A Ludlow Walkabout

I lived in Ludlow from 2011 to 2016 and spent many an hour walking around the town. On this walk we’ll begin in the Castle Square and head eastwards out of the market place calling in at Quality Square, a delightful cobbled courtyard dating back to the 16th century, for a good breakfast at  ‘The Wine Bar’¹. We’ll sit outside to enjoy the morning sunshine if possible, and listen to the chimes of the parish church bells. I’ll have the eggs Benedict with a black coffee please, but I can also recommend the full English breakfast.

Moving along Church Street one of three ‘cross’ streets that run in parallel (Church St, High St and Market St) we pass two carved heads that were moved to this site in 1743 from the site of a conduit brought into town in the 16th century though nothing remains of the conduit now. Two pubs along here, ‘The Rose & Crown’ and ‘The Church Inn’ offer decent pub food and real ales with the later doing a huge range of pies.

Slipping down College Street we find St Laurence’s Church, rebuilt in 1199 and extended between the 15th and 17th Centuries. This is an example of the perpendicular style of English church building. The tower is from the 15th century and is 135 ft (41m) high and can be seen from a great distance across the Marches and is often referred to as the Cathedral of the Marches. It has many fine features such as the wonderful stained glass windows and famous 15th century misericords, still looking like new and it is well worth a visit.

You can also climb the tower for superb views over the surrounding countryside, though I confess I never did. The church bells are famous too and the carillon plays a tune at 8am, noon, 4pm and 8pm with a different tune each day. A memorial plaque to A E Housman, famous for his poems ‘A Shropshire Lad’ can be found on the North wall near where his ashes are buried and a cherry tree has been planted in his memory. Housman in fact is not a Shropshire lad, but came from Bromsgrove in Worcestershire. Continue reading A Ludlow Walkabout

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Scrobbesbyrig/Shrewsbury: Town Trail Part 2

towntrailmap (Trail 2)

Leave Bear Steps on Fish Street (1) via Grope Lane to exit onto the High Street. On the corner is the former Cross Keys Inn. (44)

Bear Steps

(The medieval folk were quite apt to call ‘a spade a spade’, or in this instance, the heart of the red-light district was called Grope Lane (ahem… shortened from something even more unacceptable). These areas were often found in the centre of market towns, such as Shrewsbury, to  please the visiting market tradesmen who came to the town and whose stalls were close by, as well as the locals. St Alkmund’s Place was used for the market until the thirteenth century. Most towns have renamed their streets to something more genteel, such as Grove or Grape or Grave – you get the picture. Shrewsbury has retained its name, but then with names like Mardol and Dogpole you can sort of see why!)

The High Street

Opposite is the Square. From here you can see several important buildings: Owen’s Mansion (41),  the former Plough Inn (40), Wolley’s House (39), the Old Market Hall (38), the former Music Hall (37), and the very interesting Alliance Assurance Company with its Flemish styled ornate building of pink banded brick and grey stone. Look at the top of this building and you will see the loggerheads (leopards or lions) the Salop coat of arms. Continue reading Scrobbesbyrig/Shrewsbury: Town Trail Part 2

Scrobbesbyrig/Shrewsbury: Town Trail Part 1

Today we are going to follow the blue path around town, starting from the Bear Steps (1) heading to the railway station. (The churches, station and library appear in ‘Looking at stone buildings)

towntrailmap (Trail 1)

The Bear Steps (1) is in the centre of town and named after a pub that was opposite the steps.

This place has a family connection as the OH’s eldest uncle was born in one of the small cottages back in 1913. The Bear Steps hall is one of only a few remaining medieval stone and timber-framed halls that dominated the town’s architecture. It now houses the offices of the Shrewsbury Civic Society (who produce a Shrewsbury Town Trail booklet and from which much of this information has been gathered) an Art Gallery and Coffee Shop. Continue reading Scrobbesbyrig/Shrewsbury: Town Trail Part 1

Monthly Photo Challenge: Frosty January

I was beginning to think I would never get any frost or snow photos of Ludlow. The last time I saw a really hard hoar-frost was several years ago. Then on Wednesday I awoke to a beautiful softly coloured sunrise – and frost!

DSCF3744

Not only was there a hard frost, but also fog diffusing light. An ideal time to grab the camera and wander down by the river.

Date: January 20 2016
Weather: cold, freezing fog, but sunny
Temperature: Cold (0°C)
Time: 13:20 – 14:25 PM

Excited by the thought that I might find some rime ice on leaves and trees I first went down to the river by the Mill Weir, where I hoped to get a view of the river and the trees along the Breadwalk. Because the sun was coming from my left, the trees were in darkness with just a glimmer of gold on my side of the river. Continue reading Monthly Photo Challenge: Frosty January

Scrobbesbyrig/Shrewsbury: A look at stone buildings

Although I lived in Shewsbury for two years at the beginning of the millennium, and relocated to south Shropshire from Surrey in 2011 I have not written much about the county town. I do have rather a large number of photos though taken over several years from various visits and since it has quite an interesting history, including buildings of various designs and styles built over a thousand years, I thought it time to set this right.

The first written evidence that refers to Shrewsbury dates back to 901. It refers to Shrewsbury as ‘Scrobbesbyrig’ which indicates that it was then a fortified settlement with ‘Scrobbes’ most likely referring to a scrub covered hill, and ‘bryig’ suggesting the presence of fortifications. Shrewsbury is a stunning historic town with over 660 listed buildings and some very strange street names – Dogpole and Mardol, Gullet Passage and Grope Lane. And there is still disagreement as to whether the modern-day name is pronounced Shrewsbury, or Shrowsbury.

Shropshire is England’s largest inland county with Shrewsbury as the county town. Curled up within a horseshoe bend of the River Severn (Great Britain’s longest river), it narrowly escapes being an island.

towntrailmap (stone)

A thriving Saxon town it had a mint by the early 900s and following the Norman Conquest, a castle and a monastery. By the 1380s Shrewsbury was the third largest centre after London and York. The town’s heart still remains within the embrace of the river, protected and rich in ancient streets and historic buildings. Continue reading Scrobbesbyrig/Shrewsbury: A look at stone buildings