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Local Books

We aim to stock a wide range of local interest titles and we are committed to supporting local writers and publishers.

Recollections

Recollections of Ross by Jon Hurley

Explores 1,000 years of the history of Ross on Wye and the Wye Valley. This book covers subjects which include the war years, poverty, drink and festivities, the surrounding landscape and the church. It also includes old quotations and memories and is illustrated with over 120 images.

(Description courtesy of Tempus)

 

 

 

Ross through time

Ross-on-Wye Through Time by Emma Cheshire-Jones

Ross-on-Wye sits high on a sandstone cliff overlooking a horseshoe bend in the beautiful River Wye. The birthplace of tourism, it boasts a rich tapestry of heritage and a unique landscape. Ross-on-Wye Through Time highlights the rich gems Ross has to offer. St Mary’s church is its best-known landmark and can be seen from all approaches, housing notable tombs of past stalwarts of the town. John Kyrle was just one of these figures and his name was given to the local high school and an inn. In more recent years, names associated with the town have included Dennis Potter and Richard Hammond. Today Ross is known for its independent shops, picturesque streets, the Market Square and Market Hall. This fascinating collection of old and new photographs shows how much and, in some cases, how little this historic market town has changed.

(Description courtesy of Amberley)

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Monmouth

Monmouth Through Time by Keith Morgan

Monmouth (Welsh: Trefynwy – ‘town on the Monnow’), is a traditional county town in Monmouthshire, Wales, and is located on the confluence of the River Monnow and River Wye. On the site of a Roman fort, Blestium, it became established as a town when the Normans built a castle here after 1067. In 1387, Monmouth was the birthplace of Henry V, later the hero of the Battle of Agincourt – a legacy that has been reflected in the name given the town square.

In 1536, Monmouth became the county town of Monmouthshire and, three years later, troops were mustered here, the foundation of the Monmouth Militia making the regiment one of the oldest in the country. Monmouth became a market town and a tourist centre at the heart of the Wye Valley. Today, it acts as a shopping and service centre and focus for educational and cultural activities. Through the media of engravings and photographs, the fascinating history of Monmouth is traced over 2,000 years from pre-Roman times to the present day.

(Description courtesy of Amberley)

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Hereford

The Little Book of Herefordshire by David J. Vaughan

The Little Book of Herefordshire is a compendium full of information which will make you say, ‘I never knew that!’ Contained within is a plethora of entertaining facts about Herefordshire’s famous and occasionally infamous men and women, its literary, artistic and sporting achievements, customs ancient and modern, transport, battles and ghostly appearances. A reliable reference book and a quirky guide, this can be dipped in to time and time again to reveal something new about the people, the heritage, the secrets and the enduring fascination of the county. A remarkably engaging little book, this is essential reading for visitors and locals alike.

(Description courtesy of History press)

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Wye

Wye by Richard Hayman

Its natural beauty has long been part of the river’s heritage. In the 18th century the Wye became one of Britain’s first tourist destinations; Chepstow and Goodrich castles and especially Tintern Abbey were inseparable from the pleasures of river scenery. Over two centuries later the Wye is still for most people primarily a river of leisure and pleasure.

Many aspects of the river’s history have been forgotten, however, and this book makes an effort to recover and value them. The river has been an active player in events that have shaped the history of the region.

Having both a Welsh and an English heritage, the Wye has a special unifying role in British culture, as well as exhibiting some of the classic features of a border. The river has been a psychological barrier separating cultures by language, religion and politics, and a physical barrier separating hostile rivals.

(Description courtesy of Logaston Press)

 

Lost Lake

The Lost Lake by Stephen Clarke

Initially unexplained remains in the pebbles and sand of a prehistoric shore, high above the rivers of Monmouth, have led to the discovery of a huge post-glacial lake which covered most of the area almost into historical times. The lake would have formed some 10,000 years ago and is known to have attracted human activity from at least 6,000 years ago – with lakeside settlements during the Middle Stone Age, the New Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. The lake drained during the Iron Age – in the 1st century BC – some time before the Romans arrived in Britain. Now, with this book, the archaeologists are announcing an internationally significant discovery. They believe that they have recognised a prehistoric boat-building site which overlooked the lake during the Bronze Age – perhaps 3,800 years ago.

Stephen Clarke, MBE, FSA, MIfA, is a professional archaeologist with fifty years experience in both amateur and professional archaeology; his team has won the British Archaeological Award for the greatest initiative in Archaeology – the Legal & General Silver Trowel.

 

Homefront

Herefordshire’s Home Front in the First World War by Bill Laws

Herefordshire in 1913 was an old fashioned shire under the benevolent rule of the Church and the gentry. Its bishop was opposed to war and his successor was opposed to women’s suffrage. Many of its farmers refused to plough on a Sunday: many more regarded women as being incapable of farm work. By 1919 the shire was in mourning for over 4,000 men. It had employed over 4,000 women on munitions and another 2,500 on farms. It had put to the plough more rich, milk meadows than any other county in England or Wales. And it had deprived more children of a proper education than any other English county. Herefordshire’s Home Front in the First World War is the story of what happened in those intervening years during the conflict they called the Great War.

The author, himself a former provincial journalist, has trawled the local press and history sources for a host of stories that reveal how people coped with the conflict at home: how the king turned former chauffeur George Butcher into England’s most famous ploughman; the persecution of Socialist war protester Stanley Powell; the gaoling of plucky Welsh munitioneer Elsie Abel who saved the Rotherwas National Filling Factory from an explosion; the fate of the German mistress Mary Bernstein and her child, caught hiding in Hereford; and the Belgian baby they called the Little Refugee. From the widowed Walford clergyman who tried to keep his seven servants from the front to the wounded Orcop soldier given his family home by public subscription, this is the story of a county at war at home.

(Description courtesy of Logaston Press)

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Forest

Exploring Historic Dean by John Sheraton & Rod Goodman

Tucked between the Rivers Severn and Wye, the Forest of Dean is undoubtedly one of Britain’s most beautiful areas and includes some of the most attractive woodland in the country, as well as providing superb views over the Welsh Hills, Malverns, and Cotswolds. Such a landscape offers almost unlimited opportunities for walking, but, it may come as a surprise to learn that the area was once a busy industrial centre, with mines, quarries, ironworks, and others. This publication will guide you on some of the best walking in the area and will give you an insight into its’ fascinating history going back several thousand years.

(Description courtesy of Forest of Dean Ramblers)

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Hereford

The Story of Hereford edited by Andy Johnson & Ron Shoesmith

This book tells the story of Hereford in breadth and depth, including bringing the results of recent research and archaeological investigation to a wider readership. Some chapters cover Hereford’s story in broadly chronological order, while others address particular themes. Alongside more familiar aspects of the city’s history – for example, how it fared in the Civil War, the foundation and history of the cathedral, the navigation of the Wye – there is new material on Saxon Hereford, medieval trade, Georgian Hereford and the activities of freehold land societies in the Victorian period. There is also information on less well known aspects of the city’s past, including Hereford’s prominence as a great centre of scientific and other learning at the end of the twelfth century, and the use of the city as a base by Simon de Montfort, and also by Prince Henry in the wars with Owain Glyn Dwr. Whether you are familiar with Hereford’s history or completely new to it, there is much here to interest, intrigue and surprise.

(Description courtesy of Logaston Press)

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Archaeology of Herefordshire

The Archaeology of Herefordshire by Keith Ray

In recent years Keith Ray, leading Herefordshire Archaeology, the county archaeology service, has worked with local archaeologists and historians, contract archaeology companies, English Heritage, The National Trust, Manchester University, Channel 4’s Time Team and other experts, to generate a wide range of exploratory projects, including many excavations. Much new knowledge and understanding of Herefordshire’s archaeology has been gained as a result of these investigations. In this entirely new study, the author has described what is now known of the county’s archaeology, assessing both the work of past generations and the discoveries of this modern era of enquiry.

(Description courtesy of Logaston Press)

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Walking the Old waysWalking the Old ways of Herefordshire by Andy Johnson

The walks in this book have been chosen with the aim of exploring Herefordshire’s past, with each walk passing or visiting a number of features about which some background information is given. These include churches, castle sites, deserted medieval villages, landscaping activity, quarrying, battle sites, dovecotes, hill forts, Iron Age farmsteads, Saxon dykes and ditches, individual farms and buildings, squatter settlements, almshouses, sculpture, burial sites, canals, disused railway lines – to name but a few, and including some that can only be reached on foot.

They have also been chosen to help you explore Herefordshire’s present, to breathe its good air, from south to north, west to east, from quiet river valleys to airy hilltops, from ancient woodland to meadows and fields, from remote moorland to the historic streets of the county’s towns, and of course Hereford itself. The walks range from 2½ to 9½ miles in length, with the majority being between 3½ and 6½ miles. Each walk has a sketch map and detailed directions, together with background information about features en route. The combination of photographs and historical information, together with the index, make this more than simply a book of walks, but also a companion to and celebration of Herefordshire.

(Description courtesy of Logaston Press)

 

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West Gloucestershire & Wye Valley Lines: Volume I by Neil Parkhouse

The verdant and picturesque county of Gloucestershire was once served by a maze of railway lines, most of which have long since been closed. Fortunately, the scenery and differing railway architecture attracted the attention of a number of photographers many of whom, from the late 1950s, began working with colour transparencies in an era when the majority of railway pictures were still being taken on black & white film. Within these pages is assembled a breathtaking array of well over 500 colour images, coupled with maps, tickets, WTT extracts and other ephemera, to paint a picture of the railways of West Gloucestershire and the Wye Valley as they existed over fifty years ago. The aim has been to show the infrastructure – stations, signal boxes, goods yard, engine sheds – which has been lost, as much as the trains and their motive power. Along the way, some of the other locations which were once railway served – such as docks, quarries and industrial works – are also illustrated. Local people will also find much to enjoy here, as the pictures show far more than just the railway, illustrating much of the surrounding area as it used to be. Whilst the period covered is largely 1960-65, the last years of the steam era on British Railways Western Region, the earliest pictures in this volume are some Dufaycolor slides of Tintern station taken in the 1930s. The cut-off date is the mid 1970s, when Gloucester Central station was rebuilt. The railway system of Great Britain, as it was in the 1950s and 60s, now no longer exists and very little of what is shown in these pictures still remains. This, then, is a chance to sit back and remember the railways of West Gloucestershire and the Wye Valley, in the company of some talented photographers who made it their mission to record this vanishing scene, and to enjoy an altogether simpler way of life than we have today. This is colour as it can and should be used, with five more volumes covering the rest of the county to follow.

(Description courtesy of Black Dwarf Lightmoor)

 

Wye Valley : 40 Hill and Riverside Walks by Ben Giles

From the broad riverside meadows of the Herefordshire plain and the soaring limestone cliffs of the lower gorge near Chepstow to the industrial heritage of the Forest of Dean in the east and the far-reaching views of the Trellech plateau in the west, Ben Giles’ 40 circular routes offer a refreshing introduction to the picturesque landscape of the Wye Valley, one of the most varied places in Britain to explore on foot.

(Description courtesy of Pocket Mountains)

 

 

 

Mappa MundiMappa Mundi by Sarah Arrowsmith

The first chapter of the book tackles some of the questions asked by the many people who visit Hereford Cathedral today to see the Mappa Mundi. Who made the map? Did they think the world was flat? How was it made, and where? The book then shows us the map seen through the eyes of a medieval visitor to the cathedral. It may appear strange to us, with east rather than north at the top, Jerusalem at the centre, and a population of grotesque, semi-human figures and mythical beasts, but – as Sarah Arrowsmith explains – it was intended by its maker to represent a God-centred world view very different from our own. Allowing the book to guide you around the map, you can feel yourself entering the medieval mindset. Perhaps in this medieval world, once you have found Hereford on the map (its image faded from the touches of many pointing fingers), you might trace the route of your pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, relating stories of adventures along the way. You could follow the winding trail taken by Moses and the Israelites, or recount another of the many Bible stories the map represents. You might want to impress bystanders with your knowledge of Alexander’s campaigns, or thrill them with tales of encounters with the strange races that dwell in the lands at the edges of the world – the four-eyed Marmini or the Blemmyes with no heads – or the bestiary of exotic, fabled and mythical creatures that riot across the map, from the elephant and the parrot to the unicorn, the griffin and the defecating bonnacon. For the medieval viewer, the lands of the map and their inhabitants carried moral and divine instruction as well as satisfying, or provoking, their curiosity about what lay beyond the horizon.

(Description courtesy of Logaston Press)

 

overlooking the WyeOverlooking the Wye

Visitors have delighted in the landscape of the Wye Valley for centuries. British tourism was born here in the late 1700s, when the Wye Tour became fashionable as a two day boat trip from Ross on Wye to Chepstow. Tourists marvelled at the inspirational views and picturesque ruins, and loved the thick smoke and beating hammers of the ironworks which lined the river and added ‘grandeur’ to the scenery. As one of the earliest areas in Britain to industrialise, the Wye Valley was at the cutting edge of Britain’s industrial development some two hundred years before the Industrial Revolution.

Much of this heritage was forgotten about and culturally overlooked, until the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership ran Overlooking the Wye, a £3 million Lottery funded scheme, to help people understand and enjoy this historic landscape. Through conservation and interpretation works this hidden history was brought back to life. As a legacy of Overlooking the Wye, this book opens a door for you into that past, with stories, paintings, poetry and photographs illustrating the remarkable heritage of the Wye Valley. We hope you are inspired to explore this internationally important protected landscape, which straddles the England-Wales border. You will be continuing a tradition dating back hundreds of years.

(Description courtesy of Black Dwarf)

 

in search of john kyrleIn Search of John Kyrle: The Man of Ross by Jon Hurley 

Once widely known and highly respected, ask about John Kyrle today and you’d be surprised how many head scratchers, brow wrinklers and shoulder shruggers you’ll encounter. What exactly did Kyrle do to be remembered as the Man of Ross? Why are roads, pubs, cottages, houses and even a country walk still bearing his name? And why has a man who did so much for his community been almost forgotten? It was three centuries ago. How many people, apart from kings, queens and minor dictators with inferiority complexes, live that long in the public consciousness? John Kyrle must have had something about him.

(Description courtesy of Fineleaf)

 

 

ross on wye revisitedRoss-on-Wye Revisited by Tim Ward 

Tim Ward has been a collector of postcards and photographs of Ross for many years, and this book displays some of his latest acquisitions. They include aerial views of parts of the town, a very early photograph of the churchyard, views of Ross’s quiet streets in the days before they became congested with motor traffic – and of the changes after the heavy lorries arrived. There are dramatic images of floods and storms, and nostalgic ones of pubs (some since demolished) and tea rooms, and of festivals. There are several of military parades, for in the early 1900s Ross was a major training base for the newly formed Territorial Army. There are also photographs of some of the old slums, since cleared away, and of fires and accidents. Tim has spent much time researching the events in the photographs, and through words and the images themselves weaves together a seldom-seen and affectionate history of Ross over the years.

(Description courtesy of Logaston Press)

 

Monmouth

Portrait of Monmouthshire by Nick Jenkins

In over 140 full-colour images, acclaimed photographer Nick Jenkins explores the ‘old’ county of Monmouthshire and, in doing so, shows the incredible diversity of the region: from valleys dominated by King Coal and the iron and steelv industries to the lush farmlands around Monmouth and Abergavenny to the low lying marshlands to the east and the west of Newport.

(Description courtesy of Halsgrove)

 

 

 

wyeThe Wye Valley Walk (official guide): Chepstow to Powys through an AONB

The official guide to backpacking or walking the Wye Valley Walk, 136 miles through the Welsh borders, crossing between Wales and England, from the coast at Chepstow to the slopes of Plynlimon. Easy walking on good paths, passing sites such as Tintern Abbey, Goodrich Castle, Hereford Cathedral and Hay-on-Wye. The Wye Valley Way offers a perfect mix of river and hill walking as it follows the River Wye. The walk leads through a dramatic limestone gorge, dense woodland beneath limestone crags and past peaceful river meadows in some of the most superb scenery in the heart of the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the birthplace of tourism and the Picturesque movement. The route passes through historic Tintern, Monmouth and Ross-on-Wye and into the gentler rolling landscape of Herefordshire with black and white villages, famed cider orchards, landscaped parks and fertile agricultural plains into the rugged uplands of Powys. This new official guide describes the whole route in detail, from Chepstow to its source in Hafren Forest, all illustrated with colour photographs and OS map extracts, and also includes a Wye Valley Walk passport, for walkers to collect stamps along the route for a permanent record of their journey.

(Description courtesy of Cicerone Press)

 

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Herefordshire’s River Trade by Heather Hurley

The story of the trade on the rivers Wye and Lugg in Herefordshire has never been told in its entirety – until now. Local historian Heather Hurley has delved into barge accounts, the pages of the Hereford Times and Hereford Journal, and the papers of firms and businesses based on or near the banks of the two rivers to produce this account. It covers the type of craft used, the cargoes carried, the families of boat owners, the masters and crew of the boats, accidents on the water, the development of wharves, the hiring of bowhauliers and the advent of the horse towing path. Perhaps most surprising is the extent of boat building along the banks of the Herefordshire Wye, with craft ranging from small ferries to barges and even steam-powered vessels.
But the story is wider than just the rivers and their banks, for it is also about the felling and transporting of timber to supply the shipyards at Plymouth and elsewhere building vessels for the Royal Navy, the need to reduce the price of coal in Hereford, the trade in cider, wine and spirits, and the requirement of lime for agricultural and building purposes. There are also hints of the lifestyles of some of those living near the Wye, indicated by the goods that were ordered and transported by boat.

(Description courtesy of Logaston Press)