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St Mary the Virgin, Hopesay, Shropshire

(52°26′39″N, 2°54′1″W)
SO 389 833
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Shropshire
now Shropshire
medieval Hereford
now Hereford
  • Barbara Zeitler
29 August 1998

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Feature Sets

Hopesay is a small village about 10 miles NW of Ludlow. The church lies to the W of the village and consists of a single-aisled structure built of limestone rubble with ashlar dressings. The chancel was largely restored by William Butterfield in 1886. The building still features the original plain lancet windows: one window is found near the Priest's doorway, another is on the S wall of the chancel, and two others are in the N wall of the chancel. The low tower was added to the nave probably at end of the 12thc, while the nave roof and the porch date from the 15thc. Romanesque sculpture is found on the S doorway, dated to c.1160. The church furnishing include a medieval oak chest, situated next to the S door.


The Domesday Survey records that in 1066 the manor of 'Hope' was held by Edric the Wild. In 1086 its lordship passed to Picot of Sai, and the name of the village (located in a valley, 'hope') derives from him. The church was founded and endowed by the Lords of the Fee and was, therefore, a free chapel. The window in the SW corner of the nave contains a fragment of a stained glass window which features the arms of Richard Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, and those of his second wife, Philippa, daughter of Edward Mortimer, Earl of March. Richard Fitzalan married for the second in time in 1391 and was beheaded in 1397.


Exterior Features



The S doorway is unusually situated in the centre of the nave. The low tower resembles the one at Clun (Shropshire).


Anon., Hopesay Church, leaflet, n.d.

J. Newman and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Shropshire, New Haven and London 2006, 306–7.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Shropshire, Harmondsworth 1958, 153.