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

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

New Abbey Buildings

Although the main reason for visiting New Abbey was the delightful Sweetheart Abbey, we also took a stroll along the main street to the Corn Mill at the bottom. There are some interesting houses and windows that I thought I’d share with you.

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From the carpark at the Sweetheart Abbey head back to the road and turn right through the village down to the working Corn Mill. Pass several single-storey rubble-stone, whitewashed cottages like this pretty blue-painted framed openings with roses around the door.

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Rosewall

Mid/late 18th century. Single storey 3-bay cottage with central door and 2 carved stones incorporated. Carved stones represent a) 3 men in a boat, b) rose motif in incomplete pediment.

The Port House

Probably late 16th/17th century, but heightened late in 18th or in first quarter of 19th century, and openings altered.

The Hermitage

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Windows filled with interesting old glass bottles.

And two village pubs facing each other across the square.

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and another house with an interesting plaque

And finally the Corn Mill

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Now under the care of Historic Scotland, this three-storey whitewashed mill building was built towards the end of the 18th century by the Stewarts of nearby Shambellie House. However, it is thought that it reaches back much later than that, perhaps to as early as the late 13th century, when the Cistercian monks established their monastery of Dulce Cor (‘Sweet Heart’ ) at the far end of the village;  today the mill is still known locally as ‘Monks’ Mill’.

Behind the mill is an 1806 Masonic Lodge converted to church hall 1887; now a dwelling house.

New Abbey must rank amongst the prettiest settlements in the area with its whitewashed cottages overlooked by the Abbey ruins.

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If you enjoy a walk, short or long, then you may enjoy visiting Jo’s Monday Walk where you are in for a treat.

Or if your interest is windows then Dawn from ‘The Day After’  invites participants to post pictures of any windows that  they find curious, inviting, photogenic, or in some way tell a story.