[Old House, Bridgnorth: 22.jpg]
Like other ancient towns, Bridgnorth had places founded for the relief of the poor, the destitute, and the diseased. The house of the monks of the “Friars of the Order Grey,” stands near where a dilapidated sign of the Preaching Friar still swings over the entrance of a public-house. It forms part of the carpet works of Mr. Martin Southwell, who uses its oak panelled hall, and a number of cells carved out of the solid rock, as storerooms. In making some alterations recently the little cemetery was disturbed, and skeletons of several of the monks, embedded in spaces cut out of the rock, in the form of a sarcophagus, were exposed. In the Cartway is the “Old House” in which Bishop Percy, author of the “Relics of Ancient English Poetry,” was born, a fine specimen of the domestic architecture of the 16th century; and in the entrance-hall of which are the following words in large letters in relief, “Except the Lord BVILD THE OWSE The Labourers Thereof Evail Nothing. Erected by R. For * 1580.” Another of these quaint old structures, called Cann Hall, contains some curious unlighted double dormitories in the roof; one is called King Charles’ Room, and another is pointed out as that in which his nephew, Prince Rupert, is said to have slept. The house is supposed to be haunted, and the present tenant is not loth to admit that he sometimes hears strange noises, a fact, if such it be, at which one can scarcely wonder, seeing that the wind and the bats have undisputed sway. The Townhall, in the Market Square, built in the place of the one destroyed during the civil wars, is thus noticed in the “Common Hall Order Book” of the Corporation: “The New Hall set up in the Market Place of the High Street of Bridgnorth was begun, and the stone arches thereof made, when Mr. Francis Preen and Mr. Symon Beauchamp were Bayliffs, in Summer, 1650; and the timber work and building upon the same stone arches was set up when Mr. Thomas Burne and Mr. Roger Taylor were Bayliffs of the said town of Bridgnorth, in July and August, 1652.” The new Market Hall, with the Assembly Room, the rooms of the Mechanics’ Institution, &c., is a handsome building, situated at the lower end of the same large open square.
The grand promenade round the Castle Hill, which King Charles pronounced the finest in his dominion, commands a prospect that cannot fail to interest. Below, the river winds like a thing of life; around, are wave-like sweeps of country, red and green, broken by precipitous rocks into a succession of natural terraces, many of which, being higher than the town itself, afford the most enchanting views.