St. Bartholomew, and Richard’s Castle

Whilst Roz and I were staying in Ludlow, we visited a nearby church and castle. It was quite a hike-up from where were staying in Orleton Common, but well-worth the drive. The views from the church yard were stunning, it was such a peaceful place; we just stood and marvelled at the beautiful countryside before us (fig #27).

St. Bartholomew Church is a delightful 12th-century building, set-in well-kept grounds, despite it no-longer being used for regular worship; and is now managed by The Churches Conservation Trust.

The church is accessed via the south porch (fig #1) and through an unlocked door (fig #1.1). The first artifact that comes into view is the 12th-century font (fig #2), which looks as though it has been hewn out of one piece of stone. One is then presented with a beautiful musicians’ gallery (fig #3); the services at St. Bartholomew must have been an amazing experience.  

There is a Salwey family pew (fig #11). The Salwey family held the castle for 370-years, which was originally granted by Henry VIII, passing through several families until the Salwey family occupied it. The original castle dates to the 11th-century and is one of the earliest Norman castles. The castle, like much of the Welsh Marches, came under the ownership of the powerful Mortimer family, and around 1537 it passed to the crown and Henry VIII.

Probably the most infamous Salwey was Major Richard Salwey, who was a Parliamentary Commander in the Civil War. He opposed plans to execute King Charles I by Oliver Cromwell, and allegedly threatened Cromwell with his sword to spare the king. King Charles I was executed on 30th January 1649 outside the Banqueting House on Whitehall.

There is, what has been described as a ‘sturdy detached tower’ to the east of the main church structure, which is thought to be a ‘defensive’ building. Unfortunately, the 13th-century tower was locked, as it must be of very interesting internal structure and offer stunning views over the valley.

Richard’s Castle is accessed through the grave yard, where there is a very poignant sign (fig #20) requesting visitors to avoid walking over the grave sites. The plot that the castle occupies was given to Richard FitzScrob who built the castle around 1050, by Edward the Confessor.  By 1540 the castle was described as ‘still mainly standing, but ruinous’ by Leland’s Survey.

At the entrance to the castle there is a very dirty information board (fig #22) that illustrates and describes the castle, and further-on there is a cleaner board describing the Keep (#23). I found it difficult to identify the various elements of the castle (figs #24 ~ 26), but still well-worth the adventure.

It was a wonderful, peaceful, and serene visit, one felt the need to just sit and while-away an hour or so, just contemplating on the beautiful countryside (figs #28 & 29).

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