Itinerary Category: general
Spend a day exploring how the Reformation changed the way of life for many people in South Shropshire. Local Hiatorian Wendy Brogden helps the visitor interpret the tudor properties visited in this Itinerary. In the Corvedale area, lands owned by Wenlock Priory were bought by local gentry who soon made substantial profits and built large houses.Churches that had been outposts of the Priory, became parish concerns, under the jurisdiction of the Hereford diocese. Some monks who had been displaced from the Priory found new roles as parish priests.
Suggested by: Mike & Wendy Brogden, The Ferndale Flat, Shipton
St James’ Church, Shipton – 1hrs
Look for blocked up doorway in the chancel, best seen from outside. Before the Reformation, clergy would enter this way to maintain their separation from the congregation; there is evidence of a rood screen (to carry a large cross) above the chancel archway: plinths to support the screen; ablocked-up opening above the right-hand archway – Rood screens were banned at the Reformation. Stained glass in the windows are coats of arms of Queen Elizabeth I and other Tudor royalty to demonstrate loyalty. John Lutwych’s plaque which dates the rebuilding of the chancel to 1589. As an aside, there is an interesting plaque commemorating the four More children of Shipton who were deported to America on the Mayflower in 1620. Booklets telling this awful story are on sale in the church.
Shipton Hall – 1hrs
Open to visitors on Thursdays from Easter to September; 2.30 to 5.30 plus Bank Holiday Sundays and Mondays; 2.30 – 5.30; entry charge. Light refreshments available in nearby Stanway Fabrics shop. The hall was built by local landowner, John Lutwych, in the 1590s who also rebuilt the chancel in Shipton Church; an earlier property stood on this site. Look for Elizabethan panelling in the room over the hall; a plaintive poem in an upstairs window, etched by a love-lorn daughter of the household; view across the lumpy field at the front where once stood village houses, allowed to fall into disrepair and be cleared to improve the vista; a distant thatched cottage remains.
St Michael’s Church, Munslow – 1hrs
Look for a stained glass window in the north aisle which celebrates pre-Reformation Catholicism with images of the Five Precious Wounds of Christ. The rector, John Lloyd, left money in his 1528 will to pay for this window. There are reset fragments of 14th – 16th century glass showing a kneeling family beneath two Madonnas. Why not have lunch at the nearby Crown Inn in Munslow.
St Michael’s Church, Stanton Long – 1hrs
Here look for the blocked up doorway in the chancel, best seen from outside. Before the Reformation, clergy would enter this way to maintain their separation from the congregation. There is a tomb recess dating from about 1300: this was probably the Easter sepulchre, used on Good Friday in Catholic services. Also look for a piscina in the wall of the nave which may mark the location of an altar to St Blaise, whose statue was taken from the church and burned in Much Wenlock in 1547 as part of Reformation policy to rid churches of idols.
Wilderhope Manor, near Longville – 1hrs
Open to visitors all the year round: Sundays 2.00 – 4.00 plus Weds 2.00 – 4.00 from 3 April – 25 Sept; refreshments available. Built by Francis Smallman in the 1580s, Wilderhope Manor is owned by The National Trust and used as a Youth Hostel. Look for plaster mouldings in the ceilings with typical Elizabethan ribbing and decorations depicting the Tudor rose, fleur de lys and Beaufort portcullis; motifs in the ceilings that may indicate Catholic sympathies: the single word IESU (O Jesus) and the motto, Droi Dev Est Mal Mev (Lawful right is ill moved).
01694 771363 (Hostel Warden YHA)
Wenlock Priory – 1hrs
Open to the public on most days; audio guides available; entry charge; now in the care of English Heritage. Several cafes in the town. The ruins of a large and wealthy priory which had been part of a network, run from Cluny in France since 1079 and with a foundation going back to the 680s. The Priory was commandeered, closed and dismantled by order of Henry VIII in 1540. Closure released lands which were purchased by several Corvedale worthies who made fortunes and built large houses; closure also released monks, some of whom became ministers in local churches. Look for monks’ washbasins; the finely decorated chapter house; the ruins of the very large priory church.