Hell’s Bells: The Devil Vists St Alkmund’s

Shrewsbury is full of folklore and spooky stories. In this chilling tale, the Devil comes to town.
St Alkmunds and church street

In January 1553, a storm unlike any other hit Shrewsbury, accompanied by pouring rain and roaring thunder that seemed to shake the very foundations of the town.

If local legend is to be believed, this storm heralded the arrival of the Devil in Shrewsbury.

On that night, Satan himself climbed the spire of St Alkmund's church and beat the church bell so violently he left the imprint of his enormous claw on the metal forever after.

Perched atop the spire, he took to glaring over the town to the Stiperstones in the south, keeping a wary eye on his throne — The Devil’s Chair.

It’s said that on dark nights, he returns to his perch in Shrewsbury, watches, and waits. If storm clouds gather over the South Shropshire hills, it’s a sure sign something has displeased him.

So when you’re passing under the spire of St Alkmund’s at night, don’t look up – unless you want to catch the watchful eye of Owd Scratch himself!

(Fun fact: The Devil is referred to by a series of nicknames in Shropshire, including ‘Owd Scratch’, ‘Uncle Joseph’, ‘Owd Nick’, and ‘Owd Mon.’)

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