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Heritage and History of
Herefordshire

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Traditional farm houses, Herefordshire (17th-19th century).Traditional (17th-19th century)Herefordshire farm house.

A close residential grouping would have proved impossible when the normal house curtilage with garden and orchard passed back for 400ft away from the main road so that the only place for new housing was at one or other end, further enlarging the village pattern. Away from these centres of population the 18th century cottage often occupied a long narrow strip of land parallel to the road, with a garden plot close to the building and at least one orchard at the far end.

Gloves were described as the principal manufacture of HerefordIn 1700 gloves were described as the principal manufacture of Hereford, and also formed a trade of some importance at Weobley, Kington and Leominster. Clothiers made a good trade at Kington and Ledbury and wool formed the staple trade of Leominster whilst Ross on Wye had a thriving smithing trade.

Corn and fulling mills also proved plentiful. A comprehensive record of the mills on the rivers Wye and Lugg in existence in 1690 listed 25 mills on the River Wye between Monnington and Wilton, including 9 at Hereford, and a further 16 on the River Lugg between Hampton Bishop and Leominster.

Hererfordshire Wool MillIndustrial activities associated with the market tons are suggested by thefrequency of trade guilds. In 1720 Stukeley remarked that ‘Leominster is a town of brisk trade in manufactures of their admirable wool, in hat making, leatherand many others’. (J. Price ‘An historical and topographical account of Leominster and its borough, 1795). Trade guilds in Leominster by the early 17th century included fullers, dyers, glovers, shoemakers and tanners. At Hereford the craft guilds included corvisors (cobblers and other leather workers),clothworkers, tanners, weavers, goldsmiths and glovers (W.Collins, A shorthistory of Hereford, 1912).

Despite numerous different trades in operation in the county the economic prosperity of Herefordshire never seems to have reached a high level. Although the wool of Leominster was praised as being the best in Europe it never quite reached the national significance compared to places such as the Cotswolds. By the end of the 18th century hardly any wool manufacturers were still in existents, the raw product being exported to the mills in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Yorkshire. Not even the offer of a £400 interest free loan by Lord Scudamore could tempt anyone into promoting a woollen manufactory in the county town.

Throughout Herefordshire there is a strong tradition of farm cider-making. Farmers produced cider to be drunk by the farm labour force during the following year, especially at the busy times of hay-making and harvest. Farmers used to sell cider to local pubs and cider merchants for re-sale in towns.

For 350 years cider production in Herefordshire has been on a rollercoaster, periodically rising to become an industry of great reputation. Throughout this time Herefordshire has been the major player in cidermaking in Britain and Herefordshire people have led the way. There is no better place to find out about cider.

Bulmers is the worlds largest cidermakerBulmers is the worlds largest cidermaker. The company was founded in Hereford, England in 1887 by Percy Bulmer, the son of a local clergyman. Percy made just 4000 gallons that first year. Now, Bulmers makes 65% of the five million hectolitres of cider sold annually in the UK. Cider remains the 'core' of the Bulmers business.

Cidermaking is an agricultural industry which has proved especially attractive at times of depression.Cidermaking is an agricultural industry which has proved especially attractive at times of depression. Cider fruit keeps and its appearance and size are of no importance. Cider production is an activity for the slack months at the year end and orchards are useful for other farming, for instance grazing stock. Herefordshire bacon was reputed to taste especially fine!

You will find an incredible 9,500 acres of Cider Orchards in Herefordshire - growing by more than 600 acres each year. Approximately 63 million gallons of cider - well over half the cider produced in the UK - are produced in Herefordshire each year. It was traditional in Herefordshire to pay part of a farm labourer's wage in cider - they liked it so well that on many farms the arrangement carried on when the practice was made illegal in 1887. Small cider producers can legally produce up to 1,500 gallons a year without paying excise duty.

In 1667 the vicar of Dilwyn reported that his parishioners, who lived to ages ranging from 90 to 114, had drunk nothing but cider. Even more remarkable, he claimed that a Morris Dance had been performed by ten people whose united ages amounted to more than a thousand years. It is customary on the eve of Twelfth Night to wassail the orchards to ensure next year's crop. Fires are usually lit: one in the middle of a circle of twelve small ones.

The earliest written mention of Cider can be found in Hereford Cathedral's famous Chained library. The Wycliffe “Cider” Bible, written in the early 15th Century, gets its name because when translating the passage “For he (John the Baptist) shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink...”, the word “cider” (spelt sidir) is used instead of strong drink.

Wassail : A traditional celebration to the goddess Pomona to encourage good fruit and a bountiful crop.

WASSAIL: is from the old Anglo Saxon Was Hal meaning be of good health. In the middle ages, the celebration was transfered from the drinker to the tree. It usually takes place on Old Christmas Eve (January 5th), Twelfth night (January 6th) or Old Twelfth night (January 17th). The ceremony itself typically consists of the farmer's family, workers and friends gathering in the orchard in the evening.They are armed with sticks and shotguns and carrying a bowl of cider with pieces of toast in it. The favoured vintage variety, oldest or highest yielding tree is chosen.Then, everyone, in turn, eats a sop of toast and a piece is placed in a fork of the chosen tree to attract birds like the robin and the cider is then poured over the roots of the tree. Libation follows from this, when the cider drinker tips his empty glass upside down to let the last few drops fall to earth. You can never spill your cider, you are only ever offering a libation to the goddess Pomona. The whole company then dances round the tree, beating it at the base to dislodge insects, that the birds, attracted by the sop, then eat. Then the Wassail songs are spoken or sung.

Cider Makers of Herefordshire

Bulmers The Cider Mills Plough Lane Hereford HR4 0LE Tel: 01432 352000
Bulmers is the worlds largest cidermaker. The company was founded in Hereford, England in 1887 by Percy Bulmer, the son of a local clergyman. Percy made just 4000 gallons that first year. Now, Bulmers makes 65% of the five million hectolitres of cider sold annually in the UK. Cider remains the 'core' of the Bulmers business, its main brands, Strongbow, Woodpecker and Scrumpy Jack, are all market leaders. Bulmers cider can be found worldwide and Strongbow is sold across Europe, Scandanavia, USA, Australasia and the Far East.

Cider Museum and King Offa Distillery
The Cider Museum explores the history of cider-making, how the apples and pears were harvested, milled and pressed and how the resulting juice was fermented to produce cider or perry.
Address: 21 Ryelands Street, Hereford, HR4 0LW Tel: 01432 354207
Open: Apr-Oct, daily 10am-5pm. Please phone for winter opening times.
Admission: Adults £3, concession £2.50, students and children £2
Registered Charity Number: 267034

Dunkertons Cider Company
Dunkertons organic orchards are open, their mill is open, and ...their cider shop with free tastings is open. Go and taste and be astonished!
Address: Luntley, Pembridge, Leominster HR6 9ED Tel: 01544 388653 Fax: 01544 388654
Open: Mill and shop: Monday to Saturday, Summer 10am - 6pm, Winter 10am-5pm.
Admission: Free of charge, includes tasting.

Newton Court Cidery
Newtons Cider is produced from organically grown standard trees at Newton, some of which are the oldest in the country. Perry is also made from locally grown perry pears.
Address: Newton Court, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0PF Tel: 01568 611721
Open: Shop open all year, daily 8am - 6pm (Sundays 10am - 1pm)
Admission: Free. Organised orchard tours are available on request

Butford Farm
Butford Farm is an organic small holding specialising in cider, perry, pork and eggs. Their hand crafted ciders, ranging from still draught to sparkling bottle-fermented, are all available from their farm shop.
Address: Bowley Lane, Bodenham, Herefordshire, HR1 3LG Tel: 01568 797195 Fax: 01568 797885
Open: Fri - Sun & Bank Holidays 10 am - 5 pm
Admission: Free of charge

Oliver's Cider and Perry
Olivers' ciders and perries are made from vintage cider apples and perry pears, washed, milled, macerated, pressed and fermented, then matured in oak barrels. The fruit is from traditional, environmentally friendly orchards, from unsprayed trees.
Address: Tom Oliver, Stanksbridge, Ocle Pychard, Herefordshire , HR1 3RE Tel: 01432 820569 Fax: 01432 820569
Open: Please call in advance before visiting.

Knights Cider Co Ltd.
Amid orchards in the Malvern foothills Knights sell a range of award winning ciders - traditional draught to our new glass bottled Malvern Gold and Malvern Oak. From Blossom to Bottle.
Address: Crumpton Oaks Farm, Storridge, nr. Malvern, Worcestershire WR13 5HP
Tel: 01684 568887 Fax: 01684 569334
Open: Saturdays and Sundays all year, 10.30am - 5pm.
Admission: Free of charge

Ledbury Cider & Perry Co.
Situated on the edge of Ledbury in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we are a small farm with holiday cottages and produce cider and perry from our own orchards.
Address: Old Kennels Farm, Bromyard Road, Ledbury, HR8 1LG
Tel: 01531 635024
Fax: 01531 635107
Open: Please contact for cider related visits
Admission: Free of charge

Westons Cider
The largest Cider Producer on the Cider Route. The Visitors Centre includes the shop, where you can taste over fifty products; the bottle museum (believed to be the
largest in the UK) and the Henry Weston Garden. There are daily tours including a cider tasting. Also on site is The Scrumpy House Restaurant (Tel: 01531 660626).
Address: The Bounds, Much Marcle, Ledbury, HR8 2NQ
Tel: 01531 660233
Fax: 01531 660619
Open: Mon - Fri 9am - 4.30pm. Sat & Sun 10am - 4pm. Shire Horse Dray Rides and Farm only open between Easter and end of September.
Admission: Free. (Small charges for tours, dray rides and farm.)

Gregg's Pit Cider & Perry
Established in 1994, we make craft cider and perry from 100% juice using wild yeasts and no added colours or artificial sweeteners. We specialise in perry, winning the

Big Apple Trials 5 times since 1996.
Address: Gregg's Pit, Much Marcle, Herefordshire, HR8 2NL
Tel: 01531 660687
Open: May - Oct, Sat & Sun, 10.30am - 5pm. Visits by appointment only, please telephone to check availability.
Admission: Free of charge

Lyne Down Farm
Traditional methods are still used to make farmhouse cider and perry, using a 100 year old scratter mill and antique twin screw press. Draught, bottled, still and sparkling
available.
Address: Lyne Down, Much Marcle, Ledbury, HR8 2NT
Tel: 01531 660543
Fax: 01452 715010
Open: Most times, subject to availability - please telephone before visiting.
Admission: Free of charge

Broome Farm Cider
Award winning natural cider and perry producers offering cellar tastings and sales. Signed Orchard Walks around over 60 varieties of trees, beautiful views, alpacas, cream
teas, B&B, licensed restaurant.
Address: Broome Farm, Peterstow, Ross-on-Wye, HR9 6QG
Tel: 01989 567232 for cider enquiries
01989 562824 for B&B/dining room enquiries
Open: Most days, telephone to confirm availability.
Admission: Free of charge.

Gwatkin Cider
Traditional farmhouse cider and perry all made on the farm from local cider fruit. Many single varieties, all being matured in oak barrels, sold along with meat, vegetables
and many other farmhouse products in the on site farm shop.
Address: Moorhampton Park Farm, Abbey Dore, Hereford, HR2 0AL
Tel: 01981 550258
Open: Daily 10am - 6pm, please contact for availability.
Admission: Free of charge.

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Heritage and History of Herefordshire

This page last modified Monday, 17-Nov-2014 14:33:48 GMT