See King George IV passing through the town on Friday 14th September, 1821, as his carriage negotiates the notorious route into the town via Dock Pitch (now Wye Street) and High Street. But the real drama was yet to unfold …
King George IV
On the morning of Friday 14th September, 1821, Ross received an unexpected visitor in the form of the King. He was returning from a trip to Ireland. Here is a contemporary account of the episode from TW Purchase:
The visit of King George IV to Ross … was caused by the ship in which he crossed from Ireland having been driven out of her course by bad weather, landing him in South Wales, instead of at Holyhead or Liverpool. He entered the town by the old Wilton-road and Dock Pitch (then the only way), and after a change of horses, and taking a glass of wine that was handed to him by Mrs. Mary Howells, the landlady of the King’s Head, much to the disappointment of the inhabitants, he drew down the blinds of the coach, intending to hurry on as quickly as possible. Greatly to his disgust, however, on arriving at the Nag’s Head, an unexpected obstacle barred his progress for a time. The carrier’s waggon had arrived, and, before unloading, the horses had been taken out. The place was so narrow that the King was obliged to wait while the horses were brought out again, and the waggon moved out of his way. This incident led to a great improvement of the town, as, shortly afterwards, notice was sent from London that, unless a better way was made through the town, the mail would be taken off the road, in consequence of which the present Gloucester-road was constructed.
As can be seen on the map of 1823, Wilton Road was not built until 1833. Before that date, the only way into the town from Hereford was along Dock Pitch (today’s Wye Street). This involved a very steep climb at a time when the condition of the road also left much to be desired. It was made still worse, at the top end of the street as the road level, and certainly the pavement on the right of it were somewhat higher than now. Of course, this road – then as now – also flooded regularly.
On from this bottle-neck, progress through the town continued in a worse fashion than today as the present day Gloucester Road also didn’t exist until 1825 (as the King George IV story shows) and the route to be taken was further along High Street and then along the narrow street now called Old Gloucester Road.
The artwork for this exhibit has been created by Jaime Etherington