Local History

The history of Ross-on-Wye is has left relics through time that can be seen as walkers explore the town and surrounding countryside.  The earliest history of the area is recorded in the geology and the structure of the rock that shapes the landscape.  Herefordshire was the home of the earliest geologists’ society, The Woolhope Club, that continues today; and the county exhibits wonderful examples of how the tectonic plate movements and subsequent river erosion have shaped the foundation stones and contours you can see today.

Evidence of the first settlers in prehistoric times were found in King Arthurs Cave on the Doward, with the remains of early animals and flints; and there are various Iron Age hill forts across the area.  The nearest of these to Ross-on-Wye, at Chase Hill, was thought to have been extensively occupied from the 5-4th centuries BC. Then later, the Romans moved into the area, with a prominent trading centre at Ariconium, just a few miles to the East of the current town. 

The actual foundation of Ross in its current location high on the red sandstone cliff remains a mystery, though it was clearly documented as a village with a church, corn mill and a manor house in the 1086 Domesday Book.  From those Norman times the village grew into a bustling market town, which was a key stopping point on the route from south Wales and Hereford to London, crossing the Wye at Wilton.  The most prominent local building to survive today is the iconic St Mary’s Church tower which dates from about 700 years ago; surrounded now by the gardens of the Prospect viewpoint which were laid out by John Kyrle in the 17th C, the “Man of Ross” who remains the greatest benefactor the town has ever had. Many more …. Of the legacy of John Kyrle can still be seen around the town
To find out more about the really interesting

Sources of Further Information:

There are lots of books and maps available providing more information on the local area.
As a first stop we would recommend a visit to Rossiter Books www.rossiterbooks.co.uk where the staff are really helpful and informative.

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