Madeley Shropshire Family History Guide

Status: Ancient Parish

Alternative names: Market Madeley

Parish church: All Saints

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1645
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1638

Nonconformists include:

Adjacent Parishes

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

MADELEY, a small town, a parish, a sub-district, and a district, in Salop. The town stands on the Wellington and Severn Junction railway, adjacent to the deflection of branches to Shiffnal and to Coalbrookdale, 1 mile N of a bend of the river Severn, 2 E by N of Ironbridge, and 6 SE by S of Wellington; belonged anciently to Wenlock abbey; got the grant of a market, under that abbey, in the time of Henry II.; is a seat of county courts; and has a post office, under Wellington, Salop, a railway station, a banking office, and a good inn. The market went into disuse, but was revived about the middle of last century; and a new market-house was then erected in Ironbridge. Fairs are held on the last Tuesday of Jan., 29 May, and the second Tuesday of Oct. The parish contains also the town and chapelry of Ironbridge, and part of the village and chapelry of Coalbrookdale. Acres, 2,809. Real property, £59,636; of which £3,159 are in mines, £150 in quarries, £35,827 in iron-works, and £291 in gas-works. Pop. in 1851, 8,525; in 1861, 9,469. Houses, 1,908. The manor belongs to J. Reynolds, Esq. The scenery, notwithstanding the presence of very-extensive iron-works, is strikingly beautiful; and it derives features of interest from some works of art, particularly the famous iron bridge over the Severn. The substrata contain valuable deposits of coal, ironstone, and potters' clay. The iron-works of Madeley-wood and Madeley-court employ about 1,500 persons; and porcelain works employ about 500. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Hereford. Value, £300. Patron, Mrs. Bartlett. The church was rebuilt in 1796; superseded a church of Norman date; is a stone edifice, in the Grecian style, with a tower; and contains a monument to Fletcher, author of "Checks to Antinomianism" and other works, who was vicar. The vicarages of Ironbridge and Coalbrookdale are separate benefices. Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist chapels are at Madeley town; and other dissenting chapels are in other parts. A Roman Catholic chapel was built in 1853, and is in the early English style. There are large national schools, an infant school, and charities £18.

The sub-district contains also the parishes of Buildwas and Little Wenlock. Acres, 7,682. Pop., 10,733. Houses, 2,154. The district comprehends also the subdistrict of Broseley, containing the parishes of Broseley, Linley, Willey, Barrow, Benthall, and Posenball; the sub-district of Dawley, containing the parishes of Dawley Magua and Stirchley; and the sub-district of Much Wenlock, conterminate with Much-Wenlock parish. Acres, 27,951. Poor rates in 1863, £7,967. Pop. in 1851, 27,627; in 1861, 30,403. Houses, 5,980. Marriages in 1863, 206; births, 1,090, of which 119 were illegitimate; deaths, 698, of which 308 were at ages under 5 years, and 17 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,693; births, 10,105; deaths, 6,210. The places of worship, in 1851, were 17 of the Church of England, with 7,351 sittings; 1 of Independents, with 310 s.; 4 of Baptists, with 840 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 260 s.; 10 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 3,916 s.; 2 of New Connexion Methodists, with 810 s.; 9 of Primitive Methodists, with 1,112 s.; and 2 of Roman Catholics, with 445 s. The schools were 19 public dayschools, with 2,411 scholars; 28 private day-schools, with 612 s.; 31 Sunday schools, with 4,095 s.; and 1 evening school for adults, with 17 s. The workhouse is in Madeley parish; and, at the census of 1861, had 42 inmates.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Parish Records

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Madeley (with Broseley, Benthall, Dawley and Barrow) 1791

Madeley, one hundred and forty-four miles from London, fifteen from Shrewsbury, and eight from Bridgenorth, was formerly a large market-town, but was destroyed by the civil wars, and the market discontinued, until the Friday before Michaelmas-day, 1763, when a private individual (Mr. John Edmunds) encouraged a few people to renew it, and advertised it.  The market is now become more large, but the lord of the manor has removed it to the foot of the iron-bridge, two miles from the original market-place. – The old town has now only one hundred and one dwelling-houses in it, but Colebrook-dale and Madeley-wood, which are in the parish, are very large and populous, on account of their iron-founderies, they being the largest and most curious of any in the kingdom, and are carried on under a company of people called Quakers, of which Richard Reynolds, Esq. is the chief, he being lord of the manor, and owning the extensive coal-works in the said parish. The famous iron-bridge which crosses the river Severn from this parish to Benthal, in one arch of one hundred feet within, and is supposed to contain five hundred tons of iron, was cast at Colebrook-dale, and erected in the years 1779 and 1780. – In driving a foot-road pit in this parish in 1788, there gushed out a spring of native tar from several holes, one of which was as thick as a man’s thigh, and several hogsheads per day were caught for a long time, but it is now almost exhausted.  There is a navigable canal nearly completed from Kettley iron-works, through several coal-works, and through this parish, to the river Severn, about eight or nine miles; but it is of no use but to the coal and iron masters. The principal inn is the Tontine, situated at the foot of the iron-bridge.

The following is a list of the principal inhabitants:


Ferriday William, Esq.
Hill Thomas, Esq.
Reynolds Richard, Esq.


Bromwich – , Surgeon & Apothecary
Wright B. Surgeon and Apothecary


Baker John, Mercer, Draper, & Grocer
Edmunds John, Printer & Booksetter
Ford Rd. British-oil and Nail Maker
Goodwin William, Coal-master and Timber-merchant
Hatton Henry, Timber-merchant
Horton William, Timber-merchant
Miller Thomas, Mercer, Draper, and Grocer
Wright Benjamin, Mercer, Draper & Grocer

Broseley is parted from Madeley by the river Severn on the south-west, and is a very populous parish, coals and iron being its chief manufactories.  The iron-founderys are carried on by William Banks and John Onions, Esqrs. of  Benthall, where they another foundery.  John Wilkinson, Esq. has also an iron-foundery in this parish, and Alexander Brodie, Esq. another.  The Earl of Dundonald has likewise upwards of fifty stills here for extracting mineral tar from the pit-coals.  Here is also a manufacture of glazed tobacco-pipes. – In 1711 a burning-spring was discovered here, the most remarkable indeed of which any particular description remains upon record.  The following account of this spring was given by the Rev. Mr. Mason, Woodwarden professor at Cambridge, dated February 18, 1746.  “The well for four or five feet deep is six or seven feet wide; within that is another less hole of like depth dug in the clay, in the bottom whereof is placed a cylindric earthen vessel, of about four or five inches diameter at the mouth, having the bottom taken off, and the sides will fixed in the clay rammed close about it.  Within the pot is brown water, thick as puddle, continually forced up with a violent motion beyond that of boiling water, and a rumbling hollow noise, rising or falling by fits five or six inches; but there was no appearance of any vapour rising, which perhaps might have been visible, had not the sun shone so bright.  Upon putting a candle down at the end of a stick, at about a quarter of a yard distance, it took fire, darting and flashing after a very violent manner for about half a yard high, much in the manner of spirits in a lamp, but with great agitation.  It was said, that a tea-kettle has been made to boil in about nine minutes time, and that it had been left burning for forty-eight hours without any sensible diminution.  It was extinguished by putting a wet mop upon it; which must be kept there for a little time, otherwise it would not go out.  Upon removal of the mop there arises a sulphureous smoke lasting about a minute, and yet the water is cold to the touch.”  In 1755, this well totally disappeared by the sinking of a coal-pit in its neighbourhood. – The cause of the inflammable property of such waters, is with great probability supposed to be their mixture with petroleum, which is one of the most inflammable substances in nature, and has the property of burning on the surface of water. – The principal inn in Broseley is the Lion. – The following is a list of the principal inhabitants.


Blakeway Edward, Esq.
Stephens John, Esq.
Wilkinson John, Esq.


Boden Daniel, Surgeon and Apothecary
Corbett John, Surgeon and Apothecary
Thursfield W. Surgeon and Apothecary
Wyke Abr. Surgeon and Apothecary

Traders, &c.

Baker Jeremiah, Mercer and Draper
Hartshorne William, Watchmaker
James John, Mercer and Draper
Prestwick Elias, Liquor-merchant

Benthall, the next adjoining parish west, had two large earthenware manufactories, one of which is carried on by Mr. John Bell, and the other by John Thursfield, a Quaker.

The parish of Dawley, which is situated north of Madeley, has tow large coal and iron works, one of which belongs to Messrs. Francis and John Humphrey, and the other to Isaac Hawkins Brown, Esq. of Bagsore, and Mr. Thomas Botfield, of this place.  Here is also an iron-furnace and several forges, belonging to William Reynolds, Esq.

Barrow, which is one mile east of Broseley, has a large porcelain manufactory, which is carried on by Thomas Turner, Esq. under the name of the Shropshire Porcelain Manufactory.

Source: Universal British Directory 1791


  • County: Shropshire
  • Civil Registration District: Madeley
  • Probate Court: Court of the Bishop of Hereford (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Diocese: Hereford
  • Rural Deanery: Wenlock
  • Poor Law Union: Madeley
  • Hundred: Much Wenlock Borough
  • Province: Canterbury