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Bridgnorth Tourist Information & Visitor Guide
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Buildings & Streets

Bridgnorth Castle

There is evidence that Bridgnorth existed in some form in Saxon times, but it really became a settlement in 1101 when the Earl Robert de Belleme decided to site his castle here. Thus the streets are laid out to 12th century plans and have altered little.

It was Henry II who gave Bridgnorth its Royal Charter in 1157, establishing it as a town of importance. In our Bridgnorth Walk, you will find a plaque to the fire of Bridgnorth which destroyed most of the town so it's original look changed in later years.

Caves in Bridgnorth Low Town

The remains of the Norman Castle are reputed to be leaning more than the tower in Pisa, so its well worth a photograph, but don't linger too long just in case!

To see a model of what the castle originally looked like visit the museum in Northgate. There is also an engraving at the top of the stairs in the Town Hall showing the castle, town and walls.

East Castle St, Bridgnorth

In times past Bridgnorth was a very prosperous town due to the industry and value of it extensive port, thus many buildings in the town reflect the good fortune of the merchants. At the other end of the human chain there is still much evidence around of where the poor folk and labourers resided in the caves around the town and on the hillsides.

Each street in Bridgnorth tells its own story, there are rows of almshouses built for the destitute in various areas of the town.

High Street, Bridgnorth

In the 13th century Bridgnorth and Shrewsbury contended for their claim to importance, thus in both towns you will find grand houses. When you walk East Castle street towards the Castle and gardens you will be passing by well kept houses of Georgian style.

The Church of St Mary's was restored by Thomas Telford into what would be considered a more classical style than the original church that was on the grounds and of Norman design.

St Leonards Church, Bridgnorth

Because the town's main activity was by the river in the beginning, there are many old houses that have survived years of flooding and the great fire, it is here that there are still the caves or houses that are partially built into the caves with a more modern structure on the frontage.

Building materials of timber frame, wattle and daub, ancient oak beams, sandstone and irregular glass windows all add to the character of the Low Town lodgings. As mentioned in our walk, Bishop Percy's house is listed as being 1580. There are many others of equal or a bit later dates still clinging to the winding hillside of High Town, despite the years of thundering hoofs and wagons shaking their shutters as they carried heavy goods up and down.

The Bridge, Bridgnorth

The High Street houses some, but not all of the shops and places to eat or stay in town. It has undergone a lot of changes and the buildings reflect this is their varying designs, 17th-19th century primarily.

Some have been refaced since their original building, such as the Northgate which has eroded away a number of times due to the sandstone construction, the original bits were medieval.

The High Street's shops and inns all would have had gardens, liveries and various workshops in the back. Bits of adornment from older buildings have been added to buildings throughout the years to give them an older feel and appearance.

The Town Hall, once a barn, is of timber frame construction with sandstone arches for support. However due to the softness of the stone, the arches were encased with brick during g a major renovation in 1887. This was carried out as a memorial to the jubilee of Queen Victoria, mention of this can be found at the top of the steps.

Because the Civil War destroyed most of St Leonard's Church, it was rebuilt in pieces and the tower is supposed to be a copy of the original, dating from 1488, however this sandstone structure is probably more Victorian at present.

The bridge was first built in the Middle Ages and then rebuilt many times with Thomas Telford putting his mark on it with his design in 1823.

If you walk along the bridge and then the river bank path to the left you will come to the site of the old Hazeldine Foundry near the Severn Park. It was here that the first passenger steam locomotive was built in 1808. There is a memorial to this feat on the tower on the bridge.

At the Severn Valley Railway you will find the station house well preserved due to the continued efforts of dedicated volunteers and staff. It is of a gabled construction and a few years ago the roofing was restored back to near perfect again. It's painted in the traditional colours and is a well used site for visitors and locals alike if one is interested in tasting a fine brew from small breweries or a look about the shop for books, videos and gifts as well as many reproductions of the steam age.

Whether you walk the streets to shop, have a meal or drink, look at the buildings or do the town walk, we are sure you will come away as impressed as Charles I was when he first came to Bridgnorth.

Copyright © Paul & Sabine Hutchinson