Part-way along Church Street, on your left, you will see some almshouses - they were founded during the reign of Henry VI.
In between is an empty space - the location of a building that was rebuilt in 1940 then destroyed by fire in 1950. There now stands a garden of remembrance to bring peace to this troubled spot.
At the top of the hill you will be facing St. Leonard’s Church and the circular area around the church is called St. Leonard’s Close. This is Bridgnorth’s highest point and as you walk around the circle you will see some fine views over the river.
The church is now redundant but it is by no means inactive. There are regular gatherings taking place for special events, art/crafts, concerts etc, including the annual English Haydn Music Festival.
There has been a religious building on this site since the 13th century and you will find information boards both in front of the church and inside. Interesting features include the lovely windows, a pulpit carved as an angel with a trumpet in wood, cast iron grave stones and lots of extras. The present church was rebuilt 1860-1862, regular worship stopped in 1976. Quite often if you sit on the bench outside the church you will be joined by a lovely friendly ginger cat who appears to be keeper of the close.
On the church grounds look for what appears to be a stone coffin and another piece of stone not far away. A local guide said it used to be assumed that this was indeed a coffin until a stone mason visited and pointed out that coffins did not usually have holes in them! He believed that the two pieces went together and were actually a horse trough and that there would have been rings in the wall behind to tie the horses whilst in service. You can decide or offer us another thread to add to the story!
As you come out of the church, directly across the street is a house with a memorial plaque to the learned and eloquent Richard Baxter, who lived there 1640-1641, we find that he was a curate of St. Leonard’s and a Puritan Preacher.
Walk clockwise around the close and take in the interesting buildings and almshouses, The Old Rectory, St. Leonard’s House, The Granary. If you are feeling energetic you can take our diversion here - see the box on the right!
Back in the close you will find an interesting building - Palmer’s Hospital (1687). It was built by Francis Palmer for poor widows in memory of his mother who was buried in the churchyard and made of sandstone blocks and timber frame.
Bear left onto Church St, the lane you came up, and walk to the T-junction. Start looking at street signs - in Bridgnorth many are made of cast iron and are of arms pointing in a direction with either pressed or frilled cuffs.
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