Central Shropshire


For the purpose of this web site, Central Shropshire covers 34 parishes and includes the towns of Shrewsbury, Wellington (part of Telford) and Shifnal.
Here are a few of them.

The parish of Acton Burnell, eight miles southeast of Shrewsbury, lies in a semi-circle around Acton Burnell Park. The name 'Burnell' comes from Robert Burnell, first a clerk in the service of Prince Edward, the eldest son of King Henry III. In 1260 he was involved with the Prince's affairs in Wales and the Marches. He was at the Prince's side at his succession, became Chancellor in September 1274 and a few months later was elected Bishop of Bath and Wells. He was a statesman, a clever and capable man, and probably leaning more towards the law than to God as his political record implies. Certainly he was ambitious, but not selfishly so. His family obviously counted for much, as most probably did the people of his estates. (It is said he had possessions in nineteen counties and owned eighty-two manors!)
At Acton Burnell he left his church, castelated manor house and the walls of a building where Parliament sat in 1283

Albrighton is a large, attractive village, east of Telford on the border of the county close to Wolverhampton. There is little to mark the border between the counties now, but at one time crossing the border must have been similar to visiting another country. It was for this reason that Albrighton was formerly a Borough Incorporate. It received its charter in 1303, and was renewed in 1662 for rather unusual reasons. The charter declared that "because Albrighton (then) adjoined Staffordshire on the east, south and west sides, felons and other malefactors fled Staffordshire to escape prosecution because there was no resident justice of the peace in that part of Shropshire." The church of St. Mary Magdalene is believed to have been founded in the 13th century. It is a fine red sandstone building, with some interesting tombs and memorials, which has been restored in the Decorated style, and much of it dates from the mid-19th century. Opposite the church stands the Shrewsbury Arms, a half-timbered building with interesting patterns in the brickwork. This building is believed to have been the Hall and residence of the Talbots.

The village of Atcham, just south-east of Shrewsbury, is clustered around the entrance to Attingham Park and the parish church. The fine old 11th-century church is the only one in England to be dedicated to St. Eata, and it stands on the banks of the river Severn a few yards downstream from where the old A5 crosses the river. Outside the church, it is a picturesque setting of church, village and river. Inside all is peace, as it should be in God's house. One cannot stand inside this church and not be moved by its splendid simplicity. Presumably, the present church was built on the site of an earlier structure, as much of the north wall is of Saxon construction, built mainly with stone from the nearby Roman city of Viriconium, and some stones in the church still bear traces of Roman design. Across the road from the village of Atcham stands the main entrance to Attingham Park, once the home of the Berwick family and now in the hands of the National Trust.

Berrington is a village and parish immediately to the south of Shrewsbury, away from the main roads. It is a village of pleasant houses, some of them having been built in recent years, and a magnificent church which dates back to the 13th century with foundations which are believed to go back to Saxon times. Of the many treasures in the church, the most interesting is the figure of a knight carved from a solid piece of oak. He lies with his legs crossed, his head on a cushion, his hands in prayer and with a lion at his feet. He has been described as a Knight Templar of the late 13th century, but this identity seems to have been lost in time. Unless, that is, you accept for truth the story that it is Old Scriven of Frodesley (four miles to the south) who, whilst going to visit his lady at Eaton Mascott, was attacked by a lion which he proceeded to cut in two with one blow of his mighty sword. In the encounter he apparently received a cut to his face, and the scar is reproduced on his effigy.