IronbridgeSt Leonard’s Church
Shropshire TF12 5JU
The hamlet of Linley in Shropshire, England hides a delightful old church in its bluebell woods. There is something eerie yet magical about St Leonard’s – it is almost pagan in its location and design.
Built in the early 12th century as a ‘chapel of ease’ for Much Wenlock’s Holy Trinity Church, this secluded medieval gem is a near-complete Norman church. Located in Linley, meaning Lime Wood, it is built entirely from local rubble sandstone except for the dressing stones and the tile roofs.
The church consists of a nave, a narrower and lower chancel, and a squat west tower (also 12th century but added later in two stages).
St Leonard’s is English Heritage Grade I listed because “...It is a near-complete C12 church, including a fine tower, with comparatively little later alteration. It retains Norman architectural features of importance, including two tympana and the tower arch. It has fixtures of very special interest, especially the important Norman font.”
Some of the architectural treasures to be found in this Linley church are:
‘Green Man’ Tympanum
The blocked north Norman doorway has a tympanum carved with a Green Man. The full-length figure has its legs apart and foliage extending from its mouth.
South Doorway Tympanum
In the nave is a Norman south doorway with simple imposts and a tympanum decorated with zigzag bands. The doorway may have been repositioned when the tower was built. The ancient studded door has strap hinges.
Tower Arch
The semicircular arch rests on half-piers which are bonded into the walls. The tops of the piers are decorated with scrolls and beaded ornamental bands that show the influence of the Herefordshire school of Romanesque sculpture. The earlier chancel arch is much plainer.
The Font
The Norman font consists of a round tub, decorated around the rim with cable-moulding. The exterior of the tub is carved with medallions, some of which are surrounded by bands originating from the mouths of demons, in the style of Green Men.
Unusual Grave
In the blocked north doorway is the grave slab of Francis Anderton (d 1779) and George Johnson (d 1803), Catholic monks of Douai who died while undertaking missionary work in England.
The church was extremely sympathetically restored in 1858 by architect, (Sir) Arthur Blomfield. St Leonard’s was his first commission and thankfully he was very conservative with his changes. The east end of the nave is strengthened by tie-bolts with a large plate in the north wall. Blomfield enlarged the nave windows, rebuilt the east wall and inserted a new triple window; however, he did not touch the small Norman windows in the north and south chancel walls. New benches were installed, the floor laid with local Maw & Co tiles, and a piscina added in the sanctuary.
The charming altar backdrop, dating from about 1870, was designed by Harry Burrows; it is a triptych containing a cross and angels, and is painted on board.
The interior walls are plastered and the nave has a boarded barrel ceiling with thin ribs, on a moulded cornice. The chancel has a canted ceiling on a moulded cornice, with thin ribs, foliage bosses over the sanctuary, and boarded behind.
Declared Redundant
Sadly, the church was declared redundant in September 2007. Happily, it has been in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust since July 2013.
Daily 10:00 – 16:00
Disabled Access
Wheelchair ramp provided.
Photo Gallery
The Broseley Parishes’ Rector hopes that you will enjoy the images of St Leonard’s on this link  Web:  Broseley Parishes Gallery/ St Leonards
The Churches Conservation Trust has some delightful images of St Leonard’s. They can be viewed by clicking on the link below:   Web: Churches Conservation Trust/ photos of St Leonard's Church
The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT)
The CCT is a national charity saving historic churches at risk.
They can be contacted by writing to: CCT. Society Building, 8 All Saints Street, London N1 9RL
Telephone   0845 303 2760 (09:00 – 17:00 Monday to Friday) or
Mail   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Getting There
- By Car
Located 2½ miles (4 km) SW by S of Broseley, and 4 miles (6.5 km) NW by N of Bridgnorth, the church is situated off the B4373 Bridgnorth Road along a rough track. OS Reference No. SO6866098505
On the B4373 heading from Broseley towards Linley and Nordley there is a street sign 'Linley Green - Please drive slowly'. A few yards past this sign on the left is the rough track mentioned above. There is a Blue sign with the church name and details.
This track leads a short distance through the sun sprinkled sparse woods until the bell tower of the stone church appears of the left. There is enough space on the side of the road to park and use the grassed path to inspect the ourside of this treasure. 
By Public Transport
- By Train
The nearest train stations to Linley are Church Stretton (6.60 miles - 10.6 km), Craven Arms (7.90 miles - 12.7 km) and Telford (9.54 miles - 15.35 km).
- By Bus
Arriva Buses departing from Telford and Bridgnorth (99, 99a) stop at Linley Brook. The church is approximately 30 mins walk from the stop.
For service information call Arriva buses 0844 800 44 11
Google Map - St Leonard's Church, Linley, Barrow

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