After the Norman Conquest Bromyard developed into an important manor of the Bishop, with a palace next to the church.
By 1086 the Bromyard area was fairly large and amongst the residents were forty two tenant farmers and 9 cottagers, plus six slaves; 3 knights, 2 priests, and a chaplain, each of whom had their own land. The population gradually grew and by 1285 it was roughly 1,200 but then various diseases followed by the Black Death in 1348 took serious toll on the inhabitants of Bromyard and the population dropped dramatically. In 1394 a large chunk of the population were labourers (104), and there were 86 domestic servants, plus Masons, dressmakers and shoemakers.
In the early 19th century it was cheap to live in Bromyard, and poor people from miles around flocked to take advantage of this, which inevitably resulted in a rise in general health problems, and in 1850 it was reported that only eleven other places in the whole country had a higher mortality rate.
As with other market towns, Bromyard held fairs – the main ones being the May Mop Fair and the Whit Monday Fair, where those seeking employment held an indication of their trade (hoe if they were a labourer; bridle if they were a horseman etc. etc. If they had no set trade, then they would carry a mop….hence the term Mop Fair). In 1844 the market cross was demolished and the importance of these fairs gradually diminished whilst stock fairs increased in importance, and Bromyard gained a reputation for its horse fair in the Autumn, which thrived until the mid 1950s when the need for horses declined. In 1877 the railway connected Worcester with Bromyard which allowed many more buyers to move stock in and out of the market, and the line was extended to Leominster in 1897. Sadly these lines were closed during the mid 1900s.
Most of the buildings in Bromyard date from the 18th century, but the mediaeval structures are now hidden by modern brick fronts in many cases.
Churches of Bromyard
- St. Peter's Church - Bromyard
The church of St. Peter at Bromyard dates back to the 12th century, and the church registers are amongst the earliest in the country, going back to 1538.Read More >
Buildings in Bromyard
- Lower Brockhampton Manor House and Estate - History
This ancient manor house has to rank amongst the most delightful in Herefordshire. ( Not to be confused with Brockhampton Court near Fownhope)Read More >
- Bromyard Union Workhouse
The Bromyard Workhouse was built in 1836 at a cost of around £3000, the architect being George Wilkinson who also was responsible for the workhouses at Leominster, Weobley and Ledbury.Read More >