Quiet Scenes On The Edge

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The hamlet of Easthope lies a few miles south-west of Much Wenlock. To reach it you travel along Wenlock Edge towards Church Stretton, then drop down a winding lane, too narrow for comfort. At the village heart is St. Peter’s church and the meadows of Manor Farm. The houses are scattered round: old limestone cottages, some ancient timber framed buildings, some modern homes built last century, a gracious rectory no longer ecclesiastically engaged. Most look out on the Mogg, a darkly forested hogsback ridge whose trees hide the the remains of  an Iron Age hillfort known as The Ditches.

You can just see the conifer tops of the Mogg between the churchyard trees in the next photo.

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I took these photos one bright December afternoon. It was something of a pilgrimage.  My good friend and artist Sheilagh Jevons resides in this peaceful graveyard, the perfect spot for a woman so in tune with the Shropshire landscape and its liminal spaces and much in love with the Mogg. Her house and studio were just down the lane from the church and she called her home The Mogg.

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Here is another hill topped with a conifer plantation. It lies on the easterly side of Much Wenlock, and this is the view I see as I come home from the allotment, stepping out under the big ash tree that guards the unofficial ‘gateway’ through the field hedge.

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And naturally, one of the most peaceful spots in the town are the ruins of Much Wenlock Priory whose origins, in the charge of Saxon princess and abbess, St. Milburga, go back to 670 CE. The remains you see here are much later, dating from successive building phases in the 12th and 13th centuries. In its day, Wenlock Priory was among the grandest monastic houses in Europe, its monks belonging to the Cluniac order and brought here from France. It’s a mysterious thing to think of now, a French community ruling the lives, body and spirit, of Shropshire folk. All dissolved in 1540 of course, with the protecting lead stripped off the roofs by Thomas Cromwell’s team of asset strippers.

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: peaceful

24 thoughts on “Quiet Scenes On The Edge

  1. I love these fascinating vignettes of your local area. So full of history and a sense of place. Lovely writing ❤️

  2. Those are stunning Tish. In the second shot there’s a halo effect around the tree on the right. I just love that one so much, thanks for seasoning with the history too. Words like priory are truly from another time, to me.

    1. Back in the day, the wealthy lined their roofs with lead sheets, under the tiles, to keep out the rain. When the monasteries were ‘dissolved’ by Henry VIII the accumulated lead haul was so valuable it apparently depressed the price of mined lead for many years. And without their lead protection the monasteries were literally quite quickly dissolved by bad weather.

  3. HI TISH, LOVE YOUR POSTS & PICTURES, LOVE THE TREES!! GIVES ME IDEAS FOR PAINTING. LIKED READING ABOUT MUCH WENLOCK PRIORY. I IMAGINE IF “WALLS COULD TALK” THEY WOULD HAVE A LOT TO SAY! 🙂

  4. Dear Tish,
    these trees look great in B&W. Thanks for sharing your explanations.
    Wishing you all the best
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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