Friday, 10 October 2014



The county town of SHREWSBURY,one of the finest Tudor towns in England
 is surrounded by a loop of the River Severn.


Tudor houses in Mardol
Claremont Hill

Quarry Park is the home of the annual flower show.

Following the collapse of the older church in 1788, nearby St Chad’s Church  was built 1790-92, incorporating Classical Greek features.  The site and plan caused much controversy as circular churches were unfamiliar in England and furthermore part of the town walls had to be demolished.

A simple grave slab in the churchyard declares it to be that of Ebenezer Scrooge and it is of course a fake. In fact it was a film prop when the church was featured in the film ‘Christmas Carol’ which was filmed in Shrewsbury and the crew left it in situ.

The aforementioned Town Walls close to the church at rather sparse but a 14th century tower remains. It is now in the care of the National Trust.

Although it doesn't appear to be recorded as such I wonder if the base was ever used as a lock-up as was the case in many such towers.

The River Severn flows south-east of Shrewsbury through Ironbridge Gorge on its way to the Bristol Channel. The world’s first iron bridge was opened in 1779 at the settlement now known as IRONBRIDGE.   It was designed by Thomas Pritchard of Broseley and constructed by Abraham Darby 111.   The first major bridge ever to be constructed in cast iron, this historical landmark gave its name to the area at the very heart of the Industrial Revolution of the  18th century.   Some 100ft long and 45 feet above the river it forms an almost perfect semi-circle, the Grade 1 listed bridge is now open to foot passengers only and is part of a
World Heritage Site.

Situated directly opposite the bridge at Ironbridge in Shropshire is a very fine building, The Tontine Hotel. 
When  the iron bridge was opened to general traffic in 1781, it was to become a huge attraction not only to those who would use the bridge but also to visitors from all over the world who would marvel at this great feat of engineering and skill.  Those concerned with the building of the bridge decided to build a hotel to accommodate such visitors and formed a partnership which was a ‘Tontine’.  This was  a scheme invented by one Lorenzo Tonti in 1653, a kind of life annuity which increased for the survivor’s as the subscriber’s eventually died.   When only three shareholders were left, then the hotel would become their property in proportion to the number of shares which they held.

St Luke's Church was built in 1837.


MUCH WENLOCK dates to Saxon times and still maintains many black and white half timbered buildings.

The Grade 11* listed Guildhall in Wilmore Street, is a very fine half timbered 16th century building.   The old Council Chamber and the Law Courts are supported on huge oak pillars.   In the open butter market beneath can be seen a whipping post and restraints from former times. The stone built town lock up situated at the north end may date to the late 14th century.  It has been said that this fine ancient building of c1557 was actually built in two days!

The stone built town lock up situated at the north end may date to
the late 14th century.

In the little village of ASTON-ON-CLUN, a curious custom is enacted on 29th May each year when what is called an arbor tree is decorated with flags of all nations.   The black popular tree is now a sapling taken from the original tree and planted in a special corner of the village as a replacement. The original tree, which blew down in a storm in 1995, was first decorated in 1786 to celebrate the marriage of local landowner John Marston and Mary Carter.

The village also has a couple or round houses. Their shape is to keep the Devil out which stems from ancient superstitions that the devil likes to enter a house by the north wall and to hide in corners.

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