Sometimes described as ‘the Cathedral of the Marches', the building of today has evolved over more than eight hundred years. During that period the church has played a central role in the life of Ludlow, echoing the changing pattern of national worship, and accommodating many community events.
As befits a Greater Church, St Laurence's is architecturally distinguished, and has many artistic treasures: in stone, glass and wood. In 1540 the King's agent John Leland described St Laurence's as:
Very fayre and large and richly adorned and taken for the fairest in all these quarters.
In 1999 St Laurence's was one of only 18 churches given a FIVE STAR rating by Simon Jenkins in England's Thousand Best Churches.
Though mostly rebuilt in the 15th century, parts of the present church date from an earlier rebuilding in 1199-1200. This replaces a Norman church, but the site had been a revered place since the Bronze Age when a burial mound was erected, later giving the prefix ‘lud' to the place name Ludlow.
The church has a cruciform plan, with a nave and chancel of equal length. Between them are two transepts and a huge bell tower, rising from the crossing. The church stands at the heart of the medieval town, with a large churchyard (now closed) on the north side.
St Laurence's, one of England's finest churches, is a member of the Greater Churches Group. Largely rebuilt in the fifteenth century in the soaring perpendicular style of the day, the church has features of the Norman, Early English and Decorated periods, including the delightful hexagonal south porch. It protects a remarkable collection of artistic treasures, including good medieval and later glass, well carved fifteenth century misericords and bench-ends, a fine series of memorials and a superb Snetzler organ.