ONE of the most important documents in Ludlow’s history to be discovered in recent years has been found in a London antique shop

A heraldic roll dating back to 1574, was found in an antique shop in London’s Portobello Road by Miles Cato, who lives in Ludlow Town Centre.

He alerted Ludlow Civic Society and now the race is on to buy it and preserve it for the town.

The scroll contains 42 different coat of arms and its authenticity has been verified by Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms.

It is 15 feet long and four inches wide and would have been hand drawn and painted on parchment.

On the parchment are the coat of arms of 11 owners of Ludlow Castle between 1085 and 1570, nine Presidents of the Council of Wales and the Marches from 1478 to 1570 and 22 members of the Council in 1570.

Little is known of what happened to the heraldic roll between 1570 and its discovery in the London.

But it is almost certain that it would have been rolled up for much of that time.

Its condition is variable with some parts in good condition while other parts have been quite extensively damaged. Because of this the price is only £2,800.

But the real cost is likely to come from preservation that will hopefully enable it to be put on permanent display in the town.

Hugh Wood of the Ludlow Civic Society and Conservation Trust said that it was a highly significant find and Jason O’Keefe, chairman of the Mortimer History Society also hopes that it can be put in display.

The scroll was briefly put on display for an invited audience at Ludlow Methodist Church with Rosalind Caird, a recently retired archivist at Hereford Cathedral, making sure that it did not come to any harm.

An assessment from the Senior Conservator at the Herefordshire Archives will determine what preservation work is needed and if it will ever be suitable to be put on public display.

Tony Mahalski from Ludlow Civic Society said that an appeal is likely to be launched to help raise funds for the purchase and more importantly the preservation of the roll.

It is believed that the roll was commissioned by Sir Henry Sidney, Lord President of the Council of Wales and the Marches.

The coat of arms on the document include King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth I.

Thomas Woodcock, the Garter King of Arms, believes that the Ludlow Scroll was compiled around the time of the visitation of Heralds in 1584.

He believes that the work may have been conducted by a local artist.

It would have been hand drawn and painted with natural dyes on parchment of animal skin.

At the time that the work was made, Ludlow was an important border town and the castle had a major role in protecting the town from the Welsh.