This year marks 100 years since the publication of Shropshire author Mary Webb’s second novel Gone to Earth. This novel has particular resonance with Much Wenlock as many residents will remember an American film crew arriving in Shropshire in 1950 to film the story. Their time in the county is still talked about today by locals and their families who were extras in some of the scenes – including the Methodist choir. The Much Wenlock Museum and the Mary Webb Society are holding a special exhibition to celebrate Mary’s early life in the town and the filming of what is described by cinematographer Christopher Challis as, “One of the most beautiful films ever to be shot of the English countryside”.
Mary Webb’s formative years were spent in Much Wenlock, and its people and landscape were the source of some of her literary inspiration. The family moved to The Grange on the Church Stretton Road in 1882 and Mary spent much of her early years exploring the countryside where she witnessed poverty and deprivation in the local cottages which engendered her compassionate nature. A bronze plaque sited on a piece of Wenlock stone at the rear of the Guildhall marks her close association with the town, and this summer Mary Webb’s three great nieces Christina, Juliette and Lucille visited the town, exhibition and surrounding countryside. The exhibition runs until October. For further details of the society please visit marywebbsociety.co.uk.