The Guildhall in summer
The Guildhall in summer
The Guildhall is an attractive timber framed building just off the market place and a very short stroll from the ruins of Wenlock Priory. Though Much Wenlock received a charter from Edward IV in 1468, local order was in the hands of the powerful Abbot of Wenlock Priory. However, when the Priory was dissolved under Henry VIII, the town needed a place to hold legal proceedings.
The Guildhall was built in 1540 to provide a court house, and the court room remained in use until 1985. Four types of courts were held regularly; Quarter and Petty Sessions, a Manorial Court, and a Bailiffs Court. The Quarter Sessions swung into action quickly; within a year after the court room was built they sentenced two criminals to hanging.
The council table
The council table
A Council Chamber was added to the first floor in 1577, and the council still meets here once a month. The chambers are furnished with marvellous carved oak panels brought here from a local manor house in 1848. Strangely, no one knows which manor house or how the panels became available.

There are superb 16th century furnishing including decoratively carved chairs. In addition there is a small museum area with displays on local history as well as books from the Agricultural Reading Rooms founded by Dr William Penny Brookes, who also established the Wenlock Olympic Games.
Visiting
We came to visit Wenlock Priory, but were honestly so struck by the wonderful array of period buildings in the town that we stopped to explore. There was a regular market on the ground floor of the Guidhall, and my goodness it was busy! It was fun to see that the market area is stil be used regularly 4 centuries after it was established.

Carved mayor's chair
Carved mayor's chair
On one side of the ground floor is the town gaol, established in the 14th century.Beside the gates is a wooden post with hand irons. This was used as a whipping post. From there gates you climb a set of stairs to the Council Chambers and museum area, which is open to the timber roof beams.
The first floor only holds two rooms, the council chamber and court room, but in those two rooms are a wealth of gorgeous 16th and 17th century carving. The council chairs and carved panel behind them are simply stunning; if you enjoy historic furniture you'll be in heaven.

There are only a few glass cases of interesting historical objects, such as the Borough of Wenlock official Seal. There are other displays around the outside of the rooms, including a portable stock so that offenders could be wheeled around the town. The stocks were last used in 1852.
The real treasures here are the carved wooden panels and furniture. There is a wonderful carved and painted coat of arms to Elizabeth I, dated 1589, above the carved judge's chair. Look for the amusing way the woodcarver has dealt with a mispelled word by cramming in a missing letter as a superscript.

The Guildhall is open to visitors from April-October. There is a small admission fee.

The timber roof
16th century  timber roof
16th century carved mantlepiece
Elizabethan carved mantlepiece
Medieval carved bench detail
16th century carved bench detail
Elizabethan chair detail
Elizabethan chair
Elizabeth I coat of arms
Elizabeth I coat of arms
The Guildhall and Holy Trinity church
The Guildhall and
Holy Trinity church

About Much Wenlock Guildhall
Address: Wilmore Street, Much Wenlock, Shropshire, England, TF13 6HR
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Location: On the market place in the centre on the town. Several paid parking lots nearby. Our best pick is the Priory parking area, less than 5 minutes stroll away. Open April-October.
Website: Much Wenlock Guildhall
Phone: 01952 727509
Location map
OS: SO623999
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express


NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS

Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest

Much Wenlock, Holy Trinity Church - 0 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

Wenlock Priory - 0.1 miles (Abbey) Heritage Rating

Benthall Hall - 2.7 miles (Historic House) Heritage Rating

Buildwas Abbey - 3 miles (Abbey) Heritage Rating

Iron Bridge - 3.9 miles (Historic Building) Heritage Rating

Morville Hall - 4.7 miles (Historic Building) Heritage Rating

Upton Cressett, St Michael's Church - 5.1 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

Upton Cressett Hall - 5.1 miles (Historic House) Heritage Rating



Nearest Accommodation to Much Wenlock Guildhall:

Self Catering   -   B&Bs/Guesthouses   -   Hotels

Nearest Self Catering Cottages

  More self catering near Much Wenlock Guildhall

Show self catering cottages near Much Wenlock Guildhall

Nearest Hotels

    More Hotels near Much Wenlock Guildhall

Show bed and breakfasts near Much Wenlock Guildhall

Nearest Bed and Breakfasts

  More bed and breakfasts near Much Wenlock Guildhall

    Nearest Tourist Information Centre ('as the crow flies')

Much Wenlock
Tourist Information Centre
The Museum
High Street
Much Wenlock
Shropshire
England
TF13 6HR
Tel: 01952 727 679
Alternate Tel: 01746 763 257
Fax: 01952 727 679
Email: muchwenlock.tourism@shropshire-cc.gov.uk
Web: http://www.muchwenlockguide.info/
map