10. High Street
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As you walk up the street look above the shops and look in the windows. The town once did a study on the use of all the shops in town and made a time line plaque for each shop. Some can still be found in the shop windows.
Wenlock Pharmacy is one example and you can see it has been trading as a chemist since 1856. prior to which it was on land across the street, now occupied by the The Corn Exchange. Constructed in 1851, the building became an Agricultural Library shortly afterwards and is still used as the local public library.
Above the market area you can read a plaque in memory to William Penny Brookes, placed on the building in 1897 in the 60th year of Queen Victoria’s reign on the throne.
Just along from the Corn Exchange there is a plain timber frame Elizabethan building, Raynald’s Mansion, constructed 1682. Notice the 2 doors and 2 porches above. Between the doors there is a post and bar which enabled workers to lift heavy loads onto their backs.
Late at night some say they see Victorian ghost children playing on the balconies.
The Talbot Inn across the road has been a lodging since 1361. The courtyard has a malt house in the back.
Straight ahead is a stunning black and white building with the word 'Bank' on the side.Constructed in the 17th century, the building was an inn until the 1920's and until recently Barclays Bank. It now a shop..
Carry on straight along the High Street, approaching Ashfield Hall on the right. Stand in front of the hall and look up at the chimneys and just above the door, do you see a window that isn’t there? A black and white window is painted above the door, as many places did to help avoid some of the window taxes.
The building was originally called St John’s Hospital, but in fact it was a hostel for “lost and naked beggars”. The plaque on the building states Charles I slept here 1642 - some beggar!!
At the end of the High Street do not cross the road but bear right and you will come upon a tiny cottage called The Squatter’s Cottage. You will note that the cottage is very small and has a chimney with a huge base to it.
Squatter’s cottages had to be constructed within one day and always started with a chimney from which they could then build the remainder of the house. The rule was that smoke had to be coming out of the chimneys by the end of the day!