Sir John Salter, who became High Sheriff of Shropshire, originally built Salters Hall in 1452. His great granddaughter, Jane, married Thomas Chetwynd of Ingestry & for her dowry she received eighty pounds & half the estate of Salters Hall in 1525. The Chetwynd family later became the Chetwynd-Talbotts & then eventually the Talbot family, Earls of Shrewsbury & lived at Longford. The younger sons of the Talbots then often used the Salters Hall as a residence.
There had been a Catholic Priest, Fr George Wright, at Longford at the time of the sale of the house in 1787 to Mr Leeke. Fr Wright was provided with a residency at Salters Hall. The church, designed by architect Joseph Potter (of Lichfield), was given to the Roman Catholic Church by the Earls of Shrewsbury. The Church was opened by Bishop Walsh on July 3rd 1832. At the same time the existing 16th & 17th century Salters Hall was totally encapsulated within the new & much larger building now adjoining the Church. In 1835, Salters Hall & 2 acres was conveyed by John, Earl of Shrewsbury, to Bishop Thomas Walsh of Wolverhampton for a peppercorn sum.
The Roman Catholic Church of St Peter & St Paul is of a fairly simple rectangular design laying in an east-west position with the entrance set in the east end & the alter at the west end. The church is built of red brick with a timber & slate roof, pitched from the walls, with no pillar or pier support from the floor internally. At the front entrance, on either side of the door are two niches inset with statues of St Peter on the left & St Paul on the right.
On entering the porch, that was added to the church in 1913, on the right hand side is the small but relatively new 'Lady Chapel'.
As you go through the porch into the church, at the west end (ahead) is the slightly raised alter. Immediately above the alter is a large framed beautiful & utterly inspiring oil painting of the Crucifixion hung on a blue background with Fleur-de-Lys. The painting was restored in 2007 & the restortion experts believe the painting is a copy of an original painting by Italian artist Guido Reni. We understand the original can be found at the Basilica di San Lorenzo in Rome. Guido Reni is famous for his relegious paintings in 'high-Barouque style'. At the top of the frame, from left to right are; (i) the insignia of the keys of St Peter, then (ii) the Loggerheads the motif of Shropshire, then (iii) the three fishes motif of Newport & finally (iv) the insignia of the sword of St Paul.
To the left of the alter is a simple but beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the Infant Jesus and to the right there is St Joseph holding a lily. Within the raised alter area are two stained glass windows, the one on the left is of St Peter with keys & staff & a lower panel depicting his execution by crucifixion upside down - under the rule of Emperor Nero of Rome. (It is understood that St Peter believed he was unworthy to be crucified upright in the same manor as our Saviour Jesus Christ). The stained glass window on the right is of St Paul with the sword & book, & a lower panel depicting his execution by beheading - under the rule of Emperor Nero of Rome. (It is understood that Emperor Nero committed suicide the year of St Paul's execution).
There are three further stained glass windows on the north wall, all of which were designed & made by Miss Margaret Rope of the Priory, Shrewsbury in the early 20th century. Furthest on the right is the stained glass window of St Nicholas, Bishop of Myra & patron saint of the town of Newport. He is depicted wearing a priestly mantle, holding his crosier (a pastoral staff), with his hand raised in blessing. The pictures surrounding the figure depict the stories of three murdered children being raised to life by St Nicholas. And, as one might expect, the outer border of the window depicts numerous Christmas trees. The town of Myra & ships & anchors are also depicted around the glass the borders since St Nicholas is also the patron saint of sailors & fishermen.
The second window is of Our Lady, help of all christians, and the principal patron of the Diocese of Shrewsbury, with the Divine Child. Flowers associated with her name spring up from around her feet; Lady Slipper, Marigold, Lady's Seal, Lilies of the Valley, Roses, Madonna Lilies. The scene depicted below, is of the battle of Lepanto where a Christian force defeated the Turkish fleet in 1571. Pope St Pius V, is depicted kneeling saying the Rosary.
The third stained glass window is of St Winifred, virgin & martyr. She is portrayed holding her Abbess's staff & martyrs palm with the miraculous spring breaking forth at her feet. The Rowan tree & the flowers at her feet suggest her home in Wales & the Red Dragon appears on her shield. The Shrine at Holywell is illustrated on the lower panel with various cures taking place.
The font, now positioned at the front of the nave, was copied from an early English model & capped with a carved wooden figure holding in his arms a Lamb. This was originally enclosed in a carved wooden housing. Visitors will clearly see that around the nave walls are hung the framed gilt & painted Stations of The Cross.
A beautiful wooden balcony is situated at the east end with stairs leading up from the entrance hallway. Located on the balcony is the church organ & extra seating for the choir and/or congregation. Visitors will also find above the balcony, the beautiful stained glass 'Rose window' that was added to the church in 1920. The Rose window is clearly seen from any outside front view of the church.
Both front & rear gardens are enclosed by a beautiful feature red brick wall of some considerable age. In the front garden stands our memorial & Crucifix, originally of wood & erected in 1900 but now made of modern man made materials. The memorial element to the crucifix is in honour & memory of those parishioners who gave their lives during the Ist & 2nd World Wars.
Last but not least is the simple but beautiful Shrine (formally rededicated 20th May 2017) to Our Lady Of Fatima & Saints Jacinta & Francisco & Sister Lucia (See our dedicated web page).
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