"TONG (or Tonge), a parish in the Shiffnal division of the hundred of Brimstry, a curacy, in the diocese of Coventry and Lichfield, the deanery of Newport, and archdeaconry of Salop. 100 houses, 536 inhabitants. 4 miles south-east by east of Shiffnal. Tonge Castle is the residence of G. Durant, Esq.
Tonge, a considerable village, is remarkable for its ancient collegiate church and its castle. The former originally belonged to the Abbey of Shrewsbury, and was purchased by Dame Isabel, widow of Sir Fulk Pembridge, Knt. 1410, who re- built it, and made it collegiate for a warden, four fellows, two clerks, and choristers, to which was added an hospital for thirteen poor persons. The church stands within the fine demesne of Tonge Castle, and is a beautiful and very interesting structure, of the pointed style of the fourteenth century, consisting of a nave, north and south aisles, with a choir and chapel. In the centre rises a handsome but singular steeple. Immediately above the roof it is square; on this rests an octagonal bell-story, which is lengthened into a very neat but not lofty spire, the corners of which about half way up, are adorned with small pinnacles, springing, as it were out of the shaft. Although the steeple stands in the centre of the church, there never has been a transept. The nave is divided from the aisles by three handsome pointed arches, with clustered pillars on each side. Adjoining the south aisle is a beautiful chantry chapel. The ceiling is a very rich groin, in the fan style of Henry the Eighth's reign, having a profusion of delicate ribs andf centre pendents. The tomb of Sir Henry Vernon, Knt. is in the wall which separates the chapel from the church. Over this is a fine open screen of stone, rising about ten feet. On the divisions are four very rich tabernacles, with the original painting and gilding, but bereaved of their statues. Within the area of the steeple, which stands on four lofty, pointed arches, reposing on clustered pillars, are four superb monuments, with cumbent figures, on altar tombs, of the Pembridges and Vernons, all of alabaster, highly adorned with rich work. The choir is small, and has eight stalls on each side. The rood- loft or screen is nearly perfect, embellished with much carving in oak. Until within these few years, this elegant little choir was sadly encumbered by the huge monument of Sir Thomas Stanley, of the age of James the First, which had absolutely thrust the altar from its place. This has lately been removed, and an altar-piece of tabernacle work made out of the ornamental fragments of one of the tombs under the steeple. In the steeple, besides a peal of six bells, is a very large and ancient bell, weighing 40 cwt. given by a Pembridge. Below this interesting gothick church, are considerable remains of the Old Hospital, which has been re-built in the adjoining village.
Tonge Castle is a very magnificent structure, erected in the last century by George Durant, Esq., on the site of the old castle, which he purchased and demolished. The architecture is a fantastick mixture of incorrect Gothick and Moorish, but though bad in detail, the effect produced is strikingly grand, arising from the numerous turrets and pinnacles, the rich colour of the stone, the wide extent, and the stately crown given to the whole by two lofty and magnificent Turkish domes. The apartments are handsome, and contain a very large collection of paintings.
[Transcribed information from A Gazetteer of Shropshire - T Gregory - 1824](unless otherwise stated)
[Description(s) transcribed by Mel Lockie ©2015]