In 1850 Local G.P. Dr William Penny-Brookes (1809 – 1895), who introduced physical education into British schools, inspired the fore-runner of the modern Olympic Games for the “promotion of moral, physical and intellectual improvement” and although the Game’s venue is now decided by international committee rather than by by the parish council, we still hold our own Olympics here in protest every July – the other Olympics are also doing quite well too!
Sadly the good doctor died in 1895 aged 87, just four months before the modern Olympic Games were started in Athens in April 1896. He was a tireless campaigner and altogether good egg, he will not be forgotten. However, the full story can be found in the Much Wenlock Museum, along with the history of the town and other information on the unique geology of the Wenlock Edge.
This medieval market town lies on the Northeast end of Wenlock Edge, on the way to ronbridge from Bridgnorth.
Much Wenlock is a rustic 700 year old medieval market town filled with a patchwork of twisting streets, black and white half timbered buildings, limestone cottages, specialty shops, numerous hostelries and watering holes and the remains of a magnificent 12th Century Priory.
The Priory, dedicated to its first abbess, St Milburga, forms a backdrop to many outdoor events and theatrical performances including the Tales from the Edge Festival which helps keep the ancient art of story telling alive, whilst the covered 16th century Guildhall (you won’t believe this) with its overhanging first floor held up by stout oak pillars, was pre-fabricated and raised in two days in 1577! Today it hosts regular antiques markets.
One of the Guildhall’s pillars was the towns whipping post, and still carries the iron staples that would have been used to tie to prisoners wrists.
Much Wenlock’s Holy Trinity Church is Norman and has a battlemented tower and Jacobean pulpit with carved panels, depicting, rather oddly, some two-tailed mermen.
n Shenton street, you’ll find the Old Gaolhouse, which was a 18th century prison and the 17th century manor house. St Owens Well in Queens Street is the only cruck-framed building in the town and is dedicated to the 6th century Welsh saint.
Above the town rises the Wenlock Edge which provides glorious views. This 15 mile limestone escarpment was created when Shropshire could be found just south of the equator – some 400 million years ago. Looked after by the National Trust, The Edge and its ancient woodlands are excellent for walks, cycling and riding. Long distance routes like the Jack Mytton Way and Shropshire Way pass over Wenlock Edge.
Nearby are : Benthall Hall – a 16th Century house with stunning interior and carefully restored plantsman’s garden and Broseley Pipe Works, a Victorian clay tobacco pipe works, – get your very own Churchwarden.
The Guildhall in Much Wenlock by Humphrey Bolton