St Laurence Church, Ludlow
St Laurence Church, Ludlow is a parish church in the Church of England in Ludlow.

The parish church was established as a Norman place of worship in association with the founding of Ludlow in the 11th century AD. This parish church in Shropshire, England contains an extensive set of misericords in the choir stalls as well as fine stained glass windows. The tower is 42 meters in height and commands expansive views of the local area. The church was rebuilt in the year 1199 and has had several later additions and modifications.

Original Norman traces were found beneath the south porch, indicating some extant foundations exist from the 11th century AD . After its initial construction the church was expanded and rebuilt in 1199 to accommodate a flourishing town population. In the late Middle Ages considerable wealth accrued to the town based upon the wool trade. Correspondingly the church underwent several further additions in that era. The major works occurred between 1433 and 1471 with a virtual re-building of the nave, tower and chancel elements . The tower took on a perpendicular style which was modish in the late 15th century in England. The Saint John's Chapel on the north side was the chapel of the Palmers Guild , who thrived in the Late Middle Ages. The Palmers Window within St John's Chapel illustrates the legend of King Edward the Confessor and St John the Evangelist. by eight panels and was inspired by the Ludlow Palmers’ 13th century pilgrimage to the Holy Land . The sizeable east window of the chancel underwent restoration in the year 1832; this window depicts the martyrdom of St. Laurence. The most extensive modern repairs and rehabilitation occurred in the period 1859 to 1861, which consisted primarily of interior modifications. It is a member of the Greater Churches Group.

The dominant exterior feature is the square bell tower, which houses the historic and famed bells of the church. The chancel contains the mediaeval choir stalls adorned with numerous misericords. Many of these fine wood carvings are of heraldry and others are genre scenes of common life. Typical sizes of the misericords and upper bench carvings are 25 centimeters wide by 12 centimeters high; the carvings have very deep relief (up to two centimetres). Some of the elements of the carving are repeated on roof adornments . Below the chancel are the catacombs, holding an impressive set of church monuments, most of which contain deceased persons involved with Ludlow Castle’s Council of the Marches. Other than the large chancel east window, there are other notable windows within the chancel; the most remarkable one depicts the Ten Commandments, illustrating six of the commandments being broken. The hexagonal south porch derives from the 14th century and serves as the main entrance to the church; this porch is one of only three of such a six sided design in all of England. The other interior chapels are St. Catherine’s Chapel and the Lady Chapel, the latter of which has a large filled-in door that was once used for the Ludlow fire engine at an earlier era. Exterior features include a memorial plaque to the poet A.E. Housman and the Samuel Burgess Memorial Garden. Above the interior stone lantern there is s splendid vault.

Notable burials
The ashes of A. E. Housman are buried in the church grounds, with the stump of a cherry tree marking their location. Ambrosia Sidney, (1565-1574), sister of Sir Philip Sidney and Mary Sidney who died at Ludlow Castle, aged nine, is buried near the altar under an impressive memorial bearing the arms of Sir Henry Sidney, (1530-1586), President of the Council of Wales and the Marches. His heart was brought from Worcester where he died and buried in a small leaden urn in an oratory near his daughter's tomb. The rest of his remains were buried with his wife Mary Dudley at Penhurst, Kent.

Above the porch on the first floor (second story in American parlance) is the Parvis room, which houses a small history museum pertinent to the church. At St. Catherine’s Chapel (the south transept) some floor-stones in the area honour recent congregation members. In the nave and aisle area, there are several noteworthy contents, including:
  • The royal English coat of arms from the year 1628.
  • Wall hanging: A Shropshire Lad located near the south door.
  • The west window illustrating some of the historical figures involved with Ludlow Castle.

In the north transept is the John Snetzler organ. Through the generosity of Henry Arthur Herbert, 1st Earl of Powis, this organ was installed in 1764 at a cost of £1,000. Originally it was located in a gallery beneath the tower and had three manuals with 19 stops. In the 19th Century, Gray and Davison restored the organ and enlarged it, at the same time moving it to its present position in the North Transept. By this time, a fourth manual had been added. The organ was restored in the 1980s by the Nicholson & Co (Worcester) Ltd. In 2006, thanks largely to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, further work was carried out to clean the interior, improve the console, and to add a rank of pipes.

List of organists

  • Edmund White ca. 1473
  • Thomas Sherman 1492 - 1508
  • John Perche ca. 1493
  • Maurice Phillips ca. 1551
  • John Broke ca. 1549 - 1559
  • Thomas Tanner ca. 1566
  • Thomas Cope 1568 - 1579
  • John Cooke 1578 - 1583
  • John Harrison 1584 - 1597
  • George Pingle 1597 - 1604
  • Richard Crumpe 1605 - 1620
  • Benjamin Cosyn 1621 - 1622
  • Mr. Perkings 1623
  • Marmaduke Pardoe 1623 - 1626
  • Walter Gibbs 1626 - 1628
  • Edward Smith 1627 - 1630
  • Edward Standley 1630 - 1634
  • John Maylard 1634 - 1635
  • Berkeley Wrench 1636 - 1637 (then organist of Gloucester Cathedral before reappointment in 1642).
  • John ap Evan 1638
  • Thomas Heardson 1637 - 1642
  • Berkeley Wrench 1642 - 1645
  • interregnum 1645 - 1672
  • Benjamin Moone 1672 - 1704
  • Henry Hall 1704 - 1707
  • William Hine 1707
  • Josias Preist 1708 - 1711
  • John Childe 1711 - 1712
  • John Salter 1712 - 1713
  • Benjamin Sharrett 1713 - 1716
  • David Langton 1716 - 1730
  • David Valentine 1730 - 1764
  • Joseph Harris 1764 - 1771 (then organist of St Martin in the Bull Ring, Birmingham)
  • Miles Coyle 1771 - 1789 (then organist of Hereford Cathedral)
  • John Clarke Whitfield 1789 - 1794 (later organist of St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh (Church of Ireland))
  • Charles Evans 1794 - 1823
  • Adam Ree 1823 - 1841 - 1851 - 1856
  • Miss Francis Ree 1856 - 1858
  • William Walter Ridley 1858
  • Robert Bartholomew 1858 - 1891
  • Joseph Humphrey Anger 1892 - 1893 (then Instructor of Harmony and Theory at Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto)
  • Ivor Atkins 1893 - 1897 (then organist of Worcester Cathedral)
  • Clement Charlton Palmer 1897 - 1908 (then organist of Canterbury Cathedral)
  • Norman Charles Woods 1908 - 1911 (then organist of St. Michael's College, Tenbury)
  • Harold Carpenter Lumb Stocks 1911 - 1917 (then organist of St Asaph Cathedral)
  • Frank Edgar Bastick 1917 - ca. 1921 - 1948
  • Edgar Sydney Landen 1948 - 1951
  • Gilbert W. Whitehouse 1951 - 1970
  • Richard J. E. Francis 1971 - 1974
  • George Baker 1974 - 1976
  • Keith Anthony Morgan 1976 - 1978
  • Morwen Byram-Wigfield 1978 - 1980
  • Richard J. E. Francis 1980 - 2007
  • Shaun Ward 2007 - current