"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on January 10, 2017 by Sioux under General
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We went for a walk along the Shropshire Union Canal, Llangollen (pronounced Lang-goch-lan) branch, which meanders through the English countryside all the way into Wales. A must-do holiday for me is to hire a long boat and go traipsing along the waterways. 

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St Mary’s Church, Ellesmere, stands on a hill in the town of Ellesmere, in Shropshire. It is an active Anglican parish church and is designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building. The oldest parts of the church were built in the Middle Ages by the Knights of St John, 13th -15th century.

 

The first church was probably wooden, with wattle and daub. A small Norman church built of stone replaced the wooden one. In the 13th century the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem became the patrons here, and throughout that century and the 14th they rebuilt the whole church to a much grander design.

 

Apparently, by 1915 the bells were no longer rung, merely chimed for services. The tower had been declared unsafe despite having been repaired and restored in 1904. New stocks and wheels were fitted, during the restoration work in 1904, so perhaps the reason the bells were no longer rung could be that most of the ringers had gone to fight in the Great War (1914 – 1918). 

The Shropshire Union Railways and Canal Company was a Company in England, formed in 1846, which managed several canals and a railway. It was leased by the London and North Western Railway from 1847, and bought by it in 1922, but continued to act as a semi-autonomous body, managing the canals until their abandonment in 1944. With the passing of the Railways Act 1921 (Grouping Act) the company became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway.

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An early 16th century inn, announces their historical importance above the door way.

Whittington Castle near Oswestry in Shropshire is still strikingly picturesque and the romantic ruins are steeped in much history, tales of bitter border warfare, romance and legend. The small rural community has acquired a 99 year lease to manage the castle, which sits in the centre of its village. It is believed to be the only castle in the UK which is owned and run by a local community. 

The castle is steeped in historical tales of bitter warfare, treachery, death, myths, legends and of course many ghosts and strange happenings. From the hooded figure seen under the gateway, the phantom blacksmith in the leather apron to the faces of ghostly children regularly seen                                                                          peering out of an upstairs window; the eerie, dark and                                                                            oppressive guard room which some staff members                                                                                  absolutely refuse to enter, all

                                                               give the castle a                                                                                                                                                fascinating history.

The existing castle is set in about 12 acres of ground and is the remains of a Norman home. The fabric of the castle has been much changed over the hundreds of years since it was built, one of those changes being the 16th century Elizabethan dwelling attached to the northern outer bailey gate-house tower. The tower keep is 12th century, and the outer gatehouse early 13th century. Much of the remains of the keep date from a rebuilding in 1222. The outer gatehouse with two towers had a 42 foot long drawbridge leading to the drier

land to the east. 

An arrowslit (often also referred to as an arrow loop, loophole and sometimes a balistraria) is a thin vertical aperture in a fortification through which an archer can launch arrows, giving them a wide field of view, but presenting a small target. 

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Saint John the Baptist Church, opposite Whittington castle, is first mentioned in 1218 and would have been a wooden building at this time.

 

Possibly the first stone church was commissioned in 1630. The parish registers date from 1591 and are a mine of historical information.

 

The church‘s wooden tower was taken down in 1736 and the present one completed in 1747. The present church was built in 1802/5, using red brick to match the tower.

 

The tower houses 6 bells and a clock which date from Queen Victoria‘s Golden Jubilee Celebrations. A Brevington organ built in 1810 and rebuilt in 1894, sits in the interior.

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