Battlefield

St Mary Magdalene

Battlefield

 

A memorial church to a bloody battle

This large, dignified church stands in open countryside on the site of the ferocious Battle of Shrewsbury, which took place in 1403.

Thousands of soldiers are thought to have died in the fray, and the church remains a quiet, some would say melancholic, memorial to the 1,600 people who were said to have been buried there. A statue of Henry IV, who defeated Henry "Hotspur" Percy in the battle, stands on the outside east wall. On the roof beams inside are representations of the shields of the knights who fought with Henry IV. A service is still held each year in July to commemorate the anniversary of the battle.

Much of the church we see today is the result of an extensive restoration in the 1860s, by a distinguished local architect S Pountney Smith, who saved the church from ruin. Though he kept the original shape, tower and walls, the magnificent hammerbeam roof, the reredos, and all the fittings and furniture were installed by him. He was also responsible for installing the fine stained glass typical of the 1860s.

Especially memorable is the east window with its wonderful palette of colours. One particular treasure is the Piet, carved in oak, showing the Virgin Mary holding Christ's body. It is a remarkable and moving piece dating from the fifteenth century and thought to have been brought here from another church.

 

 

Read more about the building and the Churches Conservation Trust.