vice-Chairman. At this meeting it was resolved to ask Mr. BERRINGTON to at once report progress of the boring operations at Massington, and the amount of money he had spent in the work.
April 23 The Ledbury "Vics" were defeated by Garisone Rovers by one goal to nil in the final for the "Glasgow" Cup.
April 27 The Ledbury Churchwardens and Sidesmen dined together at the Feathers Hotel.
May 3 The order for the muzzling of dogs was revoked, and our canine friends were allowed their freedom from the troublesome head-gear.
May 9 A special meeting of the Urban Council was held, when Mr. BERRINGTON reported that there was a plentiful supply of good water at the Massington site.
May 10 The price of wheat went up to 6/3 per bushel, on account of the war between America and Spain; previous to the war the price per bushel was 4/-.
May 12 Mr. G. A. SUTER, late of High Street, Ledbury, died at the age of 69.
May 12 The Ledbury Victoria Football Club held their Annual Meeting.
May 19 Lady Henry SOMERSET invited the Ledbury Cycling Club to Eastnor Castle.
May 23 The newly-erected County Court Offices in Bank Crescent were opened for the first time.
May 23 A largely attended public meeting was held in the Mission Hall, presided over by Lady Henry SOMERSET, at which a resolution in favour of Sunday Closing was carried unanimously.
May 24 The Chairman of the Board of Guardians proposed a vote of condolence with the family of the late Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE, which was passed unanimously.
May 31 At the end of the month the Tewkesbury Troop of the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars, on account of the enforced retirement of Major PALAIRET, joined the Gloucester Troop.
June 2 Mr. C. W. STEPHENS, C.C., Chairman of the Ledbury Urban Council, invited the members of the Council to accompany him on a visit to the Gloucester Water Works at Oxenhall.
June 2 Mr. H. SOMERS SOMERSET was thrown from his pony at Castlemorton, and was severely bruised and shaken.
June 9 There was a Sale of Work in the Town Hall in aid of the funds of the Congregational Church, which was very successful.
June 11 The Ledbury Fire Brigade, with their steamer, took part in the Lifeboat Demonstration at Worcester, and during their absence a fire broke out at Mr. T. W. BAKER's jeweller's shop in Church Street, and damage done to the extent of £200, which was covered by insurance.
June 14 Haymaking was commenced in the Ledbury district.
June 23 The Ledbury Primrose League held a most successful picnic at the British Camp
June 27 The Quarterly Meeting of the Ledbury Reading Room and Library was held, when it was resolved to form a Debating Club.
June 30 Mr. William S. BLUNSDON, who was for 12 years Superintendent of Police at Ledbury, died at the age of 75 years.
July 1 The Rev. G. SWIFT entered upon his duties as Curate of Ledbury.
July 4 It was announced that Mrs. William CALE, of New Town, and Thomas PLAYER, of Homend, Ledbury, had each been left legacies of £2,000.
July 7 There was a grand Garden Fete and Bazaar in Bosbury Vicarage grounds, in aid of the restoration of the Church organ and bells.
July 9 The death of Mr. Tom COMLEY, late of The New Inn, Ledbury, occurred at Dymock, at the age of 67.
July 10 The Ledbury Volunteers held a Church Parade
July 10 During the ensuing week a handsome stained glass Window was placed in one of the windows in St. Anne's Chapel in Ledbury Church, in memory of the late Mrs. PALAIRET. The SAUNDERS' "Faith, Hope and Charity" memorial window was removed from over St. Anne's Altar to near the Vestry door, and the memorial window to the late Mr. W. RUSSELL, Woodlands, was put in its place.
July 11 The Mothers' Union held their Festival at Eastnor Castle.
July 13 The Ledbury Musical Society held their Annual Meeting.
July 14 The Wesleyan Sunday School treat was given at Dunbridge, near Ledbury.
July 18 The Annual Meeting of the Ledbury Building Society was held.
July 21 The adult members of Ledbury Church Choir had their Annual Outing to Weston-Super-Mare and Cardiff.
July 21 Mrs. BALLARD, The Winnings, Colwall, invited the Union inmates to her residence.
July 23 Ledbury Hunt Puppy Show and Banquet was held.
July 25 The First Annual Horse Show and Floral Fete was held in the Pound Meadows, and was a huge success.
July 28 The Congregational Sunday School Treat was held.
July 28 Mr. Miles A. WOOD, sen., died at his residence, Orchardleigh, Ledbury, at the ripe age of 91.
July 31 The Ledbury Volunteers went to camp at Conway.
August 4 Dymock Flower Show was held.
August 4 The Ledbury Polo Club played their second match.
August 4 The Ledbury Victoria Football Club held their Annual Meeting.
August 8 The Bosbury Horse Show and Polo Races were held.
August 9 Cub hunting commenced with the Ledbury Hounds.
August 10 At Ledbury Petty Sessions, application was made for the transference of the licence of The Chequers Inn, High Street, from J. G. BENNETT to H. BRIERLEY, of Kidderminster, but the application was refused, and the house has not been opened as licensed premises since.
August 18 A Local Government Board enquiry was held respecting the application of the Urban Council for sanction to borrow £3,200 for works of sewerage and sewage disposal.
August 18 There was a Sale of Work and Bicycle Gymkhana in the grounds of St. Katharine‘s, in aid of Home and Foreign Missions and the Parish Nurse Fund.
August 20 At an early hour two goods' trains were in collision at the north end of Ledbury tunnel, the permanent way being cut up for a considerable distance, a number of waggons damaged, and a quantity of merchandise destroyed.
August 21 On the night of the 21st there was a terrific thunderstorm.
August 22 Much Marcle Fete and Sports took place.
August 22 The DAWES' Testimonial prizes were distributed in the Boys' School.
August 25 The Church Sunday School children had their Annual Summer Treat at Underdown.
August 28 Lady Henry SOMERSET distributed the medals to the Ledbury Station branch of the G.W.R. section of the St. John's Ambulance Association.
August 28 The Ledbury water supply was limited to one hour, morning and evening.
August 28 With the advent of the hop-picking season there was again an inﬂux of tramps, and many disorderly scenes were witnessed in the streets. Some of the offenders were severely dealt with by the magistrates.
September 4 Mr. Robert PREECE, plumber, etc., of Southend Street, died at the age of 78.
September 5 The Urban Council decided to light several of the dark alleys in the town.
September 6 A very successful Sale of Work, on behalf of "The Duxhurst Home" was held at Eastnor Castle.
September 7 The Annual Licensing Session was held, when Superintendent PHILLIPS' report was favourable.
September 12 The Revision Court was held, there being a gain for the Unionists.
September 13 Ledbury Fruit Market was opened for the first time.
September 23 Andrew BOSLEY died suddenly, at the age of 72.
September 25 The Congregational Harvest Festival was held.
September 26 It was decided to place the Jubilee seats in different parts of the town and district.
September 27 Lady Henry SOMERSET presented a handsome drinking fountain to the parishioners of Eastnor.
September 27 The Eastnor Harvest Festival was held in the evening.
September 29 The Annual Meeting of the Ledbury Reading Room and Library was held.
October 2 Ledbury Church Harvest Festival was held.
October 2 The Wesleyan Thanksgiving Services were held.
October 3 Mr. BERRINGTON submitted plans of the proposed Massington water scheme, and reported that there was an enormous quantity of water at the site of the boring operations. The necessary pumps, engines, pipes, etc., would not cost more than £5,500. There would be a reservoir at the Cross Hands, capable of holding 75,000 gallons. Much satisfaction was expressed that the Council had at last settled the "vexed" water question.
October 3 The ancient custom of ringing the curfew at 8 o’clock at night was revived in Ledbury.
October 11 Michaelmas Pleasure Fair was held.
October 11 At the Guardians' Meeting, a motion to admit non-pauper cases from the Urban District into the Union Isolation Hospital was defeated by 10 votes to 5.
October 17 The first of a series of Temperance Meetings was held at the Mission Hall, presided over by Lady Henry SOMERSET.
October 20 Mr. CRANSTON commenced his series of lectures on Fruit Culture.
October 23 The 291st Anniversary of the Ledbury Congregational Church was celebrated.
October 24 At a Special Meeting of the Urban Council, Messrs. JOHNSON Bros.' (Hereford) tender of £2,528 for the general sewerage scheme was accepted.
October 24 The first debate, under the auspices of the Ledbury Reading Room and Library was held, the subject being, "Are we better than our forefathers?"
October 26 The Ledbury Cycling Club held another successful illuminated procession, when collections were made in the streets in aid of the Cottage Hospital.
October 26 The Annual Meetings of the Ledbury Auxiliary British and Foreign Bible Society were held.
October 31 Observed as the opening Meet of the Ledbury Hounds, at "The Stardens," Newent.
November 1 - December 12 Missing
December 13 An inquiry was held at the Barrett Browning Institute by Col. LANGTON COKE, respecting the application of the Ledbury Urban Council to borrow £5,500 for works of the proposed water scheme. There was no opposition.
December 14 The Ledbury Fire Brigade were employed 37 hours at a fire at the Moorend Farm, Ashperton, in the occupation of Mrs. PUDGE. The damage to the out-buildings, hay and corn ricks, and the contents of the large barn were estimated at £1000, but the loss was well nigh covered by insurance.
December 15 The Annual Dinner and Prize Distribution to the Ledbury Volunteers took place at the Feathers Hotel, Lieut.-Col. SCOBIE presiding.
December 17 The first popular entertainment, in aid of the Parish Nurse Fund was held at the Town Hall, under the presidency of Lady Elizabeth BIDDULPH.
December 19 Mr. J. HUMPHREYS, F.L.S., gave a lecture in the Royal Hall on "The Contrivances of Plants" in aid of the Cottage Hospital. Mr. M. BIDDULPH, M.P., presided.
December 20 The last meeting or show for the season of the Ledbury Fruit Market, was held in the newly-erected fruit shed in the Cattle Market. These were commenced in October, and have since proved a very important addition to the Ledbury Markets.
December 21 (St. Thomas' Day) The Ledbury parochial charities were distributed by the Rector and Churchwardens.
December 21 At this date the water supply was "on" for the greater part of the day, a boon much appreciated by the consumers, who had for months only had a supply for an hour or so.