Thomas Andrew Knight
lived at Downton Castle & Elton hall, was an 18th century horticulturalist, who helped to develop many of the fruit and vegetable varieites that we still eat today. He later went on to become president of the London Horticultural Society (which later became the Royal Horticultural Society).
In 1811 he published Pomona Herefordiensis, the first colour illustrated Pomona (Book of Apples) in the world.
Lady Brilliana Harley.
The Harleys were an old, established Herefordshire family who had settled at Brampton Bryan and built a castle there in the early fourteenth century. Brilliana was the third wife of Sir Robert Harley.
As England lurched towards Civil War, Herefordshire showed itself solidly and staunchly Royalist in sympathy. The Harleys, puritans and supporters of Parliament, rapidly found themselves themselves the butt of unpleasant taunts and rumours, long before the first shot had been fired. When the war finally broke out, Sir Robert Harley, a member of Parliament, remained in London. At his insistence Brilliana and her daughters were left at Brampton Bryan, an island of Parliamentary sympathy in a sea of Royalists. Being a practical woman, she turned her mind to what she would need in the event of hostilities and added powder, match and flintlocks to her housewifely shopping list.
The early months of the war did not go well for the Parliamentarians but it was not until July 1643 that Brampton Bryan found itself the centre of royalist attention and her former neighbours, friends and relatives suddenly found themselves ordered to “reduce” Brampton Bryan. An awkward correspondence between besieger and besieged ensued, but Brilliana politely but firmly refused to surrender Brampton saying “…my dear husband hath entrusted me with his house but according to his pleasure, therefore I cannot dispose of his house but according to his pleasure…”
Hostilities commenced, the village of Brampton Bryan was razed and artillery brought to bear on the castle. Despite heavy bombardment casualties within the castle were surprisingly light. A personal offer of terms from the King did not move the lady who played for time in the knowledge that the Earl of Essex was going to the relief of the siege of Gloucester, which would divert the royalist forces. After seven weeks the siege was lifted and Lady Brilliana set about replenishing stores within the castle. Encouraged by the news that the siege of Gloucester had been lifted, she went on the offensive, sending out foraging parties and an attack force to the town of Knighton. By early October the royalists were again poised to renew the siege.
In the spring of 1644, Brampton Bryan Castle was besieged a second time and finally fell to the royalists. The castle was “reduced” (a term meaning, destroyed so as not to be capable of defence again) but the lives of the defenders were spared and the fame of Lady Brilliana Harley spread, earning her the “admiration and applause even of her enemies”.
General Sir Banastre Tarleton (1754 -1833)
was a British soldier and politician; spending the final years of his life in Leintwardine. On his death his wife erected a monument to him in Leintwardine church. He was an outstanding leader of light cavalry and is best remembered for his military services during the American Revolutionary War.