South Shropshire

For the purpose of this web site, South Shropshire includes the towns of Craven Arms, Cleobury Mortimer and Ludlow.

There are 46 parishes in this area. Here are details of a few of them.

Abdon is a parish of secrets with tantalising hints of its past to be found in faded records or grassy mounds. There is little of the Iron Age remaining as both the forts within the parish, have largely been destroyed through quarrying. Abdon Burf is at the summit of Brown Clee Hill which, at 1771 feet is the highest point in Shropshire. It was an oval enclosure covering an area of between 20 and 30 acres. The earthen walls were as much as 65 feet wide at their base. The great fallen stone, the Giant's Shaft, which was said to have been placed there by the Druids, and a vague outline of the earthworks is all that remains of Abdon Burf.
The Church of St. Margaret is a beautiful example of simple architecture. It was extensively restored in the 18th and 19th centuries and little of the original church, dating back to 1138, remains other than, perhaps, the thick walls of the nave. It is certainly a beautiful spot to lay down for eternal rest, secure in the knowledge that since Iron Age man, and perhaps before, man has lived in Abdon.

Ashford Bowdler lies along the banks of the River Teme some three miles south of Ludlow. The actual year in which the Norman church of Saint Andrew was founded is unknown. What is certain is that little of the original church remains. It is a very attractive building with a wooden porch and shingled bellcote and is perched, almost precariously, on the very steep banks of the River Teme. Its Norman origin is confirmed by the two blocked round-arched doorways on the north and south sides of the nave, both partly obscured from inside by the monuments on the walls. It is believed that these doorways may have been used by passing pilgrims seeking a blessing on their way. The church is small enough to almost seem to belong to the Georgian Church House opposite, rather than the house belonging to the church. With its white paint and iron porch, Church House is the epitome of a rectory of its time.

Aston Botterell lies at the foot of Brown Clee Hill and to the east of the B4364 Bridgnorth to Ludlow road, some eight miles from Bridgnorth. The views of Brown Clee Hill, whether shrouded in cloud or not, are magnificent, as are the extensive views to the east from some parts of the parish. The village of Aston Botterell is not much more than a cluster of farm buildings and a church, but its lack of inhabitants is more than compensated by the beautiful parish church. It is a stone building which has obviously been altered and added to over the years. Nevertheless, it retains a certain charm in its stone and timbers. Inside the church are some magnificent memorials to members of the Botterell family who gave the parish its name. Little is known of where the family originated from, but records of the area show that the family can be traced as far back as 1202. Certainly by the late 14th century they were lords of Aston Botterell and living in what is now Aston Manor Farm. The oldest part of this house dates from around the 13th century.

The parish and village of Bromfield lie immediately to the west of Ludlow. The village stands between the rivers Onny and Teme which eventually merge a little way downstream. In the fork formed by the two rivers stands the remains of a Benedictine Priory. What is left is mainly in the form of St. Mary's Church, the nave of which was originally the name of the priory, and there is still amble evidence of its Norman origins. In the church is a memorial to Henry Hickman who was born at nearby Lady Halton. It is believed by many that he was the first to experiment successfully with anaesthetics.
To the south of the village are as some fields which bear the unusual name of 'crawl meadows'. Legend tells us that a certain maid of Bromfield fell in love with a landless knight. Her father disapproved and vowed that if she married this landless knight her marriage portion would only be as much land as she could crawl over between sunset and sunrise. Dressed in leather to protect her delicate skin, she managed to crawl a distance of four miles.

The village of Burford is only separated from Tenbury Wells and Worcestershire by the river, where a substantial bridge spans the shallows of the river Teme. It was the ford across the river that gave the village its name and it was an important enough crossing to have been the site of a fortified Roman settlement. Away from the river to the north the parish of Burford has a rural charm that can only be found in Shropshire.
The church of St. Mary stands apart from the village, and inside, the church's history is apparent, particularly in the many fine tombs to the Cornwall family who were lords of Burford for around four centuries. One of the tombs is of Princess Elizabeth, daughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and sister to Henry IV. Her third husband was Sir John Cornwall who was created Lord Farnhope for his services at Agincourt. Overall the church is a pleasure to visit and amongst the many features worthy of mention is the magnificent roof and, outside, an interesting cross in the churchyard.