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Astley Conservation Area Part One
Astley Conservation Area was designated on 05 February 1988, and extended on July 10, 2006. It covers an area of 25.8 hectares.
The following information on the Astley Conservation Area is derived from the Astley Conservation Area Appraisal produced by Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council in 2008, following a review in 2005..
LOCATION AND POPULATION
Astley is located approximately five miles north east of Shrewsbury and lies between the A49 and the A53 in the centre of the Parish of Astley.
The northern Parish boundary adjoins that of North Shropshire District Council. The western boundary follows the Shrewsbury to Crewe railway. The southern and eastern boundaries do not follow any major physical features. The Conservation Area is concentrated around the Church of St Mary and adjacent cottages and converted farm buildings.
The population of Astley is about 116 (2001 census)
ORIGINS AND DEVELOPMENT: PRE CONQUEST
The village of “Hesleie” was mentioned in the Domesday survey of 1086 as part of the Baschurch Hundred. There is no mention of a church foundation and Astley then would have consisted of a manor, smallholding and associated dwellings.
ORIGINS AND DEVELOPMENT: MEDIEVAL
The Church of St Mary dates back to the 12th Century and was partly rebuilt in the 15th or 16th Century. Much of the existing nave and chancel was rebuilt in 1883, however some of the original masonry survives. The blocked south doorway is stylistically similar to work at Haughmond Abbey whose regular canons probably served the Parish prior to the Dissolution in 1538. The tower and probably the vestry were added in 1837
ORIGINS AND DEVELOPMENT: POST MEDIEVAL
There are a number of houses of interest in the village in close proximity to the Church, the oldest being Church House. The timber framed portion of the building dates to the early 17th Century while the rendered part is an extension added during the mid to late 19th Century.
Church Farmhouse is thought to be 18th Century but may in fact be earlier. It is an attractive building with an arched window at first floor level. Three dormer windows were reinstated on the front elevation during the 1980s.
The Firs Is a mid-late 18th Century farmhouse to the south of Church House. It is a typical brick house of its date in Shropshire.
Astley House is set slightly apart from the village. The house is late 18th Century but was remodelled in the Grecian manner during the Regency period.
There are several 19th Century houses in the village and also a terrace of model cottages. Together with the associated agricultural curtilage, these buildings constitute the historic core of Astley, which remains substantially intact in spite of unsympathetic infill development to the east side of the village.
FORM AND LAYOUT
Astley is a compact settlement centred on the small Parish Church of St Mary. The core of the village has developed along the road running from Hadnall to Upton Magna, though several lanes branch out towards nearby farms or granges giving rise to a nucleated rather than linear arrangement. Formerly the road that continues southwards to Upper Astley and on to Shrewsbury was part of the route to Haughmond Abbey (now part of the Shropshire Way). The Augustinian canons from that foundation helped to administer the Parish prior to its Dissolution in 1538.
Astley House occupies the south western portion of the Conservation Area and the village effectively wraps round to the north and west of the ornamental grounds. The house is endowed with a generous setting that lends a measure of refinement to the village as well as fine aspects of the house itself. To the north east of the village, the former Vicarage and the brick villa known as Overmoor are set in spacious grounds with many fine mature trees.
The main circuit of lanes at the centre of Astley provides a strong sense of enclosure, something that has been sustained by more recent infill development in the form of detached housing. The character of the latter is generally unsympathetic though its impact is mitigated by an abundance of trees and shrubs to the front of the properties. Elsewhere, Astley consists of houses and outbuildings lining the main thoroughfares. The back-gardens of the majority of houses in the village adjoin the surrounding countryside and are usually separated from the fields by traditionally laid hedges. This is a characteristic feature of the village.
The routes followed by the roads were not engineered but use the relief of the land to establish the most convenient course. This has resulted in an organic configuration of roads that yield a rich diversity of vistas. Old farmbuildings, outhouses or boundary walls of brick or stone often define the edges of roads within the village.
The village is bound to the east by a small watercourse that drains into the River Severn via Sunderton Pool. An irrigation channel marks the southern boundary of the Conservation Area.