Previous Exhibitions


This exhibition concentrates on how Bromyard and District coped at home during WW1. How those left at home were called upon to maintain their domestic and familial roles and to take on a variety of new roles in the workplace, meaning many played a fundamental part in the war effort.


Churches and schools played an active part on the home front. Churches were encouraged to continue with Harvest Festivals and Services of Intercession took place each January from 1915.

In addition to the usual church-related collections, they acted as a hub for contributions to the many war-time charities, through offertories and special services. The women’s groups provided shirts, winter clothing & hospital garments for soldiers as well as knitted items, and even sandbags!

Fund raising had its lighter side in the parishes, organized by local vicars. Lantern lectures on were given and entertainments featuring local singers and short sketches were a popular winter feature in some villages. These events, together with dances and whist drives, helped morale and supported the work of the Red Cross, St. Dunstan’s Fund for Blinded Soldiers and Sailors, among other charities which sprangup as the war continued . Schoolchildren continued to have their school treats, including picnics on the Downs, summer teas and outdoor games, Christmas teas and prize-giving, at the larger houses and estates. They sent gifts to service-men through their schools where Empire day was celebrated with increased patriotism. Children were often an integral part of the local concerts.


In Bromyard women were employed in four main areas: agricultural work normally performed by men; in the armaments factory at Rotherwas, Hereford; in nursing and medicine; in charitable works.

On April 1st 1916 The Bromyard News and Record reports on the steady response to appeals for women to join the Land Army and on June 1st 1916 it records an increasing use of women on farms.

By 1917 there was still a demand for women and the Board of Agriculture appealed for women to work in agriculture. If they were experienced they could earn 15 shillings a week.


Sport formed a significant part of life in the early 20th century; increased leisure time and disposable income led to rising levels of attendance at professional matches, whilst at a local level participation in amateur leagues and competitions were an important aspect of social life within the community.

With the outbreak of war so the role of sport changed; although expectations that the war would be ‘over by Christmas’ promoted claims for sport to be maintained, professional competition during the hostilities was deemed inappropriate and unpatriotic and consequently was largely suspended for the duration. Instead authorities exploited the popularity of sport by using it as a recruiting tool, and the health benefits from regular participation as both a source of able servicemen and a form of rehabilitation for those who had been injured.

Celebrating the 1950s
June 2012 – June 2013

Bromyard & District in 1911 – Ended June 2012

The wedding of Christobel Bourne at Cowarne Court 1911

The theme of this display by the Bromyard & District Local History Society was based on the recently published 1911 National Census. We discovered what was happening 100 years ago in Bromyard and in the surrounding parishes (35 in all!). There were exhibits on fashion, social activities for George V’s Coronation, and family life of the period including Society weddings at Brockhampton and Much Cowarne . The Census entries – the most detailed of any produced up to that time – were matched with photographs of family members and the places where they lived, some of which are still recognisable today.


In the Domesday Survey of 1086, Bromyard was recorded as a large agricultural manor held by the Bishop of Hereford.
There were two priests and a chaplain who would have ministered to a large surrounding area or ‘parochia’ of the church.
There was then no mention of the town.
The Saxon minster church had already been in existence for some considerable time, being recorded as early as 840. It was situated on high ground close to two crossing places of the R. Frome at Broadbridge and Petty Bridge where ancient roads converge and from an early date, men would have brought their produce here to trade. A small village probably clustered round this core.
The Saxon minster church had already been in existence for some considerable time, being recorded as early as 840. It was situated on high ground close to two crossing places of the R. Frome at Broadbridge and Petty Bridge where ancient roads converge and from an early date, men would have brought their produce here to trade. A small village probably clustered round this core.
Richard de Capella, Bishop of Hereford 1121 – 1127, was an experienced administrator who tried to improve the financial position of the diocese. He is the man who is thought to be responsible for the foundation of the planned town. The rents and market tolls thus generated would have been a profitable enterprise for the Bishop.
In 1280, after only some 160 years, a survey was carried out of the Bishop’s estates known as the Red Book and this shows an established town at Bromyard with 7 streets and a ‘seldae’ or Market Square, much larger than today’s Square. The survey was carried out street by street with each street name being followed by the names of the burgage holders and their holdings. There were 230 named tenants who held whole, parts or multiples of burgages. The layout of High Street and Broad Street, with their long burgage plots on each side was arranged in an unusual curve that reflected the church precinct. It is probable that there was a first phase of burgage plot layout that stopped on the line of Frog Lane and that the development to the east on both sides of Broad Street and the Market Square itself constitutes a later, separate phase of expansion extending to meet the north-south road of Sherford Street/Church Street, known in the late 13th century as Veteri Vico (Old Street).
These ancient houses and shops have been rebuilt, divided, altered, and refaced according to commercial & domestic need and fashion throughout the centuries.

This survey has been carried out by Duncan James in the heart of the ancient borough, in Broad Street, High Street and the Market Square. It was commissioned by the Local History Society and funded by Awards for All. The object was to investigate a range of buildings with a view to understanding their phasing, design and where possible, their original and subsequent function. It has allowed patterns of building that are possibly unique to Bromyard to be identified. The exhibition displays many new unpublished photos.
Apart from two 15th century buildings, the early buildings date in the main, from the late 16th to the early 17th century. This is similar to the Ledbury pattern although the Bromyard houses of this period seem to be of a greater variety in terms of design. In Bromyard there is no doubt that there was a significant period of timber-frame construction, both before and after 1600 as there are at least 50 houses in the central area that contain structural material from this period, some of which is visible although the majority is now hidden behind later facades.
Town buildings are far more vulnerable to destructive changes, although towns are also the source of finance and the stimulus for new houses and Bromyard has many good examples of these from the 18th and 19th centuries.


The second part of the Exhibition concentrates on the late 19th and early 20th century shopkeepers, publicans, and other tradesmen who lived and worked in Bromyard in the days when it was a buzzing market town serving its agricultural hinterland.

The Emergency Services”

June 2013 – April 2014

The Cottage Hospital 

As a small market town it was well into the 19th century before Bromyard had a properly controlled Police Force and the previous Union Workhouse was later extended and improved to provide medical facilities for the locality. As for the Fire Service the town had one small appliance which is now housed by the National Trust and is a far cry from the sophisticated response we receive today. These services which today we take for granted will be followed through the past century and a half with the help of contemporary photographs and documents; newspaper stories such as the devastating fire at Cheyney Court at Bishops Frome in 1888, and Thomas Powell of Thornbury who had his arm amputated after a farming accident. It is also hoped to make good use of our mannequins to provide real-life settings of the situations which faced those stalwart guardians of our local health and well being in days gone by.  

For more details regarding exhibitions please contact Mandy Palmer at: The Local & Family History Centre, 5 Sherford Street, Bromyard, Herefordshire, HR7 4DL or by email at :