Mortimer History Society
Mortimer History Society
(for everyone who is interested in the medieval Mortimers and the history of the Welsh Marches.)
The Mortimer History Society provides a forum for everyone interested in the Mortimers of Wigmore and the medieval Welsh Marches. The website contains a range of information and each year there is a full programme of events and activities:
- Conferences and lecture;
- Workshops, tours and study visits on a wide range of interests – castles, churches, tombs, heraldry, stained glass, dress and textiles, artefacts and documents;
- We hold an international essay competition with a prize of £750 with winning entries published in our Journal;
- a book has been published on ‘A Trail of the Mortimers’ with a quiz and I-Spy for all the family (see below);
- we work with local schools to deliver curriculum sessions on the Mortimers and medieval life.
The Mortimers and the Welsh Marches
Most visitors to, and residents of, Mortimer Country bordering north Herefordshire, south Shropshire and Wales are aware of the title ‘Mortimer’, which has been used also to name a forest, a road junction, a food store, a walking trail, a restaurant, a cider, a GP practice, a gardening service and much else.
Far fewer, though, are aware of who the Mortimers were, their vivid history and why the connection to this area is so important.
People now live in and visit the area for its quiet, natural rural beauty, enchanting countryside and remoteness. Yet for 500 turbulent years following the Conquest in 1066 this area was the centre of dramatic and important events: ruled over by powerful lords, it was the site of battles that affected the destiny of the country and was regularly visited by kings and queens. The Mortimers of Wigmore were the most powerful of those families. Indeed the important role that the people and this area had in the country’s history is reflected in such well-known London places as Mortimer Street, Wigmore Street, the Wigmore Hall and Harley Street.
Following the Norman Conquest of 1066, the Mortimer family established themselves as Lords of Wigmore, and rose to be one of the most powerful families in the land. Partly through the good fortune of having an unbroken male succession for over 350 years, and also through conquest, marriage and royal favour, they amassed a great empire of estates in England, Wales and Ireland; played key roles in the changing balance of power between the monarchy and nobles; one Mortimer lord, Roger Mortimer, deposed a king and virtually ruled the kingdom for three years; the family became, in later generations, close heirs to the throne through marriage; and seized the throne through battle when a Mortimer grandson became King Edward IV.
The Mortimers’ wealth and power was founded on their control of lordships in the Welsh Marches. As the Normans moved into Wales they established control of much of southern and eastern parts of the country pushing the native Welsh ever further north and west. The Welsh March controlled by the Normans extended from Chester in the north, through Shropshire, and Herefordshire to Chepstow in Monmouthshire, then across South Wales to Pembrokeshire. It was an area over which Norman lords and Welsh princes fought for control. The Norman Lords had extensive, almost royal, powers over their lordships. By the late 14th century the Mortimers controlled one third of the Marcher Lordships.
The story of the Mortimers is an absorbing and colourful one, taking them to the very centre of power and political intrigue in England.
JOIN THE MORTIMER HISTORY SOCIETY
Membership of the Society runs for 12 months from the date your subscription is received. The annual rates are:
Individual Membership: £12.00
Joint Membership (two people living at the same address): £18.00
Junior Membership (under 18): £6.00
Subscriptions can be paid either online using Paypal, by direct transfer from your bank or by sending a cheque.
On the Trail of the Mortimers
‘On the Trail of the Mortimers’ interweaves the history of the Mortimers with the locations and artefacts on the trail that are a physical reminder of their domination of the area and a visible link to when the Welsh Marches were of national importance and affected the destiny of the country. The area of the trail includes at least 17 sites of castles, 15 churches, an abbey and a priory, and 3 sites of battles and conflict that changed the course of national history. There are many artefacts around the area that give an insight into the lives of the Mortimers.
The book, which is illustrated with over 70 full-colour photographs, maps, timelines and family trees, explores the history of the Mortimers, their impact on the country and their relationship with the locations on the tour.
One section lists all the locations, their connection to the Mortimers and what there is to see;
Another section lists a wide range of other locations a short drive away associated with the Mortimers;
The book includes a quiz and an I-Spy to help motivate adults and children to find out information from the book and to visit the locations.
The book, priced £7.50, is available at local bookshops and tourist information centres or from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please fill in the details below to contact Mortimer History Society.