Uplands: Wenlock In Shades of Brown


It is rather strange, but when you are wandering round Much Wenlock you are hardly ever aware of its upland surroundings. Yet it sits in a steep-sided bowl between the upthrust strata of Wenlock Edge and various residual hills and hummocks from Ice Age days. It is a place of natural springs and erstwhile saintly wells, with hints, too, from ancient finds that its waters may well have been venerated in Roman times. It was doubtless the reason why the Saxon Princess Milburga established her convent here around 670 CE, ‘cleanliness being next to godliness’ and so on.  She was the subject of many local legends, most of them relating to her fleeing the unwanted attentions or lusty males, while conjuring protective streams and rivers to thwart her pursuers. The water from the town well named after her was believed to restore poor eyesight.

The priory ruins and parish church you see in these photos date from six and more centuries after Milburga, belonging mostly to the Norman era wherein the invaders sought to dominate the local populace with overbearing architecture. Wenlockians, though, knew how to take some advantage from the situation. It was said that the best ale in town was brewed from rainwater collected from the church roof.





SquareUp #19

Life in Colour

This month Jude at Travel Words is asking us to consider the beauty of BROWN – earth colours.

43 thoughts on “Uplands: Wenlock In Shades of Brown

  1. Great UP and loads of browns. It’s funny how much of our world is brown and yet the colour itself is very much overlooked. A lovely visit to Much Wenlock.

      1. It’s raining now; lots in the night too. Am fed up with wetness. Wenlock is turning into a swamp. There was a heron in the field behind the house yesterday!

  2. Your photographs are magnificent, the light is truly divine
    When I read that Wenlockians a very long time ago brewed beer with rainwater collected on the roof of the Church, I find it surprising. Maybe they thought they were protected in some way and had good sales (and a good beer): D

  3. Beautiful images. I particularly like the earth tones in the first one. Now that I wont be flitting around the world so much – at least for a while, I do hope to visit your beautiful town. …janet:)

    1. Much appreciate those appreciative words, Su. Now Jude has ‘opened my eyes’ as it were, I’m getting rather hooked on brown. I’d become prejudiced about it, ever remembering a 1970s chocolate brown and white dinner service a former S-I-L lumbered me with. It would probably have ‘vintage’ allure these days. But outdoors browns – now they’re quite a beguiling proposition.

  4. Such a beautiful light you have caught in these photos, the shades of brown make it all look so serene. Do they still!!! Use the water from the church roof for the ale? Boutique breweries are all the rage over here

    1. Sadly no local brewing these days, Pauline. The town also used to be famous for its perry brewing, made from a local strain of tiny pears. It’s shame we forget how to do these things.

      1. It has become a growing industry over here. Got a “ Granddad Jack’s brewery” just round the corner from us. Brews award winning gin. We’ve never tried it out though…🙄

    1. Yes, you are absolutely right. Striking similarities, and even further south in Burgundy. I remembering wandering round the village of Chablis years ago, and thinking it looked just like Much Wenlock with its limestone cottages.

      1. Don’t know Wenlock of course, but I do know Burgundy a bit. Went to College in Lyons. And I can see what you mean. What a bout the tiles? The roofs vary greatly in France from region to region…

      2. Our very oldest grander houses have stone tiles, cut to different sizes – large to small up the roof. I imagine many of our cottages once had thatched roofs. Now they mostly have plain flat terracotta tiles that age to a dark grey colour.

      3. Stoen tiles. Very local. And the thatched roofs as well of course. Those were abandoned in France very early on. In the North (of the Loire) it’s mostly flat tile. Either terracota or ardoise in the west, brittany… ardoise… what’s the English name… Darn. Slate! (silly me). In the South, the tiles are curved, at the Roman style.
        Well. hopefully I will one day do a long tour of England et al. And we can have a beer at the closest pub.

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