Ross and the River Wye
|Population:||10,100 (2009 est.)|
and South Herefordshire
Ross-on-Wye (Welsh: Rhosan ar Wy) is a small market town in south-eastern Herefordshire. It had at the 2001 census a population of 10,089, making it one of Herefordshire's largest towns. Ross stands on the banks of the River Wye, and on the northern edge of the Forest of Dean.
The parish church is St Mary's, which has stood here for some 700 years. It is the town's most prominent landmark and its tall pointed spire is visible when approaching the town from all directions.
The church holds several distinctive tombs, and that of William Rudhall (d.1530) is one of the last great alabaster sculptures from the specialist masons of Nottingham, whose work was prized across mediæval Europe. Rudhall was responsible for the repair of the almshouses, situated to the north west of the church, in 1575. Another tomb is of John Kyrle, a prominent figure in 18th century Ross, whose name is now given to the town's secondary school and after whom one of the town's notable inns, The Man Of Ross, is also named.
- Church of England:
- St Mary the Virgin (see above)
- Baptist: Ross-on-Wye Baptist Church
- Evangelical: New Life Church
- United Reformed Church: Christchurch
- Roman Catholic: St Frances of Rome
The Plague Cross, also known as the Corpse Cross, was erected in the churchyard of St Mary's in 1637 as a memorial to 315 people who died in the town of the plague in 1637. They were buried nearby in a plague pit, at night and without coffins. By 1896, the cross had fallen into disrepair and the top of the cross was missing. It was later restored to its former state.
Ross-on-Wye may claim to be the birthplace of the British tourist industry. In 1745, the rector, Dr John Egerton, started taking friends on boat trips down the valley from his rectory at Ross. The Wye Valley's particular attraction was its river scenery, its precipitous landscapes, and its castles and abbeys, which were accessible to fashionable seekers of the "Picturesque". In 1782, William Gilpin's book "Observations on the River Wye" was published, the first illustrated tour guide to be published in Britain. Once it was published, demand grew so much that by 1808 there were eight boats making regular excursions down the Wye, most of them hired from inns in Ross and Monmouth. By 1850 more than 20 visitors had published their own accounts of the Wye Tour, and the area was firmly established place for visiting holidaymakers.
Sights of the town
Ross-on-Wye is known for its independent shops, picturesque streets and market square with its market hall.
Regular Thursday and Saturday markets are held at the red sandstone Market House in the town centre, which was built between 1650 and 1654 replacing the older, probably wooden Booth Hall. The upper storey of the Market House now houses a Visitor Centre.
Opposite the church, The Prospect is a neat public garden offering a view of the famous horseshoe bend in the River Wye as well as pleasant views as far as the Black Mountains. The ruins of Wilton Castle, which lie to the west of the town, have now been fully restored and are open to visitors.
A number of majestic sculptures stand about the town, created by Walenty Pytel. The left bank of the River Wye boasts two of these, intended to represent ducks and swans.
Ross-on-Wye Cricket Club is the local cricket team, with Ross junior and senior teams, Last season's U15s are currently Herefordshire county champions.
Ross-on-Wye is home to thriving men's and ladies' hockey clubs. The men's club fields two senior teams and has enjoyed considerable success in recent years (league champions 2009/2010). Ross-on-Wye men's hockey club regularly fields a current Welsh international player. Since 2009 the town has not had a senior football team.
In previous years, Ross United F.C. and Woodville F.C. both fielded senior football teams of varying quality. In 1993 these teams were disbanded, and Ross Town F.C. was established, which fielded the best of both teams.
- "Local Monuments". Ross-on-Wye.com. http://www.ross-on-wye.com/index.php?page=ross_426-Monuments. Retrieved 2008-05-09.