Bulletin 373

August, 2013

A walk around the development of Knighton

Led by John Davis on Sunday 30th June

They say the sun shines on the righteous and on a beautiful Sunday afternoon the righteous were duly shone upon. Ably led by John Davis, Knighton resident and local historian, fourteen Society members and some charming ladies from Lyonshall were led on a short walk around the history of Knighton.

The true origins of Knighton are yet to be discovered and even its entry in the Doomsday Book left a gap, waiting for details that never came. Like most border towns Offas Dyke plays a major part in Knighton’s history but what came first, the Dyke or the town, is still unclear. What records do exist show a settlement constantly under stress from the typical burning and pillaging of border marauders to the Great Plague of 1350. But resilient Knighton survived those early disasters due primarily to its location as a market town for sheep and wool. Although much changed over the years John was able to show us what evidence remains of an early town plan from about 1150, although we were warned that the ‘eye of faith’ was needed. Apart from the church tower nothing survives prior to 1400 but the town does have a good selection of early 17th century, Tudor buildings surviving. During the Napoleonic war period the town thrived with the price of meat and wool soaring. But following Waterloo this prosperity waned. And then came the Victorians and in the space of 40 years the town was transformed with much of its historical core destroyed. It has to be said that John was not too complimentary about the Victorian input. On the whole, like many towns of similar size, the fortunes of Knighton have ebbed and flowed but through all its adversity Knighton still survives as the border market town we see today. The walk concluded at John’s lovely riverside house where a sumptuous, and the word can only be sumptuous, cream tea was served. And as the sun set on John’s and his wife Margaret’s peaceful garden we happy explorers reflected on a very pleasant afternoons enlightenment.    Mark Wheatland


September Talk: The ‘History of Cider’

by Penny Platts

Penny Platts is well known to the Society having given talks to us in the past. This time Penny will present her ‘History of Cider’ talk. The illustrated talk will cover the history of cider-making, particularly in Herefordshire and refer specifically to Viscount Scudamore and the famous Redstreak cider apple and the very high quality of Herefordshire cider in the 17th century. She will also talk about the 19th century foundation of the Weston’s and Bulmer’s cider companies.  The talk will then explore the development of particular varieties of cider apples and perry pears to make the drinks as full of flavour as possible. The process of cider and perry making will also be covered from the old stone horse-driven mills to modern mechanised methods used today.

The talk concludes with a short film, made by Penny and her husband, John, showing the various processes from collecting the fruit to bottling of the final product. It is quite possible that tasting samples will be available for your enjoyment too. In October we will visit the Orgasmic Cider Company at Great Parton, Eardisley and will be able to see first-hand the processes Penny has described.  This will be our first talk after the summer recess and those who can are encouraged to come and support Penny.   Mark Wheatland

Dates for your Diary.



Sunday 14th July; Duncan James will lead a guided walk around Pembridge. On this walk we will discover and discuss the construction of some of the buildings Duncan mentioned in his April talk to the Society.    Members are requested to meet at 2 p.m. at the Market Hall, next to The New Inn


Friday 20th September 7:30pm at Kington Junior School talk by Penny Platts.   (See above).