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Wenlock Priory

Much Wenlock, Shropshire

Featured Location Guide

The rolling countryside and peacefulness and tranquillity of the Shropshire countryside seems to have appealed to those who wanted to lead a monastic life. There are many in this area.

Wenlock Priory ruins are situated in the heart of Much Wenlock. It is a pretty little town, with narrow roads and black and white striped buildings, including the Market Hall.

The abbey was founded in AD680 by King Merewalh and his daughter Milburge was installed as the Abbess.  After the Norman conquest of 1066 it was refounded as a Cluanic Priory by Roger de Montgomery (a Norman and 1st Earl of Shrewsbury) who brought monks from Cluny in France to settle there.

Milburge was canonised after her death and the priory

See Larger Image

An English Heritage Site

was dedicated to her. Her bones were found in 1101 and it became a place of pilgrimage. However in 1540 like many of the abbey's in the country it was closed down by Henry VIII.

It was one of the longest monastic churches and today you can see the ruins of this, a unique lavabo and the 12th century chapter house. Parts of the church also stand against the backdrop of the full-height infirmary wing.

See Larger Image The largest structure still standing. The central arch leads into the topiary garden.

See Larger Image Children inspecting the bathhouse (lavabo). Where they monks would have their daily bath.

The Lavabo. 

A rare 'lavabo' - tiered washing fountain.

The laver was where the washing of hands would take place before meals and for morning toilet. There were two types, the long trough usually recessed in an alcove with elaborate decorations, and as in the case of Wenlock Priory  the independent circular building. The second type being more common on the continent, and as the first monks to take residence  here were from France then perhaps it is no surprise that the circular version is present at Wenlock.

See Larger Image There are a range of  topiary hedges, this one is of a squirrel. They were all in need of a little trim the day we visited.

 See Larger Image The remains of some of the large pillars that would have supported the abbey when fully constructed.

 See Larger Image The grounds, with the large amount of ruins still standing today and the column of pillars to the left.

See Larger Image Click on the images to see the bigger picture. These pictures were taken prior to Nikon DSLR.

Further information Grid



Wenlock Priory, Shropshire

Ceremonial County: Shropshire

Grid Reference:

SJ625001 - OS Map 242

Map Link:


Aerial photo: Google Aerial



Best Times to Visit:





English Heritage

Other useful websites:


Nearby Locations: Ironbridge    Buildwas Abbey
Other Relevant pages:  


Planning Grid


Wenlock Priory, Shropshire

Grid Reference:

SJ625001 - OS Map 242

Getting there:

In the centre of Much Wenlock


From it's own car park through the small shop.


It has it's own free car park 20m from entrance, plus there is parking in Much Wenlock centre, and it's only a short walk.


Toilets. Audio Tour. Shop

Things To Do, See and Photograph:

Extensive ruins which can be photographed from many angles, topiary garden, and some border flowers and roses.

What to take:

Camera, Tripod, Shift lens if you have one, Grads

Nature highlights:

Usually sheep in nearby field, and sometimes there is a cat lounging on the wooden seats.


5 Sheinton Street
Much Wenlock


TF13 6HS


01952 727466

Opening times:

1 Nov-28 Feb Thu-Sun 10am-4pm

1 Mar-30 Apr and 1 Sept-31 Oct Wed-Sun 10am-5pm

1 May-31 Aug Daily 10am-5pm

Closed 24-26 Dec and 1st Jan. Bank Holidays 10am-5pm


English Heritage Members - Free; Non-Members Adults 4; Concession 3.60; Child (5-15) 2.40

Photo Restrictions:

No commercial photography is allowed in all their grounds, it is not permitted in some buildings for conservation purposes, usually a no photography symbol is present on entry to the building where this restriction is in place.

Other Restrictions:  
Special Needs Access: Wheelchair ramp at entrance. All parts accesible via compacted paths or grass
Special Needs Facilities:  
Children Facilities: Baby changing facilities
Dogs Allowed: On leads

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.


By: Tracey Park Section: Abbeys Key:
Page Ref: Wenlock Topic: Abbeys Last Updated: 02/2011


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