• The Feathers sign is typical of the gallow-style inn sign of the period...

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History

The two timber-frame, Tudor buildings that comprise The Feathers Hotel in Ledbury have been described as forming one of the principal monuments of the town. The older building dates from as early as 1560 and was a private house before becoming an inn, originally called The Plume of Feathers, in around 1700. In the same period its neighbour, known as the Booth Hall, was owned by the joint lords of the manor of Ledbury and was used as a local administration building and home of the manor bailiff.

A recent archaeological dig uncovered a number of glass flasks with moulded seals bearing the symbol of the plume-of-feathers together with the date 1709 and the name of the first innkeeper, Thomas Pantall. Later owners of the inn included the famous London publisher Jacob Tonson (1655-1736) and the global businessman William Baker (1705-1750) who was, at different times, chairman of the East India Company and governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

In the late 1700s both buildings were improved by the erection of new facades in the Georgian style of architecture, covering over the timber-framing and introducing new, larger windows. The work coincided with the era in which The Feathers became the town’s principal coaching inn and before it was expanded in around 1815 by incorporating the vacant Booth Hall next door.

A revival of interest in historic buildings, and especially in the Tudor timber framing, resulted in the early 1900s in the brick-and-plaster cladding being stripped away to restore the original frontages we see today.

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