Buildwas is an Ancient Parish in the county of Shropshire.

Parish church: Holy Trinity

Parish registers begin: 1665

Nonconformists include:

Parishes adjacent to Buildwas

Parish History

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

BUILDWAS, a parish in Madeley district, Salop; on the river Severn, and on the Severn Valley railway, at the junction of the branch to Much-Wenlock, 3½ miles SE of the Wrekin, and 4 NE of Much-Wenlock. It has a station on the railway, at the junction; and its Post Town is Iron-Bridge, under Wellington, Salop Acres, 2,128. Real property, £2,079. Pop., 276. Houses, 55. The property is divided among a few. Buildwas Park is the seat of W. Moseley, Esq. A Cistertian Abbey was founded in the parish, in 1135, by Roger, bishop of Chester; and given, at the dissolution, to Lord Powis. The side aisles and the chapels of the Abbey church have perished; but the nave, the transept, the tower-arches, and the chapter house mostly remain, are transition Norman, and form a noble ruin. The living is a donative in the diocese of Lichfield. Value, £20. Patron, W. Moseley, Esq. The church was built in 1720.
Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

A Topographical Dictionary of Great Britain and Ireland 1833

Buildwas, co. Salop.
P. T. Much Wenlock (148) 4 m. NE b N. Pop. 240.
A parish in the Wellington division of the hundred of South Bradford; living, a curacy in the archdeaconry of Salop and diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, not in charge; church ded. to the Holy Trinity; patron (1829) W. Moseley, Esq. Here is an elegant iron bridge erected across the Severn by the Colebrook Dale Company in lieu of a very ancient one carried away by a flood in 1795. The span of the arch is 130 feet, and the rise 24 feet. On the south bank of the Severn in a rich pastoral valley, backed by woody banks, are the remains of an abbey of Cistercians, founded by Roger, Bishop of Chester, in 1135. The walls of the abbey church remain entire, and the view of this venerable church from the west end is very striking, and contrasted with the gay verdure around it forms a picture of fallen monastic greatness rarely to be surpassed.
Source: A Topographical Dictionary of Great Britain and Ireland by John Gorton. The Irish and Welsh articles by G. N. Wright; Vol. I; London; Chapman and Hall, 186, Strand; 1833.

Gregory Shropshire Gazetteer 1824

Buildwas, Magna, and Parva. One township. A parish in the Wellington division of the hundred of Bradford, South, a curacy in the diocese of Coventry and Lichfield, the deanery of Newport, and archdeaconry of Salop. 52 houses, 240 inhabitants. 3 miles north-east by north of Much Wenlock.
Source: The Shropshire Gazetteer, with an Appendix, including a Survey of the County and Valuable Miscellaneous Information, with Plates. Printed and Published by T. Gregory, Wem, 1824.

Parish Registers

Buildwas Parish Registers 1665-1812, Marriages to 1837
Shropshire Parish Registers Diocese of Lichfield Vol. XIV (1921)
Author: Shropshire Parish Register Society
General editor; 1900-1906, W.P.W. Phillimore; 1907- W.G.D. Fletcher
Publisher: Privately printed for the Shropshire Parish Register Society

Parish Records


England, Shropshire, Buildwas – Census ( 1 )
Census returns for Buildwas, 1841-1891
Author: Great Britain. Census Office

England, Shropshire, Buildwas – Church records ( 2 )
Bishop’s transcripts for Buildwas, 1813-1868
Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Buildwas (Shropshire)

Registers of Buildwas

England, Shropshire, Buildwas – Church records – Indexes ( 1 )
Parish register printouts of Buildwas, Shropshire, England


Bagshaw History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Shropshire 1851

BUILDWAS is a parish township and small rural village delightfully situated near the banks of the Severn, four and a half miles N.E. from Much Wenlock. The parish contains 2,152 acres of land, of which 350 acres are in woods and plantations, the remainder is about equally divided in arable and pasture or meadow lands; the soil is mostly heavy, and produces good wheat and barley. In 1801 there was a population of 258 souls; 1831, 240, and in 1841 there were 59 houses and 273 inhabitants. A beautiful iron bridge of one arch 130 feet span was erected by the Coalbrook-dale Company over the Severn at this place in 1796, at an expense of £6,034. The rise of the bridge is 24 feet, and as the road-way could not be carried to a greater height, advantage was taken of the Schaffhausen principal by making the ribs rise to the top of the railings, and connecting them to the lower ribs by means of dove-tailed king posts. The old bridge, which had narrow arches that impeded the navigation of the river, was carried away by a flood in 1795. Walter Moseley, Esq., (a minor), is landowner, lord of the manor, and impropriator of the tithes, which are commuted for £350. The incumbent of the parish has a payment of £16. 2s. 6d. issuing out of certain lands contiguous to the abbey. The Church is a small structure of free stone, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, and consists of nave and chancel, with a wooden turret; it was rebuilt in 1720. It contains several neat marble tablets, one of which on the north wall remembers Margaret Smitheman, who died 1818; another on the south side remembers John Smitheman, and is dated 1809; Humphrey Wheeler and his four sons are also remembered on a neat mural tablet dated 1739, besides which there are several others. The living is a donative in the patronage of W. Moseley, Esq. Incumbent, Rev. John Bartlett, M.A., who resides at Marn Wood, a pleasantly situated residence just within the bounds of Madeley parish. The poor of this parish enjoy the benefit of a rent charge of £5 per annum, the benefaction of Miss Ann Lacon. The annuity is received by the churchwardens, who distribute in equal moieties at Michaelmas and Lady-day among four poor widows in shares of 12s. 6d. each. Near to the bridge there is a respectable inn, conducted by Mr. William Jones.

Buildwas Abbey.—The magnificent ruins of Buildwas abbey are situated in a picturesque vale, near the banks of the river Severn, whose silvery waters are here crossed by a noble cast iron bridge, having a span of 130 feet. The massive walls of the abbey, with the grey pillars and arches, present a fine contrast to the rich verdure which surrounds them, and being environed with high grounds crowned with timber, it presents one of the most lovely spots for conventual retirement that can well be imagined. The outer walls of the abbey church are almost entire. The structure was cruciform with a massive tower in the middle, which rested on four pointed arches. On each side of the nave are seven pillars, with indented capitals, from whence spring arches with obtuse points. Above is a clerestory with small round headed windows. The side aisles, the transept, and the chapel of the choir are entirely in ruins. Under the north wing of the transept is the crypt, the whole of which has evidently been groined with stone, and was supported by circular and diagonal pillars. Over the chapter house and other apartments forming the east side of the cloister are the remains of a second story, which was probably the dormitory. A little eastward of the cloister are probably the remains of the refectory. The view of this venerable structure from the west end is peculiarly striking: the huge pillars with their bold arches and projecting capitals, the lofty arches which supported the tower, and the windows of the gloomy choir, contrasted with the rich verdure, and the luxuriant ivy mantling the walls, altogether form a solemn spectacle of fallen grandeur. The abbey was founded by Roger de Clinton, in 1135, for monks of the order of Savigny, who were afterwards united to the Cistercians. The house was dedicated to St. Mary and St. Chad, and the foundation was confirmed by King Stephen, in the year 1139. Leland in his itinerary says, “Matilda de Bohun, wife of Sir Robert Burnell, was founder of Buildwas abbey,” but among the charters of the monasticon there is no mention of this Matilda, and the foundation is in two or three places ascribed to Roger de Clinton, Bishop of Chester. Rustandus, the pope’s legate, with the assistance of the bishop of Hereford, extorted large sums of money from the clergy; the legate summoned the abbots of the Cistercian order to meet at Reading, when he demanded supplies for the use of the pope and the king, which amounted to the value of their wool. The abbots made answer that the tax was very grievous, and therefore could come to no resolution without the consent of their convents. Rustandus incensed at that answer acquainted the king that the Cistercians refused to grant him supplies. The king swore that those who refused to submit to his demands should feel the effects of his power. There was then at court the abbot of Buildwas, whom the king reprimanded after this manner, “What is the meaning, abbot, that you refuse to supply my necessities; am I not your patron?” To whom the abbot replied, “I would to God, sir, you were our patron, our father, and defender; but it does not become your majesty to extort money from those who can only assist you with their prayers; let the exemplary piety of the king of France be a precedent to your majesty in this respect.” The king replied, “I demand both your money and your prayers.” “How is that consistent,” said the abbot, “for one of them you must be without.” At the suppression here were twelve monks who, according to Dugdale, were endowed with £110. 19s. 3d. per annum, but Speed estimates the value at £129. 6s. 10d. The site, with all the land in Shropshire, Staffordshire, and Derbyshire, were granted to Edward Lord Powis in the 29th of Henry VIII.

An extraordinary phenomena occurred on the 27th of May, 1775, at a place called the Birches, situated between Buildwas and Ironbridge, which will be found noticed with the latter place.

Moseley Mrs. Elizabeth, Buildwas Park

Moseley Walter, Esq., Buildwas Park

Bartlett Rev. John, M.A., Marnwood

Birkin Charles, farmer

Eveson Thomas, farmer and gardener

Francis Thomas, farmer

Hewlett John, farmer, Lawleys Cross

Intone Thomas, blacksmith

Jones William, maltster, farmer, and vict. Bridge Inn, Buildwas

Lewis William, farmer, Abbey farm

Nickless Enoch, farmer & builder; residence, Iron bridge

Nunn Rev. John, B.A., curate, Wire Hill Cottage

Pothan William, farmer

Ridley Edward and Samuel, farmer and corn millers

Source: History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Shropshire by Samuel Bagshaw 1851

Buildwas Cassey Shropshire Directory 1871

Buildwas is a parish and village, situated on the Ironbridge and Shrewsbury turnpike road, four miles north from Much Wenlock, eleven from Shrewsbury, and seven from Wellington station, in the Northern division of the county, Wellington division of South Bradford hundred, Madeley union, and diocese of Lichfield; it is bisected by the river Severn, over which is a bridge, having a span of 130 feet. The church of the Holy Trinity is a stone building with a wooden turret; it was rebuilt in 1720. The living is a vicarage, yearly value £110, in the gift of Walter Moseley, Esq. A school was erected in 1856 by Walter Moseley, Esq., for the poor of the parish. There are charities, yearly value £6. Near here are the ruins of an abbey of the 12th century, for monks of the Cistercian order. The soil is stiff clay; subsoil, clay. The population in 1861 was 276; the area is 2,152 acres; gross estimated rental £2,480: rateable value £2,358.
Letters through Ironbridge.

Carrier – William Williams, Friday morning, for Ironbridge and Broseley, returning same evening for Shrewsbury.

Railway Stations, Sidney Curtis, station master.

Little Rev. George Savile Lumley, B.A., Vicarage.

Moseley Mrs. Elizabeth, The Abbey
Moseley Walter esq., Buildwas park
Crowther Frederick, butcher
Downes Thomas, Bridge Inn, and farmer
Evans William, cowkeeper
Evason John, cowkeeper
Fewtrell Edward, farmer
Green Edward and John, farmers
Hewlett John, farmer, Lawless cross
Hughes Thomas, blacksmith
Morgan John, farmer, Abbey grange
Pugh John, farmer
Ridley Samuel and Co., millers (Joseph Shaw, manager)

Source: Edward Cassey & Co’s, History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Shropshire 1871


  • County: Shropshire
  • Civil Registration District: Madeley
  • Probate Court: Court of the Bishop of Hereford (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Diocese: Lichfield
  • Rural Deanery: Wellington
  • Poor Law Union: Madeley
  • Hundred: South Bradford
  • Province: Canterbury

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