Shropshire 19 - Moreton Corbet Castle and St Batholomews Church /where shall we go that is not too far away


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November 24th 2021
Published: November 24th 2021
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Majestic. a colossus of architecture , 500 years in the making , oozing brilliance and grandeur , decaying , amibitious building and a place that would rival all manor houses near and far. Some of the words that describe Moreton Corbet manor house and Castle . There were so many superlatives it was hard not to feel impressed with expection and then impressed once you stood in front of the building .

Going to Moreton Corbet was one of those spur of the moment decisions . You know the sort of day when you think you ought to do something but keep putting it off . Was there somewhere local we could visit that was not far to travel ? Something on the doorstep perhaps . A home rather than an away trip.

It was a cold crisp Autumn day. The wind was keen but the rain had kept off . We had not been anywhere for a while . Gabby would have to wait longer for a trip out but we had the car and I began to scour the map for somewhere to visit . I searched National Trust - not a lot open now that Autumn had arrived . Then I moved to English Heritage . How about Moreton Corbet ? It will take around 40 minutes to get there . There is parking . Not a lot but a quick search of Google Maps and Street maps showed just enough for us to park up on . The advantage too was that there are not likely to be many about today and it is free, What is there not to like ? It will give the driver chance to use his new phone to take photos and assess the quality . No cafe and too late for the pub but that did not put us off. Any trip out was better than no trip out.

The drive was uneventful . Main road to almost Shrewsbury then follow the brown heritage signs for Moreton Corbet. We arrived at our off the cuff trip out destination very quickly . Parked up Gabby on the empty car park and donned coats ,hats and scarves with gloves on to keep our hands warm . First sign of the castle and medieval hall were impressive . It stood in the middle of the field and we had the place to ourselves . Not for long though as another car turned up with man, his wife and their dog . We shared a hello ,smiled at the dog chasing and retrieving a large stick and set off on our separate routes . There was so much room we only bumped into them again when we ended up at the church next door.

The castle and hall reminded me of Sutton Scarsdale . Another house that had seen so much in its short life . It was a house of some description which had been built by two thegnes Hunning and Wulfgeat . Their home was later replaced with another a castle built in the 13th century by Toret. In 1216 the castle was besieged by William Marshall on behalf of King John , A lot of history had gone under the bridge .

The walls that remained were high and open to the sky. The roof had long gone together with the floors . The castle had seen action during the English Civil war changing hands four times and the stone work showing signs of musket marks . I loved the castle and old hall as it was run down . The stone darkened with age , the cellars dark and musty and the fireplaces robbed out, The slates reused from the roof and the ancient brickwork crumbling away. The mullioned windows were glassless . The wind whistled through but it was interesting to be inside somewhere that was not filled with exotic carpets and 18th century french furniture or the bed some king or other slept in . You had to use your imagination here . No trappings of wealth . Just grass growing in the courtyards. And overhead the sound of the 21st century - helicopters flying by on training practice from nearby RAF Shawbury . The flew by looking quite odd against this old ruin .

The Elizabethan house was built in the 16th century . It would have afforded more luxury than the older castle . A stone over the 16th century gateway proudly stated it was built in 1579. Family crests of the Elephant and Castle adorned the walls . The brick interior reached the sky. I wondered if the stone used was Grinshill Stone mined from just up the road . The house had reputedly been modelled on Palladios Basilica Palladiana in Vincenza. The rich owner had fallen in love with continental building styles following visits to Italy .

Chimeras and wyverns decorated the exterior corners of the building and there were obelisks and finials scattered all around the grounds . Did we enjoy the visit ? Yes we did and we made the most of being out and headed for the church next door . St Bartholemews stood next to the castle as it had done for centuries . It was Grade I listed and we could clearly see why that had been awarded to the building . The Corbets next door had been linked with the church through life and death . A grey building it stood on its own with its own graveyard and war memorial . Sometimes when you stand outside a church you wonder what the inside will look like and this was no different . The church doors were open and the walls outside were covered with carvings . We stood for awhile before walking into the porch . A door of wood and glass was shut and a sign told us it took £30 to keep the church open each day . Inside was dark . Our eyes took a while to adjust . The building was originally Norman but nothing of that remained . The main church was medieval and built in the 14th century of what looked like the same Grinshill stone that the hall and castle were built with . The tower was added in 1539 and there were featured somewhere on the building the arms of the Prince Edward of Wales who later became Edward VI. I think we missed the arms despite looking hard for them .

Inside the walls were simply adorned with wall memorials . The stained glass and reredos were impressive. Dried flowers were draped over and around the chancel arch . A nice touch. The roof of the chancel was painted with a black and white chevron design reminiscent of Poitiers in France . I guess medieval churches would have all featured this kind of design . We stood for a while and just looked around at the beauty which was very understated . There were two chest tombs in the church . Both 16th century and both Corbet memorials .

If you felt the need for silence then this church ticked all the boxes . If you felt you needed to pray the pews were there for you to sit. They were each numbered with letters of the alpabet . If you just enjoyed medieval churches then this was one for you to visit .

Today was a special day . A lovely Autumn day to visit a castle , a manor house and a church and a day to write my 1000 th blog .


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