Thursday, August 11, 2011

The collapsing churches of Shrewsbury

They have had mixed luck with their churches in Shrewsbury. One morning in 1788 the parishioners of old St Chad's awoke to find they had a pile of rubble but no church. You can still see the ruins today, but St Chad's was rebuilt to a remarkable circular pattern elsewhere in the town.

Naturally, this collapse impressed the people of Shrewsbury and they hurried to rebuild another of their Medieval churches. My town trail booklet says of the reconstruction of St Alkmund's:
The limited decoration and use of cast iron tracery in the nave windows may reflect that only £2000 was available for this work. The new building, however, cost twice as much, demolishing the church was unnecessary and 10 years later, expensive repairs to the new roof were incurred.
Still, that cast iron window tracery looks fine today. The St Alkmund's website says they were made at Coalbrookdale, and one of them is shown in the photograph above.

The work at St Alkmund's did not end Shrewsbury's problems with churches. In 1894 part of the Medieval spire of St Mary the Virgin (the finest church in town and now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust) fell through the roof.

My town trail says that the vicar of the day preached that the spire had been "thrown down by God" because Shrewsbury people were organising a memorial to Charles Darwin. I do not know what He will make of the website Darwin's Shrewsbury.


Martin S said...

There are some beautiful churches in Shrewsbury and the rest of Shropshire.

All Saints in Wellington is a gem.

Matt Wardman said...

Your backlinks to this post seem to have gone slightly loco !

Jonathan Calder said...

They do, but that is Blogger's doing, isn't it?

Or is Shropshire church architecture more popular than I thought?