The Mary Webb Society realised a dream in 2016 when the bust of Mary Webb was unveiled in the grounds of Shrewsbury library. This was achieved in the centenary year of the publication of The Golden Arrow.
The Mary Webb bust on its elegant Grinshill stone column, created by Jemma Pearson was unveiled by Dr Gladys Mary Coles and great nieces of Mary Webb, Juliette Binfield & Lucille Rennie, on 9th July 2016. The stonework was created by Will & Lottie O’Leary.
The project was made possible thanks to the generous legacy of the late Muriel Furbank.
The beautiful, historic county town of Shropshire is renamed “Silverton” in Mary Webb’s novels.
In Seven for a Secret chapter 7, “Gillian Comes to Silverton” ..”Then came straggling houses, a village church, houses clustering thicker, roofs all huddled together, a square church tower, two silver spires, a great bridge across the Severn – Silverton”
In Gone to Earth chapter 12, Hazel goes into Silverton with the formidable Mrs Marston to buy clothes..” In Silverton Mrs Marston lingered a long while before any shop where sacred pictures were displayed…..Hazel, all in a fidget to go and buy her clothes, looked at them, and wondered what they had to do with her.”
Shrewsbury also features in the poem The Elf
A Fair town is Shrewsbury-
The world over
You’ll hardly find a fairer,
In its fields of clover
And rest-harrowed, ringed
By hills where curlews call,
And, drunken from the heather,
Black bees fall………
When Mary and Henry lived at Pontesbury Mary would frequently walk to Shrewsbury market to sell her garden produce as part of her war effort during World War 1
“Early there come travelling
On market day
Old men and young men
From far away,
With red fruits of the orchard
And dark fruits of the hill,
Dew-fresh garden stuff,
And mushrooms chill,
Honey from the brown skep,
Brown eggs, and posies
Of gillyflowers and Lent lillies
And blush roses…..From The Elf
Mary Webb is buried in Shrewsbury and her grave has recently been restored and is regularly maintained by The Mary Webb Society