26 November 2011

Brobdingnagian Brogyntyn

There has been a house on the site of Brogyntyn Hall, just outside Oswestry, for a millenium. The gorgeous present building was erected in 1739. The fine Ionic-columned portico was added in 1815 by William Gore, the Irish landowner.

Gore's eldest son, John Ralph Ormsby-Gore, was created Baron Harlech in 1876, and Brogyntyn Hall remained in the Harlech family's hands for the next century. The scourge of death duties ultimately did for the hall, which has stood empty since 1985.

Although sold to developers in 2005, Brogyntyn remains uninhabited. With a grand stable block, an intact ha-ha, a huge walled produce garden, and extensive parkland, this is a country house that cries out to be saved, not carved-up.

19 November 2011

Happy Birthday Jensen & JOC

2011 is a key year for the Jensen marque. Jensen Motors Ltd was formally founded 75 years ago. And the Jensen Owners' Club was inaugurated 40 years ago, in December 1971. In celebration of the latter the JOC has issued an anniversary grille badge, in a limited edition of 100. Badge number 100 was won in a competition, and has been proudly fitted to The Beast.

16 November 2011

Pershore, Worcestershire

The date of the monastic foundation here is obscure. The abbey was refounded during the reign of Edgar (959-975), but destroyed by fire circa 1002. There is evidence of it again being operational by the 1020s, but much of that which remains dates to about 1100. The abbey was dissolved in 1539, the church retained to serve the parish. The north transept collapsed in 1686. Significant restoration was undertaken in 1852 by George Gilbert Scott; and the massive western buttresses were added in 1913.

13 November 2011

Crusaders, in Religion & Engineering

The landscape immediately north of Langley Chapel (see next) is dotted with interesting features. Not only is there Acton Burnell Castle - YMGW passim - but also half-timbered Pitchford Hall, in the grounds of which is a 17th-century tree house. Adjoining the hall is St Michael and All Angels, wherein is this remarkable effigy of Sir John de Pitchford (d. 1285), carved from a single block of oak.

A little further north still is Cantlop Bridge. Built in 1813, this is the only one of the seven cast-iron Shropshire bridges approved by Thomas Telford still in situ. With a flat deck, it is a smaller version of Cound Bridge, now in use as a footbridge in Telford town centre.

Puritan Shropshire

Langley Chapel is Tudor in origin. When nearby Langley Hall disappeared and the local population declined the chapel was slowly abandoned, relatively early in its life. Because of this, and its remoteness, it remains much as it would have been in Puritan times.

The furnishings, of the early 17th century, consist of pulpit (on the left, above), reading desk with seating within (on the right), box pews, and benches. In Puritan tradition, there is no altar, but instead a communion table, about which are ranged kneeling desks to three sides.


The nave and chancel are not structurally separate, but marked by different roof constructions, collar-braced in the former and trussed rafter in the latter.

09 November 2011

Moreton Corbet Castle, Shropshire

There has been a castle here since the early 12th century, passing to the Corbet family, to whom it still belongs, circa 1239. The timber buildings were replaced in stages from about 1200, the oldest surviving building, the Great Tower, dating from that period. 

In 1580 Sir Robert Corbet constructed a massive residential range in Italianate style (first three photographs). The house was severely damaged during the English Civil War, Sir Vincent Corbet having fought with the cavaliers. Although repaired, the castle was abandoned as a residence in the 18th century.

Hard by is the parish church of St Bartholomew, home to a number of Corbet family monuments, including a fine chest tomb of Sir Richard Corbet (d.1566) and his wife Margaret.