The Quarry Park & The Dingle

The Quarry is the main recreational park in Shrewsbury, the county town of Shropshire, England. The park was created in 1719 and encompasses 29 acres. With a location within easy walking distance of Shrewsbury town centre, Shrewsbury Sixth Form College and Shrewsbury School, it is the most heavily used public park within the county.

A centrepiece to the park is The Dingle, a former stone quarry, but now a landscaped sunken garden. Between 1324 and 1588 it was known as the Wet or Water Quarry because it was liable to flood. It was quarried for both stone and clay. The project to clear out the Dingle and then plant it was funded by the Shropshire Horticultural Society, with the ornamental gardens opened in 1879, featuring many flower beds and borders, with ponds and fountains. Although there are still formal planted beds, in recent years the planting scheme has become more naturalistic in style, reflecting modern tastes.

A statue of the goddess Sabrina was presented by the Earl of Bradford in 1879. The inscription on the statue is based on a poem by John Milton (1608–1674). In myth, Sabrina (Welsh: Hafren) was a nymph who drowned in the Severn.

Another feature in the Dingle is the Shoemakers’ Arbour. Associated with the pre-Victorian town festival, and originally sited in Kingsland, it was moved to the Dingle in 1879. It dates from 1679 and includes statues of Crispin and Crispinian, the patron saints of shoemakers. The gateway is built of stone, and bears the date of 1679 and the initials, H. P. and E. A.; the wardens of the Shoemakers’ guild at that time. The Shoemakers’ Arbour plays a large part in the song “Thomas Anderson” by David Harley that describes the execution in 1752 of a participant in the Jacobite rising of 1745.

There are numerous memorial benches and plaques within the Dingle. Of special interest is a bust of Percy Thrower, formerly Shrewsbury Parks Superintendent.

According to local legend, the Dingle is haunted by the ghost of Mrs Foxall, a local woman who was burnt at the stake nearby in the sixteenth century as punishment for witchcraft and murder.

The Shrewsbury Flower Show is an annual event held in mid-August over two days (in recent times Friday and Saturday) within The Quarry. The show is organised by the Shropshire Horticultural Society and is one of the largest events of its type in the United Kingdom. It is also one of the longest-running shows in the country and featured in the 2005 Guinness Book of Records as the ‘longest-running flower show” in the world.’

The Buttermarket

Howard St, Shrewsbury SY1 2LF

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