Take a walking tour around the town of Much Wenlock and you will be rewarded with buildings of historic interest to see.
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The priory ruins site was once the monastery of St Milburgha. It was founded in the 7th century. However, the ruins seen today are those of the Cluniac priory that was built in the 12th and 13th centuries.
The Priory Hall was constructed in 1848 as a National School. Money was raised by public subscription and the land was donated by Sir Watkin Williams Wynn of Wynnstay, who was the lord of the manor. In 1952 the school closed, but in 1981 the building reopened as a town meeting place.
The Bull Ring was the scene of bull baiting which lasted into the early 1800s. The houses were built in the early 1600s.
The Old Police Station was built in 1864 and used local blue building brick.
Brook House Farm is an example of the farms once lining the main street of the town. The working farm has a timber framed medieval hall cased with limestone rubble. The brick building on Sheinton St was added in the 1700s.
St Owen’s Well House is one of the town’s oldest homes. In 1543 it was the home of William Corvehill, the priest.
The Corn Exchange was built by public subscription on land donated by Sir Watkin Williams Wynn of Wynnstay. It opened in 1854 and was the home of the library of the Wenlock Agricultural Reading Society established in 1841. A library is still housed in part of the building.
Ashfield Hall, a large house formerly called The Ash, was rebuilt in the 1550s for the Lawley family. In 1642 it became an inn, the Blew Bridg. Charles I stayed here on the way to the battle of Edgehill.
The Gaskell Arms is located on the site of medieval Rindleford Hall where the Lawley family lived. It was the White Hart Inn then the Wynnstay Arms.
The Old Rectory is a Victorian red brick house used by Much Wenlock’s vicars.
Pinefield house was occupied by author and curate Rev. D.H.S. Cranage. He became the Dean of Norwich.
The Squatter’s Cottage dates from the 17th century and has an outside chimney stack.
Raynald’s Mansion has a 17th century frontage but is a medieval hall. Opposite it is the Talbot Inn, dating from the 14th century.
The High St was once named Spittle St or Hospital St. The museum and TIC is on this street. It was built in 1878 as an open market hall, then converted into a memorial hall after WWI, then became a cinema.
The Square dates from the mid 1800s but the shops are from the 1980s. The clock and drinking fountain commemorate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria.
St Milburgha’s Well was supposed to cure eye diseases. In Victorian times it was a wishing well where single women threw crooked pins in the hopes of snaring a sweetheart.
Barrow St is home to several 18th and 19th century houses including a home that was once the Old Plough Inn. Underneath the stone and brick facades are timber framed buildings.
The Toll House, dating from the 19th century, has gothic windows.
The Old Guildhall was a free standing court house built in 1540. In 1577 a council chamber was added at the northern end over what was a stone medieval prison. In 1868 an extension was added over the churchyard passage. It is now the meeting place of the town council.
Lloyds Bank was, in 1809-95, a private home of a doctor, William Penny Brooks.
Holy Trinity Church is the parish church. The nave and chancel are Norman; the tower is Transitional, and the porch dates from the 13th century.
Much Wenlock is located on the A458/A4169/B4371, south-east of Shrewsbury and south-west of Telford on the Shrewsbury-Bridgnorth road.
Photos and text © by Barbara Ballard