LUDLOW CHURCH Shropshire
See also the article on Ludlow Castle

The town of Ludlow is on the A49 approximately halfway between Shrewsbury and Hereford.
(grid reference SO 512747  -  postcode: SY8 1AW)         

Article by Hugh Wood

Ludlow has the largest parish church in Shropshire and it has several examples of Mortimer heraldry. In 1308 the ageing Geoffrey de Geneville granted Ludlow Castle and all his possessions in Ireland to his granddaughter Joan de Geneville and her husband Roger Mortimer of Wigmore (d1330) later to become 1st Earl of March. Ludlow Castle remained the property of the Mortimers until the male Wigmore line died out in 1425 when it passed to Richard, Duke of York (d1460). Through his son, who became King Edward IV, it passed to the Crown.

Ludlow 1
Photo: © Ian Capper  (CC BY-SA 2.0 licence)

By 1199 there was already a huge church on this site and much of the masonry in the south and west walls remains from that date. The south porch and transepts were built during the time of the Mortimers. Around 1320 a new north aisle was built, probably by Theobald de Verdon (d1326). He is commemorated by contemporary coats of arms in the heads of three adjacent windows in the aisle. The middle one shows the Verdon arms and these are flanked by, on the right, the arms of his first wife, Maud Mortimer (d1312) and, on the left, those of his second wife, Elizabeth de Clare (d1360). Maud Mortimer was a sister of Roger Mortimer and will have borne the same coat of arms. Although many early coats of arms have survived, it is unusual to know exactly which member of a family they commemorate, so these Mortimer arms are of major significance.

Like other 'wool' churches in East Anglia and elsewhere, Ludlow church was greatly changed in the middle of the 15th century. The roofs were raised, beautiful new arcades were erected in the nave and the chancel was extended with new windows, all in the 'perpendicular' style. Much of the glory of the church dates from that time, with surviving 15th century glass and a range of outstanding carved misericords on the choir stalls.

The tomb of Ambrosia Sidney (d1574), young daughter of Sir Henry Sidney (d1586), Lord President of the Council of Wales and the Marches, displays much heraldry. Her mother was a sister of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester (d1588) and the Dudley arms display a Mortimer quartering. These Dudleys were descendants on the female side of Sir Hugh Mortimer of Martley (d1460) and through him of Roger Mortimer of Chirk (d1326).

The west window of the church shows 19th century representations of some of the owners of the castle, together with their coats of arms. These include:

1

 
Roger Mortimer 1st Earl of March (d1330). It is interesting to note that the version of the Mortimer arms displayed in this 19th century window differs significantly from the (presumably correct) version in the contemporary 14th century Maud Mortimer window.

2

Edmund Mortimer 3rd Earl of March (d1381) who married Philippa, Countess of Ulster, granddaughter of King Edward III

3

Richard, Earl of Cambridge (d1415) who married Anne Mortimer (d1411) sister of the last Earl of March.


       Ludlow 2                                       Ludlow 3
14th century arms of Maud Mortimer, sister of Roger Mortimer (d1330)              19th century arms of Roger Mortimer & Joan de Geneville

There are also representations of Richard, Duke of York (d1460), of his son King Edward IV and of the young King Edward V.

Also commemorated in the west window is Arthur, Prince of Wales, eldest son of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Married to Katherine of Aragon, he died at Ludlow castle when only 15. His 'heart' was buried in this church but his body is in his tomb in Worcester cathedral.

For a more detailed history and some excellent photographs click here