Sunday, November 11, 2012

St Chad's, Old and New

Below is the Lady Chapel the only part of the old church of St Chad which remains standing after it collapsed one night in 1788.  By the end of the 18th century the building was falling into disrepair and cracks had appeared in the tower,  the famous engineer Thomas Telford warned that the church would collapse and not long after it did.  

During the time of King Offa of the Mercians (757-96) there was a monastic college on this site whose church was dedicated to St Chad, the first Bishop of Mercia.  In 1148 it was replaced by a much larger church.  Below, open to the elements are the arches of the sedilia.  The remains stand on an incline at the top of Milk Street just off Wyle Cop in the centre of the town.


A site was chosen, on a hill in the loop of the River Severn as it runs through the town, for a new church dedicated to St Chad and the foundation stone was laid on St Chad's day, 2nd March 1790.  Stones from the old church were used in the foundations.

Charles Darwin famous naturalist and  author of 'On the Origin of the Species' was baptised at the church in 1809 and attended services there with his mother, Susanna, daughter of the famous potter Josiah Wedgwood. 

There were some fascinating grave stones in the church yard, I was amused by the name on the one above.
Some of them were very elaborate.

With their classical influences and designs.

Some were very plain, now who is buried here?  Oh?  never!



Ebenezer Scrooge? Bah, humbug!  Well, no not really!  The stone is a prop which was used during the filming of a TV adaptation of Charles Dickens's novel  'A Christmas Carol' in 1984.  Apparently George C Scott was Scrooge and David Warner was Bob Cratchit.   It is in fact a real stone of the correct period which had been so worn away that they were able to inscribe over it.  If you look closely you can see the vague outlines of some writing on the bottom of the stone.  I wonder whose stone it was?

28 comments:

  1. What an interesting post.
    June

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interesting blog - I do like an old church.
    The red stone they've used to build the end back on the old church looks a bit like scar tissue, wich in a way it is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I too find old churches quite fascinating - see what you mean about the pink stone:)

      Delete
  3. What a great post, lovely photos. I love the Scrooge stone! Xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was fun to see it, I guess on a greyer, less sunny day it would be quite spooky:)

      Delete
  4. What fun to find Ebenezer Scrogge's gravestone:) The new St Chad's is rather attractive but the little Lady Chapel appeals to me more because of its age. I didn't realise that Charles Darwin was Josiah Wedgwood's grandson so that was an interesting bit of information.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Darwin and Wedgwood do familes intertwine a bit over the years. Charles Darwin's grandfather Erasmus Darwin and Josiah Wedgwood were members of The Lunar Society alongside James Watt, Matthew Bolton, Joseph Priestly and James Brindley.

      Delete
  5. What a totally fascinating place. Owen Owen's parents didn't have much imagination did they! I would have loved to find Scrooges gravestone. xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quite! He was an only son too so they didn't have to think of other names:)

      Delete
  6. I do find English graveyards so fascinating, perhaps because they are always close to a pretty church.
    Have a lovely week!
    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is something special about churchyards, especially village ones. You have a lovely week too:)

      Delete
  7. Shrewsbury is such a pretty place to visit. We went for the first time near the end of our holiday in Clun. We enjoyed the riverside walk and the quirky corners!
    Thank you for your comments on my previous post. It really helped to read everyone's thoughts when I was floundering. Jx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You had some wonderful comments, Jan I'm glad they were so helpful. Shrewsbury is a lovely place to visit. I never tire of it.

      Delete
  8. Old headstones can be very interesting to see and read. Can't imagine naming a child Owen Owen but they certainly did.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Does seem an odd thing to chose a forename that is the same as a surname, they must have had their reasons:)

      Delete
  9. What an interesting place to visit, I enjoyed reading about this church.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We didn't go inside this time but it is quite fascinating:)

      Delete
  10. Old headstones are really fascinating, thank you for that visit. Suzy x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed the visit, Suzy:)

      Delete
  11. What a great post. I remember that film version of The Christmas carol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't remember seeing that version! The last CC I saw was the Muppet one:)

      Delete
  12. Presumably the same King Offa who built the Dyke?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be him! Ancient sorces say that he had the Dyke built as a defence against the Welsh:)

      Delete
  13. Fascinating stuff - I love reading old gravestones too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can learn so much from a simple inscription on a headstone especially in they are your ancestors:)

      Delete
  14. I was reading about St Chad only the other day in a lovely book about Anglo-Saxon art. Thanks for the photos & history. Btw, that adaptation of A Christmas Carol is very good. Almost time to watch it again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a coincidence! As much as I love the newer classical church the older one is the one that appeals to me. I haven't seen the CC adaptation I must look out for it:)

      Delete