An Introduction to Marden

Marden is one of the largest parishes in Herefordshire and includes a number of hamlets including Burmarsh,
Urdimarsh, The Vauld, Venn’s Green, The Vern and Litmarsh, with further
housing scattered around the parish. Marden village is situated about a mile
east of the main A49 Hereford-Leominster road some six miles north of

The village of Marden is the main settlement in the parish, and contains a
range of services. Most of the housing is concentrated around the triangle
of roads of Paradise Green and Walkers Green. The current local facilities
within the parish include: a village shop and part-time Post Office; hairdresser; nail bar; a Minimarket; and a fishing tackle shop. There are two Public houses which are sadly currently closed. Hopefully, these will reopen soon.

The population of the parish is approximately 1,500 residents living in 650 households
The density is 0.93 persons per hectare which is high in
comparison to Herefordshire generally (at 0.8 persons per hectare).

Hereford and Leominster provide employment opportunities for residents,
while others travel to Gloucester, Ledbury, Malvern, Worcester and further
afield for work. There is a small industrial estate at Burmarsh. The S & A
Group, a leading UK based grower, packer, importer, exporter and
distributor of soft fruit and vegetables, is sited within the parish. There are
also a number of micro-enterprises and self-employed residents located
here. There are several small industrial units and a drinking water bottling
plant. A number of guesthouses in the parish cater for visitors who wish to
explore the surrounding countryside.

The parish includes the River Wye Special Area of Conservation (SAC), and
the River Lugg Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), which runs along
the length of the River Lugg on the western boundary of the parish. The
parish also includes some areas of ancient woodlands. Other areas of the
parish are at risk of flooding as shown on the Proposals Map. There are
currently 53 Listed Buildings and 1 Scheduled Monument within the parish.

Agriculture has seen a change in recent years. Marden was once the home
of the famous Vern herd of white-faced Hereford cattle bred by Captain R. S.
De Q. Quincey, who had a great influence on the development of the breed.
Hopfields, which covered many acres of land throughout the parish, have
now gone and with them the happy hop-picking days that once kept the
villagers and pickers from the Rhondda Valley busy in the autumn. As well
as arable crops such as wheat and oats some orchards still remain, but the
biggest development has been that of a large soft fruit and vegetable
enterprise on the edge of the village, which gives full and part time work for
locals and for a large number of seasonal workers.

Education was promoted in Marden in 1610 by the generosity of a wealthy
widow, Jane Shelley. She established an educational foundation with the
object of assisting the poor and needy children. Students today still benefit
from the trust, and the old thatched schoolhouse, now privately owned, can
be seen at the Sutton Walls approach to the village. The original village
school, a pleasant Victorian building built in 1874, finally closed its doors in
April 1994, when the long awaited new school and community hall opened.
The school gained Academy Status in 2014 and currently takes 75-100
pupils up to the age of eleven years.

A new recreational area for the younger children has been provided on the
playing field where football and tennis continue to thrive.

There are three places of worship in the parish. The Church of St Mary the
Virgin is an old stone edifice in the Early English style with a square tower
and spire. The church is situated on the bank of the River Lugg about a mile
from the new centre of the village. The site is rather puzzling to the visitor
until they learn that the original church was built over the traditional spot
where St Ethelbert was first buried, after being murdered in AD 794 by an
officer of King Offa at the contrivance of the queen. A Holy Well, which is
said to have sprung up at that time, can still be seen in the church today.
Marden Chapel was originally run by the Plymouth Brethren but is now
interdenominational. There is also a small stone chapel at Amberley which
was once privately owned by Lady (Coutts) Lindsay of Amberley Court, but
now goes with the living of Marden and St Mary the Virgin.

The River Lugg forms part of the western boundary of the parish and is well
loved by fishermen. It is also the home of a mythical mermaid who is said to
be holding down one of the church bells, which accidentally fell into the river.
A walk along the riverbank may be rewarded by sightings of kingfisher, heron, and sand martin,