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.

Owen’s Mansion

Before exploring the square carry on along the High Street, to see Ireland’s Mansion (42), to the corner where you will find another insurance building on the corner of Pride Hill (named after one of the great wool merchant families) and Lloyds Bank (43).

Ireland's Mansion
Ireland’s mansion
Corner of the High Street and Pride Hill - Royal Insurance Building
Corner of the High Street and Pride Hill – Royal Insurance Building

Back at the Square take a look at the open-arcaded Old Market Hall with the impressive timber work of the former Plough Inn on the right. A statue of Lord Clive of India (1860) by Baron Marochetti stands guard: he was Mayor of Shrewsbury in 1762.

The Square
The Square
Richard, Duke of York

It was built in 1595 and has similarities with the Old Grammar School, especially the windows and scrollwork parapet. The carved works set in the first storey have been salvaged from other buildings.

Old Market Hall
Old Market Hall

After examining these historic buildings make your way through the Coffee House Passage up to College Hill where you pass (36) and (35) and pass the green where the remains of Old St Chad (Lady Chapel) are found. Cross the green on to Belmont (31) (33) with its Georgian houses, which runs into Milk Street and Wyle Cop which is close to where we ended the first trail.

Belmont Street

From here we’ll head down Belmont Bank and Barrack’s Passage to exit on to Wyle Cop next to the Lion Hotel (26) and Henry Tudor House (27).

Wyle Cop
Wyle Cop

Henry Tudor House is of great importance, not only because Henry VII is reputed to have stayed here before the Battle of Bosworth (1485) in which King Richard III was killed. It is an example of a three-storey house where the hall was above a shop. The medieval traceried window (above the blue plaque) would have lit the first floor hall.

Henry Tudor House
Henry Tudor House

Turn right on to Wyle Cop to have a look at the magnificent buildings including Mytton’s Mansion (28) (Thomas Mytton held the position of Sheriff of Shrewsbury) and Tanner’s Wine Merchants.

Mytton's Mansion
Mytton’s Mansion
Tanners, Wyle Cop
Tanners, Wyle Cop

From here you have a choice of routes – straight on Under the Wyle and across the English bridge to the Abbey; right along Beeches Lane and on to the Town Walls; or across the road to St Julian’s and the Greyfriar’s bridge form where you can walk along the tow path in either direction or cross the River Severn into Coleham.

Or retrace your steps up Wyle Cop and the High Street and back to the Bear Steps. And take a look at the Abbot’s House (3) on the corner of Fish and Butcher Row.

Abbot's House
Abbot’s House


Shrewsbury’s Shuts and Passages: a unique maze of narrow alleys which criss-cross the town centre – part of the town’s medieval street plan.

Dogpole: a medieval street name which may derive from ‘ducken‘ to stoop and ‘poll‘ a summit which was thought to refer to a low arch in the inner wall.

Mardol: the name of the street means ‘Devil’s boundary’

Wyle Cop: thought to be Saxon or medieval English for ‘top of the hill’. This was once a very busy thoroughfare from the Abbey and over the English bridge with Telford’s London to Holyhead route.

Under the Wyle: under the hill

If you enjoy a walk, long or short, then have a look at Jo’s site where you are welcome to join in.

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

23 thoughts on “Scrobbesbyrig/Shrewsbury: Town Trail Part 2”

  1. A useful and informative guide to the town, with perfect illustrations. As I think I said last time, it should be used by the council as a tourist pamphlet!
    Regards as always, Pete. x

  2. Oh, lovely! Thanks for this, Jude…quite nostalgic for me….and you’ve posted an image of Tanners wine merchants, where I bought my first expensive bottle of wine!

  3. I am always amazed that all these wonderful old buildings are still standing and in such good condition. I hope the developers never get their hands on any of them. I’m also glad I don’t live in Grope Lane.

    1. Well the developers did get their mitts on some in the ’60s, there are a couple of dreadful shopping centres off the main street and a horrid ’60s carbuncle right in the square and of course some do become neglected and have to be pulled down, but a fair few remain standing and in use.

      1. Carbuncle is a great word for 60s buildings. It’s a shame when old buildings go, but it’s the same here only with beautiful areas of original native bushland. We had one across the road and it’s all been bulldozed and replaced by horrid brown boxes they are calling homes. 😦

    1. Do you get many timber-framed buildings in the south-west? I imagine there must be some in Dorset and Somerset. Shrewsbury could make more of its river IMO, create riverside walks, but a lot of it is fairly built-up.

  4. I LOVE those timber-framed houses! Thanks for sharing. Ever since I read my first Brother Cadfael mystery, Shrewsbury is “Cadfael town” for me.

    1. They are very characterful from the outside. I’m afraid for me low ceilings and beams inside are a bit of a turn off.

  5. I’m with Pete that this could be a wonderful guide for the town. I love a map along with such detailed instructions. Very helpful to anyone walking about this lovely spot.

  6. Oh, I just love all those old buildings, and Lord Clive’s statue is so imposing. Great set of photos, Jude. Nothing at all to match this history here in Florida. 😕

  7. I can see why this would have taken a bit of time, Jude. And to think we could have met in Coffee House Passage before you went south 😦 The Old Market Hall is the spitting image of the one in Peterborough. I suppose they’re not so very far apart. Thanks a lot for the link up. Enjoy your family time. 🙂 🙂

    1. Thanks Jo. Car trouble so they are using mine to get around which means I can’t go out with them. Which is a shame, but nice to spend time with them in the evening.

        1. Yes, having 5 extra people can be a little overwhelming. But of course I can’t get out! Maybe the hill tomorrow.

        2. It’ll be good practise for when you are snowed in, in winter! But for now, enjoy the heatwave- you must have it because it’s wet up here 🙂

        3. Sunny, windy and coolish here Jo, but the family are out on the coast somewhere walking off their energy! Meantime I can catch up with blogs and the swimming 🙂

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