- From Birmingham – approx 1 hour drive or by train
- From London – approx 3.5 hour drive or by train
- Shrewsbury Hotels on Expedia
Things to do nearby
Shrewsbury is known for its well-preserved medieval and Tudor buildings. Explore Shrewsbury on Tripadvisor
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This lovely series saw Brother Cadfael, a Benedictine monk and herbalist of Shrewsbury Abbey, solving mysteries and helping the folk of medieval Shrewsbury.
Ellis Peters (a pen name of Edith Pargeter) wrote 20 novels and a collection of short stories featuring Cadfael, who was also brought to television in a series with Derek Jacobi in the title role in the 1990s.
Shrewsbury is a market town in Shropshire, England, and serves as the main setting for the stories. Shrewsbury is depicted as a bustling medieval town with a diverse population of townspeople, merchants, nobles, and clergy. The town’s location on the border between England and Wales and its proximity to important trade routes make it a focal point for various events, both political and personal, which often form the basis of the mysteries that Brother Cadfael unravels.
The historical town centre sits in a loop of the River Severn, and contains many heritage listed buildings, as well as a retail precinct.
Shrewsbury is also known as the birthplace of Charles Darwin.
I travelled up to Shrewsbury from London on the train, a journey of around two and a half hours.
My first stop was Shrewsbury Castle, featured in the Cadfael novel One Corpse Too Many. The castle is directly above the train station, and I could imagine Cadfael tending to the bodies below, following the siege of the castle in 1138.
Made of red sandstone, Shrewsbury Castle has had many modifications since Cadfael’s time, and is a heritage listed building.
It’s currently the home of the Shropshire Regimental Museum, which is open to the public at certain times of year.
After enjoying the castle grounds, I then walked into the centre of town to visit the Shrewsbury Visitor Information Centre.
I was on a mission to buy a booklet I’d been reading about for years titled In the footsteps of Brother Cadfael. It covers three walks around the town based on locations from the Cadfael books; around the Abbey, up to St Giles Church, and around the town itself. I very happily paid £2 to purchase a copy.
It was now time to visit the home of Brother Cadfael, formally known as the Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Shrewsbury.
To the south-east of the town I walked along Wyle Cop to where the English bridge crosses the River Severn, and Shrewsbury Abbey was ahead of me.
I’d seen photos of the Abbey before, but it was still surprising to see it surrounded by such everyday modern things. Traffic lights and bright red phone and post boxes. A street sign pointed cars to the Foregate Car Park.
The Abbey was founded as a Benedictine Monastery in 1083, but much of the building was destroyed during the 16th century. What remains continues in use as a Parish Church.
I saw a sign inviting all to enter, and after a little hesitation I did.
As I pushed open the door, a polite gentleman asked if I was interested in the Abbey and handed me a laminated card with a floor plan and details of interesting items to view.
The choir was practicing for a sung Eucharist and their lovely notes filled the air, soaring to the roof. I looked discreetly at the displayed items, all the while enjoying the uplifting melodies and picturing Brother Cadfael in his regular place among the monks.
My visit to Cadfael’s Shrewsbury was too short, and I plan on returning as there are so many more locations to see.
The Cadfael Chronicles Books
- A Morbid Taste for Bones (1978)
- One Corpse Too Many (1980)
- Monk’s Hood (1981)
- Peter’s Fair (1981)
- The Leper of St. Giles (1981)
- The Virgin in the Ice (1983)
- The Sanctuary Sparrow (1983)
- The Devil’s Novice (1984)
- Dead Man’s Ransom (1985)
- The Pilgrim of Hate (1984)
- An Excellent Mystery (1985)
- The Raven in the Foregate (1986)
- The Rose Rent (1986)
- The Hermit of Eyton Forest (1988)
- The Confession of Brother Haluin (1989)
- The Heretic’s Apprentice (1990)
- The Potter’s Field (1990)
- The Summer of the Danes (1991)
- The Holy Thief (1992)
- Brother Cadfael’s Penance (1994)
- A Rare Benedictine (short stories)
Cadfael (TV) (details on IMDb)
The television adaptation of the “Brother Cadfael” series starring Derek Jacobi was filmed in various locations in England and Wales. Some of the key filming locations for the series include:
- Ludlow, Shropshire: This picturesque market town in Shropshire, England, served as the primary filming location for the fictional town of Shrewsbury in the series. Its medieval architecture and charming streets provided an authentic backdrop for the show’s medieval setting.
- Alcester, Warwickshire: The Alcester Abbey in Warwickshire was used to represent the exterior of the fictional Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul where Brother Cadfael resides. The abbey’s historical features and architecture made it a suitable stand-in for the setting described in the novels.
- Stokesay Castle, Shropshire: This well-preserved medieval manor house was used for some exterior scenes and backdrops in the series. Its architectural elements and period features contributed to the show’s authentic medieval atmosphere.
- Acton Burnell Castle, Shropshire: Another Shropshire location, Acton Burnell Castle, was used for various scenes in the series. Its ruins and historical significance added to the show’s visual appeal.
- Much Wenlock, Shropshire: Some scenes were also filmed in the town of Much Wenlock, which has a history dating back to the medieval period. Its architecture and ambiance complemented the show’s setting.
- Herefordshire: Various scenes were filmed in the rural landscapes of Herefordshire, which provided settings for outdoor scenes and landscapes.
- Other English and Welsh Locations: The production team utilized a range of other locations in England and Wales to bring the stories to life. These locations included historic buildings, landscapes, and towns that could evoke the medieval world of Brother Cadfael.