Much Wenlock Bowling Club
A Brief Review Of Much Wenlock Bowling Club's Past
Much Wenlock itself appears to date back to a Roman settlement, but more reliable evidence finds an Abbey with St. Milburga Abbess c. 685. Later a Cluniac Priory c. 1080 replaced the earlier monastery.; in 1540 the Guildhall was built. The next memorable times were linked with Dr. William Penny Brookes (1809 - 1895).
The Wellington Journal of May 25, 1872 includes a caption:- "The Bowling Match" - which took place between gentlemen members of the Wellington and Much Wenlock Clubs. So it is clear that bowling in Much Wenlock was already well established. Further details might be garnered. It rained on the 25th (so what's new), and Wenlock lost (but who cares?); bowls are for enjoyment.
Records show that in 1879 Jean Shepherd of Madeley won the Ladies' Singles at the Wenlock Olympics, while Mr V Hollinshead of Much Wenlock took the Men's Singles, and Mr & Mrs Mason of Madeley had the honours in the doubles. The format relied upon 1 point per end; only bowls within one yard of the jack counted - over 15 ends.
The Linden Fields are thus not only the 'spiritual' home of the modern Olympics, but of Much Wenlock Bowling Club, which is presently enjoying a new lease of life, using as its clubhouse the former railway ticket office. The green is maintained by the Council, whilst other bodies with an interest include the Leisure Centre and the Gaskell Board - which complicates planning improvements!
The present Bowling Club was formed through the efforts of Mr. Don Davies and Mr. Syd Such in 1978 (when did that of 1872 founder?). Presently two teams are entered in the Highley League, and one in the Mid Shropshire League. There are also cup competitions for club and individuals, whilst Thursday afternoons have become popular for those not interested in formal competition, thanks to Mr. Brian Davies.
There are early records for the period 1978 - 1984, but little is apparently extant thereafter until 1997. Of course, the essential feature of the club is the sense of camaraderie and enjoyment which pervades the club.
The club is (in 2005) in good heart, perhaps needing a little good fortune for further progress. Mr Don Davies is still President, and it is due to such stalwarts as he that Much Wenlock Bowling Club still prospers.