Stirchley: Nonconformity

Pages 194-195

A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985.

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There were individual Roman Catholics in the parish at various dates between 1614 and 1772 but there is no evidence of a long-standing recusant family or community; the rector claimed in 1772 that no one had been 'perverted' recently. (fn. 1)

Humphrey Chambers, a Presbyterian minister who had been a schoolmaster in Wellington in the 1630s, (fn. 2) was living in Stirchley in 1648. (fn. 3) George Arden, rector c. 1655-1715, conformed in 1662 and kept his living but may nevertheless have been sympathetic to the nonconformist cause, for he received and helped Jonathan Lovel, the ejected curate of Alveley, in 1667. (fn. 4) There were no dissenters in the parish in 1676 and c. 1695, (fn. 5) nor were any recorded in the 18th century. (fn. 6)

In 1811 a house in Stirchley was registered for worship by Methodists, (fn. 7) and by 1813 the Wesleyan group at Kemberton and Stirchley had weekly preaching on the Shrewsbury circuit. (fn. 8) In the earlier 19th century the group met at Holmer Farm, 'where they preached in the granary from a cornbin, with a side saddle for a pulpit cushion'. (fn. 9) Unable to buy land for a chapel in Stirchley, they acquired a plot just outside the parish on the road to Dawley; Stirchley Wesleyan Chapel was built there and was registered for worship in 1854. (fn. 10) There was a Primitive Methodist class meeting in Stirchley in the early 1860s. (fn. 11)

In 1972 a Methodist-owned pastoral centre was opened in the Brookside housing estate and in 1980 it was used jointly by Methodists and Anglicans, services being taken by clergy of each denomination alternately. (fn. 12) In 1976 provision was made for the new All Saints' church at Stirchley district centre to be shared by the Anglican and Roman Catholic congregations. (fn. 13)

In 1980 the former parish rooms adjoining the Old Rectory were used by the Telford 1st Christian Spiritualist Church, which had acquired the premises the previous year. (fn. 14)


  • 1. L.J.R.O., B/A/12(i), f. 93; B/V/1/29; B/V/5, visit. return of 1772; W.S.L., H.M. 36.
  • 2. L.J.R.O., B/V/1/57, 62.
  • 3. Calamy Revised, ed. A. G. Matthews, 556.
  • 4. Ibid. 328.
  • 5. T.S.A.S. 2nd ser. i. 85; W.S.L., H.M. 36.
  • 6. L.J.R.O., B/V/5, visit. return of 1772; S.R.O. 3916/1/1.
  • 7. P.R.O., RG 31/7, Salop. no. 287; Orders of Q. Sess. iii. 172.
  • 8. S.P.L., C 98.7 v.f., Shrews. circuit plan.
  • 9. Salopian and W. Midland Monthly Illustr. Jnl. Dec. 1877, 62.
  • 10. G.R.O., Worship Reg. no. 1739.
  • 11. S.R.O. 2533/130, 9 June 1862; 14 Mar. 1864.
  • 12. G.R.O., Worship Reg. no. 73276; Lich. Dioc. Regy., bps.' reg. Y, p. 185; Rayska, Dev. of Stirchley; inf. from the Revd. C. Hill.
  • 13. Lich. Dioc. Regy., episc. reg. 43, p. 163; bps.' reg. Y, pp. 218-19.
  • 14. Inf. from the Revd. C. Hill.