Herefordshire Council has received a confirmed grant of £1.175 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the restoration of the Master’s House in Ledbury.
The medieval core of the building was built in 1487 as a home for the Master of St Katherine’s hospital (now St Katherine’s Chapel and Hall). The hospital complex also includes the Alms Houses and the Barn; together these buildings represent a very rare surviving example of a medieval hospital. The buildings were once set in a large estate owned by the Dean and Chapter of Hereford.
The Master’s House has been used for a range of uses over the years including a base for the ministry of food during WWII, a doctor’s surgery and more recently as Herefordshire Council office accommodation.
The project, which is also funded by Herefordshire Council, will restore the medieval building so that it can once again play a central role in serving the local community. The Heritage Lottery funding will pay for the restoration of the medieval timber frame, roof and external restoration work as well as a range of community activities including open days during the restoration project, work placements, heritage skills workshops, and an education programme for local schools, interpretation boards and media to tell the story of the building through the ages.
Once completed the building will provide a fully accessible library service for Ledbury, bookable meeting rooms and office accommodation for Herefordshire Council staff. It will also become the official home of the John Masefield Archive, a collection of books, pictures, photos and artefacts related to Masefield, his poetry and his life. The project will also provide a range of volunteering opportunities for people of all ages. The Master’s House will continue to be the key point of contact for Herefordshire Council customer services in Ledbury.
Councillor Roger Phillips said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this grant. The project will see long awaited development of a new, accessible, library service for the local community and see the future of this extraordinary building secured for the benefit of current and future generations in Ledbury.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the local organisations and individuals that have supported us in the development of this project and look forward to seeing the fully restored building opening its doors to the community in the summer of 2014.”