PAV Church Stretton
Church Stretton is a civil parish in Shropshire, England. It contains 88 listed buildings that are recorded in the National Heritage List for England.
PAV Building Restorations Ltd is a well-established, family run business local to Ludlow with over 35 years of experience. We are specialists in restoring, renovating and enhancing historic buildings using traditional techniques and superior quality materials.
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The earliest signs of civilisation around Church Stretton are found in iron age hillforts (e.g. Caradoc and Bodbury), but Church Stretton as a settlement has its roots in the post Roman era. It started as an Anglo-Saxon settlement near Watling Street, a Roman road that ran from Uriconium through the Stretton Gap to Leintwardine and thence to Gloucester. It is from its location beside this road that it derived its name – the ‘tun’ (settlement) beside the ‘street’. It then belonged to the Saxon earls of Mercia and had a church and a priest.
The Church of St Lawrence still stands on its original site, much of the building dating from Norman times. It retains a fine Norman nave, but it is one of only a few churches with a carved fertility symbol (a Sheelagh na Eigh), a remnant of Saxon Stretton.
After the Norman conquest Church Stretton was one of the manors given to Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury, but in 1102 it reverted to the king. In 1336 Edward III gave the manor to Richard Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, and it stayed with that family until 1579. Another notable family who held the manor for many years, from 1635 until 1802, was the Tynne family of Longleat.
In 1214 King John, who owned the manor, instructed the Sheriff to announce that a weekly market was to be held on Wednesdays. This was changed to Thursdays by a Charter granted by Edward III in 1337. This weekly market is still held. A fire burnt down much of the town centre in 1593 and many of the present half-timbered buildings in the town centre date from the subsequent rebuilding. A half-timbered market hall was erected in The Square in 1617 by Bonham Norton, a wealthy London stationer (printer and publisher) who over time had purchased much land and property in the town and eventually acquired the market rights from the Lord of the Manor, Sir Thomas Thynne. This was taken down in 1839 and replaced in 1840 by a second building funded by public subscription, itself demolished as unsafe in 1963. For most of its history Church Stretton has been a small rural market town servicing local agriculture, both arable and livestock. Six fairs used to be held each year at which farm labourers and domestic servants were hired and animals (mainly sheep and ponies) sold.
Another of the more important events in the history of the town was the coming of the railway in 1852. The original station can still be seen to the north of the bridge on Sandford Avenue. The formation of the Church Stretton Land and Building Companies about 1900 led to the development of a number of areas around the original town for housing of all types. Brought to a halt by the Second World War, housing development began again in the 1960’s and has continued since. Whilst the town is not entirely free from the pressures of modern life, it still retains in its setting – and especially in its community spirit – a quality of life that enriches all those fortunate enough to live here.