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1868 - The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland

"WHITCHURCH, a parish and market town, partly in the hundred of Nantwich, county Chester, but chiefly in the Whitchurch division of North Bradford hundred, county Salop, 11 miles N.W. of Market-Drayton, 19 N.E. of Shrewsbury, and 20 S.W. of Chester. It has stations on the Cambrian and on the Crewe and Shrewsbury branch of the London and North-Western railways, and has water communication by means of a branch of the Ellesmere canal. In ancient times it was called Album Monasterium, or Blancminster, probably from an hospital founded in the reign of Henry II., and bad an ancient castle near the mill. The parish includes, besides the town of its own name, the parochial districts of Ash and Tilstock, the village of Wirswall, and 14 townships It is situated on the borders of Wales, from which it is separated by a stream called the Red Brook, and has three small lakes, called Osmere, Blackmere, and Brown Moss-water. The site of the town is on the old road from London to Chester. It contains the townhall, in the High-street, where a county court is held monthly; a savings-bank, two commercial banks, the National Provincial, and Whitchurch and Ellesmere; a police station, inland revenue office, news-room, union workhouse, enlarged in 1855; working men's club, young men's institution, several insurance agencies and gasworks. The town has recently been much improved by the completion of the sewerage works. There are several breweries and maltings, an iron foundry and machine factory. The boot and shoe trade, formerly the staple, has much declined, but considerable business is done in malt, hops, and agricultural produce. The population of the parish in 1861 was 6,093, and of the town 3,704. The local government is administered by a high steward, appointed by the Earl of Brownlow, who is lord of the manor and principal landowner. The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Lichfield, value £1,000. The church, dedicated to St. Alkmund, was rebuilt in 1713 on the site of an ancient Gothic edifice, and contains several monuments of the Earls of Shrewsbury, including an effigy in stone of John Talbot, first Earl of Shrewsbury, and Marshal of France in the reign of Henry VI., surnamed the English Achilles, who was slain in France in 1453. At Dodington is a chapel-of-ease, dedicated to St. Catherine, and at Ash and Tilstock are district churches. The free grammar school, founded by Sir John Talbot in 1550, and rebuilt in 1849, has an income from endowment of £500. There are also several National, infant, and mixed schools in various parts of the parish. The parochial charities produce above £1,000 per annum, including the school endowment and Higginson's bequest of £220 for the support of 6 almshouses. Whitchurch is a polling place for the county elections and a petty sessions town; it is also the seat of a new County Court and of a Poor-law Union. Courts leet and baron are held in October at the townhall by the lord of the manor. Market day is on Friday. Fairs are held on the second Friday in April, Monday in Whitsun week, Friday after 2nd August, and 28th October."

"WIRSWALL, a township in the parish of Whitchurch, county Chester, 2 miles N. of Whitchurch."