Abandoned Communities ..... Shropshire
Three other deserted medieval villages within a few miles of Egerton were Cold Weston, Heath, and Abdon. Two of these, Heath and Abdon, are described in Volume Ten of the Shropshire Victoria County History, at pages 393-399 and 120-127, but bear in mind that these articles refer to the parishes of the Heath and Abdon, not just the abandoned villages. At all three places there were small nucleated settlements during the medieval period, but gradually each village disappeared and only one or two scattered farms remained. The churches at each of these villages have also survived.

Cold Weston, at OS SO552830, lay on a north facing slope at about 260 metres above sea level. Its main street ran up the slope, and can now be seen as a splendid holloway with house platforms at the southern end to the west of the church. Houses may also have occupied the earthworks north east of the church.

A thirteenth century document refers to a water mill at Cold Weston. It has been suggested that a large dammed area near the house platforms may have been the site of the mill pond. Two channels leave it on the north side and may have supplied water to a mill a little further down the hill. A smaller pond higher up the slope may have been a supplementary reservoir or else a fishpond.

The church at Cold Weston, dedicated to St Mary, dates from the early twelfth century. A number of features, including the twin ogee-arched windows at the east end, were added in the fourteenth century.

The church has been turned into a private house and is not open to the public.

The village at Cold Weston seems to have suffered a severe decline during the fifty years after 1291. In that year the value of the parish was assessed at £5 3s, but by 1341 its value had fallen to 4s 8d. The assessors of 1341 reported that the chapel at Cold Weston was in a waste place. There had once been an abundance of cattle, but they had been decreasing by reason of the murrain which prevailed in the district. They added that there were only two tenants, living by great labour and in want. Others had absconded to avoid tax. In that very year the church had been offered to four parsons, but none of them would stay.

Over the next two centuries a few people returned to the parish of Cold Weston. In 1544 there were eight families in the parish, but they lived in scattered dwellings, and the village itself never recovered.

Cold Weston from the air.


This photograph comes from M Watson and C Musson, Shropshire from the Air, Shropshire Books, 1996


The holloway carrying the main road through Cold Weston


Possible house platforms north east of the church


A pond that may have supplied water to the water mill

The church of St Mary