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The Beak of Mordiford

Mordiford (SO 572372) lies on the River Lugg just before it joins the Wye ESE of Hereford.  The area was once heavy with cattle on the move.  #1 (from the first edition of the 1” OS) shows an Ox Ford across the Wye.


Those droving south-eastwards from Mid-Wales would cross the Lugg at Mordiford but had to beware of its prickly rector the Revd Charles Bird, who lived in the rectory overlooking the bridge from on high(#2 & 3).  For 20 years this man of the cloth (and magistrate) prosecuted drovers for working on the Sabbath, technically against the law since the time of Charles l.  Perhaps being able to see them from his perch made him grind his teeth...


From The Hereford Journal, 7/09/1825:

On Sunday week five Welsh drovers were convicted of Breach of the Sabbath before the Rev. Charles John Bird, Mordiford, and were fined accordingly.

From The Carmarthen Journal, 3/10/1828:

On 14/9/1828 [a Sunday] Rees Davies and two other drovers were convicted before the Revd. CJ Bird, Mordiford, of driving their cattle on the Sabbath Day, and were punished by fine & costs.

From the Carmarthen Journal, 21/5/1830:

On Sunday week four Welsh drovers were convicted before the Rev Charles Bird, Mordiford, and fined accordingly, for driving cattle on the Lord’s Day.

From Hereford Journal, 29/11/1845:

Thomas Smith & William Jones were convicted... etc. etc.


Each case was heard on the Sunday the offence was committed, so the beak was prepared to sacrifice his Sabbath for the Common Good while denying the right elsewhere – or is that a little unkind?


 1 Going due south to Ross & Gloucester via the Ox Ford would have left the drovers West of the Wye and involved more crossings.  So perhaps this ford was for northward traffic to Worcester & Birmingham.
    One route south we know about from Mordiford Bridge is to Ross via Fownhope & Brampton Abbotts.  Strong ("Handbook to Ross",1868) says that this route was in a bad state but still used by drovers in 1863.

The Beak of Mordiford image 1
Mordiford & the Ox Ford
The Beak of Mordiford image 2
The Bridge
The Beak of Mordiford image 3
The Rectory from the bridge