In order to break the journey north to the Lake District we decided to stop overnight at Ludlow, a small town in Shropshire about 30 miles south of Shrewsbury, as the town has a long history dating back to Norman times and remains a remarkable example of a medieval town. It has, being Norman, a Norman castle, so often found in these March Lands lying on the borders of England and Wales. However the rest of the town is like a living document of architecture from that time until the present.
The weather for the first couple of days of our trip was not so good so my pictures are a little dark and overcast and the town seemed gloomier than it should have done. There were some tremendous medieval, wooden facades on very substantial buildings all of which were still in full use today, often as pubs and hotels or shops. Even more interesting was the way that streets showed the development of the town as each period built more streets and took over older areas and added new facades to older buildings especially when they were damaged by fire, for example. The result is some areas preserve a more medieval appearance while others are clearly Georgian and Regency.
And then, of course, there is the castle itself set high up on the bend of the river Teme taking full defensive advantage of its position and commanding the surrounding countryside. It reminded me strongly of Chepstow castle, both in its original design and positioning and in it current state of ruin.
Finally we decided to have a look at the church which was tucked away behind shops and accessed by a laneway leading off the market square. Dating back to the 11th century St Laurence’s is the largest parish church in Shropshire and was so large for a church that it was known as “the cathedral of the Marchs”. As with so many churches and cathedrals in Britain it has been undergoing a large-scale restoration which is nearing completion. For me the ceiling was especially noteworthy as were the delightful carving on the Misericordia in the medieval choir of which are some examples below.