Heath Chapel is arguably the most famous church in Shropshire. Virtually unaltered for 900 years it is perched all alone in a field on the side of Brown Clee Hill. This impressively simple Norman church, which has no bell-cote, is still open regularly for services, although there are now very few inhabitants living in the parish.
Narrow and winding country lanes make access difficult, no signposts lead to it; it is almost hidden away; we took many wrong turnings and went uphill and down dale for seemingly hours before we finally found a man walking a pair of sheep dogs who was able to direct us.
Heath Chapel once served the parish of Heath; remains of this abandoned medieval village are clearly visible in the field to the East of the building. The intact survival of this perfect example of a small Norman church since the early twelfth century is quite miraculous.
It may look as if I held my camera slightly at an angle, not so; I assure you that's exactly how the church leans into the soil.
The key to the door hangs from a nail on the back of the notice board at the entrance to the field. Apart from an advertisement for 'Age Concern', a charitable organisation which helps elderly people with advice, the notice board was bare. Perhaps that tells us who takes the time to visit this hidden gem, which is definitely worth an afternoon's meander.
Apart from the chevron mouldings on the Norman arch over the door the church is totally undecorated. The ironwork on the door also dates from the twelfth century.
The Chapel contains a twelfth century font, tub-shaped, its foot decorated with baskets of dried flowers. There are some decorative incised arches just visible on the rim. Other possible carvings on the body of the font have long disappeared, as have wall paintings and writings.
There are some very faint traces of writing. Originally the walls would have had decorative paintings
which were white washed and overwritten in the 17th century.
Pulpit, reader's desk, squire's pew and box pews are all from the 17th century.
Windows in Norman churches are very small and high up on the wall.
Another view of the church with windows and tiny lights high up in the gable end.
On leaving the church you are invited to donate to church funds
by putting money in the slot.