This feels like a old path, the way hollowed out between field boundaries, the ground worn threadbare to rock and knotty tree roots. As you leave the town and climb towards Callaughton, you need to watch your step, and take the occasional breather. Which is good too, because it means there are chances to stop at windows in the vegetation and look back on the town.
In the next view, I’m looking roughly north, the Wrekin in the distance, and in the far right you can just spot the windmill atop Windmill Hill. The field directly beneath the Wrekin and woods (bordered by a short row of pink roofs) is Townsend Meadow. Immediately forward of the field is the allotment, but you can’t see it for trees.
Now turning towards the east so you can the tower of Holy Trinity Church. It was once part of the Wenlock Priory complex. But the oldest parts of the church are said to date to the days (before the Norman Conquest) when the priory was a convent for both men and women, though they worshipped seperately. It is thus believed to be the site of the original women’s church, but has obviously undergone much rebuilding over the centuries. In fact during reburbishment in 1101, the supposed remains of St. Milburga were found near the altar, she who was the first abbess of Wenlock (675-690). The discovery of the saint’s bones, described in 1190 by Bishop Odo, as ‘beautiful and luminous’, put Much Wenlock on the pilgrim route and led to the town’s rapid growth. Happy days for the Priory coffers.
The path brings you out on Callaughtons Ash, a field on the boundary with the historic township of Callaughton. To our ears the word ‘township’ is perhaps misleading. These days the settlement is little more than a hamlet, and it may never have been much bigger in the past, though records show there was a weeping cross in the vicinity in the 13th century which doubtess attracted the devout. It is anyway one of seven ‘townships’ that surround Much Wenlock and once fell within the town’s ancient parish boundary. Others include Bourton, Farley, Harley, and Wigwig. And I have no idea how the Wigwig name came about.
There’s a fine view of Clee Hill at the top of the path:
Walking Squares #7 Keep walking with Becky.