Churches, castles and cattle
Roads, tracks and cross field bridleways
Montford Parish Hall
Lat/Long: 52.7315486445, -2.8476008464
Gipsy Lane bridleway leads us to the farming hamlet of Ensdon where the traditional mixed stock farm has passed down through five generations of the same family. Crossing the fields, on the line of an old road from Shrawardine, there are wonderful views to the Welsh Hills, and, closer by, to the few small remains of Shrawardine Castle, scene of many border skirmishes. The castle was built to guard the important river crossing to Little Shrawardine, where until the 12th century, a Motte and Bailey guarded the other bank. Shrawardine Castle was repaired a number of times over the years. Henry III ordered it rebuilt in 1229. It was renamed Castle Isabel, by a FitzAlan, after his wife.
The red sandstone church of St. Marys, damaged by cannon fire in the Civil War, stands high above the road. Now a quiet backwater, we pass to the east of the church and turn east on the old lane once used by the drovers and their cattle travelling from the west. We travel, as they did, on to the farming settlement of Montford. In the early 19th century, Weir farm, Montford, near the old River Severn fish weir, had a horse engine house, where horses were used to turn the crown wheel.
Prominent in the landscape is St Chads Church, Montford. The imposing house commanding the views just north of the village pond was the Vicarage.
The first rector was appointed in 1213, just two years before the castle was destroyed by a Welsh rebellion. The church was rebuilt in 1649 after being destroyed, along with the castle, in 1645.
A Royal Garrison in the Civil War, Shrawardine Castle was destroyed by Parliamentarians in 1645, after a five day siege. Stones from it were taken to repair Shrewsbury Castle. Now just the Motte and part of the curtain wall remain.
Tomb of Charles Darwin’s parents, Dr Robert Waring Darwin, and his wife Susan, in Montford Churchyard.