Friday, 10 April 2015

St. Bartholomews Church, Tong, Shropshire

St Bartholomews is in Tong’s village church, Shropshire (Junction 3 M54)
There is a story related to Tong. It attracted many visitors from America which was deemed to be the result of a serialized  programme of Charles Dickens book, The Old Curiosity Shop. Charles Dickens visited Tong when his grandmother worked at Tong castle, which was demolished in 1954.  Little Nell’s grave was supposed to be in the churchyard as Dickens made reference to it in his novel. George H. Bowden, (1856 – 1943) a verger, and postmaster asked local people to pay for a headstone for Nell’s grave and forged an entry in the church register of burials using post office ink.   Visitors were then charged to see the grave! I understand that the grave is moved from time to time to make room for genuine graves. I did not see it.

The church has some imposing and dramatic memorials to the Vernon family and other village proprietors. Simon Jenkins, Oxford graduate, newspaper columnist, editor, and author who published “England’s Thousand Best Churches”, awarded the church three stars out of five. He referred to the tomb of Sir Richard Vernon (1390 -1451) as a masterpiece. (Speaker of the House of Commons in 1426)

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