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16th Century Painted Room

   
Address : 1 Church Street
Town/City : Ledbury
County : Herefordshire
Country : England
Post code : HR8 1DH
Phone : 01531 632306
Web Site :  www.ledburytowncouncil.gov.uk

16th Century Painted Room, Town Council Office, Ledbury re-opening on Saturday 4th July 2020.

In line with the latest government guidance on Covid-19 we will be re-opening the 16th Century Painted Room on Saturday July 4th 2020.

Opening hours will be:

Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 11.00 A.M. to 1.00P.M. and 2.00P.M. to 4.00P.M.

Numbers will be limited so we are offering regular 15-minute tours which will take place on the hour, at quarter past, half past and quarter to the hour.

We will be using the entrance door on Church Lane.

Although you can just turn up and see if space is available, we have set up a simple daily booking system. To avoid unnecessary queuing, we suggest that you call in and book your visit on arrival in Ledbury,
If you would like to book in advance please email us at tourguides@ledburytowncouncil.gov.uk or contact us through the 16th Century Painted Room Facebook page
We hope to have an online booking system up and running soon.

Entrance is free but we rely on sales and donations to help to keep the 16th Century Painted Room open to the public. Please note that we are a CASH ONLY organisation so please bring with you all that money that you haven't been able to spend anywhere during lockdown!

Please observe all the restrictions we have put in place to protect both staff and visitors.

We look forward to welcoming all our visitors new and old back to the 16th Century Painted Room, Ledbury. 

 

 

Number 1 Church Street in Ledbury stands at the junction of the 'Kings Highway' with the east/west track, leading from Hereford Cathedral to Ledbury Parish Church, and has undoubtedly been the site of continuous human activity for more than 1,000 years.

We had hoped to open the 16th Century Painted Room to the public for the 2020 season on Good Friday this year, but it was not to be. In March we had already started planning how we could manage if it were going to be possible to open to a limited number of visitors and with social distancing measures. We had reduced the numbers of chairs and were considering operating a booking system with 15-minute visits so that visitors wouldn't need to queue. The week before the lock down we had a big coach party booked in. Up until almost the last minute they were still hoping to come, but then because so many of the group were in the older, more vulnerable age group, it was with a heavy heart and great disappointment that the organiser decided to cancel. Then in late March along came the lockdown when all our plans had to be shelved for the time being. So, what to do next? Earlier in the year we had decided to set up a Facebook page for the 16th Century Painted Room, hoping that we could reach a wider audience and encourage more visitors. As the country went into lockdown It seemed an ideal medium through which to engage with the public in a safe manner and we decided to make a series of short videos to tell people about the wall paintings. Each week since Easter, we have filmed and posted a new episode. The first, introductory video was a simple affair, filmed in a fixed camera position by the Tour Guide Manager using a smartphone. As the weeks went by however, they have become of necessity rather more elaborate with the subject matter requiring close ups of the relevant material and the addition of background music. There are now six videos in the series, The History of the 16th Century Painted Room, all lasting between 5 and 7 minutes. They tell the story of the discovery of the wall paintings in 1989 during major restoration work to the Town Council Offices in Ledbury, take you through the research that followed and the dating of them, to the detail about the patterns and their inspirations. The videos can be viewed on our Facebook page by searching for the 16th Century Painted Room or follow the link https://www.facebook.com/Ledburys-16th-Century-Painted-Room-103137957970785/

The town council tour guides would normally also offer visitors the opportunity to visit the 17th Century Market House, Ledbury's Iconic timber framed building. However, although the government is starting to ease the lockdown restrictions in some areas, whilst there is still no sign of any easing of the lockdown for museums, libraries, hotels, cafés, restaurants and pubs, tourism for the county as a whole is in jeopardy. We still hope that we will be able to open at some point this season but In the meantime, we plan a further series of videos, which will be about the history of the Market House and the charter market in Ledbury established on the site in the 12th century. As part of the easing of lock down restrictions the charter market has been allowed to reopen. Please come and support our local traders on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

We are being optimistic and are still preparing for the day when we can re-open to the public this summer. A two metre limit on social distancing will be a challenge in the 16th Century Painted Room, as the room is not big. Realistically we could probably only allow in 4 visitors at a time. If the limit is eased to one metre, then life will be easier for us as we could manage up to eight visitors in each group. Most of the seating will be removed and doors left open as much as possible to avoid the unnecessary touching of surfaces. Neither of the buildings can be left open and unmanned. For this reason, although we have no issues with limited space in the Market House, sadly we would feel unable to offer Market house tours when we initially reopen, as we need to protect our tour guides and visitors from exposure to risk. We are very dependant on visitor donations and sales of souvenir items to fund the opening of the 16th Century Painted Room and have always operated mostly on a cash basis. It remains to be seen whether the changes brought about by Covid 19 and the reduction in the use of cash as a medium will affect us. We will have to consider whether it is now the time to put in contactless payment methods to ensure that we do not see a drop in income.

It was our intention to slightly increase our opening hours this year to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, 11.00 to 1.00a.m. and 2.00 to 4.00p.m. We also intended to advertise for staff as two of our tour guides left at the end of the season, but because we don't yet know if we can open at all this year, we haven't yet done so. This means that we may be a little bit understaffed when we are able to re-open. If you think that you might be interested in becoming a tour guide at the 16th Century Painted Room, please let us know. We would be pleased to hear from you and happy to consider you for the position when we are able to once more welcome the public back to the 16th Century Painted Room. We look forward to seeing all our visitors in the undoubtably challenging times ahead.

 


 

In Elizabethan times Ledbury was a small town of approximately 650 people and the market and religious centre for some additional 880 rural parishioners. Yet despite having records for Ledbury going back to 1557 and beyond, for this building - unlike others around it - there is, as yet, no exact record of either its purpose or its inhabitants.

Ledbury Parish Church Archives tell us that in the late 15th or early 16th century, there may have been built here a new Booth Hall to replace the early 15th Century one sited where the Feather's Hotel now stands. Ring dating carried out in 2007 shows that the market end of the building dates from 1510. Resident in the Booth
Hall was the Town Constable who had responsibility for the proper conduct of markets and fairs, market toll gathering, control of vagrants, the distribution of poor law monies, with an upstairs room to be set aside for use as a court of Piepowder. This might account for the choice of texts in the Painted Room with their emphasis on good citizenship, duty and love.

Opening Times.
March 11.30am to 3.00pm Monday to Friday
1st April to end of October 11.00am to 4.00pm Monday to Friday (& Saturdays from Spring Bank Holiday to end September)
Sundays (Spring Bank Holiday to end September) & Bank Holidays 1.00pm to 4.00pm

Admission Free, Donations Welcome
Booked tours at other times (there is a small charge).

 

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