St Chad’s – Shrewsbury

St Chad’s is an unusual church in that it has a circular design. The actual design was due to a misunderstanding as this plan was originally rejected in favour of a more normal rectangular one.

St Chad’s from the Quarry Park by the River Severn

I was very excited on my visit to Shrewsbury last September to be able to go into the church and also be allowed access onto the upper gallery. Oddly enough, even though I lived in the town for two years I never managed to get inside this church.

The circular nave is unique, with pews arranged like a maze. The original ‘three-decker’ pulpit has been replaced by one in Arts and Crafts style in copper and brass, placed under the rim of the gallery. This opens a clearer view of the Sanctuary, which, bordered by Corinthian pilasters and columns, contains a fine reredos and a colourful window, made by the renowned Shrewsbury firm of Betton and Evans.

source: History of St Chad’s with St Mary’s

In the vestibule two arms of a fine staircase sweep up to the gallery. The rail is of elegant Shropshire ironwork.

Daily Post Photo Challenge | Rounded

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Thursday’s Special

Ditherington-Flaxmill-(1)

The Ditherington Flax Mill is one of Shrewsbury’s most important buildings. Constructed in 1796 as the spinning works of Marshall, Benyon and Bage it later became the Maltings and as the first wholly iron-framed building in the world, is the great-grand-daddy of New York’s mighty skyscrapers.

Throughout the 1990s it was left empty and decaying, and various ideas for regeneration have been and gone, most failing due to a lack of private sector investment. Now it is in the hands of Historic England in partnership with Shropshire Council and Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings. Let’s hope its future is secure.

Ditherington-Flaxmill-(4)

Paula’s (Lost in Translation) challenge this week is Traces of the Past

Thursday’s Special

signal box

The Severn Bridge Signal Box is often described as “a cathedral among signal boxes” by enthusiasts. Found just beyond Shrewsbury Station it was built in 1910 and one of the largest in Europe.

The massive Greek Doric column in the background is 133 feet 6 inches tall and towers over Abbey Foregate with a statue of Lord Hill (1772-1842) on top. Lord Hill was the Duke of Wellington’s right-hand man in the Peninsula Wars and at the Battle of Waterloo when his horse was shot from under him. He succeeded Wellington as Commander-in-chief of the army in 1828.

Paula’s (Lost in Translation) challenge this week is Traces of the Past

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

The Shoemakers’ Arbour

Paula’s black and white Sunday this week is ‘Traces of the Past’.

“We are but images of stone, Do us no harm we can do nonne”.

the shoemakers arbor b&W

What scenes of revelry these old mutilated effigies must have seen in those far-off days, but then, can stone eyes see? Can stone hearts feel? Mayhap it is a blessing at times if they cannot.

~ from Black Velvet written by the late Ron Nurse

The Shoemakers’ Arbour is found in the Dingle, a former stone quarry and now a sunken garden in the Quarry Park, Shrewsbury. Associated with the pre-Victorian town festival, and originally sited in Kingsland, it was moved to the Dingle in 1879. It dates from 1679 and includes statues of Crispin and Crispinian, the patron saints of shoemakers. The gateway is built of stone, and bears the date of 1679 and the initials, H. P. and E. A.; the wardens of the Shoemakers’ guild at that time.

The Shoemakers’ Arbour plays a large part in the song Thomas Anderson by David Harley that describes the execution in 1752 of a participant in the Jacobite rising of 1745. Click on the link for the song and more information about the Shoemaker’s Arbour and the death of Thomas Anderson.

We are but images of stone
Do us no harm
We can do none
St. Crispin and St. Crispian are we
On the arch of the Shoemaker’s arbour

High above the river on Kingsland we stood
On the gate to the hall of the shoemakers’ guild
Where the bakers, the tailors, the butchers, the smiths
And the saddlers too their guild arbours built.
Each year in procession the guilds gave a show
And marched through the town to the sound of the drum:
Then it’s back to Kingsland to feast and carouse
And enjoy the great day the guild members come.

We are but images of stone
Do us no harm
We can do none
St. Crispin and St. Crispian are we
On the arch of the Shoemaker’s arbour

On the 10th of June 1752
In a house called The Crown that stood on Pride Hill
John Richards’ workmen received a week’s pay
And there they stayed and drank their fill.
When a redcoat patrol chanced to pass by
The men  mocked and reviled them with Jacobite songs
And who struck the first blow no-one was sure
But a bloody riot soon raged through the town.

The authorities trembled with passion and fear
When news of this Jacobite outburst was known
For the House of Hanover had won few hearts
And the Stuarts still plotted to win back the throne.
And so that same year, one raw day in December,
The rebellious townsfolk of Salop looked on
While below the old arch of the Shoemaker’s Arbour
They made an example of Tom Anderson

Who was once spared by death on the field of Culloden
Then joined the dragoons but deserted, they say,
Only to die on the banks of the Severn
By firing squad on a cold Winter’s day.
When the black velvet suit was stripped from his body
The Chevalier’s colours were beneath it, it’s said,
Received from the hands of Bonny Prince Charlie
Whose cause like young Thomas is broken and dead.

For it’s 200 years since Bonny Prince Charlie
Died drunk and embittered, an old man in Rome
While a century ago in the flowers of the Dingle
The old arbour gateway found a new home.
Now who’s to remember the Shoemakers’ Guild
Or the Jacobite rebels who fought for a throne?
And who’s left to grieve for Tom Anderson
But these two hearts of stone?

We are but images of stone
Do us no harm
We can do none
St. Crispin and St. Crispian are we
On the arch of the Shoemaker’s arbour