St Andrew’s church, Wroxeter

St. Andrew’s church in Wroxeter stands within the boundaries of the ancient Roman town of Viroconium.

The church as well as the farmsteads and manor houses surrounding it incorporate Roman bricks and stones throughout their buildings. 

Roman pillars from the nearby town make up the gate posts of this ancient, interesting church

As you approach the area of the church there are remnants of previous civilisations all around and a real deep sense of history imbued within the area. 

This church and the stones from which it is made up have born witness to centuries of Roman life and civilisation in this place almost two millennia ago.

Roman pillars at the gate. It is fascinating to imagine what these were once used for or were part of. They could have been pieces from the Forum up the road, the market place, the bath complex, the basilica, or part of a Roman family home. They, along with this church and the stone that make it up have born witness to centuries of Roman life

The church gates are flanked by obvious Roman pillars. 

On this particular day the skies were an azure blue and with temperatures reaching 30oC even in the late morning was truly reminiscent of Rome itself, despite being in rural Shropshire. 

In the churchyard

The church itself dates to the late Saxon period, but it has been altered many times over the centuries. It is thought that the oldest existing fabric in the present church dates from the 8th or 9th century.

It may have been built to serve as part of a college which began sometime before the Norman Conquest and was dissolved in 1347.

The construction of the church spans several centuries as can be clearly seen from the differences in the sizes of the stones in various parts of the walls

The church is oriented oddly, suggesting that is was constructed to stand parallel to the line of a Roman street.

The nave was rebuilt in 1190, and the aisle and chapel date to 1200.

Plaque of remembrance from 1627. The spelling is very old

In the year of 1347, the church was given over to nearby Haughmond Abbey.

Ironically, the decorations on the tower were taken from Haughmond Abbey after the dissolution in 1539. 

An ancient segment which has been rebuilt

The large font is made from a reused capital of a Roman column which has been turned upside down and hollowed out to form the font bowl. 

A 12th Century archway with the Roman Column font. Victorian tiles cover stone that has seen at least a millennia worth of foot traffic

Inside the church are three wonderful 16th century alabaster tombs, each has a life size, and eerily life like, colourfully painted figure lying in repose. The earliest and finest commemorates Sir Thomas Bromley and his wife Mabel.

Gates inside from 1637

He was Lord Chief Justice of England and interestingly, was executor of Henry VIII’s last will and testament. Bromley is captured in his lawyer’s attire, while his wife wears a fine headdress. 

The church really captures the imagination and most of all a sense of the layers of history this place stands upon. 

Saxon font on the base of a Roman plinth

Almost five centuries of Roman life have happened in this area, so many Roman artefacts have been found and so much Roman material used in the building of the church it is easy to wonder if the ancient Gods, once worshipped by the Roman invaders may still haunt the area, perhaps to watch over the dead legions whose ghostly souls still march these quiet lanes, searching for peace or new ground to settle or conquer.

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