Baschurch, Shropshire – All Saints

Shrewsbury and the area north is in the Diocese of Lichfield. We went for an explore north of Shrewsbury on the B road across towards Oswestry, and stopped in the village of Baschurch. We went for an explore. All Saints SJ422219 was open, good access, and looks very welcoming.august b 128According to the guidebook, there are Saxon references to the churches at Bassa. It could have stood where an earthworks now stands to the NE of the village, or have been completely demolished when the Norman church was built. The Norman church, built of the lovely local red standstone, consisted of a chancel, nave, south aisle and west tower. The south aisle was rebuilt circa 1300 and the tower extended (upwards) a century later. There was a fire in 1404 which did some damage – they blame the Welsh (a bit like up in sunny Ponteland where we blame the Scots).

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In 1789 the condition of the church was described as “so ruinous that the Parishioners cannot assemble therein for Divine worship without great danger to their lives.” Thomas Telford directed the removal of the north aisle, the building of a new north wall which widened the nave and the rebuilding of the chancel for a total cost of £1,229 18s 2½d – I wonder what cost the 2½d. I would like to find out more about Thomas Telford – I did a bit of reading about him several years ago when we had a holiday beside the Caledonian Canal. Must see what I can find in my library.

Thomas Telford

There was more restoration in 1885, and various other things have been done over the last few decades. You enter through the west end – it is a good solid tower – into a nice vestibule with a mixture of benefactors’ boards and modern panels, and come into a very pleasant church.

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A lovely creation banner, hangs at the west end of the south aisle, where they have made space for coffee and kitchen units.

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A prayer area with a couple of hatchments and a memorial tablet. The font is dated to 1681, a good handrail to help surmount the Chancel steps, and a well cared for Sanctuary.

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august b 141There is a whole range of other memorial tablets that no doubt tell fascinating stories, but the sun was rather bright and my photos could have been better.

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Outside is a very ancient yew tree – said to date to the C6.

august b 147I missed damage on the south buttress said to have been caused by executions by musket during the Civil War, and missed C18 mass sundials on the south wall. This is a nice sundial on a pillar.

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The War Memorial stands in a corner of the churchyard.

august b 148This church is obvious the village centre – and, as the village grows with lots of new houses, has some challenges ahead.

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The village has a closed station and derelict signal box, and a second level crossing with Welsh notices (despite the fact we are well into England). Two questions: one, how can one retrieve the signal box name board without anyone noticing? Two, can we get the station reopened?

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