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Holy Trinity, Holdgate, Shropshire

(52°30′9″N, 2°38′48″W)
SO 562 896
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Shropshire
now Shropshire
medieval Hereford
now Hereford
  • Barbara Zeitler
  • Ron Baxter
26 October 1997 (BZ), 16 May 2019 (RB)

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Holdgate is a village in Corve Dale in the Shropshire Hills, 10 miles W of Bridgnorth. The church stands in the village centre, with a motte and bailey to the N. Holy Trinity has a 12thc nave, a 13thc W tower and chancel, and a S porch added in the 19thc. There is high-quality 12thc sculpture on the S doorway and an elaborately carved 12thc. font. There is a sheela-na-gig in the S chancel wall, photographed for us by John Harding.


Holdgate, called Stantune in the Domesday Survey, was held by Helgot from Roger of Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury as 2 manors in 1086. The foirst, of 2 hides, was held by Ketil in 1066, and the second, of 3 hides, was held by Genust, Alweard, Dunning and Aelfgifu as 4 manors in 1066. In this manor Helgot had a castle and a church and a priest. The manor descended in Helgot’s family. His son Herbert of Clee succeeded before 1116, and his son Herbert of Castle Holgate was the lord in 1166 and died by 1190. His widow died childless a few years later, and by 1194 the manor was in the hands of Ralph of Arden in right of his wife Agnes, related to the Holdgates.

A new church was consecrated within the castle perimeter by Bishop Geoffrey de Clee (1115-1119), who was the uncle of Helgot’s son Herbert. Before 1121 the same Herbert gave the church to Shrewsbury Abbey. By 1189 the rectory of the church was divided into portions for a priest a deacon and a subdeacon


Exterior Features


Exterior Decoration





The font bowl does not match the stem and base. Although both elemants are stylistically 12thc work, they are stylistically very different and are made of different stone types. The VCH assciates the font with Eardisley and Castle Frome (Herefordshire) and Chaddesley Corbett (Worcestershire), dating it c.1140 (which is at least a decade too early if the comparison is sound). Newman and Pevsner (2006) compare the sheela-na-gig with those at Tugford and Church Stretton, suggesting that it may be 12thc.


Anon, Holy Trinity Church, Holdgate, leaflet, no date.

Historic England Listed Building 483817

J. Newman and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Shropshire New Haven and London 2006, 303-04.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Shropshire, Harmondsworth 1958, 151-52.

Victoria County History: Shropshire, 10, 1998,135-47