Handbook to the Severn Valley Railway eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 44 pages of information about Handbook to the Severn Valley Railway.
structure, of the Gothic style of architecture.  The castle was built by the first Earl of Shrewsbury, who obtained so many favours of a like kind from the Conqueror.  Among portions which the old Norman masons raised, is the inner gateway, through which, it is said, the last Norman earl, in token of submission, carried the keys to Henry I. From its position upon a troubled frontier, it changed masters many times, and suffered much from the attacks of assailants.  It was fortified by William Fitz-Alan when he espoused the cause of the Empress Maude; and in favour of Henry IV., in his quarrel with the Earl of Northumberland, when the Shrewsbury abbot went forth from its gates to offer pardon to Hotspur, on condition that he would lay down his arms; and it was taken by storm by the Parliamentary army in 1644.  It now belongs to the Duke of Cleveland, and has been converted into a dwelling-house, the present drawing-room having been the guard chamber in the reign of Charles.  To the right of the castle gates is the Royal Grammar School, founded in 1551 by King Edward VI., and subsequently endowed with exhibitions, fellowships, and scholarships connected with Oxford and Cambridge, to the number of twenty-six.  A little higher is the Chapel of St. Nicholas, an old Norman structure, which belonged to the outer court of the castle, but is now used as a coach-house and stable.

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Close by is a highly ornamental timber gateway, erected in 1620, leading to the Council House, the temporary residence, during feudal times, of the Lords President of the Marches.  Continuing along this street, we pass the Raven Hotel, recently rebuilt at a cost of nearly 20,000 pounds.  It was here George Farquhar wrote his comedy of the “Recruiting Officer,” which he dedicated to “All friends round the Wrekin.”  Descending Pride Hill, the eye rests upon a number of rare old specimens of domestic architecture, which, like those in High Street and others, were the homes of the ancient burghers; mansions here and there of more pretension are also to be seen, mingling an air of antiquity with one of comfort.  The town is rich in specimens of ecclesiastical architecture, and possesses some very handsome churches.  Of the four whose towers and spires are seen within the circle of the Severn, St. Mary’s is the most interesting.  Its site is 100 feet above the river, and its tall and graceful spire is a landmark seen for many miles.  The lower portion of the tower, the nave, transepts, and doorway, are of the 12th century, whilst other portions are of the 15th and 16th.  The interior, with its clustered columns, decorated capitals, moulded arches, and its oak-panelled ceiling, ornamented with foliage, has a fine effect; added to which, the exquisitely-sculptured pulpit, given in memory of a former minister, and the still more recently erected screen, in memory of another, with numerous mural monuments, in stone and marble, are of peculiar interest.  The windows are of stained glass, some being very ancient, and most of them elaborately and beautifully painted, and highly deserving of attention.

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Handbook to the Severn Valley Railway from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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