Robert Cadman (1711–1739) was an 18th century steeplejack and ropeslider who between 1732 and 1739 performed feats of daring by sliding or flying down a rope from Shrewsbury’s St Mary’s Church to the Gay Meadow across the River Severn.
Cadman walked some 250 metres up the rope that connected the 68-metre high spire on St Mary’s Church from where the rope was fixed to the ground in Gay Meadow. Climbing up the rope, performing tricks on the way, across the River Severn. When at the top, near the pinnacle of the spire, he then fastened on a wooden breastplate with a central groove for stability and hurtled to earth along the rope.
On 2 February 1739 he plummeted to his death when the rope broke. He was buried in St Mary’s Church, where a plaque in his memory may still be found.
Let this small Monument record the name
of Cadman, and to future time proclaim
How by’n attempt to fly from this high spire
across the Sabrine he did acquire
His fatal end. ’Twas not for want of skill
Or courage to perform the task he fell,
No, no, a faulty Cord being drawn too tight
Harried his Soul on high to take her flight
Which bid the Body here beneath good Night
Feb.ry 2nd 1739 aged 28