Stokesay Church, Shropshire

The church here was built as a chapel to Stokesay Castle by the Say family who had travelled from Normandy with the Conqueror. The Says arrived in the area around 1105 and the church was finished by about 1150.

It stood unmolested until the Civil War arrived. In 1646 a Royalist party took refuge inside the church (with their horses) but Parliament had already captured Stokesay Castle which overlooks the church and it was very easy for them to bombard it and drive the Royalists out. The south side of the church was demolished entirely, the north side survived in part and today the change in stone marks the original walls and the rebuild.

Unusually the church was rebuilt, now as a parish church not a private chapel, in 1654 in the very heart of the Puritan interregnum and the oak door and the tower arch both display this date. The wall paintings on the church would also seem to date from this period, making them an unusually frivolous embellishment in Puritanical England. The Chancel was restored in 1664 by the Baldwyn family who by then were occupying the Castle.

All was slightly restored in the 19th Century but the church today is mostly from the Commonwealth period and thus is an unusual survivor.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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