Meetings Archive

Anyone wishing to find out more – or remind themselves – about previous meetings may find this archive useful.

2024 meetings

Friday 31 May: 7.00pm LDCS AGM followed at 7.30pm by Temperance lives and landscapes: Lady Elizabeth Biddulph and Lady Henry Somerset at Ledbury in the late nineteenth century
This talk by Charles Watkins explores the links between the temperance activities of Lady Henry Somerset (Eastnor Castle) and Lady Elizabeth Biddulph (Ledbury Park) and the local economy. Both women were heavily involved in the national and international temperance movement, and yet their farming income was derived partially from hops and cider.

Friday 26 April at 6.30pm:  The origins of well dressing in the Malvern Hills
What are the origins of this annual event and why is it still so popular today? In this illustrated talk, the President of Malvern Spa Association and local landscape architect Carly Tinkler explains where the tradition sprang from, and its place in the Hills’ natural and cultural history.

Friday 22 March: An introduction to the stories and treasures of Hellens Manor
Historians are storytellers, and there are always gaps in the stories we tell. To fill these gaps we use educated guesses and imagination. The gaps in Hellens’ history have been filled with the most vivid imagination from a storyteller extraordinaire! At this threshold of change in Hellens’ own story, Justine Peberdy takes a look at where we are now; how we got there and what lies in store.

Friday 23 February: Templars
Dr Steve Tibble talks about the Templars and the way in which this small group of brave and highly focused individuals helped shape medieval Britain while simultaneously defending the Christian Middle East.

Friday 26 January: The Crown of Thorns
Dr Faith Tibble talks about how the ubiquitous imagery of the Crown of Thorns in Passion iconography – commonly symbolising torture, suffering and humiliation – is not at all what it seems, especially for the earliest Christians who first depicted this well-known adornment.

2023 meetings

Friday 24 November: The Herefordshire Hoard
Denise North
In 2015 two metal detectorists found rare Anglo-Saxon and Viking riches in a Herefordshire field. This remarkable discovery belongs to the nation. Some of you may have already seen the treasure, but you may not know much about the twists in the tale. And, to celebrate the Society’s 50th Anniversary, drinks and nibbles will be served.

27 October: Planning
Liz Harvey
Liz will be talking about the county’s current planning policy framework, what’s working well and what’s wrong with it, what is happening to update the Plan eight years in and how local residents and special interest groups (such as the Civic Society) can punch above their weight in influencing policy … and its application … for the better.

29 September: More than just an orchard
Norman Stanier
Fruit Growing is deeply ingrained in the Herefordshire psyche and nowhere more than in the Parish of Putley, just four miles from Ledbury. Norman Stanier was born and raised there in a four-generation household in the late 40s into a long line of fruit growers. His talk traces the story of his family and of the importance of this crop to the county, its culture and character.

23 June: Belgian Refugees – the Ledbury Connection
Jennifer Harrison
The story of the Belgian refugees who fled their homes during the First World War and found a safe refuge in the United Kingdom.  Some came to Ledbury and we will hear of their life here in the town.

26 May: Life and Legacy in the Pre-modern Parish
Focusing on the leading families of Donnington and Coddington C1500 – C1750
A talk by Dr Hannah Ingram, University of Nottingham
Dr Ingram will also talk about the Victoria County History an English history project which began in 1899 with the aim of creating an encyclopaedic history of the counties of England.

28 April: The Biddulphs of Ledbury
Mary Stewart
The Biddulphs came to Ledbury in 1688 when Sir Anthony Biddulph married Constance Hall, great granddaughter of Edward Skynner. The family was raised to the baronetage in 1834, and has had a long lasting influence on the town. Mary Stewart’s talk will tell us whether the family has lived up to its motto ‘Let us aim at loftier things’.

31 March: The Chris Johnson Memorial Talk: The Leominster Canal
Gerry Calderbank

24 February: The History of the Three Choirs Festival
Clare Wichbold, former Chair of the Festival
BBC Proms?  Bayreuth? Salzburg? – these are just newcomers to the world of classical music festivals: the Three Choirs Festival is 308 years old this year, and the only interruption to its annual performance has been two world wars. What explains its lasting success and continuing popularity?

27 January: Can Herefordshire’s rivers survive? 
Andrew McRobb, Herefordshire CPRE
Some of Herefordshire’s main rivers, the Lugg and the Wye, seem to be as polluted as all the beaches between Brighton and Hastings. What are the causes of the dire state of our rivers?  Agricultural practices? Sewage overflows? Plastics? How can they be restored to their former glory?

2022 meetings


25 November: Victorian Churches in Herefordshire. Tim Bridges
A surprisingly high proportion of rural churches in England are not medieval at all, but date from the 19th century and this is also true in Herefordshire.  Perhaps we are inclined to think that Victorian Gothic is a distinct third-best, Tim Bridges explains that this is far from the truth.

28 October: The Future of Agriculture in Herefordshire. Helen Hamilton, Marches Planning and Environment
Even within the last quarter century, Herefordshire agriculture has undergone some major changes : the spread of polytunnels; the proliferation of intensive poultry units; the introduction of anaerobic digesters; and the demise of the traditional orchard. What next? A personal view.

30 September: A History of Bell Ringing. Tim Keyes, Tower Captain of St Michael and All Angels Church (Ledbury parish church), will introduce us to this fascinating subject.

24 June: “The Scudamores of Herefordshire” – Heather Hurley

27 May: Film: Stories from the hop-yards

29 April: 7pm A.G.M. followed at 7.45 by Sustainable Rural Transport – Professor John Whitelegg

25 March: The evolution of the Market Hall – Martin Baines RIBA

25 February: Half-timbered Herefordshire – Penny Platts

28 January: The mystical imagery of Thomas Traherne – Andrea McLean. We are delighted to inform you that a special guest for Andrea McLean’s talk will be Richard Willmot, author of The Voluble Soil an introduction to the thought and poetry of Thomas Traherne.


2020 meetings

28 February: Life in Ledbury 1914-1919  – Jenny Harrison

31 January: A visit to Argentina – Chris Johnson

2019 meetings

29 November: Some special churches – Tim Bridges

25 October: The original magic lantern show and its history – Patrick Furley

27 September: Of Sons and Skies” – History of flying in World War 2 – Mike Jackson

21 June: The Canary Girls of Rotherwas – Angela Williams

31 May: Historic Harewood – Heather Hurley

26 April: 7pm A.G.M. followed at 7.45 Two men in Russia – Chris Johnson and Gerald Brooke

29 March: Herefordshire’s Mills – Alan Stoyel

22 February: Hatton’s Horses – Robin Thorndyke

25 January: Railways in Art – Gareth Davies

2018 meetings

30 November: Herefordshire Wildlife Trust – Rose Farrington

26 October: The Commandery, Worcester – Dennis Chamberlain

28 September: Hereford Records Office – Rhys Griffith

22 June: River trade on the Wye and Lugg – Heather Hurley

25 May: The work of the International Centre for Birds of Prey

27 April: 7pm A.G.M. followed by The restoration of Upper Hall – Chris Johnson

30 March: The Harrow and The Plough: the artist Brian Hatton – Robin Thorndyke

23 February: From twine to tinplate – Gareth Davies

26 January: The City of Hereford – Penny Platts

2017 meetings

24 November: The Colwall project for VCH Herefordshire – James Bowen

27 October: Ledbury Naturalists: the first fifty years – Alan Pike and Janet Perry

29 September: The life and times of The Falklands – Fred Clark

23 June: The ancient roads of Herefordshire – Heather Hurley

26 May: Tree Pests and Diseases – Chris Johnson

28 April: A.G.M. followed by Exploring Croft Castle – Richard Wooldridge

31 March: Herefordshire’s Bird Atlas – Nick Smith

24 February: The conversion of Upper Hall – Chris Johnson

27 January: The Bosbury Project for VCH Herefordshire – Janet Cooper

2016 meetings

25 November: The history of maps – Tony Atkinson

28 October: Chedworth Roman Villa – Nick Humphries

30 September: The wildlife of the Falklands – Fred Clark

24 June: My boyhood Pennine home: Civil War to Cold War – David Briggs

27 May: Herefordshire’s Medieval Landscape – Christopher Atkinson

29 April: AGM followed by “The Halls of the dead” – Tim Hoverd, Archaeological Projects Manager, Herefordshire Council

1 April: The Ledbury Lute: A talk and musical demonstration – Chris Egerton and Taro Takeuchi

26 February: The Hereford Bull: the story of a trow – Andrew Wynn

29 January: The history of Bromesberrow Place – Marie Forsyth

2015 meetings

27 November: From little pips… The history and natural history of Colwall’s orchards – Tim Dixon

30 October: Words of transformation – Alex Coppock, Conservation Architect

25 September: Churches strange and wonderful – Penny Platts

26 June: Old Court Nurseries – Helen Picton

29 May: Filming for the BBC in Malvern and Ledbury – Michael Jackson

24 April: AGM followed by Philip Clisset and his legacy – Michael Abbott

27 March: Edward Cooper: an Elizabethan Master of St. Katherine’s Hospital – Celia Kellett

27 February: The Hereford, Ross and Gloucester railway – Martin Connop Price

30 January: Paved with living colour – the Godwins of Lugwardine – Rhys Griffith

2014 meetings

28 November: Sweden – Lena Dyche

31 October 2014: In search of the father of Hi-Fi – David Briggs

26 September 2014: Mount Everest – Bronco Lane

27 June 2014: From desert to ice: an adventure in the Chinese Karakoram – Chris Johnson

30 May 2014: A thousand years of building in stone – Beth Andrews (Earth Heritage Trust)

25 April 2014: AGM followed by The Hereford School of Sculpture – Duncan James

28 March 2014: Pests: the unseen occupants – Jane Thomson-Webb

28 February 2014: Local produce: Just Rachel’s ice-cream – Rachel Hicks

24 January 2014: The Mappa Mundi – Sarah Arrowsmith

2013 meetings

29 November 2013: The Eastnor Project – Janet Cooper, Chairman, VCH Group

25 October 2013: The Dragon Orchard story – Norman Stanier

27 September 2013: Elgar’s Women

28 June 2013: Half-timbered restoration: the story of a cottage – Jemima Webb

31 May 2013: Medieval hall-houses of Herefordshire – Duncan James

26 April 2013: AGM followed by The work of the Malvern Hills Conservators – Stephen Bound, Director

29 March 2013: “What’s in a name?” Herefordshire place-names – Anthony Moulton-Smith

22 February 2013: The Woodland Trust’s activities in Herefordshire – Jeremy Evans

25 January 2013: Voysey’s Perrycroft – Dr. Mark Archer