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St Laurence, Church Stretton, Shropshire

(52°32′14″N, 2°48′33″W)
Church Stretton
SO 452 936
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Shropshire
now Shropshire
medieval Hereford
now Hereford
  • Barbara Zeitler
6 November 1999

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Church Stretton is a market town approximately 13 miles S of Shrewsbury, in the Shropshire Hills. The town is sited in a pass or saddle point beween two great hills: the Long Mynd to the W and Caer Caradoc, site of an Iron Age hill fort, to the E. A Roman road runs through the town, using this strategically important pass for communications between Shrewsbury and Wroxeter and the southern centres of Hereford and Kenchester. The church is in the centre of the town, and consists of a nave with crossing, transepts and chancel. The nave is 12thc: N and S doorways, both decorated with sculpture. The N doorway is blocked up, the S now opens into the vestry. The crossing arches are Transitional, the transepts and chancel Early English and the crrossing tower Early English with a Perpendicular upper storey. 19thc arches open into the W aisles of N and S transepts (not described here). The N doorway was blocked up in 1818 (see Bilbey, below). A vestry was added in 1831. The church was extensively restored by S. Pauntney Smith between 1866 and 1868, when the transept aisles were added. Further restoration work was carried out in 1879, 1882
and 1932.


Church Stretton was part of Earl Roger de Montgomery's vast estate in the county in 1086. It was assessed at 8 hides, and the Domesday entry records a church, a priest and a mill.


Exterior Features


Exterior Decoration


Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches

The R capital of the S doorway cannot be measured, since it is tucked behind a cupboard in the vestry. The Transitional capitals in the crossing are much renewed. There are other local sheela-na-gigs at Tugford and Holdgate.


D. Bilbey, St Laurence Parish Church, Church Stretton. An Illustrated Guide and Brief History, n.d.

D. H. S. Cranage, Churches of Shropshire, 2 vols, Wellington: Hobson & Co., 1901-12, Pt 2, 80-3.

D. Grounds, St Laurence 's Church, Church Stretton, n.d.

S. Letters, Online Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs in England Wales to 1516, http://www.history.ac.uk/cmh/gaz/gazweb2.html: Shropshire (Centre for Metropolitan History, Institute of Historical Research: 15 July 2010).

N. Pevsner, Buildings of Shropshire, Harmondsworth 1958, 100-101.

VCH, Victoria County History: Shropshire, X, London 1998, 72-120.