Shrewsbury’s Friaries in the spotlight at National Tourism Week event

Shrewsbury Tourism’s chairman is inviting local people and visitors to delve into the town’s intriguing religious history at a free event planned for the start of National Tourism Week from March to April 2nd.

Michael Connor is hoping to pack out The Wightman Theatre in The Square, Shrewsbury on Saturday, March 25 at 2.30pm to hear three well known personalities speak about the ‘Three Friaries of Shrewsbury’. Shropshire Magazine correspondent Louise Acton will speak about the Augustians, Tom Jenkins, Shropshire Council’s partnership and economic strategies manager, will focus on the Franciscans and Father Jonathan, Dean of Shrewsbury Cathedral, will speak about the Dominicans.

Each will speak for around 10 to 15 minutes and will be introduced by Mr Connor, who holds an MA in Modern History and Political Science and has researched the little known subject. The talks will be followed by a question and answer session.

The Augustian, Franciscan and Dominican Orders all settled in Shrewsbury between the town walls and the river banks between 1232 and 1538.

The speakers will explore the problems they encountered, how they raised funds, how they lived, their relationship with the town’s burgesses and other clerical establishments and how the orders impinged on national affairs.

The Augustinians settled in the area around where the Priory School was built, while the Franciscans made their base on the town side of Grey Friars Bridge, where part of the building still stands and is used today. The Dominicans settled in the area between Traitor’s Gate, Water Lane and the English Bridge. “They all received help from the crown, the local council, who often took the initiative to welcome the orders to the town and local wealthy tradesmen, besides receiving the patronage of local nobility and dignitaries,” said Mr Connor.

“Friars were different to the local clergy and monks at the Benedictine Abbey Foregate monastery. They had to beg for their food and alms and had to administer to the poor. However, all three orders had a different outlook and a different purpose in life. “Their buildings were of considerable size and stature, especially the churches of the Franciscans and the Dominicans, the latter of which was some 48 metres long. However, by the 15th century, friaries were beginning to feel the pinch and the Augustinian monks were constant visitors to the local courts for burglary, fighting and even murder.

“At the dissolution by Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII, the friaries were in a very poor state with few friars, very little possessions and hardly any income.”

Hear the full story of the ‘Three friaries of Shrewsbury’ on March 25. Anyone seeking more information should contact Mr Connor on 01743 355047.

Free parking bonanza for Shrewsbury shoppers in festive run-up

Christmas shoppers in Shrewsbury have been given a boost after council chiefs agreed to introduce free parking in the run-up to the festive period.

Shropshire Council will be opening up some of Shrewsbury’s car parks for free in time for late night shopping, while the indoor market will be open for business well past its traditional closing time.

Visitors will be able to park for free starting on Wednesday – the night of the town’s Christmas Cracker lights switch-on event.

On that day, and every Wednesday evening until Christmas, people can park for free in Frankwell Main car park, St Julian’s Friars car park and Abbey Foregate car park, from 4pm.

And it is not just the big stores that will be opening late in the run-up to Christmas. The market will be staying open into the evening for festive events.

On Wednesday gift stalls and cafes, ranging from Spanish tapas to Thai street food and Beijing pork dumplings, will open until 9pm with complimentary mulled wine and mince pies available to shoppers from 6pm to 8pm. Acoustic duo Redkix will perform live from 5.30pm to 6pm followed by singer-songwriter Sonya Smith from 6.30pm to 7pm.

On December 10, the market will host a special evening celebration to coincide with the annual Shrewsbury Winter Festival and will be open until 10pm. Artisan chocolatier Julia Viani will be staging a Narnia-themed chocolate tea party and there will be live music including DJ Buzzword, aka Josh Arrowsmith.

The market’s third late evening opening will be held on December 14 to coincide with the town’s ‘Carols in The Square’ event. Choirs will perform in the market and it will open until 9pm.

During Christmas week the market will open extra days, from 9am to 4pm, December 19 to 24.

‘Unacceptable’ amount of rough sleepers in Shrewsbury to be tackled

A new initiative to deal with the number of homeless people on the streets of Shrewsbury has been launched.

HOST is an outreach programme that is aimed at tackling the “unacceptable” number of rough sleepers in the town and to combat anti-social behaviour committed by some of them.

It has been unveiled by Team Shrewsbury and will see a number of groups working together including plain-clothes policemen, a mental health worker and a housing officer.

A spokesman for West Mercia Police said: “There are a large number of rough sleepers in Shrewsbury at the moment.

“This is unacceptable on two levels. No-one should be homeless in Shrewsbury in 2016 – especially with winter fast approaching – and that a small number of rough sleepers are persistently committing anti-social behaviour in Shrewsbury.

“Rough sleepers are often vulnerable individuals who need help and support. Homelessness is not pleasant for anyone, and Team Shrewsbury is providing support through Shropshire Council (Housing Options), The Ark (including an outreach service) and Shrewsbury Street Pastors.”

Team Shrewsbury will also promote the Alternative Giving Scheme. The scheme provides a means for the public to donate directly to The Ark, Street Pastors and the Rough Sleepers Taskforce. Donations can be made at collection boxes at The Square, Pride Hill, railway station and Frankwell.

The public can report concerns at or on 0300 500 0915.

Market Hall to host Sunday Shopping

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Fans of A.E. Housman’s ‘A Shropshire Lad’ will get the chance to learn the secrets behind the famous poetry collection and its author when a distinguished biographer visits Shrewsbury to talk about his major new book.

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Margaret Rope

Next Monday’s Inside Out on BBC1 at 7.30pm in the West Midlands tells the story of Shrewsbury stained glass artist Margaret Agnes Rope with visits to places like Quidenham and Shrewsbury Cathedral as well as a look at the exhibition ‘Heavenly Lights’ at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery. It will be on the BBC iplayer for people who live outside the region.

Programme website:

More about the exhibition:

Quarry Pool

The Editor, Shropshire Star
The Editor, Shrewsbury Chronicle

Why doesn’t Shropshire Council listen to its electorate? Almost everyone who has expressed an opinion wants the swimming pool to stay in the Quarry. More than two thirds of those who responded to the survey want it to stay, the Town Council, the pool’s own users’ group, the BID Team, the Civic Society and the Town Centre Residents’ Association all want the pool in the town centre. So what does Shropshire Council decide? To move it out of town.

Think of the business impact and the loss of amenity, and keep the pool in the Quarry!

Nigel Harrison
Chairman, STCRA

Members Garden Party

The Night Economy and a Vision for Shrewsbury – Update

First of all, thanks to all members who were able to support the event we staged in the Lion Hotel on April 11th.  Feedback on the event has been positive, and our thanks should go to Councillors Price and Bannerman for their efforts.

This is just a brief update to let members know that an important follow-up activity has now started.  On the evening of the 11th, Cllr Price mentioned that Shropshire Council intended to develop what is known as a Supplementary Planning Document, to provide guidance on matters like location of late-night licensed premises.  This Guidance Document is now under development, in the hands of the Public Protection Department of the Council.

Nigel Harrison

Bloodwise fund raiser

Join us on Thursday 21 April for an entertaining evening celebrating the great outdoors to help raise money for Bloodwise.  The event will be hosted by local fundraiser and outdoor specialist  Peter Moss OBE.

Do you know your Everest from your Ben Nevis?

The quiz will have several rounds of fun questions, including a picture round, survival round, name that object as well as general outdoor knowledge – no expertise required, just a sense of fun!

Food will be served by award winning pie makers CSONS with a delicious choice of award winning pies including:  Cheeky chorizo  (Grand champion Ludlow Pie off 2012), Asian pork belly (Grand champion Ludlow pie off 2014), Homity – classic vegetarian pie. Followed by sticky toffee pudding for dessert.

On the evening, Peter will give a talk about his amazing up and coming challenge:

‘In my 60th year, I have decided to turn one of my passions (walking in remote areas) into a fundraising opportunity.  In May this year, I shall be walking alone from Torridon on the west coast of the northwest highlands to Montrose on the east coast of Scotland.  Carrying everything I need, my route will take in the mountains of Torridan, Glen Affrick, Monadhliath and the Cairgorms and should take around 14 days.  Many people apply to take part in this challenge every year, but only 300 are selected based on experience in the outdoors.  It is organised by The Great Outdoors magazine and gives participants the opportunity to devise their own route across Scotland and, if they wish, to raise money for a charity of their choice.  My chosen charity is Bloodwise!’  If you would like to sponsor Peter please visit:

Tickets are £25 including a two course meal and a free raffle ticket and prizes for our winning team. (£9.50 from each ticket sold will go to Bloodwsie and to Peter’s challenge)

Individuals and groups welcome!

To book your place, please Emma Jane Jones on 0121 415 8017 or email

Or visit CSONS , Milk Street, Shrewsbury to purchase your ticket.