St Bartholomew is a fine 15th century Perpendicular Gothic Collegiate Church, one of a handful of Grade I listed churches in Shropshire, preserved almost in entirety since its foundation in 1410. Often called the 'Westminster of the West Midlands' it boasts a splendid carved stone fan-vaulted ceiling in the Golden Chapel together with a unique collection of mediaeval tombs and monuments.
Now on Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register, it survived Tudor court intrigues, the Reformation, and two Civil War sieges. Literary connections link the church to Shakespeare and Charles Dickens, being the reputed location for the closing chapters of The Old Curiosity Shop and Little Nell's burial place.
The project helped by the National Churches Trust will include repairs to the church’s spire and tower and remove health and safety concerns from falling masonry. Iconic architecture including a weathervane, pinnacles and gargoyles will be repaired or replaced. Window repairs will reduce water ingress and draughts to mitigate problem with cold and damp, thus improving the internal temperature and humidity. This will help to conserve highly significant internal historical features as well as make the church more comfortable and welcoming for visitors and worshippers. This phase of restoration is pivotal to achieving the overall Tong 2020 Vision which sees the church equipped to meet 21st century visitor expectations as well as improve the appeal for other community uses.