Hope Bowdler was recorded in the Domesday Book as Fordritishope before becoming known as Hop in 1201. Later it was known as Hopebulers in 1273 and then Hope Bowdler with its association with the Bowdler family.
The parish and village of Hope Bowdler are only a mile from Church Stretton, straddling the B4371, Church Stretton to Much Wenlock road. In the north of the parish is Hope Bowdler Hill, and to the west, just over the parish boundary, are Ragleth, Hazler, Helmeth and Caer Caradoc hills, each adding their splendour to the views within the parish.
The church, dedicated to St. Andrew, is approached along an avenue of yew trees. It is a 19th century church but its settings tends to give the feeling of a much older building.
The history of this parish goes back centuries before Henry I, the Normans and even the Romans, as some of the neighbouring hilltop forts attest, and on Hope Bowdler hill there are distinct signs of a former Celtic field system. In Saxon times the village was known as Fordritishope.
From The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868):
"HOPE BOWDLER, a parish in the upper division of the hundred of Munslow, county Salop. 1½ mile S.E. of Church Stretton, its post town. The parish, which is inconsiderable, contains the small townships of Chelmick and Ragdon. There are several limestone hills in the parish, the slopes of which are used for depasturing sheep. The village stands on the road from Church Stretton to Wenlock. The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Hereford, value £228, in the patronage of certain trustees. The church is a small ancient edifice, with a low square tower, dedicated to St. Andrew. The parochial charities produce about £1 per annum."
For more information on Hope Bowdler, please see:
A Millennial Review of Hope Bowdler and Eaton-under-Heywood: Alan Dakers. A history, using Domesday records, of the villages, hamlets and townships that make these parishes, with every house illustrated and the occupants listed. 161 pages. Black and white photographs. Paperback. £5.00(GBP). (ISBN 095225022).