Leominster is the gateway to The Black & White Trail. It stands where the A44 meets the A49, a short drive South of Ludlow.
Henry II bestowed the minster and its estates on Reading Abbey, which founded a priory
at Leominster in 1121, although there was one here from Saxon times. Its Priory Church
of St. Peter and St. Paul, which now serves as the parish church, is the remaining
part of this 12th-
The priory was ransacked by the Welsh forces of Owain Glyndŵr after their victory at the Battle of Bryn Glas near Pilleth in 1402, along with several local manor houses.
Investigations to the north of the priory in 2005 located the position of the cloister, although most of the stone had been stolen following the Dissolution. Discarded animal bones found on the site when submitted to carbon dating showed that the area was occupied in the 7th century. This agrees with the date of 660 CE associated with the founding myth, which suggests a Christian community was established here by a monk, St. Edfrid, from Northumberland.
Leominster is also the historical home of Ryeland sheep, a breed once famed for its "Lemster" wool, known as 'Lemster ore'. This wool was prized above all other English wool in trade with the continent of Europe in the Middle Ages. It was the income and prosperity from this wool trade that established the town and the minster and attracted the envy of the Welsh and other regions.
From approximately 1748 to 1754, Leominster was home to one of only four early cotton spinning mills employing the spinning machines of Lewis Paul and John Wyatt.
One of the last ordeals by ducking stool took place in Leominster in 1809, with Jenny Pipes as the final incumbent. The ducking stool is on public display in Leominster Priory; a mechanised depiction of it is featured on the town clock.
Today the town is a thriving hub of antique shops, galleries and historic buildings. A great starting point for exploring The Black & White Trail.