St George’s is the largest church in he benefice. It has a circular churchyard and there is evidence of a Saxon church being on the site towards the end of the 7th century. Parts of the existing church date back to the 12th century. Internally the church is large and airy with both north and south aisles. Apart from the tower it was extensively rebuilt in 1877 by the famous Victorian architect G E Street.
The Norman columns in the nave were carefully restored. In the north aisle a plaster ceiling was taken down to reveal the splendid 14th century roof timbers, and where necessary the lovely 22 carved angels had their wings renewed.
The south aisle, which had been as wide as the north aisle, was taken away and a new smaller aisle built on earlier foundations. This reduced the height of the roof and allowed ancient clerestory windows to be reopened.
A vestry at the east end of the north aisle was removed to make way for the present Lady Chapel, panelled with carved portions of the old box pews. A new Chancel was built to Street’s design.
The pulpit has some fine Jacobean carving. The font is ancient standing on a more recent base and having interesting apotropaic carvings on its west face.
The tower, the lower part of which may have been built for defence before the Normans built the castle on the other side of the river, has housed a set of bells since the 16th century. In 1549 there were four, in 1681 six, in 1914 eight and now, since 1994, there are ten. These are much used by our own and visiting bell ringers.
The lychgate is much travelled. It was originally built in 1723, taken down in 1841 to make way for iron gates, re-erected at the gateway to Hand Causeway, returned to its original position about 1881, and restored in 1956.
In 2019 a new kitchen and toilet were installed, paid for by a legacy, various grants, and local donations and fundraising.
The oldest feature of all is the yew tree a little distance from the north side of the church. At one time it had a girth of 33ft 7in (10.24m) which has been calculated to mean that it was here when the very first place of Christian worship was built on this lovely site, back in Saxon times. That makes it over 2000 years old. The churchyard is managed in accordance with the recommendations of the ‘Caring for God’s Acre’ project.
John Osborne, the playwright, and his wife Helen are buried in the churchyard.
St George’s offers worship every Sunday and until recently BCP HC every second and fourth Sunday at 8am. Our main service in St George’s each week is at 9.45am in accordance with the benefice pattern of holy communion on the first and third Sunday and a lay led service on the second and fourth. Two of these services each month are usually held jointly with the Methodist Congregation. One of these will normally be at St George's at 9.45am and the other at the Methodist Church at 10.00am. A Benefice Service is held at 10am, every fifth Sunday and rotates round the benefice churches.
Our usual attendance at 8am holy communion is 8-10 worshippers, at 9.45 am 15-20 and 40 at Joint Services. At other times such as festivals the congregation can swell to 70+
An annual Memorial service for the Benefice is held at St George’s on the first Sunday in November at 6pm and an annual remembrance service. The average age of our congregations is 70+ with a handful of children attending services which are joint with Clun Methodist Church. We have not had a junior church for some considerable time. However, St George’s Academy school does use the church at Easter, Christmas and harvest.
Link with the Methodist Church
St George’s has had a very close link with Clun Methodist Church since 1995 when a common Declaration of Intent was signed ‘to make visible the unity of Christ’s people in Clun’. This declaration was witnessed by the then Bishop of Ludlow and the Chair of the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury Methodist District. It contained references to a number of areas of activity in which the two congregations could work together.
The declaration did not set up a formal Local Ecumenical Project, though it looked forward to something of the kind in the future. In 2007 it was agreed that it might be more fruitful to look at such questions again once reorganisation of the parishes and benefices was clearer.
One of the pledges in the declaration states:
‘To co-operate as churches in ministry and pastoral care, understanding that future appointments for ministry remain the prerogative of each church or denominational authority, but expressing the desire that such future appointments will be made in the spirit of this declaration.’
Much has been accomplished in the past 18 years. Although it is still ‘work in progress’, the two congregations meet in worship twice a month. United Services often attract larger congregations than the two separate churches combined. Members of both churches are involved together in many activities in the community.
There is a member from the Methodists on Clun PCC . A member of St George’s church is a member of the Clun Methodist Council. The Clun Methodists are a ‘gathered congregation’ from all along the valley and therefore many of them are already living in the six parishes of the Benefice.
Electoral Roll and Parochial Church Council
There are currently 54 on the Electoral Roll. The PCC has six members including a representative of the Methodist Congregation.
In recent years we have succeeded in paying our parish offer (£17,800 in 2020)
During lockdown we invited people to give by standing order and this currently amounts to £800 per month and associated gift aid. In normal times we also have the usual income from fees and collections.
We also have restricted funds for building work, the bells, organ and churchyard, all reasonably well funded.
Fundraising events include concerts, craft fairs, open gardens at The Hurst, and the annual Gardens Open event. We also support Shropshire Historic Churches Trust. The pandemic has of course curtailed our usual fundraising programme.
Pastoral Care and Community Outreach
Clun is a caring community with a well established Good Neighbours and Clun Good Friends Schemes offering support of all kinds to older people. Members of the church take on many roles within the various organisations in the town.
St George’s church is open every day and welcomes visitors. We feel that the church is for everyone and through events such as exhibitions, concerts and craft fairs we encourage the public to be part of it.
The acoustics at St George’s are considered to be superb and the church has been used for many concerts covering a wide range of music. We are the home of Clun Valley Music, a group of professional musicians who perform regularly attracting an audience from a wide area.
Our many exhibitions have been greatly appreciated especially our WW1 commemoration in 2018 which ran for two weeks and attracted over 200 visitors.
Trinity Hospital, Clun
Trinity (as the locals call it) is a group of almshouses entered through iron gates from Hospital Lane. Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton, built it in 1614, its purpose to provide charitable accommodation for twelve old men of good character. Residents wore a livery gown of blue emblazoned with a red and silver badge. On Sundays top hats were worn and the men taken to church by horse drawn carriage.
The rules were changed some years ago to allow married couples to occupy some of the larger cottages.
There is a small chapel which is used every Tuesday in normal times for a short service of Holy Communion or Morning Prayer.