The Unitarian Church, Shrewsbury

[Unitarian Church, High Street]
On several occasions I walked past the Unitarian Church and wondered what the interior was like. Thursday evening, our last day in Shrewsbury, Tarik and I were returning from Abbeycolor in Frankwell. As we walked along High Street, we saw the church door open and a sign for a service of healing in 20 minutes. We were welcomed cordially and, on telling our mission, were invited to take the photgraphs that appear on this page. Although the church is small, its height and proportions give one a feeling of space and stability.

[mural plaque]
“Mrs. Darwin was a Unitarian and attended Mr. Case’s chapel, and my father as a little boy went there with his elder sisters. But both he and his brother were christened and intended to belong to the Church of England; and after his early boyhood he seems usually to have gone to church and not to Mr. Case’s. It appears (St. James’s Gazette, December 15, 1883) that a mural tablet has been erected to his memory in the chapel, which is now known as the ‘Free Christian Church.’” [F. Darwin, 1995: 6 fn.]
“...In the spring of 1817, when he [Charles] was 8, he was sent to a day school kept by the Unitarian Minister, the Rev G Case, at No 13 Claremont Hill. This house still stands, unchanged. The schoolroom was at the back, looking out on St Chad’s churchyard and Charles remembered watching the burial of a soldier. ‘It is surprising how clearly I can still see the horse with the man’s empty boots and carabine suspended to the saddle and the firing over the grave’. The burial register dates this episode as 23 August 1817, and the funeral that of William Matthews of the 15th Hussars.” [Information Centre, Shrewsbury]

Anyone familiar with churches knows that some doors lead to mundane facilities. I apologize to the members of the Unitarian Church of Shrewsbury for the final picture; this tiny room is such a lovely still life, that I cannot resist showing it.


References cited:
  • Darwin, Francis. 1958. The life of Charles Darwin. [2nd edition, 1902] Senate, London. 348 pp.
  • Information Centre, Shrewsbury. Charles Darwin: Charles Darwin in Shrewsbury. [no date, unpaginated]


Return to Shrewsbury introductory page.

Last updated 9 November 1998 (JHW)