Bridgnorth, Shropshire

Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Bridgnorth, Shropshire

Although the church which stands near Bridgnorth Castle is clearly an 18th Century confection, there was once a medieval structure here dating to around 1238 which began life as a private chapel for the Castle.

This developed into the Collegiate Church of St. Mary Magdalene, which had a brace of canons until 1548 and the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It isn’t quite clear when this church was demolished, but the whole Castle area was devastated during the Civil Wars – leaving the Castle with its famous leaning keep, and it seems quite likely that whatever remained of the church then would have been battered to ruins.

Bridgnorth already possessed a very large parish church in the shape of St. Leonard’s, also badly damaged in the Civil War but hastily patched up for continued use and so this site remained empty of anything but ruins until the late 1700s when Thomas Telford was employed to design a new church which was built between 1792 and 1795.

Unusually, perhaps because of its non-church-oriented architect, the church is aligned north to south rather than west to east like most churches. The tower, which dominates Bridgnorth, is 120 feet high and topped by a copper-covered cupola.

Today, St. Mary Magdalene is Bridgnorth’s Parish Church.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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