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St Mary, Sheriffhales, Shropshire

(52°42′18″N, 2°21′34″W)
SJ 758 120
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Shropshire
now Shropshire
medieval St Mary
now St Mary
  • Barbara Zeitler
  • Ron Baxter
  • Barbara Zeitler
  • Ron Baxter
24 June 1999 (BZ), 12 June 2023 (RB)

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Feature Sets

Sheriffhales is a scattered village in the E of the county, 4 miles NE of Telford and a similar distance S of Newport. The church stands in the village centre, which is towards the S of the parish. It consists of a 13thc chancel, a 12thc nave with a 14thc N aisle, and a tower rebuilt in 1723, reusing a 14thc W window. The only Romanesque feature is the tower arch; puzzling in that its capitals indicate a later-12thc date while the arch itself is pointed and deeply chamfered, suggesting a 13thc date.


Sheriffhales was assessed under Staffordshire in the Domesday Survey. The vill was held before the Conquest by Earl Aelfgar, who was succeeded by his son Earl Edwin who died in 1071. By 1081 it was held by Earl Roger of Shrewsbury and his tenant was Warin the Bald, Sheriff of the county. who died in 1085 and was succeeded by Reynold of Bailleul, the next sheriff. When Earl Roger's son forfeited the overlordship in 1102, it passed to Reynold's scuccessors as Sheriff. Thus it was held by William FitzAlan by 1138 and remained in that line until 1560 in the person of Henry FitzAlan, Earl of Arundel, but by 1605 it had passed to the crown.

There was a church at Sheriffhales by 1081, the rectory having passed to the abbey of St.-Evroult.


Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches

The trumpet scallops and flat leaves on the chancel arch suggest a date c.1170-80, although the tall pointed and deeply chamfered arch itself appears later. The date would fit neither the earlier 12thc nave nor the 13thc tower which was replaced by the present 18thc one. On balance we suggest that the capitals were early 13thc work in a rather old fashioned style


Historic England Listed Building. English Heritage Legacy ID: 255193

  1. J. Newman and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Shropshire New Haven and London 2006, 501

Victoria County History: Shropshire, 12 pt 1 (2002), 37-42. (draft)