Clunton and Clunbury,

Clungunford and Clun are the quietest places under the sun’, burbled A. E. Housman, and it’s true; a century later, Shropshire and Herefordshire are maybe the two last unspoilt counties in England south of the Pennines. Its remoteness enhanced by the green hills that surround it, Clun is the sort of small country town that still has an Early Closing Day (Wednesdays, since you ask).

The 12th c. West tower (with later pyramidal cap) is not tall, but has the very squat solidity you often meet in border areas, suggesting that it was a refuge in lawless times. Walk up to the North porch (John Osborne’s grave is to its right) and come in. You have entered quite a big church, with North and South aisles.

Like many others, it needed restoration for years until G.E. Street gave it a very thorough seeing to in 1877. He retained the Jacobean pulpit and much else, but erected a brand new chancel, whose reredos and East window are in memory of Charles Warner, the Victorian rector who oversaw the campaign.

The most remarkable feature of Clun church is found above the East window: a mysterious wooden canopy, which originated in the North chapel. An extremely rare medieval survival, it is a canopy of honour to the altar.

Even today, you will sometimes see the eastern bay of nave, aisle or chancel roofs decorated in honour of either the Rood or the altar below, a medieval practice reintroduced by Ninian Comper.

Reflect: Do I honour the Blessed Sacrament? Are we too familiar and casual in our Eucharistic worship?

All together now:

Blessed, praised and hallowed be Jesus Christ on his Throne of Glory and in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

OS Reference: SO301808

Simon Cotton