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Ross-on-Wye

High Street

The High Street, Ross-on-Wye, leads from where it meets Edde Cross Street, Wilton Road and Wye Street then down between the end of St. Mary's Street and the Corn Exchange, past the end of Church Street, round between the Market House and John Kyrle's House as it runs through the Market Place and then it bares right at the junction with Broad Street and Gloucester Road passing by King Georges Rest until it almost immediately finishes when it meets Old Gloucester Road and Copse Cross Street.

The building which is the Old Court House, in the photo below left, is currently a gallery to the right and a B&B in the left-hand part.

High Street Ross-on-Wye
The Old Court House
(Click for a larger image)

This part of the High Street, from St. Mary's Street to the top of Dock Pitch (now part of Wye Street) was, in the 17th century, called Wilton Gate, although the actual location of any gate that may have been here is unknown. Following this, in the 18th century, this section was called Townsend and until later still, and in the present day, it became part of the High Street.

High Street Ross-on-Wye
The view up the High Street from the the junction with St. Mary's Street towards Edde Cross Street
(Click for a larger image)

The Old Court house is a 17th century grade II listed building near to the centre of Ross-on-Wye, with some parts believed to date back further. It has a wealth of oak beams, ingle nook fireplaces and original stone walls along with a Folly Garden. Back in the 17th century it was the home of Aquilla Smith Doctor of Physics. Other owners have included doctors, clergy and a famous surveyor

And this is followed by the Old Book Store.

This used to be two shops but has since been made into a single larger one.

High Street Ross-on-Wye
The Old Book Store in the High Street
(Click for a larger image)

The Swan and Falcon Inn

The Swan and Falcon Inn Ross-on-Wye
Site of The Swan and Falcon Inn
(Click for a larger image)

Opposite is the old site of The Swan and Falcon Inn (now private residences).

This was visited by Nelson in 1802 and John Byng, the 5th Viscount Torrington (18/02/1742 to 08/01/1813), in 1787.

In August 1802, Lord Nelson visited Wales and the Forest of Dean. He was on a pleasure trip with Sir William Hamilton and his wife Emma, who was also Nelson's mistress. The party passed through Ross-on-Wye and they stopped in the Swan and Falcon Inn and then travelled on into Pembrokeshire, where Sir William owned land.

John Byng was a famous diarist, and he wrote the Torrington Diaries in which he mentions a visit to Ross during one of his journeys.

The shop that can just be seen to the right of the doors that is now "Parklands Gallery", used to be "Castle & Co." who were wine and beer merchants.


Lloyds Bank

Then is passes Lloyds Bank at the junction with St. Mary's Street.

Loyds Bank Ross-on-Wye
Lloyds Bank Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)

In the postcard view below left, to the right can be seen a bank followed by a shop selling Judges Postcards. Next along is Brown and Seymour Ltd which has various signs about hair cutting outside. Further down on the corner of Church Street is a shop with a dentists above it. On the left is Radleys Complete Outfitters and a bit further down can be seen the sign for the Kings Head Hotel.

The High Street Ross-on-Wye
A postcard view of the High Street Ross-on-Wye
[No. 67702 published by Friths]
(Click for a larger image)
The High Street Ross-on-Wye
A postcard view of the top end of the High Street
[Unknown publisher]
(Click for a larger image)

In the postcard view above right, is a shot from slightly further down the street. In the middle of the shot is a person riding a bike down the street whilst a motorbike and sidecar is coming up the street and following that is a car. To the right is Heals who were outfitters and further down, on the corner of Church Street is Turners Shoe shop. The shop entrance still has Turners Rightform Shoes decorating it [image]. On the right can be seen the signs for the New Theatre Cinema and the Kings Head Hotel.


The Corn Exchange

Opposite this is the Corn Exchange.

The Corn Exchange was built in 1862 and was designed by Thomas Nicholson.

Corn Exchange Ross-on-Wye
The Corn Exchange on the High Street Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)

This is a postcard view looking down the High Street with the Kings Head immediately on the left. On the right is a comparative view taken recently.

The Kings Head
The High Street and Kings Head
[Published by Judges]
(Click for a larger image)
High Street Ross-on-Wye
The view down from the junction with St. Mary's Street towards the Market House
(Click for a larger image)

From the day the Corn Exchange opened the first floor was always associated with entertainment.

Regular events like cabaret, bands, poetry readings, opera, plays and roller-skating, which was all the fashion in the town at point, were held there.

The hall was granted a license to be a cinema in 1922 and took the name 'The New Theatre' and kept this name until its destruction in 1939 due to fire.

Corn Exchange Ross-on-Wye
The Corn Exchange on the High Street Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)

The Capital and Counties Bank

Capital and Counties Bank Ross-on-Wye
The site of the Capital and Counties Bank on the High Street Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)

The there is a building opposite on the other side of St. Mary's Street from Lloyds and that was the Capital and Counties Bank until 1918.

The building is currently offices or a private residence.


The Ross Gazette Office

This building was the Ross Gazette Office between 1883 and 1915 when the site lease was sold to Midland Bank and it moved to Man of Ross House.

The site of the Gazette Office until 1914
The site of the Ross Gazette Office on the High Street Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)

Waterfall Antiques Ross-on-Wye
Waterfall Antiques on the High Street Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)

This shop was Turners shoe shop and the mosaic in the entrance still shows this.


This shop was Ross Pet Supplies (or something similar - I am not sure exactly) during the 1980's and they closed in the late 1980's and the shop has been empty since then.

Unfortunately this shop is bound up in some controversy as who owns the shop is unknown hence nothing can currently be done with it.

During the 1950's, this was Baileys and they sold leather goods.

Site of Ross Pet Supplies
The site of Ross Pet Supplies on the High Street Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)

High Street Ross-on-Wye
The view up the High Street from the Market House to the junction with St. Mary's Street
(Click for a larger image)

The view below is pre-1915 and the Ross Gazette office is still shown on the corner of the High Street and Church Street on the left.

To the right of the shot, there is the Crystal Cafe and Board House which also did Accommodation for Cycles. This is currently Annie's restaurant. Next up the street is the Kings Head Hotel and then there is the Corn Exchange which is now offices and Grandma Peggy's sweet shop.

The High Street Ross-on-Wye
A postcard view of the High Street Ross-on-Wye
[No. 54484 published by Friths]
(Click for a larger image)

The Saracen's Head

This building was the Saracen's Head and is recorded as being open during the 17th century although the exact date it first opened is not clear.

This half timbered building used to be hidden under a layers of plaster until it started to be removed sometime in the late 1890's or early 1900's. At the turn of the century it was covered over but by 1905 the plaster had been removed from the walls of the second floor. It wasn't until just after 1920 that the first floor was uncovered leaving it looking pretty much as it does today, although the ground floor shop fronts have changed many times over the years.

During the 18th century the building was split in two and the Saracen's Head occupied the left hand side with a shop on the right. In 1931 the shop was occupied by Ernest Butterworth who was a Photographic and Dispensing Chemist. The Inn finally closed its door's in 1969 and was then converted into a shop. It was recently 'The Basement' which was a youth centre (or something like that - I am not entirely sure) but currently (10-9-05) it is empty and up for Let.

Saracen`s Head Ross-on-Wye
The site of the Saracen's Head on the High Street Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)

Saracen`s Head Ross-on-Wye
The carvings on what was the Saracen's Head
(Click for a larger image)

This building is famous for its rich decoration including carvings of Tudor roses, pointy bearded heads (as seen to the left) and grapes.

Philip Price, the vicar in Ross during the time of the Plague, was turned out of his living by the Puritans and the landlord of this inn reputedly gave him shelter and that he spent his last days here.


This is a postcard view (published by R.E. Davies) of a collision on the High Street between a bus and a lorry outside of the Saracens Head Inn (on the right) sometime between 1922 and 1939. The bus belonged to B.Barnes & Sons who were based in Bury Road Rawtenstall which is in Lancashire and the lorry may well have been one of Llewellyn's who were based in the Station Yard in Ross.

A collision on the High Street
A postcard view of a collision on the High Street
[Thanks to Richard Mayo]
(Click for a larger image)

Kyrle House

Kyrle House Ross-on-Wye
The house where on John Kyrle lived on the High Street Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)

This was where John Kyrle lived. He was born in Dymock in 1637 and was then educated at Gloucester Grammar School followed by being a gentleman commoner at Balliol College, Oxford. He moved to Ross in 1660 and lived in "Kyrle House" beside the market house. Following his death in 1724, it became an Inn called "The King's Arms". This closed in 1805 and was then divided into a holiday flat and various shop units. From 1915 to around 2000 this was the home of the the Ross Gazette which is the local newspaper. It then became Colemans stationers.


The Orange mobile phone shop, that can be seen to the right of Kyrle House, was, in 1905, Taynton (JM) who was a fruitier, florist and greengrocer. By the 1950's this was Bryants who where also vegetable and wholesale merchants. They had a box like Trojan van for doing their deliveries.


The two postcards below and the one to the left show John Kyrle's House Ross at various different times.

Below left shows the building in 1911 when H. C. Jefferies had a Printers and Stationers shop there, along with a public library. Mr. Jefferies had taken over the stationers from Powles. In 1914, The Ross Gazette took over the premises and changed the frontage; they then continued to run the library. The picture to the left shows a much wider angle, also showing the shop next door, which was Harts the Chemists.

John Kyrles House
A postcard view of John Kyrles House, Ross
[unknown publisher]
(Click for a larger image)

H.C.Jefferies
A postcard view of H.C.Jefferies shop in 1911
[published by H.C.Jefferies]
(Click for a larger image)
The High Street
A postcard view of the Ross Gazette shop post 1914
[published by Ross Gazette]
(Click for a larger image)

Kyrle House
A view of Kyrle House showing Powle's shop
[Unknown publisher]
(Click for a larger image)

This is a great postcard showing the frontage of Kyrle House when Matthews and Powles had shops there (circa 1900). Below are the two shop windows in greater detail.


Powles window
Powles window
(Click for a larger image)
Matthews window
Matthews window
(Click for a larger image)

John Kyrle's Summer House

Behind Kyrle House is John Kyrle's Summer House (two postcard views below) which used to belong to the shop and various shop keepers have done tours in the past. It has since been sold for private use.

The John Kyrle Summer House
The John Kyrle Summer House, Ross c.1903
[Unknown publisher]
(Click for a larger image)
Ross - Man of Ross Summer House
Ross - Man of Ross' Summer House c.1907

(Click for a larger image)

This is a postcard (published by Frith's - no. 67701) view of the arches under the Market House showing the High Street from around 1914 (World War 1).

To the right of the picture, is H.C. Jefferies news agent and printers (the shop with Powle over the door) with "All the war news" written next to the door dating the card to World War I and the "Ross Gazette" moved into that shop in around 1915.

Next, on the left of H.C. Jefferies, is "Matthews Chemist & Drugist" with it's signs on the outside of the shop.

Kyrle House Ross-on-Wye
A postcard view out from under the Market House Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)

Kyrle House Ross-on-Wye
A T. Matthews, Ross pill pot
(Click for a larger image)

This is a wooden pill pot from T. Matthews Chemist Ross, with The Pills, Mrs Smith 65,53408 written on the lid.

The pot has been turned from a piece of wood with great skill and the lid fits perfectly. Amazing to think this is equivalent to the mass-produced plastic pots we use today.


This is a porcelain pot that used to contain Areca Nut Tooth Paste prepared and sold by Thomas Matthews, Chemist Ross, with a picture of John Kyrle on the lid.

The pot top and base are chipped and damaged but it is still an interesting example.

Thomas Matthews toothpaste pot
A Thomas Matthews toothpaste pot lid
(Click for a larger image)

J.F.Hart bottle
A J.F.Hart bottle
(Click for a larger image)

Harts the Chemists was run first by J.H.Hart in 1914 and by 1933 it was run by J.F.Hart and the bottle shown here was dispensed by Mr. J.F. Hart. When Mr. Hart retired in around 1965 the name J.F.Hart continued to be used by the subsequent owners of the shop which included Mr. B. W. Watson and Mr. B.R. Butler M.P.S.


Kyrle House Ross-on-Wye
A postcard view out from under the Market House Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)

This is a postcard (published by Frith's - no. 84590 [I think]) view out from the arches under the Market House showing the High Street from around 1916.

This is a later view out from under the market arches. This view is probably around 1916 because this was when the "Ross Gazette" moved from its original location at the junction of Church Street and High Street down to Kyrle House.


This is the High Street and Market House seen from around the Gloucester Road junction.

More details can be found in the old pictures section here.

High Street Ross-on-Wye
The view up the High Street from Market Place up the side of the Market House
(Click for a larger image)
High Street Ross-on-Wye
The Market Place
(Click for a larger image)

High Street Ross-on-Wye
The view from the Market Place up towards the
Copse Cross Street and Old Gloucester Road junction
(Click for a larger image)

This is the view up the High Street towards the point where it meets Copse Cross Street and Old Gloucester Road. To the left used to be the Rosswyn Inn, which closed due to a fire in the bar area, and is now up for sale with permission for conversion into flats.


King George's Rest

This shop was until recently one of the two shops used by Wye Electrical Services. Originally this was a pub that was opened to commemorate the visit to the town by King George IV, in 1821, and the subsequent upset this caused.

In 1821, the main passage through the town was up Wye Street (called Dock Pitch at the time) because Wilton Road had not been built at this time. Then travellers went along the High Street and out of the Town along Old Gloucester Road (probably called Arthurs Lane at that time) as Gloucester Road had not been built at this time. This meant horses and carriages had to go around the sharp corner between the High Street and Old Gloucester Road and along the narrow street.

King George`s Rest Ross-on-Wye
King George's Rest on the High Street Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)

The Nag`s Head Ross-on-Wye
The site of the Nag's Head on the High Street Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)

On the corner between the High Street and Old Gloucester Road was the Nag's Head Inn (now converted into a shop) and on the day the King came, a carrier had parked his wagon here whilst he unloaded and the horses had been removed.

The King had to wait in a Pub called The Butchers Arms whilst the blockage was cleared and he was decidedly 'unhappy' about this and set about planning the towns future and he threatened to remove the town from the coaching route unless this was sorted out. Because of this, in 1825 the current Gloucester Road was constructed and later The Butchers Arms was renamed to commemorate the visit.


The building in the middle is the back of the Kyrle Summer House, which is behind Kyrle House, and is now a private residence.

The road shown in the middle bottom of the shot is one of the ancient roads in Ross and is still cobbled. It shows signs of wear from the passing of carts and similar forms of transport.

High Street Ross-on-Wye
Old buildings opposite the end of Old Gloucester Road where it meets the high street
(Click for a larger image)

High Street Ross-on-Wye
The view from the end of the High Street back towards the Market Place
(Click for a larger image)

This is the view back down toward the Market Place from the point where Copse Cross Street, the High Street and Old Gloucester Road meet.




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[Page updated: Jun 09 2012 21:45:08]






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