Shrewsbury Abbey

I managed to get away for a few hours this afternoon during Puppy’s nap. I decided to head out to Shrewsbury Abbey. First, I thought to grab something quick for lunch, but was lured by the signs for La Lanterna Italian restaurant that took me through twisty medieval streets to the back of St. Mary’s Church.

The restaurant was in the basement of this building, the old church vestry.

The interior was tiny and very cosy, with the theme decidedly Italy.

What had caught my eye was the set menu for £8.50. It came with a glass of wine, bread, a really lovely salad…

…a slice of very garlicky bruschetta, and a generous portion of creamy pasta with greens, tomatoes, olives, and bacon. Wow!

This gourmet meal was a bargain even by Balkan standards! I was really impressed. Service was stellar, too. It wasn’t till I got home that I checked out reviews for the restaurant and they all praise it highly. I really discovered a hidden gem.

Here’s the lobby of the basement entrance with the entrance to the restaurant. Love the stained glass.

I made my way down some stairs to the High Street and turned left to cross the river and get to the abbey.

First glimpse of Shrewsbury Abbey!


I couldn’t believe that I was there. Of course, I knew that almost nothing remains of the original medieval abbey.  From Wikipedia: “The Abbey was founded in 1083 as a Benedictine monastery by the Norman Earl of ShrewsburyRoger de Montgomery. It grew to be one of the most important and influential abbeys in England and an important centre of pilgrimage. Although much of the Abbey was destroyed in the 16th century, the nave survived as a parish church and today serves as the mother church for the Parish of Holy Cross.”

I walked around the exterior a bit to take in the Victorian parts.

Admission to the abbey is free, but they suggest a donation of “at least £2.” They had guides in many languages and I picked a French one. The translation was decent.

This is the only original stained glass. You can tell that stained glass is really old if it’s wavy and kind of buckling.

This is a very recent stained glass made by a woman named Jane Grey. It is of Saint Winefride, a Welsh woman tied to a number of legends.

I spent about 15 minutes in the abbey reading about its unusual history of partial demolition and reconstruction. It was a grand,  draughty old space. Its guardians are very friendly and welcoming; available for questions, but not intrusive. I’m really glad I had a chance to visit!

It was then time to head back across The English Bridge and head home as Puppy surely needed to be let out.

I passed the front of St. Mary’s Church since I wanted to pop into the Tesco Express near Barclay’s to get coffee.

It was raining steadily when I came out Tesco and, of course, I had forgotten my umbrella. But it wasn’t a hard drizzle so the walk home wasn’t too unpleasant.

Here’s a rough map of my day, although not of my route.

5 thoughts on “Shrewsbury Abbey

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