Shelve is now a tiny village, but historically was significant. Shelve has all the hallmarks of a medieval settlement. Part of the Domesday manor of Worthen, it had a market and feast day charters from Henry III. Its medieval and later ridge and furrow fields show up particularly well on satellite imagery.
As with most of the surrounding area, Shelve was extensively worked for its lead deposits in the medieval period. Its mineral wealth may have given weight to the Royalist cause in the Civil War. Sir Henry Lingen, a prominent Royalist, owned the estate. Not a man to desert a cause, Sir Henry was one of the conspirators of the second Civil War in 1648.
The Victorian church (just up the road) is host to an estate map drawn for him in 1650.
Approaching from the main A488 you will notice Ladywell Mine Engine House as you climb the hill, one of several surviving Cornish beam engine houses in the area. The mine is believed to have been worked in the early 19th century but the engine house and a new engine shaft were not constructed until the 1870s. The mine, however, was never a large producer of ore, failing to make a profit, and thus closed in c1882. Recorded output between 1875 and 1880 was 837 tons of lead ore. The engine house is a rare example in Shropshire of an engine house which originally housed a dual-purpose rotative engine – this was used for both pumping the mine and winding the cage.
Heading through the trees to the area deforested recently you can find the remains of Roman Gravels Mine – first worked in AD120 by the Romans, again it was active in the 12th (called the Kings Mine in 1179) and 13th Centuries when lead was sent to Glastonbury Abbey. Be careful as this mine has been shown to be over 250 feet deep!
Pennerley Mine at the T junction has a chequered history of ownership, openings and closures. The last attempt to make a profit from it was as late as 1953, when a new shaft was sunk. Unfortunately, the mining gear was sold before it was used. In addition to mining remains Pennerley has two fine Bronze Age barrows. Found near the summit of Round Hill, they stand out clearly on the skyline when approached from the west. Follow the right of way from the bottom of the dip as the road bends and climbs, and head for a tree. Go in the same direction over a double stile and you will see the barrows.
The Bog Mine is one of the oldest lead mines in the Stiperstones area. It finally closed in 1924 and most of the mine buildings have been demolished. The main surviving building was the school and is now a busy visitor centre. The nearby Miners’ Arms has also survived, but as a private house. Many of the mine’s features can still be found including the powder house, aerial ropeway footings and the ‘Somme’ Tunnel, built during WW1. In 2018 a replica aerial ropeway stanchion was erected to show the size of the buckets used to carry ore down and bring coal back. A mystical aerial ropeway featured in one of the Malcolm Saville Lone Pine books.