Upcycling–Heritage Style: Who Can Spot It?

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Since my yesterday’s post on Wenlock’s old buildings, I’ve been having a chat with Yvette at Priorhouse Blog about recycled parts. And that reminded me of this – the gates to the little village church of St. Andrew, Wroxeter. It lies on the other side of Wenlock Edge from us, the northerly end, just a few miles away as the crow flies.

Wroxeter is famous for its archaeological remains – Viroconium Roman City no less, now in the midst of farm fields. Even Charles Dickens came there to do his own Time-Team-like investigations: the remains were a huge tourist attraction in the late nineteenth century.

The nearby church is now sadly redundant, but you can still visit it. It had its origins in Saxon times but much of the surviving fabric belongs to 17th and 18th century remodelling. The gateway was added in the late 19th century.

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So: have you guessed it?

Roman columns no less, doubtless transported down the lane on the back of a farm cart. The shafts are said to be from the Roman baths, the capitols added from elsewhere among the ruins. But they are very handsome, aren’t they. Well re-purposed. There’s more of the Roman City in the church walls. And inside, the font is made from an upturned column base.

I’m wondering, too, about the little figures mounted high in the tower. They have a Roman shrine look about them. And their recycling here would not be surprising. From earliest prehistoric times humans have adopted, adapted and generally put to their own purposes earlier sacred relics and monuments, well-tended sanctity being a valued resource; the more venerable the better. An interesting thought to ponder upon in increasingly strange times.

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Square Up #27

31 thoughts on “Upcycling–Heritage Style: Who Can Spot It?

  1. I love this! These are just the sort of details I like to look for in buildings. We’ve been watching Robson Green’s walk along Hadrian’s Wall and he visited the village of Wall, where the houses are made entirely from stones from the wall 🙂 I knew many buildings around there had recycled some stones but I hadn’t been aware of this whole village built of them!

  2. Fascinating! There are frequently traces of the past around us. I am slowly making my way through Gillian Tindall’s The Fields Beneath…

      1. The Time Team production team are busy reinventing themselves via a patreon site on YouTube. The aim is to start making new programmes, spurred on by much public participation. But yes, Mike Aston, ever the same and sadly missed.

    1. Yes, that certainly happened in Wenlock. And so much lead was gathered nation-wide from monastic roofs, the once lucrative lead mining industry almost collapsed for quite some time afterwards.

  3. If it was good enough for the Romans…. 🙂 🙂 I never did find time to watch last night! Perhaps this evening. Chores all done. Talked to the youngsters. Now there’s just the blog…

    1. We do have lots of empty churches, but we also various charitable trusts that aim to keep them open for visitors. E.g. Some have cafes inside for added attraction. Some get sold off to turn into homes. Of course many contain fantastic art works in terms of stained glass and wood carvings and so there are attempts to protect these. And then there are the parish churches that hang on, unused for most of the time, but with a vicar doing the rounds and holding services in each one once a month.

      1. Whatever solution to keep those churches alive is good. It is a great part of who we are. I used to roam the tiny country roads in Normandy on my bike as a child, thinking that people had walked those roads for 2,000 years.

      2. I’m also remembering a little church in Brittany, probably not far from Carnac. It was built on top of Neolithic chambered tomb which formed its crypt, so we can add another 3 – 4,000 years.

      3. Absolutely. The Gothic churches were built on the site of former Romanesque churches, which may have built on Roman temples, built on Celtic places of worship. Truth is, most roads existed a long time ago. Generations and generation lived and died there… To me? fascinating. And I suspect to you too… 🙏🏻

  4. oh tish
    posts like these are part of the cultural transmission and heritage celebration
    and to see the roman pillar with the newer gate and imagine other repurposed pieces masking their way by farm cart keeps history alive

    and love when you add your little phrases -like this –
    “the northerly end, just a few miles away as the crow flies.”
    ahhhhh
    nice post amiga and thanks for mentioning our chat – blogging has so many perks and friendships are one of them

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