Shropshire Star

The 15th Century Shropshire church 'held together by faith'

A published author has unveiled some of Shropshire's most extraordinary churches which might be right on your doorstep.

Melverley Church, located on the Shropshire border next to River Vyrnwy

Whether you're holidaying in Shropshire, here for a weekend away or you're lucky enough to live here – take a trip to explore some of the county's most charming churches.

Author Christopher Winn runs a Twitter page dedicated to 'Wandering Britain' and is the author of the 'I Never Knew That' series of books.

Despite hailing from Surrey, Christopher has explored much of the Shropshire landscape, as well as its history, during his visits to the county.

"I love Shrewsbury, I love the Long Mynd and the Clee Hills. Shropshire is well-blessed with churches in very well-blessed hills," he said.

St Peter's, Melverley

Melverley Church, located on the Shropshire border next to River Vyrnwy

St Peter's Church in Melverley, is 'beautifully' positioned on the River Vyrnwy where it joins with the River Severn, Christopher said.

Built in 1406, Christopher has labelled it the oldest of Britain's unaltered black-and-white half timbered churches, with only 27 left in England.

He said the church has been a place of Christian worship for around 1,000 years and its font most likely dates back to Saxon times – the end of Roman Britain to the Norman Conquest.

In 1401, the original church was burned down by Welsh prince Owain Glyndwr, who fought against the English monarch in the late Middle Ages.

As a soldier and military commander, Owain came across the border from Wales and burned St Peter's, during his Welsh Revolt – the Welsh War of Independence.

Work began quickly to restore the church and within five years it had been completed. In 1406 Christian worship resumed in the church.

According to the National Churches Trust, St Peter's has key features which hold a wealth of history, including a Jacobean pulpit and a lectern holding a chain Bible from 1727.

Due to there being a danger that Bibles would be stolen or borrowed and not returned, they were often chained as reading became more universal.

Baptisms have taken place in the church for around 1,000 years, it has been said, and communities came together at the Jacobean alter nearly 400 years ago for Communion.

"Not a single nail was used making it," Christopher added, "so it was all done by pegs and its still absolutely intact."

He refers to this as it being 'held together by faith', with St Peter's being an endearingly crooked building.

Heath Chapel, Ludlow

In his book, Christopher describes Heath Chapel as: "Just a simple, unpretentious Norman church of nave and chancel, where the farming community could worship, have their children christened and pray for good harvest."

On his visit to Shropshire, Christopher said it was a chapel that was quite difficult to find, located in an isolated position on a field in the former civil parish of Heath.

It is a Grade I listed building dating back to the 1100s or mid 12th Century, with amendments made in the 16th or 17th century, to the chapel's central nave.

Christopher said there is little ornamentation to the chapel, but if you want to experience true Norman architecture then track down the key which hangs on the noticeboard or the porch of the nearby farm.

Heath Chapel, Ludlow

To read more about Shropshire's quaint yet remarkable churches, visit or follow Christopher Winn @INeverKnewThat1 on Twitter.

Shropshire features in 'I Never Knew That About England's Country Churches'.