By the late 18th century the building was plainly insecure, and in 1788 the churchwardens and other local dignitaries sought the advice of the great engineer Thomas Telford. Telford duly carried out a survey, then called them all together and gave them his advive, which was to evacuate the building immediately, before it fell down on top of them! "With scarcely a moment's warning", he told them, "the roof might come down!"
Telford's advice was ignored, and a few months later the tower of the church duly collapsed; fortunately in the middle of the night, so no-one was injured. Today all that remains is a chapel that was once on the south side of the chancel, all alone on a small patch of grass.
It was decided to build an entirely new church, and the great classical architect George Steuart (who had earlier built Attingham Park nearby) was called in to design it.
The new St. Chad's was built in 1792. It is a most unusual design, with at the west end a square tower that narrows to an octagon and then a cylinder, with Corinthian columns supporting a small dome.
The entrance hall beneath the tower leads to a vestibule that is elliptical in shape, with sweeping staircases leading up to the gallery, and from there to a circular nave that includes a sanctuary at the east end.
Such a radical approch did not meet with universal approval. One contemporary called the new church "As ugly as improper", and Murray's Guide, in the Victorian era when Gothic was seen as the only valid style for churches, thought St. Chad's was in "execrable taste".
Whatever one's views of the architectural style, it cannot be denied that the builders chose the finest location in the town. A section of the medaeval town walls was demolished and replaced with a classical balustrade, leaving for the church to dominate an open park, known as the Quarry, running down to the River Severn. .
There is a magnificent view of the church, and the rest of the centre of the town, from Shrewsbury school, across the river.
The new St. Chad's is thus the most photogenic sight in the town.