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Encyclopedia > Much Wenlock

Much Wenlock is a town in Shropshire, England. It grew around a monastery founded in 680. In the twelfth century this was replaced by a priory, the ruins of which can still be seen. Other architectural attractions include the sixteenth century Guildhall, many other historic buildings and an annual well dressing.

The town is known for William Penny Brookes' version of the Olympic Games, founded in 1850; they gradually grew in importance and he renamed them the National Olympian Games. The Wenlock Olympian Society Annual Games are still contested in the town.

Nearby is Wenlock Edge, an important geological feature. Both the Edge and the town are the subject of several poems by A.E. Housman in his famous volume A Shropshire Lad (http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/HouShro.html): On Wenlock Edge the wood's in trouble... & Tis time, I think, by Wenlock town.... In 1909 these were set to music by Vaughan Williams as On Wenlock Edge, Song cycle for tenor and piano quintet.

The Victorian romantic painter & sculptor Robert Bateman (1842-1922) lived near Much Wenlock, at the 16th-Century Benthall Hall. In 1907 Walter Crane described his painting as of... "a magic world of romance and pictured poetry ... a twilight world of dark mysterious woodlands, haunted streams, meads of deep green starred with burning flowers, vieled in a dim and mystic light."

In 1950 the town & its surrounding countryside were the locations of the film Gone to Earth by Powell and Pressburger. In 1985 the film was fully restored by the British Film Archive, and premiered to great acclaim. The New Statesman review claimed the restored film to be... "One of the great British regional films ...(and)... one of the most beautiful films ever to be shot of the English countryside". The film was based on the 1917 novel (http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/7055) of the same name by local author Mary Webb, a novel partly inspired by the Diary of Francis Kilvert.

External links

  • Wenlock Olympian Society (http://www.wenlock-olympian-society.org.uk)
  • Much Wenlock guide by Virtual Shropshire (http://www.muchwenlockguide.info/index.html)
  • A Literary Walk (http://www3.shropshire-cc.gov.uk/walk01.htm)
  • Festival at the Edge, an annual three-day festival of traditional storytelling (http://www.festivalattheedge.org/)

  Results from FactBites:
Much Wenlock - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (513 words)
Much Wenlock, earlier known simply as "Wenlock", is a small town in Shropshire, England.
A Borough of Wenlock existed until 1966 which, at its height, was the largest borough in England outside of London and encompassed several of the towns that now constitute Telford.
The Victorian era romantic painter and sculptor Robert Bateman (1842-1922) lived near Much Wenlock, at the 16th-Century Benthall Hall.
Much Wenlock (676 words)
Wenlock, sometimes called Great or Much Wenlock, to distinguish it from Little Wenlock, is situated in the borough of Wenlock, and about 13 miles south-east from Shrewsbury.
The whole length from east to west was 401 feet, and the breadth of the nave and aisles 66 feet, and the edifice and precincts must have included 30 acre’s.
The corporate magistrates hold a petty sessions at Wenlock, which is the seat of the municipal government, every alternate week, and a general sessions twice a year.
  More results at FactBites »



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