Battlefield Church


Great place, the church yard gets a lot of visitors and is on a public footpath so there are always people walking around the area. This church is no longer consecrated,  services no longer taken place and its fallen into disuse with the  one exception of a memorial service which is not of religious standing.  Personally I love photographing the  old churches with cobwebs and dust, Going to a church that’s in use just wouldn’t have the same appeal.

History

This large, dignified church stands in open countryside on the site of the ferocious Battle of Shrewsbury, which took place in 1403.

Thousands of soldiers are thought to have died in the fray, and the church remains a quiet, some would say melancholic, memorial to the 1,600 people who were said to have been buried there. A statue of Henry IV, who defeated Henry “Hotspur” Percy in the battle, stands on the outside east wall. On the roof beams inside are representations of the shields of the knights who fought with Henry IV. A service is still held each year in July to commemorate the anniversary of the battle.

It is probably built over a mass burial pit. It was originally a collegiate church staffed by a small community of chaplains whose main duty was to perform a daily liturgy for the dead. Roger Ive, the local parish priest, is generally regarded as the founder, although the church received considerable support and endowment from Henry IV. After the dissolution of the college and chantry in 1548, the building was used as the local parish church and it underwent serious decay, punctuated by attempts at rebuilding from the mid-18th century. A restoration in Victorian times was controversial in intention, scope and detail, Much of the church  is the result of the extensive restoration in the 1860s, by a distinguished local architect S Pountney Smith, who saved the church from ruin. Though he kept the original shape, tower and walls, the magnificent hammerbeam roof, the reredos, and all the fittings and furniture were installed by him. He was also responsible for installing the fine stained glass typical of the 1860s. Especially memorable is the east window with its wonderful palette of colours. One particular treasure is the Piet, carved in oak, showing the Virgin Mary holding Christ’s body. It is a remarkable and moving piece dating from the fifteenth century and thought to have been brought here from another church.

Today it is a redundant Anglican church.