R and I spent a long weekend in Shrewsbury, mainly because we like the Brother Cadfael books (and TV series).


We arrived in good time to check into the hotel and then walk around town. There are many old buildings (none quite as old as the Cadfael setting) and it’s slightly touristy, but is otherwise a relatively normal English town.

Peacock Passage.
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Nicely painted houses on Milk St and Belmont.
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St Alkmund’s Church (the oldest surviving parts were built around 1475).
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Alfred Mansell & Co. Auctioneers, reflecting part of the back of the town museum.
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Buildings in Cross Hill, reflecting the Market Hall tower.
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St Chad’s Church, with the largest circular nave in the country (a hotly contested title).
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Hercules’s arse, in The Quarry park.
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Steps to River Severn.
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Arch below the Welsh Bridge.
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Grope Lane. (Yes, it’s really called that.)
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The Quantum Leap sculpture by the river.
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In the morning we went to see the Abbey Church. Luckily I already knew that there is almost nothing left of the abbey, or we would have been rather disappointed. It was mainly demolished on behalf of Henry the 8th, and Thomas Telford’s new main road finished the job. The church part was almost literally sawn in half, with only the part that was used as a parish church allowed to remain. It was later extended a bit, but remains smaller than the original.

West Gate.
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Stained glass and altar at east end.
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Altar rail.
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Ruined wall at right angles to edge of church.
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Entrance gate to the Hospital of the Holy Cross (almshouses), opposite the abbey church.
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Following a book of Cadfael walks (so? we aren’t proud) we took a short diversion to the church of St Giles, which exists but was also rebuilt since medieval times (although it does supposedly incorporate part of the chapel of the original leper hospital).

Along the way we passed the Shropshire Council offices and, outside them, Lord Hill’s Column, which is taller than Nelson’s Column.

It is indeed pretty tall.
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But I’m not sure the lions are as good.
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The church itself was not particularly exceptional (we didn’t see inside). We returned across the English Bridge and back into town, where we walked around some more.

Nice brick buildings.
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Railway bridge near abbey.
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Shop doorway with ‘MARSH’ lettering on the floor.
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Bear Steps. (No bears were in evidence.)
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We visited the town museum (no pictures). It was actually quite good, but crawling with children for a Harry Potter Hallowe’en event.

The town also has a castle, but according to Wikipedia ‘little of this original physical structure remains’. It’s now a regimental museum, which we didn’t have time to visit.

Castle doorway with frowny face. (It was closed.)
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Market Hall and part of a sculpture.
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The last surviving medieval (14th century) watchtower on the Town Walls.
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Crescent Lane, appearing confusingly octagonal from this angle.
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Part of the 13th century original St Chad’s church (replaced by the big round one).
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By the way, we finished the day with a really good Italian meal in La Lanterna restaurant - chosen by our usual Saturday night technique of leaving it too late and eating at the only place that had a table free. Lucky!


On Sunday we did a walk I planned, mainly along the path by the Severn. We began by heading north along the main road past the station.

Under the fancy railway bridge, with equally fancy bar opposite.
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The road passed a large derelict industrial building, which was once a flax mill and then maltings (presumably among other things). It is being restored and has a visitor centre, but we didn’t have time to visit.

Mill building and scaffolding.
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More mill buildings.
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There used to be a canal in Shrewsbury, now mainly filled in, and the next part of our route ran along the old canal.

Path uphill.
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The entire rest of our route then ran along the Severn towpath, first taking us back into Shrewsbury.

Weir. Allegedly you can see salmon here sometimes.
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The most exciting structure on the river is the railway bridge, which was obviously extended at some point and is really quite impressive.

Two parts of railway bridge.
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All three sections.
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Steel bridge and brick arches leading east from Shrewsbury station.
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We then followed the river path around the loop that almost encircles Shrewsbury.

Window with flowers and reflections.
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Marine Terrace, by the English Bridge.
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Footpath under the Welsh Bridge.
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Derelict riverside building (1).
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Derelict riverside building (2): oil & grease merchants.
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Derelict riverside building (3): well established, Holland Broadbridge.
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We had time on Monday morning to visit the (free) Roman part of the town museum.

Roman sign in museum. Looks in pretty good nick, considering.
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We took another short look at the old St Chad’s church while waiting for a boat trip.

Door at graveyard end.
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Road end.
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Nice alleyway.
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The short boat trip was quite pleasant.

Ripples in the water reflecting trees.
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Green hoarding.
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Green rowing boat.
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Welsh Bridge (with theatre behind).
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We also visited The Dingle, a landscaped garden in the centre of The Quarry park - we hadn’t had a chance to see in there before because, bizarrely, they lock the gates halfway through the afternoon.

Statue in The Dingle.
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Wicker monkey in tree.
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Heading for the station, we went along a path by the castle called The Dana.

Steps up to the path.
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Part of the path.
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Shrewsbury station (quite fancy).
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That’s all; we took the train home. I thought it was quite an interesting trip, even though there is pretty much nothing left from the time of the Cadfael series!

By the way, I visited Shrewsbury once before on my own in 2011 for much the same reason. And took quite a few of the same photos, it seems!

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.