Literary Ramblings in Shropshire

Over the years we've done lots of literary rambles around Shropshire, it's a county rich in literary associations. We've enjoyed all of them, and sometimes, they've inspired me to read something new, or just reread an old favourite.

We've visited many of the locations which inspired Malcolm Saville's Lone Pine series, as well as following the Mary Webb trail. We've mooched around Ludlow and enjoyed the connections with A E Housman, and we've followed in Charles Dickens' footsteps in the county. So, on our recent quick visit to Shropshire, I wasn't expecting to discover any new literary connections. 

So, I was pleased to discover that Shrewsbury Abbey has a strong link with Ellis Peters (her real name was Edith Pargeter). There is a stained glass window depicting St Benedict, which is dedicated to Edith’s memory. When Shropshire author Ellis Peters wrote the historic murder mysteries The Cadfael Chronicles she was inspired by medieval Shrewsbury and made Shrewsbury Abbey the home of her fictional hero, the Benedictine monk Brother Cadfael.

The first appearance of Brother Cadfael at Shrewsbury Abbey was in  A Morbid Taste For Bones, and he mixed his herbs and unraveled mysteries in this atmospheric setting for a further nineteen novels. I've never read any Cadfael novels, so I might be inspired to give one a go.

"The nearest earthly place to paradise" is how P G Wodehouse described Shropshire. He set his wonderful Blandings Castle novels at Weston Park. Wodehouse loved the area and said "I rashly placed Blandings Castle in Shropshire because my happiest days as a boy were spent near Bridgnorth".

We stayed in Bridgnorth and passed close to Weston Park, the inspiration for Blandings Castle, on our way to visit friends in Pattingham. Next time we visit we will definitely make a detour to explore the house. I can't resist a mansion which has a picturesque cottage in the woods for concealing stolen jewels and purloined pigs, as well as magnificent cedar tree with a hammock, assiduously claimed by Lord Emsworth's ne'er-do-well brother, Gally! I do love Wodehouse.