South Shropshire

Cleobury Mortimer
is to be found to the east of Ludlow on the A4117 Ludlow to Kidderminster road. For more information see Cleobury Mortimer.

The parish of Diddlebury can be found on the B4368, Craven Arms to Bridgnorth road. The village of Diddlebury retains the impression of being a working village rather than just a pretty village. Responsibility for this impression lies with a farmhouse and farm buildings which are very much part of the village scene. Glebe Farmhouse is an unusual, symmetrical building with what seems like a variety of ages and materials to its various parts. Newer house have been well designed to fit into the scene without intrusion. Just around the corner, St. Peter's Church stands on a slight rise. It is a solid, impressive church with strong Saxon origins.
Nearby is the site of Corfham Castle, once the home of the Clifford family and an important stronghold in the Marches. Walter de Clifford was the father of the 'Fair Rosamund' about whom the poets wrote. She was the mistress of Henry II, and Corfham Castle was a gift by the king to Rosamund's father.

Eaton under Heywood parish lies on the north-facing slopes of Wenlock Edge. It is mainly a parish of hamlets, or rather townships, as places like Wolverton, Harton and Hatton are little more than individual farming communities. The nearest the parish has to a village is Ticklerton, which straddle s a haphazard junction of five roads. Ticklerton Hall is apparently of interest, being a 17th-century structure. But the gem of the parish lies to the south-east of Ticklerton and is the delightful, mainly 13th-century church of St. Edith. The setting for this Norman church is superb with the wooded and steep slopes of Wenlock Edge starting their climb almost at the churchyard wall. The steepness of the slopes can be seen by the footpath, aptly named Jacob's Ladder, which leads to the top of the Edge. A track, close to the church, is the old pilgrim route for pilgrims from the south-west en route to Much Wenlock and the Shrine of St. Milburga. Though remote, this tiny settlement must once have been of importance, as records show that permission was given by the King, in 1219, for an annual fair and weekly market to be held within the churchyard.

The tiny parish of Heath nestles on the lower slopes of Brown Clee Hill over-looking Corve Dale. (the area between Much Wenlock and Craven Arms) Its most treasured possession is its tiny chapel. It stands alone in a field beside the road and has not changed since it was built, except for the addition of a window. Many Norman churches changed considerably as their parishes grew in wealth. Perhaps we should be thankful that Heath stayed a poor relation to its neighbours, if that poverty is responsible for the almost perfect preservation of a chapel which is at least eight hundred years old. Today, Heath chapel also stands as a mute reminder of the mediaeval village which once surrounded it. There are other such abandoned sites in the area, but we do not know the reason for the decay of such villages. Often it is a combination of events such as plague, a loss of water supply, or a slow migration of the inhabitants.

Hope Bagot is a tiny and delightful parish nestling in a fold on the southern slopes of Titterstone Clee Hill, to the east of Ludlow. The church at Hope Bagot is dedicated to St. John the Baptist and is a delightful Norman structure believed to date from the 12th century. But a much older occupant of the churchyard is a yew tree with a massive diameter and an age which is certified by experts to be a minimum of 1,600 years old! The churchyard is now managed as a Wildlife Sanctuary with some rare plants growing there. Nearby is a well which was once a destination for pilgrims seeking a cure for eye complaints.Legend tells us that there was a monastery or nunnery in the parish in the 14th century on a site a little to the north of the church where six paths met. Today a hollow way, lined with the stumps of yew trees leads to the spot, and on a clear night it is said that the sounds of the monastery bells can still be heard.

The parish of Hopesay lies to the west of Craven Arms. The village of Hopesay lies in a valley below Burrow Camp, a large and rather impressive hill fort. The church is dedicated to St. Mary and is a joy to visit , with a wealth of woodwork to admire. It dates from the early 13th century. Just inside the door of the church is an ancient chest, which is made from a solid trunk, and said to have been at one time a collecting box for the crusades.
A mile or so south of Hopesay village is Aston on Clun. It has grown up around a road junction and has sufficient old houses to make it a place of interest. In the village is a tree which is frequently bedecked with the flags of many nations. The stories behind the dressing or decoration of this tree seem varied. One theory is that it dates back to prehistoric time when trees, when they burst into life after a cold winter, were blessed as a symbol of the returning life to. Other theories include a local marriage, the return of Charles II to England and the end of a local feud. Whatever the reason, long may the annual tree dressing continue.