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St Leonard, Linley, Shropshire

(52°35′0″N, 2°27′48″W)
SO 687 985
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Shropshire
now Shropshire
medieval Hereford
now Hereford
  • Barbara Zeitler
  • Ron Baxter
  • Barbara Zeitler
  • Ron Baxter
01 January 1999 (BZ), 14 June 2023 (RB)

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Linley is in farmland in the E of the county, 4 miles NW of Bridgnorth and a similar distance E of Much Wenlock. It consists of the Hall, a lodge and the church, reached via an unmade road from the Hall. Its woodland setting on steeply rising ground is attractive but can make photography difficult. The church consists of a simple nave and chancel with an elaborate W tower, all in local sandstone rubble. Features described here are the bell-openings and corbel tables of the tower (there is no E corbel table), N and S nave doorways, a massive tower arch, a simple chancel arch and a carved font. The church was restored in 1858 by Arthur Blomfield.


Linley was not mentioned in the Domesday Survey, but between the early 12thc and the late 15th it was held in socage of the Prior of Wenlock. The lord in the later 1130s was Richard of Linley, son of Baldwin. This family held the lordship from Wenlock until Philip, mentioned as lord in 1200, was succeeded by two heiresses. One married William le Forcer and his son Henry was lord by 1272. For the later history of the manor, see VCH, 10.

The church was a chapel of Holy Trinity, Much Wenlock throughout the Middle Ages. It is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. It was dedicated to St Nicholas in the 18th and early 19thc (Lewis, 1835).


Exterior Features



Exterior Decoration

Corbel tables, corbels

Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches
Tower/Transept arches




The W tower is a later-12thc addition to the early 12thc nave. Mercer (2003), 14, and the List Description suggest that the position of the S doorway tight up against the tower results from it being moved west when the tower was built. An alternative reason for the move is related to the addition of later windows in the nave. Newman (2006) notes the 'surprisingly substantial' tower arch. The beaded bands decorating the volute capitals and the nailhead on the bases are not seen elsewhere in the county. The figural N doorway tympanum has split opinion. While Newman and the List Description describes the figure as a demon, other authors including Mercer and the VCH prefer to see him as a form of green man. This author (RB) agrees with Mercer here.

The font is related top others in the county displaying medallions. The closest comparisons is with Morville both for the daisies within the medallions and the human head clasps, and with Cound, which wants the clasps. Stottesdon font uses the same design of medallions linked by clasps, but it is a much more adept piece of carving in the precision of its forms and the regularity of the font itself. It is connected with the Hereforshire School, which the others most certainly are not.

The corbels of the S facade of the tower are the only ones that can easily be seen. Both they and the W corbels are figural while those on the N side have only one figure, the rest being geometric.


Historic England List Description, English Heritage Legacy ID: 254327

E. Mercer, English Architecture to 1900, the Shropshire Experience, 2003,ch. 1.

  1. J. Newman and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Shropshire New Haven and London 2006, 331-32.

Victoria County History: Shropshire, 10, 1998, 348-54.