A photograph of iron gates, flanked by red brick pillars and walls

Section 4 – Dawley Bank

History trail contents
A photograph of a graveyard, with long grass and surrounded by trees and hedges


Terrain: Majority flat

Path types: Footpaths (tarmac)

Disability Access: Advise parking in Dawley Bank to sites in community centre (marker signs 41-43). Access to Baptist Cemetery (41-39) is limited.

Access to Memorial is limited (43) off Milners Lane.

Suitable for pushchairs and cyclists.

Food/Drink Stop: Dawley Bank (adjacent to Dawley Baptist Church)

Dawley Bank and Lawley Bank began as mining settlements on the Shropshire Coalfield, with close surface pits or “adits” extracting coal and ironstone. A turnpike road (1764) from the Buck’s Head (Arleston Lane) passed Lawley Bank Station (Station Road) through Dawley Bank onto Dawley; this route was altered after 1816.

The communities consisted of cottages and houses grouped in courts or “folds” around a complex arrangement of roads and tracks, some being former farmsteads.

Dawley Bank, along with Lawley, is mentioned in the 1940 poem ”A Shropshire Lad” by Sir John Betjeman, which commemorated Captain Matthew Webb, who was born in Dawley and famously swam the English Channel in 1875.

Dawley Bank and Lawley Bank, circa 1901

  1. Baptist Church
  2. New Connexion Chapel
  3. Farm
  4. Sunday School
  5. Former Bulls Baiting Ring
  6. Bull’s Head
  7. Methodist Church
  8. Colliery
  9. Smithy
  10. School
A stylised map of an area labelled 'Dawley Bank and Lawley Bank (circa 1901)"

22. Baptist Cemetery

With the establishment of a congregation of Baptists in Dawley Bank in 1817, land was set aside for a cemetery in neighbouring Lawley Bank in 1871. A prominent grave marker at the entrance is dedicated to five deacons of Dawley Baptist Church.

Exit the cemetery and continue up Cemetery Road passing Powis Place on your right. If you glance down Park Road, the white brick factory on the left is the former “Pyjama Factory” (Clifford Williams & Co Ltd), and previously the Malinslee National School.

At marker sign (40), take the footpath on your immediate right which takes you in front of the modern Baptist Church.

23. Baptist Church

John Fletcher of Madeley first held services in cottages in 1817. Baptisms were conducted utilising a pool among the pit mounds. A small chapel was erected in 1846 on the site of a bull bating ring, to accommodate 200 worshippers with a Minister’s House close by. As the number of worshippers increased, a gallery was added in 1851.

In 1860, the chapel was rebuilt to accommodate up to 600 worshippers, constructed of striking blue, red, and yellow polychrome brickwork with an interior gallery. Congregations remained large until the late 1960s. The chapel was demolished in 2000 and replaced by the current chapel and community centre.

Image: Dawley Baptist Church, PH/D 1 /3 4826, courtesy of Shropshire Archives (H Griffiths)

Continue along the footpath to the front of the local shop by marker sign (41).

24. Dawley Bank

A number of cottages and shops formed Dawley Bank’s high street. Behind the Baptist Church stood S. Jones Grocers, which incorporated a Post Office. Nearby was a wheelwright, blacksmiths, shoemakers, and a funeral parlour.

Go downhill through the modern housing estate. At marker sign (42) is Dawley Bank Green, registered in 2007.

25. Methodist Church

The first chapel was erected in 1818, later replaced by a larger building for services catering up to 400 people in 1840. Encompassed by a stone wall, the building had a three-bay rendered front with pediments based on a classic design.

The chapel was used for worship until the 1950s, after which services were transferred to the Sunday school next door. In 1963 it was occupied by Cuxson Gerrard & Co Ltd for their Dawley Works, manufacturing medical equipment. It was later converted into a garage before being demolished in 1976.

26. Sunday School

The Wesleyan Sunday School was erected in 1907, with pupils moving from the former school on Station Road in March 1908. Six dedication plaques, the Trustees of Lawley Bank School. can be seen at the foot of the frontage. They include William Owen, a former coal miner who lived on Collier’s Row, who was also known as the “Bishop of Old Park”.

Another plaque is dedicated to Reverend Samuel Parkes Cadman, who was born in Wellington in 1864. In 1895 Cadman moved to America and set up a church in Brooklyn, New York, where he preached for 35 years until his death in 1936. In 1923, Cadman pioneered the use of radios to broadcast his sermons. An area in Central Park, New York is dedicated to him.

After the school closed, it was used for worship after the adjacent chapel was demolished. Later it was used by Telford Gospel Church. Today it has been converted into private flats.

27. Public houses

According to The History of Wesleyan Methodism at Lawley Bank by W H Barclay, published in 1858, there were several ale houses in the locality in 1798 that were “notorious for wickedness, gambling and drunkenness even on the Sabbath day”. Samuel Taylor, a Wesleyan minister, visited the village in 1800 and was so appalled he set up a chapel in a cottage called the Barnfold, determined to combat the problem by preaching to the locals.

The Bulls Head is the oldest public house in Dawley Bank, the landlords of which included W. Dunning (Victualler, 1856), Harriet Davis (1879), Benjamin Bailey (1891), and Thomas and Percy Grice (1909- 1959).

Other public houses were The Red Lion by Park Road, The Queens Head adjacent to the local shop, and The Unicorn.