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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

A Unique Church

St Chad's
During our exploration of Shrewsbury, we came across a most unusual church. St Chad's, built in 1792, is the only Grade I listed circular Georgian church in England.

The church, which is very beautiful inside, has circular pews and a splendid plaster ceiling.

St Chad's ceiling

John Simpson memorial.

Charles Darwin was baptised here on 15 November 1809.
There are several interesting monuments including a memorial to John Simpson, a master mason who worked on the Caledonian Canal, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, and St Chad's.
Pews in St Chad's.

The circular design was actually a mistake because of a misunderstanding between the architect, George Steuart, and the church trustees.

The remains of the original church, Old St Chad's, can be seen near College Hill. This 13th century building suffered a catastrophic collapse in 1788, and it was decided a change of site was best. All photos © Sue Wilkes.

Old St Chad's

Monday, 5 October 2015

A Famous Coaching Inn

Assembly Room chandeliers.
Lion Hotel.
You never know what historic gems you may find when out exploring, and I was thrilled to discover a splendid Assembly Room in a famous coaching inn at Shrewsbury.

The Lion Hotel, formerly the Red Lion, dates back to at least the fifteenth century. The beautiful lion above the entrance, and the Assembly Room, were probably built in 1777.

According to John Newman, the wonderful plasterwork in the Assembly Room, in the style of the Adam brothers, is by local architect Joseph Bromfield.

Plaque on the Lion Hotel.

Detail of musicians' gallery.

Lion above front door.
In the early 19th century, Shrewsbury was an important halt on the London to Holyhead road, built by Thomas Telford. The Hotel has had many famous guests including William IV, Thomas de Quincey, and even (allegedly) a ghost!

It was very exciting to climb the elegant hotel staircase, open the huge doors into the ballroom, and imagine the dancers twirling in 'an irresistible waltz' like Emma Woodhouse enjoyed with Frank Churchill in Jane Austen's Emma.
Assembly Room.
All photos © Sue Wilkes.