A FIGURE from Herefordshire's history has inspired Ed Sheeran’s new album.

The singer-songwriter’s newest album, Autumn Variations, takes cues from the works of Sir Edward Elgar, who lived in Hereford for a number of years and has a statue outside the cathedral.


Each of the 14 songs in Sheeran’s album is penned from his friend’s perspectives in a homage to Elgar’s Enigma Variations, which consists of 14 orchestral compositions based on the composer’s close friends.

In conversation with the BBC, Elgar expert Richard Westwood-Brookes said:“People will listen to this new album, be puzzled by its inspiration and then want to go and listen to a little bit more.”

“There’s nothing better than listening to the original, which was written by Elgar, of course.”

Elgar lived at Plas Gwyn, now named Elgar Court, in Hampton Park Road between 1904 and 1911.

The composer's wife, Alice, famously said soon after their move to Hereford: 'I think great music can be written here, dear Dora, don't you?' in a letter to her friend Dorabella, who would go on to inspire one of the compositions in the Enigma Variations.

Elgar composed his two symphonies, the violin concerto, 'Introduction and Allegro', 'The Kingdom' and 'Pomp and Circumstance March No 4' whilst living in the city. He was also knighted and was awarded the Order of Merit during his time in the area.

According to biographer Michael Kennedy, Elgar retained a deep fondness for his Hereford days and would return to the city for the Three Choirs festival and to make sure that Plas Gwyn was being looked after.