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The Red Lion Pub in 2007, before conversion to offices. In background (left) can be seen tower of Pontesbury Parish Church.
|Pontesbury shown within Shropshire|
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Pontesbury is a large village and civil parish in Shropshire and is approximately eight miles southwest of the county town of Shrewsbury. In the 2011 census, its population was 3,227. The village of Minsterley is just over a mile further southwest. The A488 road runs through the village, on its way from Shrewsbury to Bishop's Castle. The Rea Brook flows close by to the north with the village itself nestling on the northern edge of the Shropshire Hills AONB.
The village is the seat of an extensive civil parish, with its own parish council grouped into five wards, representing the village and outlying areas such as the villages and hamlets of Pontesford, Plealey, Asterley, Cruckton, Cruckmeole, Arscott, Lea Cross, Malehurst etc, as well as Habberley (which was previously a civil parish in its own right until 1967). It hosts an official Pontesbury Parish website. It is represented on the unitary Shropshire Council and in parliament in the Shrewsbury and Atcham constituency.
The village is home of a comprehensive school, the Mary Webb School and Science College, named after the local novelist Mary Webb, which serves most of the surrounding villages for pupils age 11–16, on whose premises is the Mary Webb Sports Centre, usable by the public out of school hours. There is also a primary school, on whose premises also meet a pre-school playgroup formed 1990. There is also a nursery school, for children aged 3 months to 4 years, called The Ark, on Hall Bank.
Other Public Amenities and Services
The village contains a medical practice, dental surgery, post office, police station (under F Division, West Mercia Police), public library, public hall and cemetery.
Industries and Trade
The village has a long mining history, once linked to Snailbeach and Hanwood via the Minsterley branch line and the Snailbeach District Railways, it supplied local industry with coal, lead, iron and stone. Although the railway tracks are no longer there, the route that it took can still be walked, where some stations and sidings remain. Nearby Poles Coppice, around half-a-mile south of the village, contains two former quarries and is now a countryside recreation area.
Pontesbury is one of the largest villages in Shropshire and so is host to a wide range of local services including independent local shops selling local produce and three public houses ('The Horseshoes', 'The Nag's Head' and 'The Plough').
In the centre of the village sits St George's Church of England parish church, the origins of which can be traced to about 1250 AD but due to the site's circular graveyard shape may indicate a much more ancient site of Anglo Saxon or even Celtic origin. The church itself however was largely restored in the 19th century, following the collapse of the mediaeval tower between 1820 and 1825. For a village, population c 3,000, it is large, and has a very active and lively congregation. St George's is open to all during daylight hours, but is closed at night.
The churchyard contains the outdoor parish war memorial. The present Portland stone cross, erected 1963, replaced an earlier elaborate cross by Temple Lushington Moore and unveiled in 1921, which bore a crucifix and images of the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene and St George and the Dragon but had become dilapidated and was dismantled in 1960.
Nearby is Earls Hill, which is the site of an Iron Age hillfort built around 600 B.C. and making it a Scheduled Ancient Monument and also designated an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) for its wildlife value. It was Shropshire Wildlife Trust's first nature reserve in 1964. Earls Hill is PreCambrian in origin, being formed approximately 650 million years ago as a result of volcanic activity along the Pontesford-Linley fault.
Mary Webb (1881–1927), author of 'Precious Bane', 'The Golden Arrow' and 'Gone to Earth' lived at Pontesbury for a time, along with other villages in Shropshire. She and her husband rented Rose Cottage, during which time she wrote 'The Golden Arrow' (published 1916), and later another at The Nills. The latter book was inspired by a local legend involving a search for gold, in the form of a golden arrow, which takes place every Palm Sunday, on top of Earls Hill.
- Pontesbury Badminton Club, formed 1990.
- Pontesbury Bowling Club, formed 1925, both crown green bowls (ground at Nag's Head: has 3 teams in Wem League and 5 teams in Tanners League) and short mat indoor bowling (meets at Pontesbury Public Hall).
- Pontesbury Cricket Club, formed 1875; has 3 teams in Shropshire County Cricket League and one in Shrewsbury Cricket League.
- Pontesbury Football Club, reformed 1987 – plays in Premier Division of the Shrewsbury and District Sunday League.
- "Civil Parish population 2011". Retrieved 29 November 2015.
- Martinali, Richard. Pontesbury Parish 2012. Pontesbury 2012 Guide Committee. p. 2.Pontesbury Parish Boundary Map (also on front cover).
- Pontesbury Parish 2012. p. 98.
- Pontesbury Parish 2012. p. 83.
- Pontesbury Parish 2012. p. 76.
- Whiteside, Robert (2006). The Churches and Chapels of Pontesbury Parish. funded by Local Heritage Initiative. p. 30.
- Francis, Peter (2013). Shropshire War Memorials, Sites of Remembrance. YouCaxton. pp. 56–57, 81–82. ISBN 978-1-909644-11-3.
- Gaydon & Lawson, A.T. & J.B. (1982). A History of Pontesbury. Shropshire Libraries. p. 292. ISBN 0-903802-23-6.Reprinted extract from Victoria History of Shropshire, Volume VIII.
- Dickins, Gordon (1987). An Illustrated Literary Guide to Shropshire. Shropshire Libraries. pp. 76, 107.
- Dickins, Gordon (1987). An Illustrated Literary Guide to Shropshire. Shropshire Libraries. pp. 47–48.
- Pontesbury Parish 2012. p. 99.
- Pontesbury Parish 2012. p. 100.
- Pontesbury Parish 2012. p. 103.
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