360 PICTORIAL VIEW FROM THE TOP OF StCHADS CHURCH
I took these pictures so that those of you who are interested in views that are not normally seen of the skyline of Srewsbury and further. I was able to take these pictures with the rare chance to climb up the scaffold tower that is in place to enable the roof and other parts of the church to be refurbished, some 25 years since its last touch up. This time it is a more in depth restoration helped by donations and funds raised by running many charity events. I through these pictures wish to raise awareness to the importance of this iconic building within Shrewsbury, also hope that a business or two will help come up with the rest of the money needed to complete the work.
The Fall and Rise of St Chad’s
Since early medieval times there has been a church in Shrewsbury dedicated to St Chad, first Bishop of Mercia in the 7th century. By the end of the 18th century the large but ageing building had fallen into disrepair, Old St Chad’s from the north west
before the collapse of 1788and cracks had appeared in the tower. The great engineer, Thomas Telford, advised that it was in danger of collapse, and he was right. One morning in 1788 the parishioners awoke to find they had a pile of rubble but no church.
After much argument a new site was found on the derelict town wall, and the Scottish architect George Steuart, who had designed nearby Attingham Park and a church in Wellington, was commissioned. He submitted various designs, and although the Parochial Church Council preferred a rectangular one, ‘due to a misunderstanding’ he actually completed a circular plan that had been considered but rejected. Time was short, however, and it became the final design. Stones from old St Chad’s were used as foundations and the foundation stone was laid on St Chad’s Day, 2 March 1790.
The new church was opened on 19th August 1792. Its design differs from typical Georgian buildings, and mixes Ionic, Doric and Corinthian styles in its facade and interior. The central hall, with a sweeping double staircase to the gallery, is more like a country house than a church, as is the decoration on the ceiling of the nave. Yet the church is a child of its time, for the delicate banisters and the slender pillars supporting the gallery are early products of the Industrial Revolution then beginning in Shropshire.
The following pictures were taken from the dome at the top of the building that carries the 3 metre high cross that is as much a part of the skyline as the spires of St Mary’s and St Alkmunds. I hope that you enjoy the pictorial as much as I did taking them. I am used to working high up and I know that many are not happy looking down from such a high position.
So for those of you who have not been as fortunate as I have been or would not feel safe up there to see the view I hope that I have done enough for you to see sights that you know but from a very different angle. Please enjoy.
Spot the Mayoress, David Tudor and the Mayors car. This picture just shows how high it is from the top of the scaffolding around St Chads. Below is a Zoom of the above I hope you can make out the Mayoress etc from this one. Thank goodness for Photoshop!
Above a birdseye view of St Chads graveyard where behind the large tree in the middle of the picture you will find the gravestone of Ebenezer Scrooge a fortunate relic from the filming for Television in1984 of the classic A Christmas Carol.
Please click on the following link to go to the restoration of St Chads Web-Site. Thank you: http://www.stchadscampaign.org.uk/OurHistory.html
Please click on the following link to go to the St Chads Web-Site. Thank you: http://www.stchadschurchshrewsbury.com/index.html
The Rev Mark Thomas Vicar of St Chads came out of his comfort zone to climb to the top even though he can not stand heights, I have the utmost respect for him in overcoming his fear to go to the top and be part of this historic event.
Below are pictures taken by Laura Dutfield Shropshire Star photograher who came up to the top to record our trip on the day.
Below are pictures taken by Robert Handley the Mayors Officer who also climbed to the top with us.
Makes you want to visit the Dingle when you see how it looks from this vantage point.
Some more of us up on the roof etc.
The picture above and below were taken on our way down from the dome at the top of St Chads.
I hope that you have enjoyed the sights from the top of St Chads Church as much as I did going up there. Our lovely town of Shrewsbury has so many fantastic buildings with St Chads being up their with the best. I do hope that the balance needed to complete the restoration is soon filled by more donations.
At least you can all now say that you know what you can see from the top of St Chads, I also hope that you all will continue to support the work that St Chads has been doing on this site since 1772.
Many thanks for taking this journey with me. I did the climb on the 15th March 2012. I arrived at the church at 14.00hrs, we had a tour of the inside of the church and that will be part of another page. We then started the climb at 14.45hrs, arriving back on the ground at 16.45hrs. We then had a nice cup of coffee and thanked everyone for allowing me to do this before we had to leave for another appointment.