A Self-Guided Trail around WeobleyIn mediaeval times Weobley was a flourishing market town whose wealth came from wool, known locally as Leominster Ore. It was also noted for ale, glove and nail making. Weobley’s fortunes waxed and waned over the years and with no railway or canal, the industrial revolution passed Weobley by. This led to great poverty. However, it left a legacy of beautiful timber framed houses, many of which still stand. Today Weobley is at the heart of a thriving agricultural industry.
The Weobley Heritage Trail will take visitors on a passage through time, explaining how mediaeval traders sold their wares through unglazed windows onto the street and show what architectural feature to look for in the many building styles in the village, some of which are unique in Herefordshire. A recent visitor to Weobley made this comment on Trip Advisor. “We downloaded the Trail from the internet, which was simple to follow, with plenty of information boards around the village to direct us to the next point of interest. Spent a whole morning here, followed by a visit to the Salutation Inn at lunchtime. What a feast of black and white architecture, and everywhere so beautifully kept.”
You will see where Charles 1st stayed after he releaved Hereford from Cromwell's troops during the Civil War. And see the impressive memorial to Col. John Birch, Cromwellian turned Royalist, who retook Hereford again later that same year for Cromwell with a small party of men dressed as ice breakers as they crossed the frozen River Wye.
But Weobley is not just for those who enjoy architecture or history, there is a “Detective Trail” for children. Created by a Weobley youngster for Heritage Open Days in 2014, it was such a success that we decided to make it a permanent feature. You can download this document by clicking on the Be a Weobley Detective document on the right of this page.
One of the most interesting and easy-to-spot features on letter boxes is the royal cipher. You can find boxes with VR cast on them, for Victoria Regina; EVIIR for Edward VII; a plain GR for George V; GVIR for the Queen’s father; EIIR of course; and even EVIIIR for Edward VIII, cast in 1936 before his abdication.
But what to make of the Weobley post box? In the late 1870s the Post Office decided to introduce a new design, perhaps with an eye to cost savings, to be cast in just two sizes, large and small and tenders were invited in 1878. Andrew Handyside of Derby won the contract and distribution of the new boxes started the following year.
It wasn’t until 1887 that it was pointed out to the Secretary of the Post Office that Handyside’s boxes didn’t bear the wording POST OFFICE and didn’t carry the royal cipher. For this reason they have become known as “Anonymous boxes”. A scathing letter to The Times demanded to know if the Post Office was siding with the Bolsheviks:“The General Post Office is saving the revolutionaries the task of removing the Royal cipher.” The Secretary immediately ordered that the royal cipher should appear on all future castings. Come and see this box and all the other delights of Weobley.
Perhaps what is most strange about this story is that it brings to our attention that there are people who love this kind of mystery and if you are interested in the unusual, have a look at http://www.lbsg.org/. Our thanks to Simon Vaughan Winter, editor of lbsg.org, for sharing this story.
We wish to thank Herefordshire Council and the Community Grants Fund for enabling this project.
Getting to Weobley
By Bus - from Hereford train station.
By Car - about 12 miles north and slightly west of Hereford. Take the B4230 off the Roman Road. This takes you via Tillington and the Herefordshire Golf Club. As you pass the golf club you will see on the left lovely rolling slopes of grassland with sheep grazing safely. If you have Sat Nav, set your destination for HR4 8SA which will bring you to the heart of the village where our tour begins.