The Cross in Ruyton-XI-Towns
Ruyton-XI-Towns (pronounced Rye-ton Eleven Towns) is a large village in Shropshire. Its formal name is Ruyton of the Eleven Towns, but it is more usually called simply 'Ruyton'.
The village acquired its unusual name in the twelfth century when a castle was built, and it became the major manor of eleven local townships, hence 'of the Eleven Towns'. Some of the eleven ancient townships, mostly situated to the north and west of Ruyton, still survive as hamlets today; although some, like Coton, are just a collection of farm buildings. The eleven were Ruyton, Coton, Shotatton, Shelvock, Eardiston and Wykey, which remain in the parish, and Felton, Haughton, Rednal, Sutton and Tedsmore, now in the parish of West Felton.
This was a borderland in the Middle Ages and in the wars which tore at the land in those days the castle was destroyed in 1202. It was rebuilt by 1313 and destroyed again by Owain Glyndŵr. Its ruins stand in the parish churchyard.
In 1308, an attempt was made to refound the town as New Ruyton. It was awarded a charter which briefly gave it the same status as the 'County of Bristol', but as raiding continued, it declined and lost most of its rights.
Notable buildings in the village include its parish church, part of which dates from the 1130s, and the gardens of Brownhill House.
Arthur Conan Doyle, while a medical student, worked as an unpaid assistant in the village for a Dr Eliot for four months in 1878, living in at Cliffe House. He later recalled Ruyton in his Memories and Recollections (1923) as "not big enough to make one town, far less eleven". Frederic Richardson Murray, later Archdeacon of Belize (1907-1918), was formerly a curate at the parish church.
About the village
The parish war memorial is unique in Shropshire in being in the form of a cave, carved eight feet into the sandstone cliff of the Brownhill beside the road leading out of the village towards Baschurch. The idea of London architect Stanley Vaughan, who offered this after a visit to Ruyton, it was sculpted by local father-and-son stonemasons Warwick and Len Edwards, and unveiled in October 1920. The benches either side within the arch and the cross are all carved out of the rock, with the names of those known to have died in the First and Second World Wars listed on separate plaques. A third plaque, to Alfred Rogers whose name had been missed off the former plaque's list, was added in 2007.
The Bridge Inn Fields in Ruyton have been enrolled as a Queen Elizabeth II Field.
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- Brown, Yoland (1988). Ruyton XI Towns, Unusual Name, Unusual History. Brewin Books. pp. 92–93. ISBN 9780947731410.
- Crockford's Clerical Directory 1908, page 1028: published Horace Cox (London) 1908
- Francis, Peter (2013). Shropshire War Memorials, Sites of Remembrance. YouCaxton Publications. p. 159. ISBN 978-1-909644-11-3.
- Shropshire Council web page The Cliffe (posterstyle walkers' guide).