The old church tower in Shenstone. Picture: Lichfield Lore

Shenstone’s old church tower could become a visitor attraction if plans for a new viewing platform are approved.

A significant amount of funding has already been raised to restore the tower, which is all that remains of a former church on the site.

The Friends of Shenstone Tower group has now submitted an application to create a viewing platform.

A report from Historic England said:

“While the tower has 13th Century origins and features, it replaced an earlier church known to have existed in 1129 and is reported to be built over Saxon foundations – evidence of Saxon masonry was found during archaeological excavations carried out in 1970.”

Historic England report

The plans for redevelopment would see the construction of a parapet wall on top of the tower, together with a new staircase and viewing platform.

A planning statement said the work was part of a broader project to preserve the history of the structure.

“The proposed work is to repair fully the old church tower so that it requires limited maintenance in the future which means we can keep it standing for future generations at limited cost.

“If we do not repair the tower now, it will fall down as it already has holes in the roof, crumbing masonry and vegetation growing up the walls.”

Planning statement

Full details can be seen on Lichfield District Council’s planning website.

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13 Comments

  1. It has always amazed me that the old tower is easier to see from a distance than the newer spire. I think this repair with a viewing platform is a good plan. I hope it is sympathetically done and, by reasonable charges, proves to be self financing.

  2. The attraction of the old tower is that it is a ruin. It survived an attempt to blow it up.
    It’s magic is that it has survived.
    It doesn’t seem appropriate to make it something it never was.

  3. I wonder how many of those who want the viewing platform live as close to the tower as I do. People using the tower will be able to see into the rear of my home, and all of my garden, likewise my neighbours properties. Any privacy I have would disappear. Make it safe and presentable certainly, but please no platform.

  4. For 18 years of my life the tower over looked our house as a child I was convinced it had ghosts I found out years later it was lose material blowing from the window to keep birds out , love the tower keep up great work

  5. Ok Barbara and Barry, you make pertinent points. My worry is that any green space is a building opportunity these days and, perhaps like me, that might not appeal either. I do, however, think we have moved away from the grand folly. The idea of a preserved ruin is from another age unless it is of national historic importance.

  6. @Philip, change for change’s sake isn’t always the best option. Perhaps the villagers’ views should be sought.

  7. @Megan…. If a policy of seeking the views of citizens was normal then Lichfield would not be in the mess it is. Presumably the tower belongs to somebody. Will the villagers meet the maintenance costs to keep it as a nice ornament. Or, perhaps the congregation will pay the costs. On my many walks I have seen the fabric of large numbers of church buildings in desperate need of repair. Sad but the nature of society has changed… not always for the better.

  8. @Henry… That’s a nice start. A few more details regarding pros and cons would be appreciated. I do believe the villagers views are predominant, but the source of funding is important too.

  9. There was tea and biscuits, and at one fund-raising meeting … beer!! We discussed the plans and were asked for comments. I think the plan to repair the old tower, fix the roof, and open it for the community is good. The Tower belongs to the church, but the project and fund raising is being done by a local charity.

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