Express & Star

Can you help unravel the mystery of medieval town's centuries old carvings?

A Shropshire medieval town is holding an open day at a 16th century town council building in a bid to help unravel the mystery of its enigmatic “African” carvings that have sat inside for more than a century.


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Sat within in Much Wenlock's Guildhall's council chamber are a set of carvings that date back centuries.

They are a mixture of freezes gargoyle-type figures and elaborate carvings – yet nobody knows where they came from or how they ended up in the Guildhall.

On Saturday, Much Wenlock's poetry and story-telling group, Words at the Edge, are holding an open day at the Guildhall in the hope visitors may be able to help unravel the mystery of the carvings.

The “Wild Words” event between 12 and 3pm will feature workshops reading poetry and stories inspired by the Guildhall carvings and coincides with the town's April Fair being held in the High Street.

Organisers hope that some visitors to the town on Saturday, may be able to bring a fresh perspective on the centuries old mystery of the carvings.

Mike Rust from Words at the Edge, said: “The working theory is that the Guildhall, which was built during the reign of Henry VIII, got these carvings from when the Spanish Armada was defeated by Elizabeth I. It is thought they could be of African origin, perhaps Moorish and that they came from Morocco and may have come off one of these boats, but nobody really knows.

“They have been there more than a century, but as there are a lot more people living in Shropshire these days from different heritages, we are hoping perhaps somebody may know their origins.”

He said the Wild Words event at the Guildhall is on from 12-3pm, is free to enter and that everybody is welcome.

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