Tag Archives: Lilleshall

Lilleshall Abbey

As part of my visit to the Lilleshall area the other day I also visited Lilleshall Abbey.  The abbey is an fine ruined example of a 12th Century Augustinian abbey.

Location & Access: Lilleshall Abbey is located to the south-east of the village, along Lilyhurst Road.  The site is run by English Heritage and is one of their sites that is free to visit.

DSCN0445What’s there: Like most abbeys from the era, Lilleshall’s is in a bit of a ruinous state, partly because of its age and partly because of the disillusion of the monasteries under Henry VIII.  The information boards provide you with a good deal of info about the site.

You can walk through the main entrance of the abbey, down the nave of the main building.

DSCN0455One of the remaining towers can still be climbed, and it is a great place to view the whole abbey.  Warning: The stairs up to the abbey are narrow and winding, though in good condition.  The stair case is dark and there is only enough space at the top of the tower for one person at a time.

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Along with the red sandstone walls of the nave (did you really think I’d get through this post without a geology reference?), you also can roam the old cloisters some of the adjacent rooms.

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Overall a nice place to visit if you have half hour to spare.  The site isn’t that large so unless you are really into abbeys it won’t take you that long to walk around it.  Great place to get some photos though if you can get the light right…unfortunately on the day I went it was grey and overcast so the shots I got were average at best.  I shall have to return one day for some more.

Lilleshall Mount

About halfway between Telford and Newport, along the A518 is the lovely little village of Lilleshall.  Watching over it is the Lilleshall Hill.  At 132m high above the flat farmland it’s pretty hard to notice,  especially with a 21m high monument sitting on top of it.

Location & Access: The Hill is just to the east of the A518 and can be accessed via a small tract just off a road called Hillside East which comes off just opposite the church.  There isn’t a lot f space to park in the village so you may have to pull in to the side of the road just outside.  At just over 100m above the plain it’s hardy a struggle to climb up, though the path can be a little muddy after it has rained.  The path slopes gently and so should prove too much of a problem.

Geology: Lilleshall Hill represents the northern most exposure of the Uriconian Volcanic group and is itself made up of a mixture of rhyolite, andesite, basalt and tuff.  This would make the formation about 542-635 million years old.

DSCN0432There are a few decent exposures for anyone who wants a sample, and being the short then its relatives the Wrekin and Caradoc it takes a little less effort for those who don’t want to climb for too long.

For a modest sized hill you can get a decent view of the Wrekin to the south-west as well as the sandstone ridges that rise out of the North Shropshire and South Cheshire plains.

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Other Stuff: The Monument is dedicated to the first Duke of Sutherland and is pretty impressive.

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Dedicated to George Granville Leveson-Gower, the 1st Duke of Sutherland, it looks to be made of local sandstone.  I rather enjoy the inscription and how he is described as “the most just and generous of landlords”.  I’d like to hear what his tenants really thought of him, though I shall be very unscientific and read between the lines of the “he went down to his grave with the blessing of his tenants” as perhaps giving a hint of that.  For those who maybe unaware, this Duke of Sutherland was one of the richest men of his era and he was in part responsible for the Highland Clearances that were taking place in Scotland at the time…a fantastic example of the needs of the rich capitalist overriding those of the poor labourer…sorry went on a ‘high horse’ moment there.  But seriously if you’re unaware of the main cause for the Scottish Highlands being one of the least populated parts of Europe then I suggest you read up on it.

Anyway back to happier things.  The light scrub land around the hill, coupled with the farmers’ fields in the area makes it a good place to see wildlife (in particular birds).  Sparrowhawks, buzzards, wrens, finches and woodpeckers are common sights.

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Reference: The Geology of Britain; An Introduction by Peter Toghill (2006),  iGeology map from the BGS (2014) and the notice board from the site, Wikipedia for the Duke of Sutherland.