A frosty Ludlow.jpg
Wintertime Ludlow as seen from Whitcliffe
Coat of arms of Ludlow.png
Coat of arms of Ludlow
Ludlow is located in Shropshire
Location within Shropshire
Population10,266 (2011)[1]
OS grid referenceSO512746
• London154 miles (248 km)
Civil parish
  • Ludlow
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townLUDLOW
Postcode districtSY8
Dialling code01584
PoliceWest Mercia
AmbulanceWest Midlands
EU ParliamentWest Midlands
UK Parliament
List of places
52°22′05″N 2°43′05″W / 52°22′05″N 2°43′05″W / 52.368; -2.718

Ludlow is a market town in Shropshire, England, 28 miles (45 km) south of Shrewsbury and 23 miles (37 km) north of Hereford via the main A49 road, which bypasses the town. With a population of approximately 11,000, Ludlow is the largest town in South Shropshire. The town is significant in the history of the Welsh Marches and neighbouring Wales.

The town is near the confluence of the rivers Corve and Teme. The oldest part is the medieval walled town, founded in the late 11th century after the Norman conquest of England. It is centred on a small hill which lies on the eastern bank of a bend of the River Teme. Situated on this hill are Ludlow Castle and the parish church, St Laurence's, the largest in the county.[2] From there the streets slope downward to the River Teme, and northward toward the River Corve. The town is in a sheltered spot beneath Mortimer Forest and the Clee Hills, which are clearly visible from the town.[3]

Ludlow has nearly 500 listed buildings,[4] including examples of medieval and Tudor-style half-timbered buildings. The town was described by Sir John Betjeman as "probably the loveliest town in England".[5]


The placename "Lodelowe" was in use for this site before 1138 and comes from the Old English "hlud-hlǣw".[6][7] At the time this section of the River Teme contained rapids, and so the hlud of Ludlow came from "the loud waters", while hlǣw meant "hill"[6] or tumulus.[8] Thus the name Ludlow describes a place on a hill by the loud waters. Some time around the 12th century weirs were added along the river, taming these rapid flows.[9] The hill is that which the town stands on, and a pre-historic burial mound (or barrow) which existed at the summit of the hill (dug up during the expansion of St Laurence's church in 1199) could explain the tumulus variation of the hlǣw element.[7][10] Ludford, a neighbouring and older settlement, situated on the southern bank of the Teme, shares the hlud ("loud waters") element.[10]

Ludlow has a name in the Welsh language, Llwydlo.


Though the town became known as Ludlow, Fouke le Fitz Waryn (a 13th-century poem) states that it was called Dinham "for a very long time".[11] The western part of the town immediately south of the castle retains this name, and many historians assume this settlement is Anglian or Saxon in origin, with its etymology meaning a settlement (-ham, Anglo-Saxon) by the [hill]fort (din, Welsh). The castle was originally called Dinham Castle, before it took on the name of Ludlow.[12] A possible alternative is that Dinham takes its name from Josce de Dinan, a major landowner in the area in the 12th century,[13] though this is regarded as erroneous[14] on the balance of evidence[15] with the similarity being a coincidence.