On Saturday 11 May 2019 we drove 75 miles south from Manchester to Wroxeter, near Shrewsbury, where in 1772 my fifth great grandfather Edmund Dana (1739 – 1823) became vicar and settled with his wife Helen née Kinnaird (abt. 1749 – 1795), and where they raised their family.
Our route from Manchester took us past Whitmore Hall and the Mainwaring Arms. (We visited my Cavenagh-Mainwaring relatives at Whitmore on Wednesday 8 May.) We stopped at a pretty Shropshire town called Market Drayton for morning tea.
The narrow lanes that brought us finally to Wroxeter took us past the ruins of Uriconium, said to be the fourth largest town of Roman Britain.
St Andrew’s Church in Wroxeter, now a designated Grade 1 listed building, ‘of exceptional interest which may not be destroyed’, closed in 1980. It is now used for ‘champing‘, camping in churches. (There’s also ‘glamping’, glamorous camping, not the same thing.) At the western end of St Andrews, just inside the main entrance, there were stretchers and a tea-urn for the use of passing champers.
Charlotte found a Dana grave in the churchyard and in the chancel we found stones that marked the graves of Edmund and Helen Dana. Unfortunately they are now too worn to read.
From Wroxeter we visited a National Trust property a few miles away called Attingham Park, once the seat of the Berwicks. I wondered if Edmund Dana and his wife ever called on them. Lord Berwick was very very rich and grand, and the Reverend Dana, as merely one of the local clerics, perhaps moved in different social circles.
In the afternoon we spent an hour or two looking at Shrewsbury. Unfortunately, the Dana Walk was closed for repairs and we could not see the prison.
On the drive back to Manchester we stopped to look at the site of the Battle of Shrewsbury (1403), three miles north of the town. This was a victory for King Henry IV against rebel forces under Henry Percy, nicknamed “Hotspur”; Percy was killed.