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2. Bridgnorth (1) The Town

Visited May 2016

See also Bridgnorth (2) Severn Valley Railway

The town of Bridgnorth is in Shropshire, England, situated on either side the River Severn Valley.

Bridgnorth is split into High Town and Low Town, because of their elevations relative to the River Severn, which separates the upper town, high up on the west bank from the lower town on the east bank.

Bridgnorth is an attractive town and a pleasant location for a walk around to view its historic sights and building. The 'high' Castle Walk offers great views of the River Severn Valley.

Looking west across the road bridge connecting Bridgnorth Low Town with Bridgnorth High Town,

 

The lush vegetation on the banks of the River Severn at Bridgnorth

 

A view of Bridgnorth High Town from the east bank of the River Severn

 

Looking up southwest towards the Parish church of St Mary Magdalene.

 

On the west end of the road bridge is the firm of S.E & Ridley Ltd, which claims to be the oldest seed merchant in England, Ridley's Seeds seedsmen have been operating here from the early 19th century.

 

Just south of the bridge are sandstone caves, hollowed out and used for several purposes over the years.

 

Below Bridgnorth High Town is a series of caves in the soft red sandstone cliffs including Lavington's Hole. These caves have hollowed out over the past 400 years and used for storage and homes. In the siege of Bridgnorth of 1646, in the English Civil War, the Royalist forces held out until they heard of sounds of picks and shovels of Colonel Lavington's men, a Parliamentary force trying to tunnel there way of to St Mary's Church. The sounds of excavation were enough to bring about the surrender!

 

At the southern lower end of Bridgnorth High Town, across a pedestrian suspension bridge is Bridgnorth Station the northern terminus of the wonderful heritage line of the Severn Valley Railway (see separate page for more details).

 

The Severn Valley Railway runs steam trains and diesel hauled passenger trains south to Kidderminster Severn Valley Railway.

 

 

The suspension bridge from where you can walk back up into High Town

 

Looking down onto Bridgnorth Station

 

The ruins of Bridgnorth Castle. The first fortress at Bridgnorth was built in 912 by Aethelflaed, daughter of King Alfred to guard against the Danes. In 1101 the Norman knight, Robert de Belleme built a strong castle on the site in preparation for an uprising against King Henry I. In 1102 Henry I successively besieged Bridgnorth and in 1155 Henry II took the castle from the rebel Hugh de Mortimer of Wigmore and granted Bridgnorth its first town charter. Around 1200-125 Bridgnorth grew in size beyond the castle and defensive walls built to encircle the town. In 1321 the castle was captured by the barons who rebelled against King Edward II. In 1646 Bridgnorth was held by Royalist forces loyal to King Charles I, but Parliamentary troops attacked the town and on entering it a fire was started by the Royalists that burned most of the High town. After the fall of Bridgnorth to Cromwell's army the town walls and castle were destroyed, hence the few and tilting ruins of the castle keep you see today.

 

The facade, entrance and tower of the Church of England Parish Church of st Mary Magdalene.

 St. Mary's Church is built in the classic style of the late 18th century, designed by Thomas Telford, and still used for worship today.
 

The exterior architecture of St Mary's Church, Bridgnorth

 

The interior architecture of St Mary's Church, Bridgnorth

 

A house in East Castle Street, Bridgnorth, was once home in 1792, to the engineer and architect Thomas Telford (1757-1834), meriting a blue plaque.

 

The Castle Tea Rooms and Restaurant next to the 200 year old Shakespeare Inn pub at the junction of East Castle Street and West Castle Street. The Shakespeare pub seems to have a good reputation for beer and food.

 

The New Market Building of 1855-1856, whose lower floor is partially occupied by a Costa Coffee cafe!

 

First view of the 'black & white' half-timbered 17th century Bridgnorth Town Hall dating from 1652.

 

Bridgnorth Town Hall

 

Two version of the coat of arms of Bridgnorth
Motto: Fidelitas Urbis Salus Regis, which translates as "In the town’s loyalty lies the King’s safety"

Left: On the exterior of the Town Hall;  Right: On a fine piece of furniture inside (oak, 1637-1837)

Behind is a glimpse of some fine Victorian stained glass windows in the upper floor of the Town Hall (see pictures below).

 

(above and below) Some of the fine stained glass windows in Bridgnorth Town Hall

 

The interior of Bridgnorth Town Hall and its collection of fine 'furniture'.

 

 

Through the arched central section of Bridgnorth Town Hall, stalls are allowed to be set up.

 

 

 

A portrait of Bridgnorth Town Hall.

 

Looking through the North Gate of Bridgnorth to the Town Hall.

 

The North Gate is the only surviving gateway (of five) of Bridgnorth's old town walls.

 

The North Gate houses a museum above the road.

 

Looking down from Castle Walk in High Town to the road bridge and Bridgnorth Low Town

 

Another from Bridgnorth's Castle Walk as another rain shower blows in over the River Severn.

 

 

The Cliff Railway courtesy of the "Bridgnorth Castle Hill Railway Co. Ltd.

The Castle Hill railway opened in 1892, originally worked on a water balance system but was converted to electricity in 1944

 

A narrow street in Bridgnorth High Town that leads down into Cartway.

 

Cartway United Reformed and Methodist Church on Cartway, Bridgnorth.

 

The narrow winding streets and alleyways that make their way down from the high town to the river

 

Title: "Blossom and Cat"!, a most relaxing scene in Bridgnorth

 

Cartway continued as we walk down towards the road bridge over the River Severn.

 

Cartway is an old medieval way from Bridgnorth High town down to the river and quays - the River Severn was quite navigable up to Bridgnorth.

 

The Black Boy Inn, Cartway, the oldest surviving pub in Bridgnorth.

 

Near the foot of Cartway is Bishop Percy's House of 1580, a fine timbered building, one of the few to survive the disastrous fire of 1646.

 

One of the most attractive buildings in Bridgnorth.

 

The Bassa Villa 'pub' restaurant and B&B is in low town, as is the town part across the river.

 

Bishop Percy's House above the Bassa Villa.

 

A view of High Town from the road bridge with the spire of St Leonard's Church at the top.

 

 

The Boatyard pub overlooks the River Severn.

The clock tower by the bridge was erected in 1949 to the memory of two great engineers - Richard Trevithick and John Urpeth Rastrick.

 


The Concert !

As a bass singer in the Dalesmen Singers Male Voice Choir from Danby, North Yorkshire, it was a pleasure to participate in a joint concert with the Bridgnorth Male Voice Choir on May 21st 2016 in Bridgnorth Baptist Church. The Bridgnorth choir at previously sung with us in 2015 when they visited the Whitby and Scarborough area of North Yorkshire.

 

Bridgnorth MVC

The Dalesmen Singers MVC (I'm on the top right hand end of the line)

 

The Dalesmen in full flow!

 

The Dalesmen

 

The Dalesmen Singers and Bridgnorth MVC ready to perform a joint piece.

 

All together now!

 

The 'Afterglow' for food and socialising in the Castle Hall, Bridgnorth

 

 See also Bridgnorth (2) The Severn Valley Railway

 

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