Shrewsbury comprises of the following parishes:
- Shrewsbury Holy Cross with St Giles, Shropshire
- Shrewsbury Holy Trinity, Shropshire
- Shrewsbury St Alkmund, Shropshire
- Shrewsbury St Chad, Shropshire
- Shrewsbury St George, Shropshire
- Shrewsbury St Julian, Shropshire
- Shrewsbury St Mary, Shropshire
- Shrewsbury St Michael, Shropshire
Table of Contents
- Shrewsbury Non-Conformist Registers
- Shrewsbury Drapers Apprentices
The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870
SHREWSBURY, a town, five parishes, and a district, in Salop. The town stands on the river Severn, at the terminus of the Shrewsbury canal, and at a convergence of railways, 8 miles E of the boundary with Wales, 42 S by E of Chester, and 153 by road, but 155 by railway, NW of London. The Severn is navigable to it for barges of 40 tons; the canal gives inland navigation eastward into connexion with the general canal system of England; and seven lines of railway go toward respectively Chester, Crewe, Stafford and Birmingham, Worcester, Hereford, Welshpool, and Llanymynech, giving communication with all parts of the kingdom.
History.—The town was known to the ancient Britons as Pengwern, signifying “the alder hill,”-to the Saxons as Scrobbesbyrig, signifying “shrubstown” or “the town of bushes;” and the latter name was gradually corrupted, in three directions, into Schrosberie and Shrewsbury, into Sciropscire and Shropshire, and into Sloppesberie, Salopia, and Salop. The Britons founded the town in the 5th century, on occasion of the decay of the Roman Uriconium, 5 miles to the SE. The princes of Powis made it their residence. The Saxons, under Offa, king of Mercia, took possession of it in 778. Alfred established a mint at it; and his daughter Elfleda founded a college in it. Etheldred spent Christmas at it in 1006. Edmund Ironside punished it, in 1016, for revolting to Canute. The Welsh besieged it in 1069, but were driven off by William the Conqueror. Roger de Montgomery got a gift of it from the Conqueror, built a great castle at it, and took from it the title of Earl. Robert, the son of Roger, in consequence of taking part against Henry I., provoked that monarch to come against it with an army of 60,000 men, and was expelled and deposed. An assemblage of nobles met at it in 1116 to give allegiance to William, the son of the Empress Maud. Stephen took it from William in 1139; and Henry II. retook it. A council was held at it by John, to concert measures against the Welsh. Llewelyn took it in 1215; and Henry III. retook it in 1220, and visited it in 1221 and 1227. The Welsh took it again in 1233; and Henry III. again retook it soon afterwards,-revisited it in 1241, 1260, and 1267,-and strengthened it with walls. Edward I. fixed his residence at it in 1277; removed to it his courts of king’s bench and exchequer; brought to trial and to execution in it David Llewelyn; and, in 1283, held at it and at Acton-Burnell a famous parliament. Edward II. held a grand tournament at it in 1322. Richard II. visited it in 1387, and held at it a “great” parliament in 1397. The sanguinary battle between Henry IV. and Henry Hotspur, known as the battle of Shrewsbury, occurred at Battlefield, about 3 miles distant, in 1403. Edward Earl of March, afterwards Edward IV., levied, in Shrewsbury and its neighbourhood, the troops with whom he won the battle of Mortimer’s Cross in 1460; and, on his elevation to the throne, he sent his queen to Shrewsbury for protection against the perils of the times. His sons Richard and George. were born at the black friary of the town in 1472; and he himself was again here in 1480. Buckingham was executed here in 1484. Henry Earl of Richmond, afterwards Henry VII., was first proclaimed at Shrewsbury in 1485; and he visited it in 1488, 1490, and 1495. Charles I. made it his rendezvous in 1642; was joined at it by Prince Rupert and many other magnates; established his mint at it; and strengthened and extended its fortifications. The parliamentarians, under Col. Mytton, took it by surprise in 1644. James II. visited it in 1687; Sacheverell, in his high-church progress, in 1711; the Prince Regent, in 1806; the Princess Victoria, in 1832; and the Royal Agricultural Society, in 1845.
Among distinguished natives of Shrewsbury have been Bishop Ralph de Shrewsbury; Bishop Robert de Shrewsbury; the monk Robert de Shrewsbury; Bishop Woolley, who died in 1684; Bishop Thomas, 1766; Bishop Bowers, 1724; Chief-Justice Jones, 1683; the theologian Arnway, 1601; the theologian Davies, 1709; the theologian W. Adams, 1739; the mathematician Costard, 18th century; “Demosthenes” Taylor, 1766; the theologian and critic H. Farmer, 1787; the local historian Blakeway, 1826; Archdeacon Owen, 1827; the orientalist Dr. Scott, 1829: the poet Churchyard 1604: Price, the chaplain to James I.; Speaker Onslow, 1768; the musician Dr. Burney, 1814; the dwarf E. Schofield; the famous beauty, Sarah Pridden; and perhaps Admiral Benlow. Among famous residents have been Tallents, the learned nonconformist, and Farquhar, the author of the “Recruiting Officer.” The earldom of Shrewsbury is the premier one, and belongs now to the Talbots.
Site and Structure.—The town all stood originally on two gentle elevations, peninsulated by a serpentine sweep of the Severn; but it gradually extended beyond the river into the suburbs of Abbey-Foregate, Coleham, Frankwell, and Castle-Foregate. It rises in such manner, on graduated ground, as to present exteriorly a bold and picturesque appearance; it is environed by many pleasant walks and drives; and it commands charming views to wooded hills and lofty mountains, in great varieties of form and distance. The streets, in the old parts, are narrow and irregular, present curious mixtures of old and new houses, and include some back slums of repulsive character; but the streets and outskirts, in the newer parts, exhibit high improvement, have intermixtures of lawn and garden, and are pleasant and airy. The market place is a spacious square, and contains some of the most important of the public buildings. The aggregate of old houses, either wooden or half-wooden, of the time of Elizabeth, and even of earlier times, is remarkably large; and combines with an aggregate of other houses less old, but not modern, to give much of the town an antique and quaint appearance. Some of the most curious ancient edifices still or recently standing are the council-house, built by the Plowdens before 1501; a carved hall, 50 feet by 26, where Charles I. and James II. kept court; a part of the Charltons’ mansion, built before 1465, and long used as a theatre; the mansion of the Irelands, a gabled and half-timbered building at the corner of High-street; the mansion of the Rowleys, built in 1618, and eventually converted into a factory; a house called Vaughan’s Place, partly of the 14th century; a residence called Whitehall, built by a lawyer in 1578-82; the Bell Stone house, built in 1582; the clothworkers’ hall, built in the 14th century, and eventually converted into a shop; the drapers hall, built in the time of Elizabeth; and a very fine timber-house of the 15th century in Butchers-row. The antiqueness of the town is further shown in the retention of many quaint and ancient names of streets, such as Mardol, Murivance, Pride Hill, Shop Latch, and Wyle Cop. The town walls were first begun by the second Montgomery; were brought to a finished condition by Henry II.; were, as we have already said, strengthened and extended by Charles I.; were, for the most part, destroyed in 1645, while the town was in possession of the parliamentarian troops; described a circuit of about 1⅓ mile; had twenty towers and three gates; and are now represented by only some small remains on the S side of the town, and by one of the towers. The remains of the walls are in good preservation, and form an agreeable promenade; and the tower stands in Bellmont-street, and is two stories high. A public recreation-ground, called the Quarry, is on the SW side of the town, and bounded by the Severn; was laid out, and planted with lime-trees, in 1719; comprises about 23 acres; and contains a series of very beautiful public walks.
Public Buildings.—The ancient castle is still standing; occupies a high site, adjacent to the Severn; retains a fine inner-gate Norman arch of the original structure; was mainly rebuilt in the time of Edward I., somewhat altered in that of Charles I., and entirely renovated and modernized in later times; consists chiefly of two round towers of the keep, and the walls of the inner court; includes a watchtower, rebuilt by the late Mr. Telford; and is now the residence of the Rev. G. Downward. The town hall and county-court were built in 1836, after designs by Smirke, at a cost of £12,000; and occupy the site of a timbered booth-hall, dating from the time of Edward II. The county jail was built in 1793, after designs by Haycock, at a cost of £30,000; contains a bust of Howard by Bacon; and has capacity for 259 male and 35 female prisoners. The military depôt was built in 1806, after designs by Wyatt, at a cost of £10,000; measures 135 feet by 39; and contains an armoury for 25,000 stand of arms. The old market house was built in 1595; has an open arcade with corn-market 105 feet by 24, surmounted by a series of square mullioned windows; and shows the arms of Queen Elizabeth over the W front, and a statue in armour of Edward IV.’s father over the N arch. The new market-hall was built in 1867; is in the Italian style, of polychromatic bricks with stone-dressings; measures 322 feet by 148; and includes a general market, a shop-arcade, a butchers’ market, a fruit-market, a corn exchange, and storing-vaults. The railway station was built at a cost of £40,000; is an ornamental structure, in the Tudor style; has a frontage of 150 feet, and ornamental flanks of two stories; and is surmounted by a central tower, with an oriel window. The English bridge, across the Severn, was erected in 1774, at a cost of £16,000; is 410 feet long; and has seven semi-circular arches, and an open balustrade. The Welsh bridge was built in 1795, at a cost of £8,000; is 266 feet long; and has five arches. The music and assembly rooms are commodious. The theatre was rebuilt in 1 834. The working men’s hall was built in 1863, at a cost of nearly £4,000; and contains a lecture-hall, a reading room, a refreshment hall, and hot and cold baths. Lord Hill’s monument was erected in 1816, at a cost of £5,973; and is a Doric column 133 feet high, surmounted by a colossal statue. Lord Clive’s monument is a full-length bronze figure, by Marochetti, on a polished granite pedestal.
Parishes and Churches.—The five parishes of S. are Holy Cross and St. Giles, St. Julian, St. Mary, St. Alkmond, and St. Chad; and they extend far into the country, and include 25 townships. Pop. in 1861 of H.and St. G., 2,234; of St. J., 4,832; of St. M., 8,360; of St. A., 1,444; of St. C., 8,318. The area of the five parishes, together with that of Brace-Meole, is 18,032 acres; and it is cut ecclesiastically into the eighteen sections of Holy Cross, St. Giles, St. Julian, Bayston-Hill, Coleham, St. Mary, Leaton, St. Michael, Albrighton, Astley, Berwick, Clive, St. Alkmond, St. Chad, Betton, Bicton, Frankwell, and Oxon and Shelton. The livings of Holy Cross, St. Alkmond, and St. Chad are vicarages, and the other livings are p. curacies, in the diocese of Lichfield. Value of Holy Cross, £323; of St. Alkmond, £219; of St. Chad, £350; of St. Giles, £80; of St. Julian, £120; of St. Mary, £366; of St. Michae1, £198. Patron of H. C., St. A., and St. C., the Lord Chancellor; of St. G., the Vicar of Holy Cross; of St. J., the Earl of Tankerville; of St. Mary, Trustees; of St. Michael, the Incumbent of St. Mary. The other livings are noticed in their own alphabetical places.
Holy Cross or Abbey church is part of the church of an ancient Benedictine abbey; consists of a nave with aisles, 123 feet long and 62¼ feet broad, a porch, and a W tower; had formerly also a transept 133 feet by 37, a central tower 30 feet square, a choir 69 feet by 45, a Lady chapel 50 feet long, and an E ambulatory 30 feet long; is variously Norman, early English, and decorated; and underwent gradual restoration during a number of years up to 1866. The abbey was founded in 1087, by Roger de Montgomery; acquired soon the status of a mitred abbey; obtained great wealth from pilgrimages to the remains of St. Winifred enshrined within it; had revenues to the estimated amount of £656 at the dissolution; and has left some small remains of its monastic buildings, including the guest-hall, the N and E parts of the precinct wall, and a superb octagonal refectory pulpit. St. Giles’ church dates from the time of Henry I.; was used as the chapel of a leper hospital; and includes some modern restoration-work and additions. St. Julian’s church was rebuilt in 1846; is in the Doric style; and retains the tower of a previous ancient church, with Norman basement. St. Mary’s church ranges from Norman to Tudor, with many interesting features; comprises nave, aisles, transepts, chancel, and two chantry chapels; and has a tower with octagonal spire 220 feet high. St. Michael’s church was built in 1830, and is in the Grecian style. St. Alkmond’s church was originally cruciform, and said to have been founded in 912, by the Princess Ethelfleda; was rebuilt, in a plain modern Gothic style, in 1795; and retains an old tower with graceful spire 184 feet high. St. Chad’s church is noticed in the article Chad (St.). The Independent chapel in Abbey-Foregate was built in 1864, at a cost of £6,000; is in the decorated English style; and has a NW tower 114 feet high. There are also another Independent chapel, and Baptist, Quaker, Calvinistic Methodist, Wesleyan, Primitive Methodist, New Connexion Methodist, and Unitarian chapels. The Roman Catholic church was built in 1856, after designs by Pugin, at a cost of £10,000; and acquired rich carvings in years up to the latter part of 1865. Four ancient chapels, besides the churches, were formerly in the town; but only one of them has left any vestiges. A Franciscan friary was founded in the time of Henry III.; a Dominican friary, in the same reign; an Augustinian friary, in 1255; and all three have left some slight vestiges. The public cemetery is about a mile from the town; was formed in 1855, at a cost of £4,000; and comprises about 20 acres.
Schools and Institutions.—The grammar-school succeeded St. Peter’s college, associated with the name of the historian Ordericus Vitalis; was founded in 1553, and rebuilt in 1630; forms two sides of a quadrangle, with pinnacled tower, chapel, and library; has an endowed income of about £3,200, twenty-one exhibitions and scholarships, and a fellowship at the universities; and had Dr. Butler, afterwards Bishop of Lichfield, as a master, and Bishops Thomas and Bowers, Chief Justice Jones, Judge Jefffreys, Lord Brooke, Sir P. Sidney, the mathematician Waring, “Demosthenes” Taylor, Wycherley, and A. Phillips as pupils. Ollatt’s school has an endowed income of £297; and had the self-taught linguist Bailey as a master. Millington’s school, for 50 scholars, is associated with an hospital for 22 alms-people; and has two exhibitions at Magdalen college, Cambridge, and, together with the hospita1, an endowed income of £1,227. Bowdler’s school has an endowed income of £105. There are also subscription, national, and Lancasterian schools. The public subscription library contains about 6,000 volumes, and includes newsrooms. The antiquarian museum and the school of art occupy one building; and the former includes a rich collection of Roman relics found at Wroxeter, the ancient Uriconinm. The house of industry was built as a foundling hospital, in 1765, at a cost of £12,000; and furnished Day, the author of “Sandford and Merton,” with his Sabrina and Lucretia to bring up according to his own plan. The Shropshire infirmary was founded in 1745; was rebuilt in 1830, at a cost of £18,735; and is in the Grecian style, with a Doric portico. The county lunatic asylum stands on Bicton Heath, and is in the Tudor style. Three suites of alms houses have endowments of respectively £103, £23, and £19. There are also an eye and car dispensary, a lyingin hospital, a penitentiary, and other institutions.
Trade.—The town has a head post-office‡ at its centre, a receiving post-office at Abbey-Foregate, a central railway station with telegraph, four banking offices, and four chief inns; is a seat of assizes, sessions, and county courts, the head of an excise collection, and a polling place; commands much transit traffic, as a focus of railway communication; is a grand tourists, centre for Salop and for much of North Wales; and publishes five newspapers. Markets are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays; butter and cheese fairs, on the second Wednesday of every month; horse, cattle, and sheep fairs, on every alternate Tuesday; a great annual horse fair in March; and wool fairs, on 2 July and 14 Aug. The manufacture of thread, linen, flax, and shoes is largely carried on; malting, brawn-making, and glass-staining are considerable; the manufacture of peculiar cakes, known as shrewsburys, has been famous since the time of Elizabeth; and an extensive iron foundry is at Coleham. Races are held in September on an oval racecourse, at Monkmoor, about ½ a mile from the town.-S. is a borough by prescription; was first chartered by Richard I.; has sent two members to parliament since the time of Edward l.; is governed, under the new act, by a mayor, 10 aldermen, and 30 councillors; and has the same limits parliamentarily as municipally, comprising the parish of Holy Cross and St. Giles, and parts of the parishes of St. Julian, St. Mary, St. Alkmond, St. Chad, and Brace-Meole. The corporation income is about £2,550. The police force, in 1864, comprised 23 men, at an annual cost of £1,414. The crimes committed in 1864 were 43; the persons apprehended, 31; the known depredators and suspected persons at large, 223; the houses of bad character, 67. Electors in 1833, 1,714; in 1863, 1,501. Real property in 1860, £178,633; of which £422 were in mines, £138 in quarries, £27,444 in railways, and £700 in gasworks. Amount of property and income tax charged in 1863, £9,988. Pop. in 1851, 19,681; in 1861 22,163. Houses, 4,445.
The District.—The poor-law district comprises the parishes of Holy Cross and St. Giles, St. Julian, St. Alkmond, and part of St. Mary, forming the sub-district of St. Mary; and the parishes of St. Chad and Brace-Meole, forming the sub-district of St. Chad. Acres, 18,032. Poor rates in 1863, £7,955. Pop. in 1851, 23,104; in 1861, 25,784. Houses, 5,173. Marriages in 1863, 277; births, 864, of which 95 were illegitimate; deaths, 659, of which 234 were at ages under 5 years, and 14 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 2,555; births, 7,033; deaths, 6,156. The places of worship, in 1851, were 13 of the Church of England, with 9,618 sittings; 5 of Independents, with 1,307 s.; 2 of Baptists, with 714 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 125 s.; 1 of Unitarians, with 218 s.; 5 of Wesleyans, with 1,436 s.; 3 of New Connexion Methodists, with 730 s.; 2 of Primitive Methodists, with 400 s.; 1 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 160 s.; 2 of Calvinistic Methodists, with 550 s.; 1 of Brethren, with 25 s.; 1 of Latter Day Saints, with 140 s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics, the s. not reported. The schools were 18 public day schools, with 2,167 scholars; 25 private day schools, with 734 s.; and 12 Sunday schools, with 1,275 s.
Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].
The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales 1851
A borough, and market-town, in the liberty of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, on the navigable river Severn; 158 miles north-west of London by railway to Birmingham, and thence by the Holyhead parliamentary-road, through Wolverhampton. It communicates with the Birmingham and Liverpool Junction canal, by the Shrewsbury canal. Acres 14,680. Houses 4,057. A. P. £73,133. Pop., in 1801, 14,739; in 1831, 21,227.
General description. — Shrewsbury is of great antiquity, having been built by the Britons on the ruins of an ancient city called Uriconium. It is pleasantly situated on two gentle elevations on the north bank of the Severn, within one of the serpentine windings of which it was originally altogether included: but it has gradually extended beyond the river on the east and west sides of the peninsula into suburbs, forming Abbey Foregate and Coleham on the east, and Frankwell on the west; and also beyond the neck of the isthmus, and the castle, to the north, forming the suburb of Castle-Foregate. The river is crossed on the east and west by two excellent stone-bridges, called from their relative positions English-bridge and Welsh-bridge. The streets, in common with those of almost all our old cities, are irregularly formed, and often inconveniently narrow. In this respect, however, considerable improvements have been made. The houses in general have the characters of a high antiquity impressed on them, though often intermixed with those of modern erection, and of elegant appearance. The streets are tolerably well-paved, lighted with gas and supplied, with water from the river and from a fine spring at about 2 miles distance, the water of which has been brought into the town by pipes ever since the year 1774. Besides the ecclesiastical edifices to be afterwards noticed, there are not many public buildings here meriting particular description. A new town-hall was erected in 1836, from a design hy Sir Robert Smirke, at an expense of £12,000: having little pretension to architectural elegance, its chief characteristic is grandeur of dimensions. The shire-hall and town-hall previously occupied the same building, a spacious modem structure, containing two courts for the assizes, a room for county meetings, a grand jury-room, &c. The town and county jail and house of correction will be afterwards described. The market-place is spacious, and the market-house and old free grammar-school are picturesque buildings. The military depot in Abbey Foregate was erected from a design by Wyatt, at an expense of £10,000. It is a handsome brick building, and contains two large depositories for ammunition, an armoury capable of containing 25,000 stand of arms, and neat houses for the storekeeper and the armourer. A beautiful Doric column, 132 feet in height, was erected, by subscription, in 1814, at the entrance to the town by the London road, in honour of Lord Hill: on the top is a statue of his lordship. There is an infirmary, and in Meol Brace parish a house of industry. A public subscription library near St. John’s-hill, to which is attached a news-room, contains upwards of 5,000 volumes in the various departments of literature. There is also a mechanics’ institution, in which lectures are occasionally delivered. A portion of the ancient palace of the princes of Powysland was latterly converted into a theatre, but a new one has recently been erected. Assemblies are held monthly in a suite of rooms fitted up and appropriated for that purpose. Races are held in September, and continued for three days. The course is on Bicton-heath about 2 miles to the west of the town. On the south-west is a field extending to upwards of 20 acres, known by the name of the Quarry, and appropriated as a place of recreation for the citizens. It has some fine sequestered avenues of full grown lime trees. The remains of the ancient castle of Shrewsbury, once a place of great importance and of great strength, consist principally of the keep, a modernized structure of red stone, the walls of the inner court, and the great arch of the inner gateway, including a grassy area, upon which, though it is now private property, the knights of the shire, according to ancient usage, are girt with their swords on being elected to serve in parliament. On the south side of this area, or court, is a lofty mount rising abruptly from the river, which commands a delightful view of the picturesque vale of Shrewsbury, extending 30 miles in length from north to south, and 28 in breadth from east to west, being nearly divided into two equal parts by the majestic Severn, and surrounded by lofty mountains or beautiful wood-crowned hills. Among the former may be noticed the Wrekin, the Lawley, the Caradoc, Longmyred, Stipperstones, &c.; among the latter, Grinshills, Pymhill, Hawkstone, and Haughmond. The town was anciently walled; but the only remains latterly existing have been a ruinous portion on the north-west, erected by Cromwell, and another portion with a tower on the south.
Ecclesiastical Affairs. — Within the ancient liberties of Shrewsbury are the following parishes and chapelries: — St. Alkmund’s, a discharged vicarage; rated at £6; gross income £235. Patron, the Lord-chancellor. St. Chad’s, a curacy, not in charge; gross income £388. Patron, the Lord-chancellor. Holy Cross and St. Giles, a vicarage; rated at £8; gross income £390. Patron, in 1841, Lord Berwick. St. Julian, a perpetual curacy; gross income £173. Patron, in 1841, Earl of Tankerville. St. Mary’s, a perpetual curacy; not in charge; gross income £312. Patrons, in 1835, the corporation of Shrewsbury. Meol Brace: see Brace Meol. Besides these parishes, which are all in the archd. of Salop and dio. of Lichfield, except St. Mary’s which is a royal peculiar, there are the following perpetual curacies. St. Michael; gross income £59; in the patronage of the incumbent of St. Mary’s, St, George’s; nett income £118; in the patronage of the vicar of St. Chad. Albrighton; nett income £52. Patron, in 1841, W. Spurrier, Esq. Astley; nett income £56. Patrons, in 1835, the corporation. Little Berwick; nett income £54. Patrons, in 1841, Earl of Tankerville and others. Frankwell; nett income £118: and Bicton; nett income £60: both in the patronage of the vicar of St. Chad. Clive; nett income £66. Patrons, in 1835, the corporation. Cobham is also a perpetual curacy.
St. Alkmund’s church is a cruciform structure originally of great antiquity. With the exception of the tower and spire, however, which are 180 feet in height, it was taken down and rebuilt in 1795. This church was made collegiate by King Edgar, who endowed it for ten canons. St. Chads church having fallen while under repair in 1788, a new edifice was erected, in 1792, in the Grecian style of architecture, with a handsome square tower, at an expense of £20,000. All that remains of the old church, which was formerly collegiate and a royal free chapel, is the south aisle of the chancel, which was fitted up for the performance of the funeral service, and was latterly appropriated to the use of the charity school. Holy Cross church is a frail edifice, embracing within its walls the nave, side aisles, porch, and western tower, of an ancient cruciform church belonging to an extensive and magnificent abbey, founded, in 1083, by Roger Gomery, or de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury, for Benedictine monks from Seez in Normandy. The founder endowed it largely, and at length became a monk himself, and dwelt in the abbey, where he died, and was interred, in 1094, The remains of St. Winifrede having been enshrined in this abbey by Robert Pennant the fourth abbot, great emoluments were derived from pilgrimages to the shrine of this celebrated saint. The abbots, at a very early period, acquired the privilege of wearing the mitre, and were summoned to parliament. At the dissolution, the revenues of this monastery were valued at £656 4s. 3d. The site of the abbey, which stood in the suburb of Abbey-Foregate, originally comprised about 10 acres. Part of the embattled wall which enclosed the precinct still exists: on the north and east sides it is almost entire. The enclosure is now occupied by a modern mansion, in the garden of which is a very rich and elegant octagonal oratory, or stone pulpit, overhung with ivy, and supposed to have been the pulpit of the refectory. St. Giles’s chapel belonged originally to the abbey hospital: it has been repaired within these few years. St. Julian’s church was rebuilt about the middle of last century, but the tower, which is of Norman architecture, belonged to the old church. Here is a figure of St. James, of ancient stained glass, which was brought from Rouen in Normandy. St. Mary’s is an ancient spacious cruciform structure, which has undergone considerable improvement of late years. The painted glass of the east window of old St. Chad’s now adorns this church; and a handsome stone-screen, in the style of the time of Henry VII., was erected in 1834. There is here a splendid monument to the memory of the Rev. J. B. Blakeway, historian of Shrewsbury: its beautiful tracery and shrine-work are peculiarly appropriate to an antiquary. Other handsome monuments have been erected within these few years. St. Michael’s, consecrated in 1830, is a respectable edifice in the Grecian style of architecture, composed of brick with stone dressings: it consists of a tower, nave, and side aisles, with an eliptical recess for the communion, and a vestry in the base of the tower. The situation of this church is excellent: it commands several interesting prospects, particularly on the north, where there is a picturesque dell, and in the distance the famed Shropshire monument the Wrekin. St. George’s, erected at Frankwell by subscription and grant from the parliamentary commissioners, was completed, in 1832, at a cost of about £3,000. The union of graduated gables and tall crocketed pinnacles in the tower of this church, gives it an unfinished or rather broken and dilapidated appearance. Our limits do not permit of any further notice of the Shrewsbury church architecture. There are a number of dissenting chapels. An Independent church was formed in 1767; a Baptist, in 1620; a Presbyterian, in 1691; one of the New Connexion, formed in 1834; a Primitive, formed in 1822; and a Wesleyan Methodist: there are also places of worship for the Society of Friends, Sandemanians, Roman Catholics, and Unitarians.
Schools, Charities, &c. — According to the education returns, there were, in 1833, within the six parishes of the borough, 4 infant schools, attended by 165 boys and 140 girls; 27 other daily schools, attended by 939 boys and 750 girls; 2 of them being also Sunday schools, attended by 67 boys and 237 girls, to which fall to be added 8 other Sunday schools, attended by 444 boys, 275 girls, and 310 children of sex not specified: there was also an evening school, attended by 35 children. One of the daily schools was a Lancasterian. supported chiefly by subscription, and attended by 110 males and 50 females; two others were National, similarly supported, and attended by 149 males and 114 females; another was the Blue school, or Bowdler’s charity school, supported by endowment, amounting, in 1830, to £105 a-year, and attended by 18 males and 12 females on the foundation, besides 20 males and 15 females paying for their instruction. “The Royal free grammar-school” was founded and endowed by Edward IV. It was long under the superintendence of the late Dr. Butler, afterwards bishop of Lichfield and Coventry. Its endowment, augmented by Queen Elizabeth, now produces about £3,000 per annum. The master and fellows of St. John’s college, Cambridge, appoint the masters: one of whom has a salary of about £300 per annum, and the other £150. The school is open for gratuitous instruction to all sons of burgesses, and has long maintained a distinguished rank among the schools of the country. In 1833, it was attended by 260 boys. Belonging to it are four exhibitions of £70, and four of £15 each per annum, to St. John’s college, Cambridge; four of £60 each to Christ-church, Oxford; two of £25 each, and one of £23, to either of the universities; four of £63, and two of £40 each, with a fellowship of £126 per annum, in Magdalene college, Cambridge. It possesses also some others to which the scholars are in certain cases eligible. Many eminent persons have been educated in this school, among which we find the names of Sir Philip Sydney, and Lord Brooke, with those of W. Wycherly, and Ambrose Philips, the one celebrated for his dramatic, and the other for his pastoral and didactic, poetry.
Amongst the numerous endowed charities of Shrewsbury, there are the following almshouses in the several parishes. — Millington’s hospital, a neat brick building with a small chapel, in the suburb of Frankwell, occupied by 12 single men or women, selected from poor housekeepers in the vicinity, who receive £10 10s. a-year each, by quarterly payments, besides coals and other gifts in bread and clothing: there are also 10 out-hospitallers with £4 a-year each, and similar gifts of bread and clothing. The income of this charity, which also comprehends a school endowment for 20 boys and 20 girls educated in the chapel and clothed and apprenticed, is about £1,230 per annum. The Berwick almshouses in St. Mary’s parish, consisting of 16 tenements and a chapel, occupied by poor people, chiefly women, and a chaplain. Each alms-person has about £5 8s. per annum, besides clothing and coal; and the annuity of the chaplain is £54 9s. — Other almshouses in this parish consist of 16 tenements of 2 apartments each, inhabited by 16 almspeople, who each receive £1 2s. 3d. a-quarter besides clothing, 16s. in Easter week, and other small gifts. — The hospital of Holy Cross and St. Giles occupied by 4 poor people, who receive 1s. 6d. a- week each, besides coals and clothing The almshouses in St. Chad’s, consisting of 11 small tenements, inhabited by as many poor people, who have each a small gratuity. The most important of the other endowed charities, are those of Sir Thomas White and others, for loans, chiefly of £25 each, without interest, to poor tradesmen. In 1830, the sum derived from these charities amounted to £2,604 14s. 6d., of which £1,800 were still in the hands of the corporation. The securities and the money in hands are now under the management of trustees, who have also the care of the other charities formerly under the management of the corporation, and yielding, in all, for the year ending 1st January, 1838, an income of £1,579 3s. 1d. per annum. Poor rates, in 1838, £5,347 8s.
Government and Franchise. — Shrewsbury is a borough by prescription: it is mentioned in Domesday book. The various ‘compositions’ which the burgesses appear to have entered into amongst themselves, for the government of this borough, clearly indicate that a large share of power was exercised by “the commons” in its municipal institutions. The liberties and customs of the burgesses or commons were confirmed by charter of Henry II., and by various others, granted both before and after the date of the compositions alluded to. But the constitution of the borough was materially altered by a charter, 14° Carl. I., transferring to a select body the functions previously exercised by the commons. This charter continued to be the governing one till the passing of the new municipal act in 1835. The corporation was appointed by it to consist of a mayor, 24 alder men, and 48 assistants, with an indefinite number of burgesses or freemen, under the style of “the mayor, aldermen, and burgesses of the town of Shrewsbury, in the county of Salop,” instead of “the bailiffs and burgesses” as in the older charters. The ministerial officers named in the charter, were the recorder and his deputy, the steward, town-clerk, two coroners, four auditors, two chamberlains, a sword bearer, three serjeants-at-mace, and three Serjeants yeomen. Exclusive jurisdiction within the borough was granted, the magistrates being the mayor and ex-mayor, the bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, the chancellor of the diocese, the recorder, steward, and three senior aldermen: few of them, however, continued to act. Petty-sessions were authorized to be held weekly, quarter-sessions for all criminal actions not capital, a weekly court of record for all personal suits to any amount, and for ejectments, and a court-leet, with view of frank -pledge.
A court of requests was established by act 23° Geo. III., c. 73, for the recovery of debts under 40s.: it is held every alternate week. The number of suits in this court, in 1839, was 1,011: executions against the goods 40: against the person 190, of whom 9 were imprisoned. The officers of court are an unlimited number of commissioners, as presiding officers, and a registrar and Serjeant. Under the new municipal act, the borough is included in schedule A, amongst boroughs to have a commission of the peace, which has accordingly been granted, and the court of quarter-sessions and the recorder reappointed; and in section I. of that schedule, amongst those the parliamentary boundaries of which were to be taken till altered by parliament. These comprise portions of the six parishes already named; and extend, in almost every direction, considerably beyond the ancient boundaries of the borough, including now the whole town and its suburbs. It has been divided into 5 wards, and appointed to be governed by 10 aldermen and 30 councillors, under the usual corporate style. The income of the corporation, in 1833, was about £630 per annum: expenditure, £769 19s. 2d. Income, in 1840, £1,903 10s. 8½d., of which £986 3s. 1d. arose from borough and watch rates: expenditure, £1,762 8s. 7d., of which the following were the principal items : —
|Administration of justice, prosecutions, &c.,||£446||10||4|
|Salaries, &c., to municipal officers,||332||5||6|
|Police and constables,||232||9||0|
|Jail, maintenance of prisoners, &c,||172||19||0|
Shrewsbury has regularly returned two members to parliament since the reign of Edward I. Previous to the passing of the Reform act, the franchise was in the burgesses inhabiting the town and its suburbs, and paying scot and lot. The greatest number ot electors polled for 30 years previous to 1831, was 974, in 1830. The number of electors registered, in 1837, was 1,538, of whom 798 were £10 house holders: 1,312 polled at the ensuing general election. Shrewsbury is a polling-place, and the principal place of election for the northern division of the county. The county assizes and quarter-sessions are held here, where also is the county-jail and house of correction. It is well built, and has been made fire-proof. It has an outer wall, but not sufficiently high, and is furnished with sleeping, solitary, and dark cells. There are 24 airing-yards for the prisoners, among whom monitors are placed to enforce silence. They work at the capstan, and pursue various trades. Prisoners, in 1835, 660. The corporate magistrates are entitled, under the act for erecting this jail, to send to it prisoners, both criminal and civil, for whose maintenance of course the borough pays. A society has been established in this county, of subscribers to “Prison Charities,” whose objects are, — to enable debtors to gain a livelihood while in confinement, — to furnish them with implements or materials on quitting prison, for the purpose of supporting themselves and families on their return to society; and to encourage industry, penitence, and orderly behaviour in criminal prisoners generally.
Trade, Manufactures, Markets. — Though the chief and ancient Welsh web and flannel mart was established at Oswestry, the market was always ruled by the Shrewsbury drapers, who, in 1621, removed it to Shrewsbury, by refusing to attend at Oswestry: see Montgomeryshire — Manufactures, Trade. &c.: and though a new mart was established at Welshpool, in 1782, they still continued to regulate the prices, as the principal buyers, and to command the English market. Latterly, however, persons from London, Manchester, and other places, have themselves attended at Welshpool, at Machynlleth, and Dolgelleu, and at Llanidloes and Newtown, where marts have since been established, so that the monopoly is nearly extinct, though flannels, &c, are still brought here to be finished and sold. The general trade and prosperity of Shrewsbury are said to have been very much injured by the exactions of its 12 guilds or incorporated companies. Thread, linen, and canvass, are manufactured here; and there are extensive iron-works at Coleham. The ancient art of glass staining has been brought to its highest state of perfection here by Mr. D. Evans. The town has long been celebrated for brawn, and for a delicate species of sweet cake called ‘Shrewsbury cake.’ The trade of Shrewsbury is facilitated by the Severn, which is navigable here for boats of 30 or 40 tons burthen, and opens up a communication with Worcester, Gloucester, Bristol, and other towns connected with these great commercial marts. The town is supplied with abundance of excellent coals by the Shrewsbury canal, which terminates near Castle-Foregate, where convenient wharfs have been constructed. Various lines of railway have been projected: in particular, the Shrewsbury and Birmingham line to join the Grand Junction near Wolverhampton; and if the Portdynnllaen route of railway to facilitate communication with Ireland should be formed, to constitute a part of that line. A line from Salisbury to Hereford has also been projected. The market-days are Wednesday and Saturday, the latter principally for grain. The general market is held in a market-house of modern erection; the corn-market in a stone-building erected in 1595, with the arms of Elizabeth, in alto relievo, above the principal portal; and on each side of the central arch, pillars supporting lions with shields on their breasts, well sculptured. Fairs for horned cattle, horses, sheep, cheese, and linen, are held on February 28th, (if on a Sunday, the day before,) Saturday after March 15th, Wednesday after Easter week, and Wednesday before Whit-Sunday; for horned cattle, horses, pigs, cheese, linen, sheep, and lamb’s wool, on July 3d, August 12th, October 2d, and December 12th; and the second Tuesday and Wednesday in every month. The National Provincial bank of England has an establishment here; and there are several other provincial banks.
History. — The history of Shrewsbury is closely connected with British history from a very early period. Its Welsh name was Pengwern, which it retained till the Anglo Saxons took possession of it, when it received the name of Scrobbes-byrig, denoting that it was a town in a busby or scrubby spot, and of this name the modern Shrewsbury is a corruption. This was the residence of the princes of Powys, whom Offa, king of Mercia, expelled in the year 778, and to secure his conquest, reared the rude bulwark, known by the name, of Offa’s Dyke. “Edric the Earle,” says Lambard, “surnamed for his gready gatheringe, Streona, bade the Duke Alshelm (or Athelstane as others wyll) to a great banket at Shrewsbyrie, and as he was huntinge after dyner, procured one Porthound, a cut-throte in that towne, to murther him. But the kinge suffered not this villanie to remayne unavenged, for he caused the eyes to be pulled out of the heades of two of Edric’s sonnes therfore.” After the Norman conquest, Shrewsbury was bestowed, with the earldom of Shrewsbury, on Roger Gomery, or de Montgomery, a kinsman of the Conqueror, by whom the castle was built. Robert, the son of Roger, having taken part with Robert duke of Normandy, in opposition to his brother, Henry I., that monarch came against him with an army of 60,000 men, seized the castle, banished him to Normandy, and forfeited his estates. The castle of course became a royal fortress. In 1116 the nobles of the realm here assembled to do homage, and take oaths of allegiance, to William, son of the empress Matilda. A council was assembled here by King John, to concert measures for suppressing the inroads of the Welsh; and, in 1215, Llewellyn, who had married Joan, a natural daughter of that monarch, appeared before Shrewsbury with a numerous army, to whom the town and castle was surrendered. Henry III. drove him speedily back into his own country, but in the war with the barons, Richard, earl of Pembroke, retiring into Wales, with the assistance of Llewellyn, laid waste the intermediate district, seized upon the town, which he plundered, and after putting the greater part of the inhabitants to the sword, set it on fire. The continued incursions of the Welsh, induced Edward I., in 1277, to fix his residence in Shrewsbury, to which he removed the courts of king’s bench and exchequer. Here, in 1283, the same monarch assembled his parliament, the lords being accommodated in the castle, and the commons, who now, for the first time, had a faint voice in the national council, in a barn belonging to one of the citizens. The king and his court were accommodated at Acton-Burnell, the seat of Bishop Bumell, who was lord-chancellor: hence the laws made by this parliament have been called the statutes of Acton-Burnell. In the year previous to this, David, prince of Wales, having been betrayed into the hands of the emissaries of Edward, was sent in chains to Shrewsbury, brought to trial before the peers of England, condemned, hanged, drawn, and quartered, a piece of savage barbarity that has, ever since that period, been exercised, in a greater or lesser degree, on all who have had the misfortune to fall under the sentence of treason. The feeble and unfortunate Edward II., celebrated here, in 1322, a grand tournament, which was attended by a numerous and splendid assemblage of knights and noblemen. Richard II. held a parliament here in the month of January, 1397-8, called, from the number of noble men and others who attended it, the Great Parliament. On the 20th of July, 1403, the sanguinary and celebrated battle of Shrewsbury was fought in the immediate vicinity of the town between the forces of Henry IV. and the insurgent Percies, including Hotspur, the younger, and their allies. It was here that the hero of Agincourt first distinguished himself. The slaughter was immense, considering the number of the combatants, between 8,000 and 9,000 being buried on the field, which still bears the name of the Battlefield. Hotspur was slain; and his allies, the earls of Douglas and Worcester, and Sir Richard Venables, were taken: the first was released; but the two last, with others, were beheaded without trial. With troops hastily levied in this town and neighbourhood, Edward, earl of March, afterwards Edward IV., gained the victory of Mortimer’s Cross. On his elevation to the throne, Edward sent his queen to Shrewsbury for protection amidst the agitation of the times; and there, in the convent of the Dominicans, the princes Richard and George were born, the latter of whom died in childhood, while the former and his elder brother Edward, were murdered in the tower by their uncle the duke of Gloucester. Henry, earl of Richmond, on his march to Bosworth, was reinforced by the citizens of Shrewsbury under Earl Talbot, and in gratitude for their seasonable assistance, after his elevation to the throne, paid, with his queen, a visit to the town, where he celebrated, in the church of St. Chad, the festival of St. George, and bestowed upon the citizens several distinguishing privileges. Charles I., on the breaking out of the war between him and his parliament, kept his court here for some time. Here he was joined by Prince Rupert and many other noblemen and gentlemen, and here establishing his mint, the plate of the universities and of others who were foolish enough to bestow it upon him, was coined into money, and a considerable part of it expended in extending and strengthening the fortifications of the town. It was, however, some time after assaulted by Colonel Mytton, taken by storm, and held for the parliament. It was summoned to surrender by Charles II., but refused; and, by the battle of Worcester a few days after, was freed from all apprehensions of danger on his account. In 1687, James II. kept his court here for a few days, which seems to have been the last time it had the honour of being the court residence. Among many eminent men, natives of this town, we may notice Churchyard the poet. Admiral Benbow, Hugh Farmer, celebrated us a divine and critic, and Dr. Charles Burney, the historian of music.
Source: The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales; A Fullarton & Co. Glasgow; 1851.
The History and Topography of Shropshire 1820
Q. What is the situation of Shrewsbury?
A. Shrewsbury, the capital of the county, is situated on a peninsula, formed by the river Severn which nearly surrounds it. It is 160 miles from London, contains a population of 16,000 persons, and has a market on Wednesday and Saturday.
Q. What was the origin of Shrewsbury, and from whence did it derive its name?
A. Shrewsbury is supposed to have owed its origin to the destruction of the neighbouring Roman station Uriconium, some time in the ﬁfth century. When taken by the Saxons, they called it Scrobbesbyrig, or the Hill of Shrubs: this became in process of time Shrobbesbury and Shrewsbury.
Q. What is the general appearance of Shrewsbury ?
A. When viewed at a distance, Shrewsbury, from its elevated situation, presents a highly respectable appearance, but on entering the town the traveller ﬁnds, with few exceptions, narrow, irregular, and ill-paved streets, and old fashioned mean houses; the public ediﬁces are, however, for the most part magniﬁcent structures.
Q. Enumerate these.
A. The principal of these are — the castle; six churches; the town-hall; market-house and conduit; theatre; county gaol; inﬁrmary; house of industry; grammar school, in the museum of which are numerous antiquities, fossils, and valuable specimens of natural history; several hospitals, alms-houses, and places of worship for Dissenters.
Q. What may be observed of the castle?
A. The castle, which stands on a steep bank, and once defended the isthmus formed by the Severn, was built by Roger de Montgomery, soon after the Norman conquest. By the forfeiture of Robert de Belesme, in the reign of Henry I. it became a royal fortress, but after the subjugation of the Welsh it was considered of little importance. During the civil wars it was repaired and garrisoned for Charles I. but was taken by the parliament forces in 1645. In the reign of James II. it was stripped of all its cannon, and dismantled. It is now the property of Lord Darlington.
Q. What is its present state?
A. The only remaining buildings of this once proud fortress are the keep, with two round towers. The apartments are spacious, and the drawing-room, which in the time of Charles I. was called the guard-room, is, very handsome. From a small watch tower in the wall is a ﬁne and extensive prospect.
Q. Are any of the churches deserving of notice?
A. Yes; the collegiate church of St. Mary is a handsome building, of Norman architecture. The new church of St. Chad, built soon after the fall of the old church of that name in 1788*, is of a circular form, but is not admired for the harmony of its proportions, nor for the classical elegance of its style of architecture. The chancel of the old structure is still used for divine service. The churches of St. Alkmund, lately rebuilt, of St. Julian, and of St. Peter’s, present nothing remarkable.
Q. Are there not some remains of an abbey in this town ?
A. Yes; but they give a very imperfect idea of the magniﬁcent building of which they once formed a part. An ancient embattled wall, and a little octagonal structure in the garden, usually called the Stone Pulpit*, are the principal relics of this religious establishment.
Q. By whom was this abbey founded, and for what description of religions ?
A. The æra of its, foundation and the, name of its founder, are unknown. But in 1088 it was rebuilt by Roger de Montgomery, for monks of the order of St. Benedict, and dedicated to St. Peter and Paul.
Q. How is Shrewsbury governed ?
A. Shrewsbury is governed by a mayor, recorder, steward, town clerk, twenty-four aldermen, and forty-eight common-councilmen. The corporation has the power of trying all causes within its jurisdiction, except high treason. The right of election for members of parliament is in the resident burgesses only, about four hundred and ﬁfty in number.
Q. What is the principal trade of Shrewsbury ?
A. A considerable trade is carried on here in Welsh ﬂannels, friezes, and webs. Shrewsbury has likewise manufactures of linen, yarn, cotton, and starch, a porter brewery, and iron foundry. Its cakes and brawn are in high esteem.
Q. What farther may be observed of Shrewsbury ?
A. On the banks of the Severn is a most delightful promenade, or public walk, called the Quarry. It is shaded by a double row of lime trees, and in the centre is a double alcove, one side facing the town, the other the river. The Welsh bridge, and the East or New Bridge, are well deserving the attention of the traveller. Shrewsbury gives the title of earl to the Talbot family.
Q. What curious ceremony is observed in this town ?
A. On the Monday fortnight after Whitsun-day the twelve incorporated trading companies repair in their formalities, with flags, drums, and ﬁfes, and a person clad in armour on horseback, to a place called Kingland, south of the town, on the opposite side of the Severn, where they entertain the mayor and corporation in bowers erected for that purpose, each of which is distinguished by some motto or appropriate device.
Q. Mention the most remarkable historical events connected with Shrewsbury.
A. In the wars between King Stephen and the Empress Maude, Shrewsbury took part with the latter, but was besieged and taken by the king. In 1283 a parliament was assembled at Shrewsbury, and in the reign of Richard II. another was held here. In 1403 Henry IV. awaited here the arrival of the rebel army under Henry Percy. The decisive battle was fought July 22, at Battleﬁeld. Henry was victorious and Percy slain. In the reign of Richard III. the Duke of Buckingham was beheaded at Shrewsbury, for rebellion*. In the ﬁfteenth century this town suffered dreadfully from a malady called “the sweating sickness.” In the civil wars Shrewsbury declared for Charles, but it was taken by surprize by the parliament forces.
Q. What eminent men has Shrewsbury produced?
A. Thomas Churchyard, John Benbow, and the Rev. Hugh Farmer, were natives of this town.
Q. Is there not a remarkable tree near Shrewsbury ?
A. Yes; about a mile and a half from Shrewsbury is a decayed tree of great size, called the Shelton Oak, remarkable from the tradition, that Owen Glendower, from among its branches, witnessed the battle of Shrewsbury. On ﬁnding that victory had declared for the king, he hastened to Oswestry, and from thence retreated into Wales.
Q. What places do we visit on leaving Shrewsbury ?
A. Proceeding south-westerly at the distance of eight miles, we pass the village of Pulverbach, where are the ruins of a strong castle, built in the reign of William the Conqueror. From this place to Bishop’s Castle nothing occurs worthy of notice.
* In consequence of undermining the interior of the church, by interring the dead within its walls, one of the four pillars that supported the tower sunk considerably, and an injudicious attempt was made to underbuild this pillar, but on the morning of July 9, it gave way, and the greatest part of the tower, with its heavy bells, falling upon the roof of the church, beat it to the ground with a tremendous crash. The ruins presented an awful spectacle. The roof of the nave, with the north range of pillars that supported it, a great portion of the outward walls on that side, and the north wing of the transept, lay in confused heaps, mingled with the shattered remains of pulpit, organ, pews, monuments, and bells, The south side of the tower still remained, but its tottering walls seemed to threaten instant destruction to those who should approach.
Sometimes St. Winifred’s pulpit.
Not at Salisbury, as is generally asserted.
Source: The History and Topography of Shropshire; William Pinnock Jolibois; 1820.
Shrewsbury Non-Conformist Registers
Shrewsbury Drapers Apprentices