Bulletin 394

August/September, 2015

Hay on Wye tour Sunday 18th July
It was a glorious day for a walk around Hay on Wye. The majority of us stayed for the whole day, taking in a Heritage trail in the morning, sampling one or two of Hay’s eating places and then on a ‘hunt’ for the truth about the Herbert Armstrong murder case, ending up in Cusop Church, where he is buried in an unmarked grave. We learnt a lot of facts about Hay and found the comparison of history very similar to Kington’s. Our tour Guides were very informative and gave a lot of atmosphere to the whole day. Here are just a few facts for those who do not know Hay very well. Hay built its wealth on the wool trade. 90% of Hay is in Wales, 10% in England. In the hey days of Trams, Hay held the record of having the longest Tram line, 35 miles long. In 1957, Hay was renamed Hay-on-Wye to stop the confusion with Hay on Orkney. King Richard (the self-proclaimed Richard Booth) has ruled Hay on Wye from 1977, but this is a long story.

The Cheese market is half timbered and was replaced in 1870 but more recently refurbished in 2014, including a holiday apartment above. Booths is the oldest book shop, most shops and businesses are still family owned. In the late Georgian/early Victorian times Hay had 40 public houses and 11 Chapels (much the same as Kington). Hay has 2 castles, a Motte & Bailey and the ruins that can be seen above the market square, which has an improvement plan in progress by 2020.

Barbara Erskine author of Lady of Hay lives in Hay in the old Police Station where Herbert Armstrong was jailed. Which leads to the dilemma of a story in which a man who was, possibly wrongly, convicted of Murder and hanged in 1922 for the crime.   Our tour guide, David Bennett, has written a book about Major Armstrong’s case and is in no doubt that he is innocent. The trail took us through Hay visiting his offices and the rival Solicitor, Dr Henke, who gave evidence that was against him, the Pharmacy where the arsenic was purchased, the police station where he was held, his house and that of his rival solicitor leading up to the beautiful Cusop church. Here we had tea and biscuits served by the church warden. It was a delightful end to the day …. but we had the walk back, over the fields and river back to Hay on Wye. A day to be remembered? Hope you do. Thank you to all the members who came and supported us.

Review by Nancy Wheatland

Next talk Friday 18th Sept Brian Hatton ‘Changing Landscapes’ by Robin Thorndyke.
Joint meeting with Kington Remembers WW1 7.30pm at Kington Primary School No charge for History Society members.

Brian Hatton is Hereford’s most celebrated artist. He was a child prodigy and a prolific producer of exquisitely drawn and accurately observed studies of country life, agricultural scenes and above all, working horses. This is a talk which concentrates on depicting his relationship with a working farm (Warnham Court) and its active life, horses, gypsies, harvesting, ploughing and the daily toil. At a time when centuries of man power and horse power were being replaced with modern methods on Herefordshire’s farms, he captured the rural folk and horses from his childhood until the outbreak of WW1. Brian died young, killed in action April 1916, aged 28 years old.

The Long-awaited ‘Titley Train Ride’ At last we have a date, so please make it free on your calendar as these rides are quite rare. Friday 28th August 5.30pm at Titley Junction Station cost £5 a head which includes tea & biscuits. Non-members welcome. Contact Nancy or Julia to book your place.

Also, KHS will be having a book stall at the Kington Vintage rally on Sunday 16th AugustPlease come along and support us.