ROSS, a market town in the Ross parliamentary division of Herefordshire, England; 133 m. W. by N. from London and 12 S.E. from Hereford by the Great Western railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 3303. It occupies a fine position on and about a rocky eminence on the left bank of the river Wye. There are manufactures of machinery and agricultural implements, and trade in the products of the district, such as cider and malt, and several fairs are held annually. The church of St Mary the Virgin stands high, and is surmounted by a lofty spire; it shows good Decorated and Perpendicular work. A beautiful terrace called the Prospect adjoins the churchyard and overlooks the river. The market house, dated 1670, is a picturesque building supported on columns, the upper portion serving as a town hall. There are in the town many memorials of John Kyrle, the Man of Ross, who died here in 1724, and is eulogized by Pope in his third Moral Epistle (1732). The Prospect was acquired and laid out by Kyrle, who also planted the fine elm avenues near the church; his house stands opposite the market house, where he disbursed his charities; he erected the church spire, and is buried in the chancel, where his grave remained without a monument until Pope called attention to the omission. Nearly opposite the town is Wilton Castle, which defended the ford in the disturbed reign of Stephen, and suffered in the Civil Wars, being held for the Parliament and burned by the Royalists. The inhabited portion is modern. Four miles below Ross the important ford of Goodrich probably carried traffic in British and Roman times, and a magnificent castle, on a precipice rising sheer above the right bank of the river, commands it. The keep is doubtfully assigned to a date previous to the Conquest; the important position on the Welsh March led to several subsequent additions, especially in the 14th century, and the castle was only dismantled by order of the Parliamentarians after it had strongly resisted their arms on behalf of Charles I. in 1646, being the last to fall of the royal strongholds in this county.
Ross (Ros, Rosse) was granted to the see of Hereford by Edmund Ironside, but became crown property by an exchange effected in 1559. It derived importance from its situation on the road to South Wales. In 1305, only, it was represented in parliament by two members; but it was never incorporated, and was governed by appointees of the manor court, until the Ross Improvement Act of 1865 established elected commissioners of the borough. Fairs on the days of the Ascension, Corpus Christi, St Margaret and St Andrew were conferred by Henry and were in existence in 1888. A market every Thursday was granted by Stephen and confirmed by Henry III.; Friday is now market day.
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