Wenlock Abbey: A hidden gem of the arts and crafts movement

  • 17 November 2015
  • 19:30
  • Doors 7pm. £8 (£5 Friends). Booking essential. Organised by the Friends of William Morris Gallery. To book contact Roger Huddle by emailing roger.huddle@ntlworld.com or calling 07973 443030.


Medieval Wenlock Abbey nestles on the edge of the market town of Much Wenlock, in rural Shropshire.

In this richly illustrated talk, Dr Cynthia Gamble reveals and brings to life some of the secrets of Wenlock Abbey and its central role in the 19th and 20th centuries as a cultural hub steeped in the Arts and Crafts Movement. Discoveries include magnificent oratory linen curtains inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites and medieval missals; Angeli laudantes; tiles, screens and wrought-iron gates.

The châtelain Charles Milnes Gaskell also had a fine library with several rare editions published by the Kelmscott Press.

Guests included Philip Webb, J. Starkie Gardner, Henry James, Thomas Hardy, Robert and Caroline Bateman and many other fascinating people.

William Motley, who was baptised in Wenlock Abbey, his childhood home, will also be present and will share some of his personal recollections of life in the Abbey.


Cynthia Gamble is the author of Wenlock Abbey 1857-1919: A Shropshire Country House and the Milnes Gaskell Family, which traces the transformation of this neglected and vandalised abbot’s lodgings into a country house with a celebrated cultural salon at its heart. Copies of the book will be available to purchase at the talk.