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Overview
Itinerary
Fitness / Practicalities
Tour Director


  • From a base in historical Ludlow, explore some of the finest churches of Herefordshire and Shropshire in the company of expert medievalist Imogen Corrigan

  • View examples of the work of the famous Herefordshire School of Architecture, including the celebrated 12th century fonts at St Mary Magdalene in Eardisley and St Michael & All Angels in Castle Frome

  • Visit the unique Church of St John the Evangelist in Shobdon, a rare example of a church interior designed in the Rococo Gothic style

“Really wonderful Tour Director who immersed us in the Middle Ages and delivered the information about the venues in an exceptionally engaging way”

– ACE customer on a previous church tour led by Imogen Corrigan

ACE is delighted to present this brand new tour in our popular series exploring the churches of some of England’s most picturesque and fascinating counties. On the border with Wales, Herefordshire and Shropshire are known for their idyllic countryside, which is dotted with a wealth of churches offering fascinating art, architecture and history. 

 

Our tour is based in the medieval market town of Ludlow, where our explorations begin with a visit to St Laurence’s Church with its hexagonal porch. The building is notable for featuring the remains of the only known example in England of a ‘Ten Commandments’ window, dating from the 15th century. It is also home to a 16th century Baldacchino decorated with pomegranates, a very rare surviving English altar hood, usually associated with Roman Catholicism.

 

Highlights of our itinerary will include St Mary Magdalene in Eardisley, containing a fine Norman font by the famous Herefordshire School of Architecture, and the church at Leominster, founded around 660 AD by St Edfrith, a missionary from Lindisfarne. Refounded as a priory in 1125 and dedicated to St Peter and St Paul, this church underwent many changes across the following centuries, including a restoration by the preeminent church architect George Gilbert Scott in Victorian times. 

 

Shobdon Church has been described as “a wonderful building, of unique architectural interest” by His Majesty King Charles III and “a complete masterpiece” by Simon Jenkins. Its delightful interior provides a rare example of church design in the Walpolean ‘Strawberry Hill Gothic’ style, blending the Rococo and Gothic, and the decoration and furnishings remain remarkably well preserved today. The church’s original Romanesque interior arches, carved by the Herefordshire School, were removed and repurposed as an outdoor folly in 1756.

 

On a day excursion to Shrewsbury, we will explore the Abbey, originally founded in 1083 by Sir Roger de Montgomery as a Benedictine Monastery, as well as St Mary’s Church, dating from Saxon times with additions from the 12th century onwards. Cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust, St Mary’s features exquisite stained glass and one of the tallest spires in England, whilst the ceiling of its nave, carved in oak in the 15th century, features “a profusion of animals, birds and angels”.

 

The present-day Church of St Chad was built in the round at the end of the 18th century by George Steuart, upon a site where there had been a church dedicated to the saint since early medieval times. It nods towards Shropshire’s role in the incipient Industrial Revolution in the form of busts of the ironmaster William Hazledine and master builder and stonemason John Simpson, both of whom were involved in the church’s construction. St Chad’s is also notable for having been the site of Charles Darwin’s baptism in 1809.

 

We will also pay a visit to Hereford Cathedral, built in the Gothic style from the 11th century, and home to the medieval Mappa Mundi. The Church of St Mary & St David in Kilpeck, meanwhile, was described by Pevsner as “one of the most perfect Norman churches in England” and contains fine carvings in local red sandstone as well as a remarkable corbel tray.

 

Our base for this tour will be the delightful Feathers Hotel & Restaurant, occupying a Grade I listed property in the heart of the pretty medieval market town of Ludlow. Behind its Tudor half-timbered façade, the hotel enjoys recently refurbished rooms, as well as an AA Rosette award-winning restaurant.

 

This tour will be led by Imogen Corrigan, BA, MPhil, FRHistS, FRSA, a proficient lecturer on medieval history and particularly church art and architecture, accredited with the Arts Society. Following nearly 20 years in the British Army, from which she retired in the rank of Major, Imogen studied Anglo-Saxon and Medieval History at the University of Kent before gaining an MPhil from the University of Birmingham. Her book Stone on Stone: The Men Who Built the Cathedrals was published in 2019.

 

Tour Director Imogen Corrigan writes:

 

“Join me on this new tour to visit some sixteen sites around the Herefordshire and Shropshire border, half of which have an element from the Herefordshire School of Architecture (which actually refers to a style of carving) – such as the font at Eardisley, the folly arches at Shobdon and the whole church at Kilpeck.

 

The Herefordshire School is characterised by sometimes bizarre images and shapes. There might be elongated, entangled mystical animals reminiscent of Scandinavian and Celtic art or military figures mingling with dragons. It can be overtly religious but might also be comical, not to mention lewd in a couple of instances.

 

These intriguing sites will be woven into the tour alongside what might be termed more ‘normal’ churches, all of which have aspects to attract the visitor. That might be the history, the glass, the carvings, memorials, or possibly – in one case – an example of treason.”

Days
5
Cost
£1695
Tour Code
CHS1-25


Included: accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, four breakfasts, four dinners with water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.


Not Included: travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £295.

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