Madeley is also celebrated as the scene of the labours of the venerated Fletcher, so much so, that admirers of his life and writings come long distances to visit his tomb, a plain brick structure, with a simple inscription upon an iron plate.
Is nine miles from Bridgnorth, and thirteen and a half from Shrewsbury. From the disposition of the buildings on the hill side, it has a novel and romantic aspect, whilst the high grounds adjoining afford varied views of interesting scenery. Underneath the lofty ridge of limestone, the higher portion of which is planted with fir and other trees, are extensive caverns, which are open to visitors, who will find these fossiliferous rocks, rising immediately from beneath the coal measures, highly instructive.
Is celebrated all the world over for its pipes, a branch of manufacture for which it is now as famous as of yore. Partly in this parish and partly in that of Benthall, and only about 300 yards from the station, are the geometrical, mosaic, and encaustic tile works of the Messrs. Maw. They were removed here a few years since from Worcester, the better to command the use of the Broseley clays, since which they have attained to considerable importance, and now rival the great house of Minton.
On leaving Ironbridge, the line passes by a sea wall the foot of Benthall Edge—a limestone ridge, continuous with that of Wenlock, so famous for that class of silurian fossils to which the town of Wenlock has lent its name.
Benthall is a name significant of its elevated position—Bent, meaning the brow, and al or hal, a hill.
Benthall Hall, the property of Lord Forester, and in the occupation of George Maw, Esq., F.L.S., F.S.A., is a fine specimen of Elizabethan architecture, built by William Benthall in 1535, on the site of a former house.
[Benthall Hall: 30.jpg]
At the foot of Benthall Edge the Wellington and Severn Junction railway crosses the river by a bridge 200 feet in span, and brings before us, at a glance, this interesting little valley, with its church, its schools, and its palatial-looking Literary and Scientific Institution. The name has long been famous, as well for its romantic scenery as for its iron works. Notices of these occur from the reigns of Henry VIII. and Edward VI., down to the period of 1711, when the Darby family first settled here. It was here that the first iron bridge—the elegant structure that gave both name and existence to the little town adjoining—was cast in 1779; the first iron rails were laid here in 1768, and the first successful use of mineral fuel for smelting iron was introduced in 1718. For metal castings these works were celebrated as early