St. Mary, Billingsley
The 12th century Billingsley Church is Grade II* listed. It was originally a chapel of Morville church, founded by Herbert de Castello, who endowed it with 12 acres of land and a mansion. It was restored in 1875 by G. E. Street. The original Norman doorway can still be seen in the south wall of the nave. This was blocked off sometime during the 14th century, and a new door was built, with a timber-framed porch, which is one of the finest mediaeval porches in the county. In the north wall of the chancel is a fine 14th century Easter Sepulchre, built to house the consecrated host between Maundy Thursday and Easter Day. The unusual double pulpit is Jacobean, dating from around 1620 and is thought to have been made by local craftsmen.
The graveyard is very peaceful with views of the surrounding countryside and two ancient yew trees – one female, and one male. Both trees have a girth of over 20 feet, which means that they are ancient yews, and are centuries old and are listed on the National Register of Ancient Yews.
The 120 inhabitants of the village led a rural life until the Napoleonic Wars led to a demand for industrial products, and the opening of a colliery nearby, followed by a blast furnace and brickyard, and there was an influx of miners from the north of England which helped to swell the population to over 400 by 1811. Industry moved from Shropshire to the Black Country and by 1870 the population had returned to 120. The mine finally closed in 1922 and Billingsley reverted to a rural farming community and popular commuters’ village.
The church is open during daylight hours every day. Services are 6 pm Songs of Praise on the 2nd Sunday of each month, and 8 am Holy Communion on the 4th Sunday of each month in the Summer.
Billingsley, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, WV16 6PH, United Kingdom
Grid reference: SO705853
By car: …Billingsley Church is down a single track lane of the B4363. The lane is a BOAT, (Byway Open to All Traffic) and is an unmade lane which is uneven in places. There is limited car parking for 4 or 5 cars available outside the church.
Unfortunately no public transport links.
There is a wooden ramp in the porch which visitors can use to get into the church and the graveyard is fully accessible although very uneven in places. The church has a fully accessible WC. Tea and coffee making facilities are left out for visitors to help themselves. Suitable for quiet days.
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