ounty of western England,
which has contained the unitary authority The Wrekin since April 1998. Shropshire was
officially known by the name Salop from 1974 until local protest reversed the decision in
Shropshire County Council - North Shropshire District Council
- Shrewsbury & Atcham
Borough Council - Telford and
Wrekin District Council
|owns and cities
||Shrewsbury (administrative headquarters), Ludlow, Oswestry, Telford
||3,490 sq. km / 1,347 sq. miles
||English county on the Welsh border, bounded on the north by Cheshire; on the
south by Herefordshire and Worcestershire; on the east by Staffordshire; and on the west
by Powys. The name Salop derives from Salopesberia (a variant of the Saxon name
Scrobbesbyrig for the town Shrewsbury). The market towns of Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Ludlow,
Bridgnorth, Ellesmere, Whitchurch, Wellington, and Bishop's Castle serve as centres for
the agricultural districts. In the south and west the county is hilly, the chief features
other than the Clee Hills being the Stiperstones (527 m / 1,729 ft), the Long Mynd plateau
(517 m / 1,696 ft), the Caradoc range, and Wenlock Edge. Geologically the county displays
a greater variety of rocks than any other county in England; this diversity gives rise to
great variety of landscape and scenery. Shropshire is bisected, on the Welsh border,
Northwest-Southeast by the River Severn; River Teme; Ellesmere (47 ha), the largest of
several lakes; the Clee Hills rise to about 610 m / 1,800 ft (Brown Clee) in the Southwest
||Agriculture: cereals (barley, oats, wheat), sugar beet, mangolds (a root
vegetable used for cattle feed), vegetables (turnips, swedes), sheep and cattle; dairy
Industries: brick-making; engineering; limestone; manufacturing : machine tool,
agricultural implements (Shrewsbury, Market Drayton, Prees, Whitchurch, Ellesmere),
carpets and radio receivers (Bridgnorth), clocks (Whitchurch); Shropshire is the principal
iron-producing county of England
||Charles Darwin, A E Housman, Wilfred Owen, Gordon Richards
town on the River Severn, There are service industries and light manufacturing and tourism
is important. To the east at Wroxeter is the site of the Roman city of Viroconium.
Landmarks include Clive House Museum, the 18th-century residence of Robert Clive (of
India) and the church of St Mary with its 14th-century Jesse window. The castle dates from
In the 5th century, as Pengwern, Shrewsbury was capital of the kingdom of Powys, which
later became part of Mercia. In the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403, Henry IV defeated the
rebels led by Hotspur (Sir Henry Percy). The city declined an invitation in 1539, at the
dissolution of the monasteries, to become a cathedral city.
The town centre is on a peninsula of rising ground within a horseshoe bend of the Severn;
suburbs beyond the river are reached by two principal bridges which from their position on
the main east-west highway are known respectively as the English Bridge and the Welsh
Bridge. Shrewsbury retains much of its medieval character, particularly in the centre of
the town, with its black and white timber-frame buildings, which sometimes lean out and
almost touch, and its unusual street names.
At the narrowest point of the peninsula stands the castle, founded c. 1070 by Roger de
Montgomery; it served as a royal fortress until the time of Charles II, but was rebuilt by
Roger de Montgomery also founded a Benedictine monastery at Shrewsbury in 1083, but at the
dissolution the monastic buildings were demolished, together with the east end of the
abbey church of SS Peter and Paul, the west end being spared as a parish church.
The church of St Mary, part Norman and part Early English, possesses some remarkable
glass, including a 14th-century Jesse window of English glass, and stained glass from
The town was formerly walled, though now only a portion of the original wall can be seen.
Substantial remains of a unique 13th-century town house, probably the `Bennetteshalleï¿½
known to have belonged to the abbots of Haughmond, were investigated in 1957, prior to
demolition. The ruins of Haughmond Abbey, founded in 1135 by William Fitz-Alan for
Augustinian canons, lie 5 km / 3 miles northeast of the town.
During the time of Elizabeth I many of the timber-framed mansions which survive today were
built, for example Ireland's Mansion (1575) and Owen's Mansion (1592). Rowley's House
(1595), another 16th-century timber-framed building, houses the museum of Roman
antiquities from the city of Viroconium at Wroxeter near Shrewsbury. By the river is
Shrewsbury School, originally situated in the town (the 17th-century school buildings are
now the borough library and museum). Charles Darwin was a pupil here. The cattle market is
one of the busiest in England.
Offa made Shrewsbury part of his kingdom of Mercia at the end of the 8th century; in the
Saxon and Norman periods it was frequently raided by the Welsh. Early in the 13th century
Llewelyn the Great twice captured Shrewsbury; Edward I made it his seat of government
(1277-83), and here Dafydd, last Welsh royal prince, was tried and executed (1283).
Church Stretton, a small market town with spectacular scenery rising through Cardingmill
Valley to the heights of the Long Mynd, 4,530 acres of heath & moorland.
Stokesay Castle, one of the finest fortified manor houses in England.
Ludlow, with its box framed houses and Norman Castle.
Bridgnorth, with its cliff railway which has a 1in 11/2 gradient linking high and low
town. Bridgnorth stages the finishing point to many raft races down the river Severn from
Ironbridge - the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.
Gorge open-air museum of industrial archaeology, with the Iron Bridge
(1779), the world's first cast-iron bridge; Market Drayton is famous for its gingerbread,
and Wem for its sweet peas Shropshire became a county in the 10th century, as part of the
kingdom of Mercia in its defence against the Danes. During the Middle Ages, it was part of
the Welsh Marches and saw much conflict between the lords of the Marches and the Welsh. On
the evidence of its numerous hill-top forts, Shropshire had a considerable population in
the Early Iron Age. It was settled by the Romans, who established at Wroxeter the third
largest city of Roman Britain, and was subsequently added to the Saxon kingdom of Mercia
by Offa in the 8th century. There are several sections of Offa's Dyke, marking the
boundary between Mercia and Wales, in the west of the county. Near Shrewsbury was fought
the battle between Henry IV and the Percys (1403) at which Henry Percy was killed; the
place is now marked by the church and village of Battlefield. The county contains
many beautiful ruins, such as Haughmond, Buildwas, and Lilleshall abbeys and Much Wenlock
Priory. There is a large number of castles, of which only fragments generally remain;
Ludlow is the finest. Stokesay House is perhaps the best example in the country of a
fortified manor-house of the 13th century. There are many other manor -houses of the 16th
to 18th centuries, and many examples of the traditional timber-framed architecture
characteristic of the area. Shropshire's churches display a range of architectural styles:
Heath Chapel, Edstaston, and Holgate are Norman; Acton Burnell is a perfect example of
Early English; and the church at Tong is in the Perpendicular style.