Shrawley Ferry

by H W Gwilliam

The Ferry here served ‘Great Shrawley’, for there were once two hamlets; one, the smaller, clustered roUnd the church and the larger and original one, described as ‘Great Shrawley’ which has now disappeared. It stood at the ford crossing the Severn beneath the cliff known as Oliver’s Mount, which in medieval times had a castle guarding the ford, like the one at Holt, but which was destroyed during the Wars of the Roses, or earlier.

Shrawley, until Victorian times, was very cut off from the rest of the county, and its main access was by river. At the crossing was the Wyre Inn, or Weir Inn (possibly so called because of the nearness of Shrawley Fish Weir). The inn was the principal tavern of Shrawley, with a fine bowling green and a great tree at its door. A ferry worked here and was much used by Ombersley men who crossed for a social evening, for the music and dancing at the inn were renowned. It was here that the dances, ‘Old Severn’ and ‘New Severn’, were collected and used by Julius Harrison in his Severn Suite.

The ford must have been very shallow at times, for it is recorded that the Ombersley men often did not wait for the ferry, but walked across the Severn with the greatest ease. The inn and the ferry have gone long ago. The inn had been built against the cliff and its cellar was a cave. The cave is there and the platform,on which the house stood,is very noticeable, still with a stone wall surrounding what was once an attractive pleasure garden.

Copyright © H W Gwilliam 1982

Other pages in WHE

Severn Ferries and Fords in Worcestershire Worcestershire History Encyclopaedia