Gregory's 1824 Shropshire Gazetteer Appendix
Shropshire is bounded on the north by Denbighshire, the detached part of Flintshire, and by Cheshire; on the east by Staffordshire; on the south by Worcestershire, and Herefordshire; and on the west by Radnorshire, Montgomeryshire, and Denbighshire. It lies nearly within 52 and 53 degrees of north latitude, and 2 and 3 degrees west longitude from London.
It is, if not the largest inland county in the kingdom, at least the largest but one. Indeed, the only one that competes with it is Wiltshire, which is stated in the publick documents to be 1,379 square miles in area, while that of Shropshire is set down in the same authorities at 1,341. But in these statements, it is admitted that no allowance is made for detached parts. Fuller in his "Worthies of England," states it to be "the largest land-lock shire in England," not excepting Wilts, with which he compares it. Carey in his "English Atlas," states Shropshire to be 47 miles long, 38 broad, and 210 in circumference, containing 1,320 square miles; Wilts to be 54 miles long, 34 broad, and 210 in circuit, containing 1,200 square miles, or 760,000 acres.
The river Severn, running through the county from northwest, to south-east, divides it into parts which are not very unequal. This is the great natural division.
An artificial division is made by the Roman highway, called Watling Street, which entering the county on the east, between Crackley-bank and Weston, passes through it in a bending line, to Leintwardine in Herefordshire, on the southern borders. It is used only partially as a main road, and deserves much less the name of a division, than the turnpike roads that run through Shrewsbury, from Whitchurch to Ludlow, and from Shiffnal to Oswestry.
Shropshire takes its name from the county town of Shrewsbury, a corruption of the word Scrobbesberig, which signifies a town surrounded by shrubs. It is also called Salop, from the Roman name of Salopia, by which the greater part of the county was designated. ]The other part being denominated Ludloa.]
Before the Roman conquest, it was the seat of a part of two tribes of Britons, who were denominated Cornavii, [the Cornavii inhabited the counties of Chester, Salop, Stafford, Warwick, and Worcester] and Ordovices. [The Ordovices occupied the counties of Flint, Denbigh, Merioneth, Caernarvon, the Isle of Anglesey, and part of Salop.]
While Britain remained subject to the Romans, this county formed part of the province of Flavia Caesariensis: [Flavia Caesariensis comprehended the middle of England. There were four other provinces, viz., Britannia Prima, the South; Britannia Seconds, Wales; and Marina Caesariensis and Valencia, the Northern counties. The exact boundaries of these provinces are not known.] the principal stations in Antonine's Itinerary are Uriconinm, or Viroconium, now Wroxeter, Mediolanum, near Drayton, and Rutunium near Wem. Antiquaries differ respecting the position of the two last, but with regard to the former there is little doubt that it was a chief city of the Cornavii founded and fortified by the Romans. The Watling Street or Roman Highway, and similar vestiges of the first conquerors of Britain remain to attest the dominion which they held over its original inhabitants, but are not illustrated by any historical records relating to that early period. When the Roman empire declined, and the country became a prey to more barbarous invaders, this portion of it was the theatre of long and sanguinary contests between the Britons and the Saxons, being held by the former as part of the kingdom of Powisland, of which Peugwerne, now Shrewsbury, was the capital.
After a violent contest of nearly a hundred and fifty years, the Heptarchy being established, the county again changed its masters, and was incorporated with Mercia, [the kingdom of Mercia which was founded by Cridda in 582 and ended in 874, included Gloucester, Hereford, Worcester, Warwick, Leicester, Rutland, Northampton, Lincoln, Huntingdon, Bedford, Buckingham, Oxford, Stafford, Derby, Salop, Nottingham, Chester, and part of Hereford] the largest, if not the most powerful of the seven in the kingdom. The British Princes long disputed these favourite possessions of their ancestors, and though they were compelled by the war-like King Offa, and a confederacy of Saxon Princes, to retreat to Mathrafael among the mountains of Powis, they frequently made inroads on their usurping neighbours. The evils attending these hostilities induced that prince to cause a deep dyke and rampart to be made, which extended a hundred miles along the mountainous border of Wales, from the Clwyddian Hills to the Mouth of the Wye. Part of this dyke may be traced at Brachy Hill, and Leintwardine, in Hereford. shire, continuing southward from Knighton in Radnorshire, over part of Shropshire, entering Montgomeryshire, between Bishopscastle and Newtown. It is again visible in Shropshire near Llanymynech, crosses the Race Course near Oswestry, descends to the Ceiriog near Chirk, where it again enters Wales, and terminates in the parish of Mold, in Flintshire. This work answered very little purpose as a line of defence, or even of boundary: the Welch continued their incursions far into the borders, and in their hasty retreats often carried with them immense spoil to their native mountains, pursuing the mode of warfare common to all savage nations.
In the ninth century, when the Danes invaded the island, and by their formidable and unremitting incursions seemed to threaten its total subjection, this part of the kingdom of Mercia, though it suffered less than others, came in for a share of the general calamity, and its chief city, Uriconium, was destroyed. The British town of Pengwerne, to which the Saxons had given the synonymous name of Scrobbesbyrig, flourished by its decline; and Alfred, after subduing, settling, or expelling the Danes, and consolidating the English monarchy, ranked this among his principal cities, and gave its name to the Shire of which it is the capital. The boundaries on the western side, however, were still fiercely disputed by the Welsh. In the time of Edward the Confessor, their reigning Prince, Griffydd, rendered himself so formidable by his predatory inroads that his name had become a terror to the English. Harold undertook an expedition against him by land and sea; his light armed troops and cavalry pursued the hardy Britons into their fastnesses, and harrassed them so effectually that they sent to the victorious Chief the head of their Prince as a token of subjection. In memory of his achievements great piles of stones were erected on many of the mountains of Wales and Shropshire, with this inscription:
Hic victor fuit Haraldus. Here Harold was victorious.
There is a doubtful tradition that the rude heaps of rock, called by the Britons Carneddau tewion, on the ridge of the Stiperstoues in this county, were thrown together as monuments of his triumph. He afterwards endeavoured to secure the advantages he had gained, by a decree which forbad any Welshman to appear on the eastern side of Offa's dyke, on pain of losing his right hand.
At the period of the Norman conquest, almost the whole of this county, besides one hundred and fifty-eight manors in other parts of the kingdom, were bestowed on Roger de Montgomery, a relation to William the Conqueror, and one of his chief captains, as a reward for his services, in assisting in the conquest, and afterwards in subduing Edric Sylvaticus, Earl of Shrewsbury, to whose title and domains he succeeded. The hostilities of the Welsh frequently disturbed him in the enjoyment of these splendid acquisitions, and in 1067, Owen Gwinnedd their prince assaulted the Salopian capital with so formidable a force as to require the army, and the presence of the King himself, to repel and vanquish them. This discomfiture only served to add fresh fuel to the warlike spirit of the Welsh, roused as it had already been by the rapacious encroachments of the Norman barons. The conqueror had sanctioned and authorised these encroachments, for finding himself foiled in his repeated attempts to reduce those high spirited foes to submission, by the force of arms, he adopted a politick mode of warfare, and issued grants to certain of his favourites, of all the lands they should be able to conquer from the Welsh.
A commission so absolute, bears a strong analogy to the mandate of a modern despot of our own times, to one of his ablest Generals; "Go and conquer a country over which you are destined to reign." He also endeavoured to divide and weaken the Welsh Border Chieftains themselves, by promising a confirmation of all their rights and privileges in return for a simple acknowledgment of dependence on the English crown, and by threatening the seizure of their possessions by right of conquest, as a punishment for their refusal of allegiance. Hence appear to have originated the seignories and jurisdictions of the Lords Marchers. The precise extent of territory, denominated the Marches, is difficult to define. During the time of the Saxons, the Severn was considered the ancient boundary between England and Wales; the lands conquered by Offa on the western side of that river were annexed to the kingdom of Mercia, and afterwards incorporated with the monarchy, by Alfred the Great.
The word Marches signifies generally, the limits between the Welsh and the English, of which subsequently, the western border of Shropshire formed a principal portion. Of the Norman Lords, besides the Earl of Shrewsbury, who did homage for royal grants of territory in these and other parts adjoining, we notice Fitzalan for Clun and Oswestry; Fitzwarine, for Whittington; and Roger le Strange for Ellesmere. The tenure by which these Lords held under the King was " in case of war to serve with a certain number of vassals, furnish their castles with strong garrisons, with sufficient military implements and stores for defence, and to keep the king's enemies in subjection. To enable them to perform this they were allowed to assume in their respective territories an absolute jurisdiction; their power seems to have been as arbitrary and despotick within their several seignories as that by which they were created." * For the better security of themselves and the government of the people, these new lords repaired and fortified old castles, erected new ones, and garrisoned them with their own soldiers. They also built towns on the choicest spots in the country for their English followers. It was in this manner most of the castles on the borders of Wales were built; as is evident from their number, there being thirty three in the county of Salop alone. The whole government and jurisprudence, within their respective limits, depended on the will of the conquerors; but it sometimes happened that the jurisdiction of one lordship infringed on the rights of another. As they were all equal, these disputes could not be settled by the ordinary decisions ofjustice. It was necessary, therefore, that superior courts should be erected for the purpose of accommodating the differences. The lords marchers regularly held their baronial courts, where the inferior lords, who held of them, were obliged to attend. At a subsequent period, the chief court for the marches of North Wales, was held in Ludlow castle. To this court appeals might be made, both from the lords themselves against others; and also, from the people against the wrong judgments of the lords. A president and council were instituted to decide on these appeals, and to controul, in some degree, the tyrannical authority exercised by those warlike chiefs over their oppressed vassals.
It has been justly observed, that the high privileges of the lords marchers could not, for many reasons, be held by charter. The kings of England, when they gave to any.person such lands as he might conquer from the Welsh, could not fix those immunities on any certain precinct, not knowing which, or whether any, would be eventually subdued. The lords themselves were not solicitous to procure such immunities, as it frequently happened that those lands, of which they had taken possession, were afterwards recovered by the Welsh, either by composition with the kings of England, or by force of arms. Another bar to the granting of such
* Evan's Tour through North Wales, p. 138.
charters was, that privileges of so high and regal a nature could not, by the laws of England, be transferred from the crown. It was therefore deemed more politick to suffer the lords to establish, by their own authority, these absolute jurisdictions, and to withhold any grant from the sovereign, which, if ever called in question, might be adjudged of no force. Those lordships, however, which were conquered by English princes themselves, were subject to a more regular jurisdiction, being governed, in general, by the laws of England.
In process of time, as the English arms prevailed, those tenures increased, so that the dominion of the marches, which was originally confined to the line of separation from Wales, penetrated at length into the very heart of the country. On the death of Llewelyn, in the eleventh year of Edward the first, the necessity and the grants ceased together; and after this period no more lords marchers were created. The Welsh submitting to Edward, he took the principality into his own hands, conferred it on his son Edward, Prince of Wales, assembled a parliament at Rhud Ian Castle, and enacted laws for the government of the country after the English manner. These laws were confirmed on the following year, by the statute of Rutland. From this period no lord marcher could exercise any prerogative, not previously confirmed to him, without a special grant from the crown.. The power and consequence of these once absolute baronial chieftains, being thus curtailed and diminished, gradually declined.
By statute 28 Edward the Third, all the lords marchers were to he perpetually attending and annexed to the crown of England, as they and their ancestors bad been at all times past, and not to the principality of Wales, into whose hands soever it should hereafter come; so that the four counties of Worcester, Gloucester, Hereford, and Salop, were never termed the marches of England, but of Wales. The sovereignty of the crown of England ever extended to Wales itself. By statute 27 Henry the Eighth, for incorporating Wales with England, all lords marchers were to enjoy such liberties, mime, and profits as they had, or used to have, at the first
entry into their lands in times past, notwithstanding that act. The court of the president and council of the Marches of North Wales, was re-established by Edward the Fourth, in honour of the Earl of March, from whom he was descended: it owed its first institution to the prerogative royal, transacting matters, and acting judicially by virtue of that authority, to the entire satisfaction of the subjects, for a period of about sixty years; until by 34 Henry the Eighth, that court was confirmed by an act of parliament, then considered expedient by reason of other laws relating to Wales, which were at that time further enlarged and explained. The act concerning the court of Ludlow runs thus; "that there shall be and remain a resident and council in the dominion of Wales and the Marches of the same, with all officers, clerks, and incidents to the same, in manner and form as it bath been heretofore used and accustomed, which resident and council shall have power and authority to hear and determine such causes and matters as be or hereafter shall be assigned to than, by the King's majesty, as heretofore bath been accustomed and used." It is to be observed, that before the enactment of this statute, the lord president always kept his court in some place within the English pale, and not in Wales, which circumstance gave the court a pretext for extending its jurisdiction into the four counties above-mentioned. Hence from the indefinite application of the term Marches, a question arose in the reign of James the first, how far these counties were under the jurisdiction of - " the lord president of Wales and the Marches thereof," for by statute 34 Henry the eighth, they were to be excluded from the jurisdiction, and by the 28th Henry the eighth, several lordships Marches were annexed to England, and others annexed to Wales, and those last were properly " Wales and the Marches thereof," within the words of the statute. Besides the King's writ always running in those four English counties, it is not to be supposed that they should not be comprehended in the jurisdiction of the court of the Marches, then newly established, without express words. In the course of the argument on this question, an objection was started, on what might properly be reputed the Marches of Wales, upon inference that the word Marches should never have been put into the statute of 34 Henry the eighth, unless
it had a definite import. The answer was, that the words "dominion and principality" of Wales were not extensive enough to comprehend the shires of Brecknock, Radnor, Montgomery and Denbigh, which were wholly composed of lordships Marches only, and either or both of the former terms, principality and dominion, would stretch themselves no farther than the eight counties of Wales; so that the word Marches in that statute must be only provincial, since by 27 Henry the eighth, all was made to be either of Wales or England.
But if there was a necessity that something might still be reputed marches, then those lordships could only be the marches that were made counties of themselves, and not those that were annexed to either ancient English or Welsh counties, for they were reputed to be of the same nation with those counties respectively. The argument for the jurisdiction of the lord president over the four English counties, was, in substance, that the court of the president and council was not erected but confirmed by act of parliament; there was a president and council in the time of Edward the Fourth, as is evident from the words of the statute, which refers twice to the usage; ("which heretofore Lath been seed;") therefore whatsoever was the intention of the king in erecting this court, was likewise the intention of parliament in establishing it. That the lord president exercised his jurisdiction in the lordships marches of the ancient English counties, nay, in the counties themselves, is confirmed by the constant practice of all times.
The marches of Wales which were comprehended in Shropshire, according to Domesday, and perhaps always so since the making of Offa's Dyke, such as the lordships, towns, parishes, commots, hundreds, and cantreds of Oswestry, Whittington, Maesbrook, Knockin, Ellesmere, Down and Chirbury, were by the statute 27 Henry the eighth, above cited, made guildable, and annexed to the county of Salop; but as the act says, no otherwise privileged, than as other hundreds within the said county. By a subsequent statute 34 and 35 of the same reign, the town and hundred of Aberton, till then called parcel of Merionethshire, was also annexed to Salop, and all
offences committed in that county were to be enquired of in this.
The jurisdiction of the president and council of the Marches was abolished by act of parliament in the first year of the reign of William and Mary, at the humble-suit of all the gentlemen and other inhabitants of the principality of Wales. The preamble of the act sets forth, that the court was a great grievance to the subject. Among the principal complaints urged against it, may be ranked the malpractices of its attorneys and inferior officers, " whereby," as the words of the records were, "justice had lacked due execution, and the inhabitants had been sundry ways most grievously vexed and molested, as also by long delays of suits, and new exactions of fees greatly impoverished; so that the court, which was in the beginning erected for the ease and relief of the inhabitants, was become to them, through such abuses, most grievous and intolerable."
The first lord president after the re-establishment by Edward the fourth, was earl Rivers, his brother in-law; and the last was the earl of Macclesfield, whose commission afterwards ran as lieutenant of North and South Wales. An eminent writer of those times, speaking of the abolition of this jurisdiction, observes, "that it had proved an intolerable burthen to Wales and the borders at all times, and a means to introduce an arbitrary power, especially in the late reign, when a new convert family were at the head of it; nor could the earl of Macclesfield, the late president, who kept his court at Ludlow, reduce it to such order as to cease to be a grievance, and therefore it was dissolved." The Welsh chancery office is now kept in Lincoln's Inn.
Shropshire is included in the Oxford circuit, in the province of Canterbury, and in the dioceses of Coventry and Lichfield, Hereford, Worcester, and St. Asaph.
There are commonly reckoned fifteen hundreds, viz., Oswestry, Pimhill, Bradford North, Bradford South, and Brimstry, on the north-east side of the Severn; the liberty of Shrewsbury, the franchise of Wenlock, and the hundred of Stottesden; extending on both banks of the river: the hundreds of Ford, Chirbury, Condover, Munslow, Overs, Purslow, and the honour of Clun, on the south-west side of the Severn. But
Bradford North, and Bradford South, constitute but one hundred, and as in the above division, the liberties of Bridgnorth, and the borough and liberties of Ludlow are not expressly included under any hundred, the following, taken from west to east, may perhaps be considered a more accurate division.
1. The hundred of Oswestry.
Upper division } North-east of the Severn.
Lower - }
2. The hundred of Pimhill.
Ellesmere division } North-east of the Severn.
Baschurch - }
3. The hundred of Bradford.
North. Whitchurch division } North-east
Drayton - } of the
Wellington } Severn.
South. Newport - }
4. The hundred of Ford.
Ford division } South-west of the Severn.
Pontesbury - }
5. Liberty of Shrewsbury.
On both sides of the Severn.
6. Borough of Shrewsbury.
Encompassed by the Severn.
7. The hundred of Condover.
Cound division } South-west of the Severn.
Condover - }
8. The franchise of Wenlock.
On both sides of the Severn.
9. The hundred of Brimstry; or Brimstrey.
Bridgnorth division }
Shiffnal - } North-east of the Severn.
Hales Owen }
10. The hundred of Chirbury.
Upper division }
Lower - } South-west of the Severn.
766 THE HUNDRED OF OSWESTRY.
11. The hundred of Purslow.
Bishopscastle division } South-west of the Severn.
Stow - }
12. Bishopscastle borough and out liberties.
South-west of the Severn.
13. The hundred of Munslow.
Upper division } South-west of the Severn.
Lower - }
14. Borough and liberties of Ludlow.
South-west of the Severn.
15. The hundred of Stottesden.
Cleobury division } On both sides of the Severn.
16. The Borough and liberties of Bridgnorth.
On both sides of the Severn.
17. The hundred of Clun, commonly called the honour of Clun.
Mainstone division } South-west of the Severn.
Clun - }
18. The hundred of Overs.
South-west of the Severn.
If this division be not allowed,- the borough of Shrewsbury must be considered as included in the liberties of Shrewsbury, Bishopscastle borough and liberties, in the hundred of Purslow; the borough and liberties of Ludlow, in the hundred of Overs; and the liberties of Bridgnorth, in the hundreds of Brimstry, and Stottesden.
THE HUNDRED OF OSWESTRY.
The hundred of Oswestry is bounded on the west by Montgomeryshire, and Denbighshire; on the north by the rivers Ceiriog, and Dee, and the stream of Shelbrook, which separate it from Denbighshire, and Flintshire; on the east by the hundred of Pimhill; and on the south by the rivers
THE HUNDRED OF OSWESTRY. 767
Verniew, and Severn, which divide it from Montgomeryshire, and from the hundred of Ford.- The soil consists of loam and gravel, some marl, and a large portion of black peaty bog. On the northwest borders adjoining Denbighshire, the soil lies over strata of coal and limestone, and perhaps the summits of the hills in this district, are the highest in the county; their bases being upon high ground. On the south-east side the soil becomes sandy. The population of this hundred, in 1821, was 17,189, the number of inhabited houses, 3,346, the number of families, chiefly employed in agriculture 1,665, in trade and manufactures, 1,300. It comprehends the upper and lower divisions.
The upper division contains the parishes of
1. St. Martin,
3. Sellatyn, (part of)
4. Oswestry, (part of)
6. Llanymynech, (part of)
7. Lansilin (part of)
8. West Felton, (part of)
9. Ellesmere. (part of)
And the extra-parochial places of Halstone, and Heath Farm.
1. The parish of St. Martin, contains the townships of
1. St. Martin,
2. Iston Rhynn,(Upper)
3. Iston Rhynn, (Lower)
4. Weston Rhynn, (Upper)
5. Weston Rhynn, (Lower)
2. The parish of Whittington, contains the townships of
2. Welsh Frankton,
4. Old Marton, (part of)
3. The Parish of Sellatyn, contains the townships of
2. Porkington, (Upper)
3. Porkington. (Lower)
The increase of population in Sellatyn parish is attributed to the number of cottages built upon land cultivated since 1811.
768 THE HUNDRED OF OSWESTRY.
4. The parish of Oswestry, contains the townships of
15. Weston Cotton.
N.B. The parish of Oswestry contains also the township and chapelry of Morton, which is in the lower division of the hundred. Aston Park, in the southern vicinity of Oswestry, is a noble domain, the natural beauties of which, have received great improvement from the taste and judgment of its highly respected owner, W. Lloyd, Esq. The mansion belonging to it is surpassed by few in elegance.
5. The parish of Llanyblodwell, contains the townships of
5. Llynckliss; or Llunck-Llyss.
Llunck-Llys Pool is a small but beautiful lake, of extraordinary depth. The name in the Welsh signifies SUNK PALACE, and the vulgar have a firmly believed superstition, that when the water is clear and the surface smooth, towers and chimneys may be seen in it at a great depth ! In the summer months fishing parties of ladies and gentlemen frequently spend the day on it in a boat, with musick and refreshments.
6. The parish of Llanymynech, contains the townships of
N.B. The parish of Llanymynech, contains also the township of Treprennal, which is in the lower division. The rest of the parish is in Denbighshire.
THE HUNDRED OF OSWESTRY. 769
In Llanyrnynech Hill, is a considerable excavation, vulgarly called the OGO, (from the Welsh Oggaf, a cave,) supposed to have been an ancient mine of the Romans, as very numerous coins of that people, are frequently found there. It is now seldom explored farther than the mouth, which is of considerable extent, dark and dismal; the entrance is overhung by the stump and branches of a wych-elm, and great fragments have in many places fallen from the roof. Superstition, ever prone to people darkness with the progeny of imagination, has assigned inhabitants here, such as Knockers, Goblins, and Ghosts; and the surrounding peasantry aver, with inflexible credulity that the aerial harmonies of Fairies are frequently heard in the deep recesses. Some years ago all the passages of this subterraneous labyrinth were carefully explored to their extent, by J.F.M. Dovaston, Esq., of West Felton. The entrance for 15 yards is high, but afterwards a person must stoop very low, and sometimes even crawl. It contains many sinuosities, sometimes but a yard, and generally about three yards wide; having many turnings and passages connected with each other; so that a ball of thread, or chalk is necessary for the greater facility of return.- None of the paths go more than 200 yards from the place of entry. Great quantities of human bones are found in many parts, particularly where the cavern becomes wide and lofty. This renders it probable that it has subsequently to the Romans, become either a place of refuge in battle, or a depository for the dead. The passages are cut through the rock, which is of red lime-stone, whereon frequently appear the marks of chissels, and it has doubtless been originally a ramification of rich veins of ore; for every where appear
" the inner vaults of this rude cavern,
Green with the copper tinge, where pendant glisten
Curled stalactites, like frozen snakes,
Where leathery crust, and vegetable film,
Hoar with their fungous fringe the dripping roof."
Long passages frequently terminate in small holes about the size to admit a man's arm, as if the metal ran in strings,
770 THE HUNDRED OF OSWESTRY.
and had been picked out quite clean; with hammers and long chissels, as far at they could reach. The water that drops in some parts of this cave, is of a petrifying quality, and forms stalactites, resembling very long icicles, which, on being touched, ring with a brilliant sound; and the drops of water hanging on the point of each, catch the light of the candle, and give the surrounding space a glittering illumination extremely beautiful, and in a variety of colours. One finger bone was picked up, and brought away with a ring upon it: and about 1758, some miners discovered several human skeletons entire, with culinary vessels, a hatchet, and many Roman coins: one had on, a bracelet of glass beads, and another a very curious battle axe beneath his arm, and in a cave, at some little distance, were the bones of a man, a woman, a child, a dog, and a cat.- Tradition says this labyrinth communicated by subtertaneous paths with Carreghova Castle; and some persons aver that they have gone into it so far as to hear the rivers Vyrnwy and Tanat rolling over their heads and that it leads down to Fairyland. Mr. Dovaston, however, threaded every passage, and marked each with chalk, except one that is so full of deep water, that he could not get his head between the surface and the roof. It is probable this mine was wrought before the year 790, when the Clawdd Offa was made, for that Ditch proceeding from the passage through it, called Porth y Wean, along the brow or summit of these rocks to a place called Bwlch Mawr, (the great notch) in that place the Dyke leaves its direction on the verge, opposite Blodwell Hall, and turns from a southward course to eastward, and fences the south end of the hill (in which this copper mine lay,) to the Welsh side. And it seems that a battle has been fought here in disputing for this mine, or that the very large entrenchments (of which there are three) that run parallel with that of Clawdd Offa eastwardly) were made to defend it.
Persons desirous of gratifying their sight, would act wisely in ascending from the mouth of the Ogo, up to these ridges, immediately over Blodwell Hall, where, suddenly finding themselves on the precipitous rocks of Blodwell, a scene of absolute sublimity and beauty opens at once on the astonished and delighted gaze, perhaps unparalleled, certainly
THE HUNDRED OF OSWESTRY. 771
unsurpassed, in all Wales. The summits of innumerable mountains are seen at once, rising in every variety of ridge, the distant in softest azure, and the near in the most brilliant verdure, with hanging woods, fertile meadows, and the bright rivers Vyrnwy and Tanat uniting in the valley below, and sweeping their sunny waters to join the Severn, under the abrupt and bold rocks pf the magnificent Breidden. Turning towards England, a perfect contrast is presented in the flat, fertile, and expansive plain of Shropshire, richly wooded, and profuse in luxuriant vegetation, terminated by the noble Wrekin, and the faintly feeble outline of the very distant hills pf Cheshire and Stafford. The scene all around may be safety averred to be one that the dullest mind cannot view without excitement, nor the finest without rapturous and highly increased elevation.
On this same hill, and a little below this point of prospect, is a Cromlech, now called the GIANT'S GRAVE. On the north- east end are four large stones, which formerly supported a fifth flat stone on their points, in form of a Brandart, called in Welsh, Trwbad, but they are now thrown down. Towards the south-west, proceed two rows of flat stones, parallel, six feet asunder, and thirty-six in length. On digging here, a Druid's Cell was found, and several other things, with human bones, the teeth very perfect. Between the parallel stones, a stratum of red earth was cut through, about an inch thick, and being cast upon the bank, some dogs present, eat of it freely. It had the appearance of mummy, and smelt foetid.
From the summits above, may be seen the small but graceful lake of Lluncklyss, the fine and venerable tower of Oswestry Church; and in the distance, the column and elegant spires of Shrewsbury.
7. The parish of Ellesmere, in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry, contains the townships of
1. Duddleston, (Upper)
2. Duddleston. (Lower)
The other townships in this parish are in the Ellesmere division of the hundred of Pimhill.
772 THE HUNDRED OF OSWESTRY.
Kilhendre. On the site of the present house stood a very ancient mansion, of chequered timber and brick work, the residence of the family of Edwardes, which had been settled there for at least six centuries, and possessed considerable estates in the townships of Dudleston, St. Martin's, Welch Frankton, Tetchill, Ebnall, &c.
The name of the house, (in itself savouring of antiquity) is the same that it bore in the reign of Henry the Third, and probably more early. Thomas Edwardes, of Kilhendre, Esq. recorded his Pedigree with the Heralds at arms on their visitation of Salop in 1663, and it appears from thence that he derived his descent in a direct male line from the princely blood of Wales. This Thomas Edwardes's great grandfather, Hugh Edwardes, was the first of the family who discontinued the Aps and assumed in 1560, the patronymick of Edwardes.
Hugh Edwardes was the son of Edward ap John ap David ap Madoc ap Ada ap Jorwerth Vychan ap Cadyfor ap Trahairn ap Idon (of Dudleston) ap Rhys Sais (who married Eva, daughter of Griffith ap Griffith ap Rhys, Prince of South Wales) ap Edneved (who married Jonetta daughter of Rhywallon ap Cynvyn Prince of Powis A.D. 1064) ap Llowarch Gam ap Lludocca ap Tudor Trevor, Earl of Hereford, A. D. 997.
Thomas Edwardes, son of the above named Thomas Edwardes, married Anne fifth daughter of Watkin Kyffin of Glascoed, in the county of Denbigh, Esq. by whom he had issue two daughters, Frances and Anne, who dying unmarried, the Kilhendre and other estates descended by intail to the family of Morrall,- John Morrell of Plas Yollen, Esq. having in 1669, married Judith, eldest daughter of Thomas Edwardes the elder, by Frances, daughter of John Aldersey, of Spurstom and Aldersey, in the county of Chester, Esq. The old mansion house of Kilhendre was a curiosity, as showing the superiority in comforts which modern structures possess. The rooms were low, gloomy and inconvenient, a large Hall occupying half the house. Some passages leading to nothing, and others made to favour escape from behind the tapestried walls. It was demolished about 30 years ago. The present house and demesnes were alienated in 1800, and soon after purchased by the present owner, Mr. Boydell. Kilhendre is half a mile north-east of Dudleston.
THE HUNDRED OF OSWESTRY. 773
8. The parish of West Felton, in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry, contains the townships of
The other townships in this parish, viz., West Felton, Sutton, Rednall, Haughton, and Teddesmere, are in the lower division.
9. The parish of Llansilin, contains only the township of Soughton.
The rest of the parish is in Denbighshire.
The lower division of the hundred of Oswestry, contains the parishes of
1. West Felton, (part of)
5. Melverley, (part of)
6. Oswestry, (part of)
7. Llanymynech. (part of)
1. The parish of West Felton, contains the townships of
1. West Felton,
5. Tedsmere; or Teddesmere.
The other townships in this parish, viz., Woolston, Sandford, and Twyford, are in the upper division.
2. The parish of Knockin, contains only the township of Knockin.
3. The parish of Ruyton, or Ruyton of the Eleven Towns contains the townships of
774 THE HUNDRED OF OSWESTRY.
2. Cotton, Shottaton and Shelvocke,
3. Eardiston, pro. Yarson,
Ruyton was formerly the property of the Earls of Arundel. In the reign of James the First, it was sold to a person of the name of Willaston, who resold it together with the Advowson of West Felton Church, to the Craven family. The manor has since been purchased by the Earl of Powis, and the landed property and corn tythes by different persons. The body of the church was some years ago fitted up with new pews and a gallery. The chancel belongs to several lay proprietors and is in very bad repair. The Castle is the property of Mr. Glover, but there are very few remains of this noble and ancient structure. In the fifth year of the reign of Edward the second, Edmund, Earl of Arundel, obtained the grant of a market on Wednesday, and a fair to be yearly kept on the eve of the feast of St. John the Baptist, and also for the three following days. The manor comprehends the parish and the townships of Tedsmere, Rednall, Haughton, and Sutton in West Felton. In Eardiston is Pradoe, the seat of the Hon. Thomas Kenyen, Filazer, Exigenter, and Clerk of the Outlawries in the King's Bench. Mr. Kenyon is the third son of the late illustrious Lord Kenyon.
The Lords of the manor of Ruyton have many important privileges. Prior to the year 1780, a Court Baron was holden every three weeks, where debts were recovered, wills proved, and letters of administration granted to persons residing within the manor. This place is governed by a bailiff, who is chosen annually out of the inhabitants, and attends regularly at the county assizes and sessions, There is a common seal, and a beautiful mace of silver, with Lord Craven's arms upon it. About a century ago, there was a park belonging to the castle, but soon after the deer were driven out of it, over the river Perry, into the park at Boreatton, the property of Rowland Hunt, Esq. At the west of Ruyton park, opposite to Shelvocke, are the remains of a camp, fortified with a deep entrenchment, and at the eleventh mile stone from Oswestry to Salop, another camp is visible. The occupier of Cotton, an ancient house in this parish is
THE HUNDRED OF OSWESTRY. 775
always constable of the township. The Banbury Arms are painted on the glass in one of the windows of this house. Shelvocke is also an antique house in the township of Cotton, Shottaton, and Shelvocke. The Bolds, the Thomases, the Corbets, the Kynastons, and the Owens have been its successive owners. The Owens claim the manorial rights of Shelvocke and Shotatton, but this claim is not allowed by the Earl of Powis. The constables for Shotatton and Shelvocke are chosen at Ruyton, where suit and service are also performed.
The Market here was discontinued in the year 1730, but a fair for sheep is still held on Midsummer day.
4. The parish of Kinnerley, contains the townships of
1. Kinnerley and Argoed,
3. Kynaston, or Kinaston,
4. Maesbrook issa,
6. Maesbrook oche,
7. Tir y coed,
In ancient records the only thing we find related of Kinnerly is that its Castle was plundered and destroyed by the renowned Llewellyn, Prince of Wales, during the early part of the reign of Henry the third. We afterwards find that Llewellyn was compelled to promise to make satisfaction for the injury he had done, and that Henry appointed a day to meet him at Shrewsbury. We have not been able to discover whether the interview took place, but probably not, as we have no writings extant, which give an account of the restoration of the castle. The manor is the property of Lord Powis, and includes only the townships of Kinnerly and Edgerly. The tythes formerly belonged to the Knights of St. John., of Jerusalem, together with the patronage of the church, which were seized by the arbitrary and prodigal hand of the last of the Henrys, and still remain in the possession of the Crown.
776 THE HUNDRED OF OSWESTRV.
The present bells, three in number, were, originally re-cast at Kinnerly; and a benevolent farmer returning from Shrewsbury fair, where he had sold two cows, named Dobbin, and Golden, passing the furnace was asked what he would give towards the new bells; he jocularly replied he would give Dobbin and Golden, at the same time emptying a large handkerchief of silver coin into the furnace, the currency being than principally of silver. From this circumstance the two first bells acquired their superior brightness of tone, and have ever since been called by the names of Dobbin and Golden.
5. The parish of Melverley, contains the townships of
1. Melverley, (Upper)
2. Melverley, (Lower)
Melverley is chapel to Llanforda.
The first we read of Melverley, is that Loofdiputs an Irish adventurer had possession of this place at the time of the Saxon invasion. In the time of Edward the Confessor it was held by one Edric, who strongly fortified the castle built by his father, which had suffered considerable injury in the petty wars of the barons. In the time of William Rufus it was possessed by the Fitz-alans. The castle was demolished by Stephen, and so effectually, that not a vestige of it now remains, and it is even uncertain where it was situated. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Melverley was sold by Henry Earl of Arundel, to Thomas Young, Archbishop of York. Mr. Willaston purchased it of the Archbishop, and shortly after sold it to the Earls of Craven, in whose hands it remained till the year 1780, when it became the property of the Earl of Powis, by purchase. The manor includes the whole of the parish, and also the township of Tir y coed, in the parish of Kiunerley.
The court baron is held in the village. The chapel is of no value in the King's Books, and belonged formerly to Llandrinio Parish, in the county of Montgomery, the rector of which place is patron. Melverley was anciently called
THE HUNDRED OF OSWESTRY. 777
Melwernlee, but more commonly Morfellee. The latter name signifies a sea-like place, Melverley being much subject to floods. The parish contains 1,450 acres, and has two constables.
6. The parish of Oswestry, in the lower division of the hundred, contains only the township of Morton. (a chapelry,)
The other townships in this parish, viz., Oswestry, Aston, Crickheath, Cynnynion, Hisland, Llanforda, Maesbury, Middleton, Pentregaer, Sweeney, Treferclawdd, Trefounen, Trefiach, Wootton, and Weston Cotton, are in the upper division.
7. The parish of Llanymynech, in the lower division of the hundred of Oswestry, contains only the township of Treprennal.
The two other townships in this parish, viz., Llanymynech, and Llwytidmon, are in the upper division. The rest of the parish is in Denbighshire.
The principal places of note in this hundred, are Oswestry, Offa's Dyke, Wat's Dyke, Whittington Castle, Kilhendre in Dudleston, Knockin, Halstone, the seat of J. Mytton Esq. Aston Hall, the seat of - Lloyd Esq., Porkington, the seat of W. Ormsby Gore, Esq. The Nursery, the seat of Mr. Dovaston, near West Felton, and Old Marton, 3 miles south-west of Ellesmere, the birth place of Mr. John Pridden, see p. 328.
The Ellesmere canal runs through the whole hundred, and the river Severn enters Shropshire and bounds the northern part of the hundred near Melverly, where it unites with the Vyrnwy, or Virniew, which bounds it on the north-west, and first touches the county about Llanymynech.
778 THE HUNDRED OF PIMHILL.
THE HUNDRED OF PIMHILL.
The hundred of Pimhill is bounded on the north by Flintshire, on the east by the hundred of Bradford and the liberties of Shrewsbury; on the south by the liberties of Shrewsbury and the hundred of Ford; and on the west by the hundred of Oswestry. N.B. A detached part of the hundred of Pimhill, viz., the chapelry of Albrighton, is surrounded by Shrewsbury liberties. Pimhill contains a mixture of boggy land, and of sand lying over a red sand-stone, with a greater proportion of sound wheat land. The population of this hundred in 1821 was 11,874; the number of inhabited houses, 2,112; the number of families, chiefly employed in agriculture, 1,423; in trade and manufactures, 696. It comprehends the Ellesmere and Baschurch divisions.
The Ellesmere division contains the parishes of
1. Ellesmere, (part of)
2. Welsh Hampton,
5. Middle, (part of)
1. The parish of Ellesmere, contains the townships of
4. Elson and Greenhill,
5. English Frankton,
7. Kenwick Park,
8. Kenwick Wood,
10. New Marton,
14. Cockshut, & Crosemere,
15. Oatley, Newton, and Spoonhill,
16. Birch and Lyth,
17. Stocks and Coptiviney,
18. Colemere, or Coolmere,
19. The Ridges,
20. St. John's,
21. Welshhampton Wood,
22. Kenwick, Stocket, and Whettall, 23, Lee,
The parish of Ellesmere contains also the township of Penley, in the county of Flint, and the townships of Dudleston, upper and lower, in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry.
THE HUNDRED OF PIMHILL. 779
2. The parish of Welshhampton, contains only the township of Welshhampton.
3. The parish of Hordley, contains the townships of
4. The parish of Loppington, contains the townships of
5. The Pimhill part of the parish of Middle, contains the townships of
3. Newton on the hill,
5. Sleep. (part of)
The other part of Sleep is in the parish of Wem, Bradford, North.
The other townships of Middle, viz., Hadnal, Heston, Hardwick and Shotton, Smethcot, and Alderton, are in the liberties of Shrewsbury.
The Baschurch division contains the parishes of
3. Little Ness, (a chapelry)
4. Great Ness,
8. Moreton Corbet,
9. St. Mary's (part of) Shrewsbury.
1. The parish of Petton, contains only the township of Petton.
2. The parish of Baschurch, contains the townships of
760 THE HUNDRED OF PIMHILL.
1. Baschurch, Boreatton, and Birch,
4. Stanwardine in the fields,
5. Stanwardine in the wood,
6. Newton and Merehouse,
9. Weston Lullingfield,
About a mile from Baschurch, is a very remarkable British fastness. The strong hold consists of two positions: one, a natural eminence about forty five feet high, surrounded at the bottom by a circular vallum; the other an elliptical entrenchment, on which more pains have been bestowed very much lower than the other, and perfect on three sides; the fourth being open, and apparently extended into a wider and more irregular form, the traces of which are rather indistinct and uncertain. The vallum of this elliptical entrenchment, where it faces the eminence described above, is thrice the height of any other part of it. The back parts were probably defended by water or bog.
These two positions, with the exception of a kind of causeway to be mentioned presently, are surrounded on one side by a deep pool called the Berth, on all other sides by an extensive morass of black peaty soil; which though much hardened by draining, is still very soft and wet in the winter, and was, in all probability, a thousand years ago, covered by water. The works are connected by a low road, made by incredible labour, of small stones heaped together, and edged by large ones; and both are connected with the main land, by a similar road, leading across the morass in a curve. If this road was covered with water, as probably it was, to the depth of a few inches, strangers would not know where it was: and the loftier fortress had a farther defence in an interruption of the roads, which do not reach all the way to it, but cease within a few feet of the point of junction, and thus act as a kind of rude drawbridge: where the inhabitants might lay down a plank for their friends to come over. At the point where this interruption of the road exists, was evidently the entrance into the fort, which is there defended by two outworks, one, on each side, of stones heaped up, in the manner employed by the British Caractacus, of whom Tacitus tells us "in modum valli saxa priestruit." The works of the
THE HUNDRED OF PIMHILL. 781
lower fort are also, as has been observed, much more laboured at the point where the road connects it with the higher one. The pool is called Berth, which in Welsh is beautiful, an epithet which the spot in some sort deserves, being an eminence in the midst of a country quite flat, and here, the Britons availing themselves of a natural knoll, and a natural bed of gravel, of which the lower eminence consists, enjoyed in security pasturage for their cattle, the fish of the neighbouring piece of water, and, at intervals, the pleasure of the chase: in a word, every thing which the late learned editor of Homer demands for his urbs primaria, or first settlement - mons, planities, et scaturigo aquae - an eminence, a plain, and a supply of water. Vide R. P. Knight. Prolegomena in Homerum 55.
A British prince of the name of Cynddylar was interred at Baschurch about the year 570. He was prince of Pengwern Powis - which included the plain of Shrewsbury, or of Shropshire, (See plain of Shrewsbury, p. 406) the capital of which was Shrewsbury. The churches of Bassa or Baschurch (says Llywarch an ancient British poet) the churches of Bassa are enriched this night, containing the departed remains of the pillar of battle. It was in the fastness above mentioned that Cynddlylar, imitating his aboriginal forefathers, who, as we know from Caesar, fortified themselves in woods and marshes, sought an asylum after his expulsion from Pengwern. No reason can be assigned why he should be buried at Baschurch but that his residence was in its immediate vicinity. It lends some force to this opinion that Baschurch was in the reign of Edward the Confessor, part of the royal demesne of the Crown of England. It is natural to suppose that such demesne was in Mercia derived from the Mercian kings, and it is likely that Offa, in his conquest of western Shropshire, would retain in his own hands all the possessions of the native sovereigns of Powis.
Baschurch presented some traces of its ancient importance as late as the Conqueror's days. It gave name to a hundred: and its church is one of the very few (only eighteen in all) recorded by Domesday, as existing in the whole extent of Shropshire. What a contrast between the ancient and the present state of the county !
782 THE HUNDRED OF PIMHILL.
3. The parish of Little Nees, contains the townships of
1. Little Ness,
N.B. Little Ness chapelry is in the parish of Baschurch.
4. The parish of Great Ness, contains the townships of
1. Great Ness,
2. Felton Butler,
6. Adcot and Milford,
5. The parish of Fitz contains only the township of Fitz, Grafton, and Mytton.
6. The parish of Shrawardine contains only the township of Shrawardine, pro. Shraden.
Shrawardine had formerly a castle, which was demolished by Oliver Cromwell. It had belonged to John Fitz-alan of Clun, father of the first earl of Arundel. There was also another castle, now belonging to Lord Clive, but the remains of both are small.
7. The parish of Montford, contains the townships of
8. That part of the parish of Moreton Corbet which is in the hundred of Pimhill, contains only the townships of
1. Besford (part of)
2. Preston Brockhurst. (part of)
The remainder of these townships, is in the parish of Shawbury, in Bradford, North.
9. That part of the parish of St. Mary, (Shrewsbury) which is in the hundred of Pimhill, contains ouly the township
THE HUNDRED OF BRADFORD. 782
and chapelry of Albrighton, which is encompassed by the liberties of Shrewsbury, and is entirely separated from the rest of the hundred.
The principal places of note in this hundred, are Hardwick, the seat of the Rev. Sir Edward Kynaston, 1½ mile south-west of Ellesmere; Kynaston's Cave, near Nesscliffe, see p. 221. The Meres or Lakes, viz., Ellesmere Mere, adjoining to Ellesmere, Black Mere, Newton Mere, Whitemere, Coolmere, and Crosemere, Baschurch, Ellesmere, New Marton, the birth place of Dr. Thomas Bray, and Mytton, in the parish of Fitz, the birth place of Dr. Waring. see p. 314 and 152. The Ellesmere canal runs through part of the hundred, and the river Severn bounds it on the south, dividing it from the hundred of Ford.
THE HUNDRED OF BRADFORD.
The hundred, of Bradford is bounded on the north by Cheshire; on the east by Staffordshire and the hundred of Brimstrey; on the south by the franchise of Wenlock and the river Severn; and on the west by the liberties of Shrewsbury, the hundred of Pimhill and Flintshire.
The north part of the hundred of Bradford has some low land of a peaty nature, with some good meadow land; a considerable quantity of sand, and some gravelly soils. A manuscript account of this hundred says " its most profitable subterranean earths, are clay for making bricks, marl for improving of lands, and peat, or turf, for firing. In the hundred of Brimstrey, and in Bradford, South, there is the least diversity; it is generally a sandy loam. The population of the hundred of Bradford in 1821, was 58,6784 the number of inhabited houses, 10,932; the number of families, chiefly employed in agriculture, 4,725; in trade and manufactures, 5,520.
It is divided into the north and south parts, which are again divided into the Whitchurch and Drayton divisions of the
784 THE HUNDRED OF BRADFORD.
north part, and the Wellington and Newport divisions of the south part.
The Whitchurch division of the north part of the hundred of Bradford, contains the parishes of
1. Whitchurch,(part of)
5. Lee Brockhurst,
6. Stanton (upon Hine Heath,)
7. Moreton Corbet, (part of)
8. Shawbury. (part of)
1. The Shropshire part of the parish of Whitchurch, contains the townships of
O. Ash Magna,
4. Ash Parva,
5. Black Park,
7. Hollyhurst & Chinnel,
10. Woodhouses, (New)
11. Woodhouses, (Old)
The remaining township of this parish, viz., Wirswall, is in Cheshire.
The celebrated John Earl of Shrewsbury, was buried at Whitchurch.- See a memoir of him p.17.
2. The parish of Ightfield, contains only the township of Ightfield.
3. The parish of Prees, contains the townships of
2. Calverhall, or Cloverley, or Corverall,
4. Fauls Green,
6. Millen Heath,
4. The parish of Wem, contains the townships of
THE HUNDRED OF BRADFORD. 785
4. Edstaston, (a chapelry)
7. Lowe and Ditches,
8. Newtown, (a chapelry)
13. Sleap. (part of)
The other part of the township of Sleap is in Pimhill.
5. The parish of Lee Brockhurst, contains only the township of Lee Brockhurst.
6. The parish of Stanton upon Hine Heath, contains the townships of
4. High Hatton,
7. The parish of Moreton Corbet, contains the townships of
1. Moreton Corbet,
2. Preston Brockhurst, (part of)
Preston Brockhurst is partly in the parish of Shawbury, and in the hundred of Pimhill.
8. The Whitchurch division of North Bradford part of the parish of Shawbury, contains the townships of
4. Preston Brockhurst, (part of)
6. Wytheford, (Little.)
N.B. Acton Reynold in this parish, is in the liberties of Shrewsbury: and Besford, also in this parish, is in the hundred of Pimhill.
The Drayton division of the north part of the hundred of Bradford, contains the parishes of
786 THE HUNDRED OF BRADFORD.
2. Norton, (in Hales)
3. Drayton, (part of)
6. Stoke upon Tern,
8. Ercall Parva, or Child's Ercall,
10. Muckleston, (part of)
11. Edgmond, (part of)
1. The parish of Adderley, contains the townships of
Adderley was formerly a place of great repute, but is now fallen into decay.
2. The parish of Norton in Hales, contains only the township of Norton.
3. The Shropshire part of the parish of Drayton, contains the townships of
4. Little Drayton,
N.B. The townships of Hales, Almington, and Bloor, in this parish, are in Staffordshire.
4. The parish of Cheswardine, contains the townships of
5. The parish of Hodnet, contains the townships of
HUNDRED OF BRADFORD. 787
*2. Moreton Sea, or Say, (a chapelry)
3. Weston and Wixhill under Red Castle, (a chapelry)
5. Little Bolas,
9. Marchamley, or Marchomley
11. Styche, and Woodlands,
13. Hopton and Espley.
* A separate Assessment, but not a parish.
At Styche, the seat of the late W. Clive, Esq., M. P., the first Lord Clive was born. See a memoir of him p. 110.
Llomarchus or Llowarchus a Welsh poet uses the word Hydnydh for the name of a place, which Mr. Llwyd conjectures to be Hodnet; but others are of opinion that the name is Saxon from Odo the owner, or some one of note there before the conquest. Earl Roger held Odenett which gave name to the hundred in Doomsday, that has since gone under the name of Bradford, North. That earl had here a presbyter and a prepositus. A presentment was made by a jury at the assizes in the fifty-sixth of Henry the third, touching the forest of Hodnet. George de Cantelupe Baron of Bergeveny in the first of Edward the first was seized of the manor, as one of the fees appendant to the Barony of Montgomery. It appears that this George had two sisters his coheirs: Johanna married to John de Hastings, and Millicent married to Eudo de la Zouch, who had for their property one knight's fee, which Odo de Hodnet held in Hodnet. In the twentieth of Edward the first a quo warranto was brought against William de Hodnet for holding a market, and claiming the emendations of assize of bread and beer, with the liberties of free warren in the manor of Hodnet. For plea he produced his charters, and was dismissed with honour. The jury at the same assizes found that the serjeanty of William de Hodenet was to be steward of the castle of Montgomery, and to defend the outworks of the castle with his family and servants, and that this serjeanty had been given to his ancestors by Robert de Belesme, Earl of Shrewsbury. The daughter and heir of William de Hodenett was married to William de Ludlow. In the twenty-third of Edward the third, Lawrence de Ludlow
788 THE HUNDRED OF BRADFORD.
son and heir of Maud wife of William de Ludlow, paid 100s. for the relief of his manor of Hodenyth, holden by the service of one knight's fee, by Lawrence de Ludlow chevalier in Hodnet. In the nineteenth of Richard the second, William la Zouch de Harringworth, knight, was seized of this manor. Escheat in the twenty-second of Richard the second, Roger de Mortimer Earl of March was seized of the whole knight's fee of John de Ludlow in Hodnet.
In the nineteenth of Henry the seventh, Gilbert Talbot did homage for this manor. In the thirty-second of Henry the eighth, Thomas Maldicote, and Henry Townrowe, did homage and fealty "pro situ de Hodnet manerii." In the fourteenth of Elizabeth, the queen gave leave to John Vernon and Elizabeth his wife, to alienate this manor to Walter Earl of Essex, and his heirs. And in the second of James, Sir Robert Vernon, knight, makes an alienation hereof to Robert Needham, Esq. and others. In the twelfth of Charles the second, Henry Vernon of Hodnet was created a baronet of this kingdom.
6. The parish of Stoke upon Tern, contains the townships of
7. The parish of Hinstock, contains only the township of Hinstock.
8. The parish of Ercall Parva, or Child's Ercall, contains only the township of Child's Ercall.
9. The parish of Chetwynd, in Bradford, Drayton contains only the township of Howle.
THE HUNDRED OF BRADFORD. 780
Chetwynd township is in the Newport division of Bradford, South.
10. The Shropshire part of the parish of Muckleston, or Muccleston, contains the townships of
4. Woore. (a chapelry)
The rest of the parish is in Staffordshire.
11. The parish of Edgmond, contains only the the townships of
N.B. The remainder of the townships in this parish, viz., Edgmond, Tibberton, (a chapelry) Cherrington, (part of) Church Aston, (a chapelry) Adney, Caynton, Standford, and Chetwynd Aston, are in Bradford, South.
The Newport division of the south part of the hundred of Bradford, contains the parishes of
1. Chetwynd, (part of)
2. Great Bolas,
4. Edgmond, (part of)
7. Preston upon the Wild Moors,
9. Sheriff Hales. (part of)
1. The parish of Chetwynd, contains only the township of Chetwynd.
Howle, a township in this parish, is in the Drayton division.
2. The parish of Great Bolas, contains the townships of
1. Great Bolas,
3. Cherrington, (part of)
The other part of the township of Cherrington is in the parish of Edgmond, in this division.
790 THE HUNDRED OF BRADFORD.
3. The parish of Newport, contains only the township of Newport.
4. The parish of Edgmond, contains the townships of
2. Tibberton, (a chapelry)
3. Cherrington, (part of)
4. Church Aston, (a chapelry)
8. Chetwynd Aston.
The townships of Tibberton, Cherrington, and Church Aston, separately maintain their own poor.
The other two townships in this parish, viz., Pickstock, and Puleston, are in the Drayton division, and part of Cherrington is in the parish of Great Bolas.
5. The parish of Longford, contains the townships of
6. The parish of Kinnersley, contains only the township of Kinnersley.
7. The parish of Preston upon the Wild Moors, contains only the township of Preston.
8. The parish of Lillesball, contains the townships of
1. Lilleshall, 2. Muxton and Donnington.
9. The Shropshire part of the parish of Sheriffhales contains the township of Woodcot.
The other part of this parish is in the county of Stafford.
The Wellington division of the South part of the hundred of Bradford, contains the parishes of
THE HUNDRED OF BRADFORD. 791
1. Waters Upton,
2. Ercal Magna, or High Ercal,
3. Long, or Longdon upon Tern,
4. Eyton upon Wildmores,
8. Upton Magna,
9. Wrockwardine, or Rockwardine,
15. Great Dawley,
16. Stirchley, or Sturchley
17. Eaton Constantine,
And the extra-parochial place of Haughmond demesne.
1. The parish of Waters Upton, contains only the township of Waters Upton.
2. The parish of Ercal Magna, contains the townships of
2. Cotwall and Moor Town,
7. Cold Hatton,
9. Sleap, (part of) Roden,
10. Haughton, partly in the parish of Upton Magna, and partly in Haughmond demesne,
12. Isom Bridge,
In the township of High Ercall is High Ercall Hall, an ancient mansion, built by Sir Francis Newport, knight, now occupied by Mr. Stedman. On the building is the following inscription:
vero suae 52
miles Hoc sedi
ficium Deo incaepta
792 THE HUNDRED OF BRADFORD.
On a stone in the garden wall, which once formed part of the house, are these words:
Pars ista hujus domi
Inchoata fuit 14
Martii, finita vero 13
Octobris 1620 opera
et impensis Francisci
This house was probably garrisoned in the time of the civil wars. In levelling a mound near it, Mr. Stedman's labourers discovered about a thousand silver coins, to the amount of 12¼lb, the greater part of the reign of Charles the first, some of Elizabeth, and some of Philip and Mary. Admiral Geary who distinguished himself in the American war, was born in the parish of High Ercall.
3. The parish of Long, or Longdon upon Tern, contains only the township of Long, or Longdon.
4. The parish of Eyton upon the Wildmoors, contains the townships of
5. The parish of Rodington, contains the townships of
6. The parish of Uffington contains only the township of Uffington.
7. The parish of Withington, contains only the township of Withington.
THE HUNDRED OF BRADFORD. 793
8. The parish of Upton Magna, contains the townships of
1. Upton Magna,
2. Haughton, (part of)
4. Preston Boats.
9. The parish of Wrockwardine, contains the townships of
6. Charlton, or Chorlton,
8. Wrockwardine Wood,
10. The parish of Wellington, contains the townships of
6. Lee Gomery,
Beneath the Wrekin, and adjoining the road leading to Shrewsbury, is ORLETON, the seat of William Cludde, Esq. of an ancient family in this county. The house is situated in a rich, verdant lawn, well clothed with venerable oaks. The mansion at present has a modern air, but is very ancient, and was, till of late, enclosed with walls and a gate-house, surrounded by a moat. Here is a valuable collection of pictures, the chief of which are, a Jewish Rabbi, by Rembrandt, a very fine painting; Rinaldo and Armida, by Titian; a Cupid, the Victor Mundi, by Vandyk; four landscapes, said to be by Salvator Rosa; and a View on the Rhine, by Wouvermans.
11. The parish of Atcham, contains the townships of
1. Atcham, or Attingham,
3. Berwick Maviston.
794 THE HUNDRED OF BRADFORD.
The townships of Chilton, Cronkhill, and Eamstry, or Emstry, in this parish, are in the hundred of Condover.
Upton Magna includes Haughmond demesne, which is extra-parochial.
Berwick Maviston, otherwise Barwicke Malvessin, Juxta Attingham is a lordship within the parish of Atcham.
For the origin of the name and family of Malvessin, we must refer to the puissant host of our Norman Conqueror, to the splendid genealogies of the ancient French nobility, and the formidable works of war in remote ages of chivalry and romance. Our old historians inform us that when a besieging army erected a Tower, or Castle, near the place besieged, such castle was called in French, a Malvoisin, signifying that it was a dangerous neighbour to the enemy, because it threatened to cut him off from all possibility of relief.
In the northern, but fruitful district of the Isle de France, situate on the confines of the Gastinois, and not very far from the banks of the Seine, sometime stood one of these awful bulwarks, from which it is presumed the neighbouring and illustrious Lords of Rosny first assumed the name of Malvoisin, a name standing proudly conspicuous in the ancient French records of feudal grandeur, and which may be traced amongst the nations of Europe in the succeeding ages, by various acts of munificent piety and romantick valour. Of this family was Sampson Manvisin, archbishop of Rheims, and the renowned Sir Guy Manvoisin, who fought under the banner of St. Louis, against the Saracens of Egypt; but the head of this house in the eleventh century was that venerable chief Raoul Manvoisin surnamed Le Barbu, living in 1080, at the seigniory of Rosny near the city of Mantes, and who ranking amongst the names of his sons, Robert and Hugo, and of his grandsons William who fell in battle, may remind us of the same favourite and distinguished names so familiar in the pedigree of our Anglo Norman line at Ridware in Staffordshire.
It was natural to expect that some individual of this powerful race, would on that memorable day when the Normans invaded England, be ambitious to draw his sword at the call of Duke William, his neighbour, and probably his feudal lord. Accordingly it appears by the Roll of Battle
THE HUNDRED OF BRADFORD. 795
Abbey that Malvesyn was one of those "two hundred and sixty knights famous in the conqueror's army," who fought in his cause at Hastings; and by whose means he won the crown of England, the names being thus recorded among the rest of those bold adventurers:
"Dauvey et Devysyn,"
"Mature et Malvesyn."
Having braved all the dangers and therefore having a right to share the spoils of victory, Malvesyn would be eager to fix his residence on some of the conquered lands; and we are assured by uniform tradition that his valour was rewarded with the grant of the lordship of Rideware, which was probably held by this Norman knight under the Montgomerys, Norman Earls of Shrewsbury (as he or his son presently held it, under Fitz-Alans and the castle of Oswaldester) by the knightly tenure of bearing arms against the Welsh. But there were other lands of which he got possession seemingly at the same early period, and which were held likewise under the same barony, by the same Military service. Among these was the Lordship of Berwicke, (Juxta Attingham) in Shropshire; and as the leading branch of this family, gave their name to the Seigniory of Manvesin Rosny in France; so these two younger branches communicated the same name to their respective Lordships of Manvesin Ridware and Manvesin Berwick in England, which became their principal places of abode, and where they long continued to flourish in the days of our Henrys and Edwards, a knightly gallant race in an age of gallantry; foremost, like their Norman kindred in deeds of arms, and works of piety. In France and Normandy, Sampson Mauvoisin was Archbishop of Rheims, Sir Robert Grey was a benefactor to the abbey of Boe, and fought in the Holy Wars, and William was slain in battle. In England, Scotland, or Ireland, Hugo Malveysin founded a priory; Nicholas, Henry, Herbert, and Manasser, were benefactors to the Monks; William and Peter were Bishops of Glasgow, St. Andrews, and Ossory; Malvesyn the Norman, fought at the conquest of England; Robert, at the conquest of Ireland; and Sir Henry, in the Holy Wars; Peter and John died Governors of the Castle of Oswestry; John, the last of the Berwick line, was slain at the Wrekin, and Sir Robert the last of the Ridware line, fell fighting for the King, at Shrewsbury.
796 THE HUNDRED OF BRADFORD.
Indeed, these Lords of Ridware and Berwicke, may be said to have lived in arms. Each stationed near the borders of Wales, and holding his domains under the same baron marcher by the hardy tenure of border service, they would find it no easy task to defend what their common ancestor had won by the sword.
Henry Malveysin, probably son of the Norman, must have been born in the conqueror's reign, being of sufficient age in the year 1100, the last of William Rufus, (or 1110, 1 Henry the first, as Mr. Nasmith contends) to attest the foundation grant of William Fitz-Alan (Fitz-Flaald) to the abbey of Haghmon, in Shropshire; test. Rob: fil: Haber, Henrico, Malevicino, Ric. de Constantino, Helia de Hedingeham, Galfr. de Ver, &c. in which important deed he stands the second witness, amongst men of note, being then it should seem, one of Fitz-Alan's knights, under whom he might hold the Lordships of Haghmon, and Berwicke, in that county, as Herbert Malvoisin, is proved to have held them not long afterwards; together with Ridware and Potes in Staffordshire, for there is proof on record that these manors were held by Hugo and Henry Malveysin, under this barony of Fitz-Alan, very soon after this period; and I take it to be the former Henry Malveysin, who is named with Peter Malveysin, in an extent of lands belonging to the Monastery of Burton, in the first year of Abbot Geoffrey, 14 Henry the first, where it is said they ought to join with others in the inclosure of a certain hay of Bromlegh (Abots) "debent Claude certain hayam de Brom," a manor adjoining immediately to the Malveysins manor of Rideware, and to their demesne lands in Blythburg. If then, he could retire from his Lord's castle in Shropshire, possibly he had now fixed his residence either in Bromlegh, or Blythburgh, for in each of these the Malveysins appear to have settled very early. It has been presumed that he had issue, Hugo, Henry, and Nicholas, all living in the reign of
THE HUNDRED OF BRADFORD. 797
Henry the second, and holding their lands under that very house of Fitz-Alan, with which this Henry has been shewn to have connexion; it is. likely therefore that some of these possessions descended from him, in right of blood to one or more of the three following. Hugo Malveysin, was Lord of Rideware, and held one knight's fee, under Fitz-Alan, in Salopschire, regno Henry the second, Henry Malveysin was Lord of Berwicke, and appears along with Hugo as holding one manor under Fitz- Alan in the same county.
He attests with Herbert his son, Hugo's grant in Rideware to his son Hugo mentioned hereafter. Also in company with the strangers Fitz Noel, and other marchers of note; he (Henricus Malvisin) attests William (fil William) Fitz Alan's grant to the Abbey of Buildewas, in Shropshire. With the consent of Aveline his wife, he bestowed the tenth of his lordship of Berewicke, (deca dini sui de B) on the Abbey Church of the blessed Mary of Lilleshull, in that county; his son Herbert de Mavesyn, was Lord of Berewicke and Haghmon, by deed Sans date, holding half a knight's fee in the former, regno Henry 3, and gave all the Amble Lands of Locksey, to the same Abbey, when his brother William became a Monk there. Nicholas Malveisin was Lord of Potes, (Juxta Stafford,) whence he is sometimes named Nicholas de Potes, which he held regno Henry 2, under Fitz Alan, as Saer Malveisin also held it, regno Henry 3, by the service of guarding the Castle of Oswaldstre, during the wars between England and Wales. This Nicholas Malveisin was a benefactor to the priory of Saint Thomas the Martyr, near Stafford; and I take him to be the same Nicholas Malveisin who gave the Vile of Sallington, in that county, to the priory of Stone, which was confirmed by Henry the second, and also afterwards by Nicholas's nephew and heir Herbertus Malusvicinus, before-mentioned, and whose descendants of the male line continued lords of Berwick Malvesyn, (the name it still bears) till the reign of Henry the fourth. In which reign John Malveisin, who died without issue, being slain at a hunting match, with men of Shropshire, at the Wrekin, his niece Edith, daughter of Alan, (or Adam) Malveisin carried this Berwicke Estate by marriage into the family of Wydcombe of W. in Co. Somerset, from which it was passed in like manner, in 1689, to Grant of Hambrook, in Co. Gloucester, and was purchased from them by the ancestor of the late Noel Hill, Esq., created Lord Berwick in 1784, who took his title of Baron from hence. An old roosted mansion was still standing in Berwick. 1795, then a Farm house where the Grants, the Wydecombes, and probably their ancestors the Malveysins resided formerly. Pedigree penes Powis de Parra Berwick, Arm. Register of St. Mary's, Salop, Grant's Evidences, &c. Since the year 1795, the Buildings in this township of Berwick, have been almost wholly taken down, there being only the remnant of one habitation left to record this once celebrated place.
798 THE HUNDRED OF BRADFORD.
Arms of Malvesin of Berewicke, Mavesyn, A. a chevron engrailed between three mullets, S. Book of Ped., in Shrewsbury School Libr., and Eadm. Heraldry; But. in Bibl. Hard., 1068, p. 90, and 173, G., 3 bendlets A., are given as the coat Armour of Henry de Malvesyne, no doubt the Croisader of Ridware, and also of John Manveysyn, whom I presume to be of Berwicke.
12. The parish of Wombridge, contains only the township of Wombridge.
13. The parish of Uppington, contains only the township of Uppington.
14. The parish of Wroxeter, contains the townships of
3. Eyton, or Eyton upon Severn, and Dryton,
At Eyton upon Severn there was a mansion (of the Newport family) which was burnt: the lodges are still remaining; one of them had been added to, and is inhabited by Mr. Christopher Scott. At Eyton Lord Herbert of Chirbury, was born.
15. The parish of Great Dawley, contains the townships of
THR HUNDRED OF BRADFORD. 799
1. Great Dawley, or Dawley Magna,
2. Dawley Parva, or Little Dawley.
3. Malin's Lee.
16. The parish of Stirchley, or Sturchley, contains only the township of Stirchley.
17. The parish of Eaton Constantine, contains only the township of Eaton Constantine.
18. The parish of Leighton, contains the townships of
This parish contains also the township of Belswardine, or Belserdine, which is in the Condover division of the hundred of Condover.
19. The parish of Buildwas contains only the township of Buildwas.
At a place called the Birches, situated between Buildwas bridge and the Ironbridge, about 11 miles from Shrewsbury, an extraordinary phenomenon occurred in May 1775, of which the following account has been given by the Rev. J. Fletcher, of Madeley.
" Hearing, on Thursday May 27, (says Mr. Fletcher) that at a place called the Birches, (probably from some remarkable Birch trees, which formerly grew there,) many acres of land, that a gentleman of my parish, holds on the borders of Buildwas parish, had that morning about four o'clock suffered strange revolutions, as well as the river Severn I went to see if there was any foundation for so extraordinary a report.
" When I came to the spot, the first thing that struck me, was the destruction of the little bridge, that separated the parish of Madeley from that of Buildwas, and the total disappearing of the turnpike road to Buildwas bridge, instead of which
800 THE HUNDRED OF BRADFORD.
nothing presented itself to my view, but a confused heap of bushes, and huge clods of earth, tumbled one over another. The river also wore a different aspect. It was shallow, turbid, noisy, boisterous; and came down from a different point. Whether I considered the water or the land, the scene appeared to me entirely new: and, as I could not fancy myself in another part of the country, I concluded, that the God of nature bad shaken his providential iron rod over the subverted spot before me.
" Following the track made by a great number of spectators, who came already from the neighbouring parishes, I climbed over the ruins, and came to a field well grown with rye-grass, where the ground was greatly cracked in several places; and and where large turfs, some entirely, others half turned up, exhibited the appearance of strait or crooked furrows, imperfectly formed by a plough drawn at a venture.
"Getting from that field over the hedge, into a part of the road, which was yet visible, I found it raised in one place sunk in another, concave in a third, hanging on one side in a fourth, and contracted, as if some uncommon force had pressed the two hedges together. But the higher part of it surprised me most, and brought directly to my remembrance those places of Mount Vesuvius, where the solid, stony lava has been strongly worked by repeated earthquakes: for the hard, beaten gravel, that formed the surface of the road, was broken every way into huge masses, partly detached from each other, with deep apertures between them, exactly like the shattered lava. This striking likeness of circumstances, made me conclude, that the similar effect might proceed from the same cause, namely a strong convulsion on the surface, if not in the bowels of the earth.
"Going a little farther towards Buildwas, I found that the road was again totally lost for a considerable space; having been overturned, absorbed, or tumbled with the hedges that bounded it, to a considerable distance towards the river. This part .of the desolation appeared then to me inexpressibly dreadful.
"Between a shattered field and the river, there was that morning a bank, on which, besides a great deal of under wood, grew twenty fine large oaks. This wood shot with such
THE HUNDRED OF BRADFORD. 801
violence into the Severn before it, that it forced the water in great columns a considerable height, like mighty fountains, and gave the overflowing river a retrograde motion.
"This is not the only accident that happened to the Severn; for near the grove. the channel, which was chiefly of a soft blue rock, burst in ten thousand pieces, and rose perpendicularly about ten yards, heaving up the immense quantity of water, and the shoals of fishes that were therein. Among the rubbish at the bottom of the river, which was very deep in that place, there were one or two huge stones, and a large piece of timber, or an oak tree, which from time immemorial had lain partly buried in the mud, I suppose in consequence of some flood. The stones and the tree were thrown up, as if they had been only a pebble and a stick, and are now at at some distance from the river, many feet higher than the surface of it.
"Ascending from the ruins of the road, I came to those of a barn, which, after travelling many yards towards the river, bad been absorbed in a chasm, where the shattered roof was yet visible. Next to those remains of the barn, and partly parallel to the river, was a long hedge, which had been torn from a part of it yet adjoining to the garden hedge, and had been removed above forty yards downward, together with some large trees that were in it, and the land that it enclosed.
"The tossing, tearing, and shifting of so many acres of land below, was attended with the formation of stupendous chasms above.
"At some distance above, near the wood which crowns the desolated spot, another chasm, or rather a complication of chasms, excited my admiration. It is an assemblage of chasms, one of which, that seems to terminate the desolation to the north east, runs some hundred yards towards the river and Madeley wood; it looked like the deep channel of some great serpentine river dried up, whose little islands, fords, and hollows, appear without a watery veil.
"This long chasm at the top, seems to be made up of two or three, that run into each other. And their conjunction, when it is viewed from a particular point, exhibits the appearance
802 THE HUNDRED OF BRADFORD.
of a ruined fortress, whose ramparts have been brown up by mines that have done dreadful execution, and yet have spared here and there a pyramid of earth, or a shattered tower, by which the spectators can judge of the nature and solidity of the demolished bulwark.
"Fortunately there was on the devoted spot but One house, inhabited by two poor countrymen and their families. It stands yet, though it has removed about a yard from its former situation. The morning in which the desolation happened, Samuel Wilcocks, one of those countrymen, got up about 4 o'clock, and opening the window to see if the weather was fair, he took notice of a small crack in the earth, about four or five inches wide; and observed the above mentioned field of corn, heaving up and rolling about like the waves of the sea. The trees, by the motion of the ground, waved also as if they Lad been blown with the wind, though the air was calm and serene. The river Severn, which for some days had overflowed its banks, was also very much agitated, and seemed to run back to its source. The man being astonished at such a sight, rubbed his eyes, supposing himself not quite awake; but being soon convinced that destruction stalked about, he alarmed his wife, and taking their children in their arms, they went out of the house as fast as they could, accompanied by the other man and his wife. A kind Providence directed their flight; for instead of running eastward, across the fields that were just going to be overthrown, they fled westward, into a wood that had little share in the desolation.
"When they were about twenty yards from the house, they perceived a great crack run very quick up the ground from the river. Immediately the land behind them, with the trees and hedges, moved towards the Severn, with great swiftness and an uncommon noise, which Samuel Wilcocks compared to a large flock of sheep running swiftly by him.
"It was then chiefly, that desolation expanded her wings over the devoted spot, and the Birches saw a momentary representation of a partial chaos:- Then nature seemed to have forgotten her laws:- Trees commenced itinerant: those that were at a distance from the river, advanced towards it, while the submerged oak broke out of it watery confinement, and by rising many feet, recovered a place on dry land:- The
THE HUNDRED OF BRADFORD. 803
solid road was swept away, as its dust had heed in a stormy day:- Then, probably, the rocky bottom of the Severn emerged, pushing towards heaven astonished shoals of fishes, and hogsheads of water innumerable:- The wood, like an embattled body of vegetable combatants, stormed the bed of the overflowing river; and triumphantly waved its green Colours over its recoiling flood:- Fields became moveables; nay, they fled when none pursued; and as they fled, they rent the green carpets that covered them in a thousand pieces.- In a word, dry land exhibited the dreadful appearance of a sea-storm: Solid earth, as if it had acquired the fluidity of water, tossed itself into massy waves, which rose or sunk at the beck of him who raised the tempest.- And, what is most astonishing, the stupendous hollow of one of those waves, ran for near a quarter of a mile through rocks and a stony soil, with as much ease as if dry earth, stones, and rocks, had been a part of the liquid element.
"Soon after the river was stopt, Samuel Cookson, a farmer who lives a quarter of a mile below the Birches, on the same side of the river, was much terrified by a dust of wind, that beat against his window, as if shot had been thrown against it: but his fright greatly increased, when getting up to see if the flood, that was over his ground, had abated, he perceived that all the water was gone from his fields, and that scarce any remained in the Severn. He called up his family; ran to the river; and finding that it was dammed up, he made the best of his way to alarm the inhabitants of Buildwas, the next village above, which be supposed, would soon be under water.
"He was happily mistaken. Providence just prepared a way for their escape. The Severn, notwithstanding a considerable flood, which at that time rendered it doubly rapid and powerful, having met with two dreadful shocks, the one from her rising bed, and the other from the intruding wood, could do nothing but foam and turn back with impetuosity. The ascending and descending streams conflicted some time about Buildwas bridge. The river sensibly rose for some miles back, and continued rising, till just as it was near entering into the houses at Buildwas, it got a vent through the fields on the right; and after spreading far and near, over them, collected
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all its might to assault its powerful aggressor, I mean the grove, that had so unexpectedly turned it out of the bed, which it had enjoyed for countless ages. Sharp was the attack, but the resistance was yet more vigorous; and the Severn, repelled again and again, was obliged to seek its old empty bed, by going the shortest way to the right; and the moment it found it again, it precipitated therein with a dreadful roar, and for a time formed a considerable cataract; with inconceivable fury, (as if it wanted to be revenged on the first thing that came in its way) began to tear, and wash away a fine rich meadow opposite to the grove; and there in a few hours, worked itself a new channel about three hundred yards long, through which a barge from Shrewsbury ventured three or four days after.
All wonder at the strangeness of the overthrow: some ascribe it to an earthquake; others to a slip of the ground; and not a few remain neuter, confessing that Providence has conducted this phenomenon in such a manner, as to confound the wisdom of the wise, and force even philosophers to adore in silence the God of nature, whose ways are past fading out, who giveth sot always account of his matters, and who perhaps strikes an ambiguous blow, to convince us that the bow of his righteous vengeance has more, than one string, and that (to say nothing of the other elements) our mother earth may afford us an untimely grave, either by the slipping of her back, or by the convulsion of her bowels.
"My employment and taste leading me more to search out the mysteries of heaven, than to scrutinize the phenomena of the earth; and to point at the wonders of grace, than at those of nature; I leave the decision of the question about the slip and the earthquake, to some abler philosopher."
The principal places of note in this hundred are Hawkstone, the seat of Sir Rowland Hill, Bart., 5 miles north-east of Wem; Blackmere, 11 mile north-east of Whitchurch, the birth place of John Talbot, the first Earl of Shrewsbury; Calverball, or Cloverley, the seat of J. W. Dodd, Esq., 5 miles south-east
THE HUNDRED OP FORD. 805
of Whitchurch; Adderley, the seat of Sir Andrew Corbett, Bart., 3½ miles north of Drayton; Shavington, the seat of the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Kilmorey, 4 miles north-west by north of Drayton; The Styche, near Drayton, the residence of the late W. Clive, Esq., and the birth place of Lord Clive, see p. 110. Prees the seat of Sir Robert Hill, Knight, 4 miles north-east of Wem; Ketley, famous for its iron and coal works; Rowton, in the parish of High Ercall, the birth place of Richard Baxter, the celebrated nonconformist, see p. 458; Eyton, in the parish of Wroxeter, the birth place of Lord Herbert, of Cbirbury, see p. 144; Lillesball, 5i miles north-east of Wellington; Attiogham, 4 miles south-east of Shrewsbury, the seat of Lord Berwick; Wroxeter, Buildwas, the Wrekin, Wem, Whitchurch, Drayton, Newport and Wellington; Orleton, the seat of W. Cludde, Esq., 1 mile west of Shiffnal. The Shrewsbury canal runs through the south part of this hundred, to near Wombridge, and the Severn bounds it on part of the west, and on the north, dividing South Bradford from the liberties of Shrewsbury, and Condover, and a detached part of Stottesden. Wem was the native place of Sir Thomas Adams, Sir John Astley, and Mr. John Ireland. Whitchorch, of Wheelock; Newport, of the witty Tom Brown; and Wellington, of Dr. Withering, the celebrated botanist.
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The hundred of Ford is bounded on the west by Montgomeryshire, on the north by Montgomeryshire, the hundred of Oswestry, and the hundred of Pimbill; on the east by the liberties of Shrewsbury and the hundred of Condover, and on the south by the hundred of Purslow. In the hundred of Ford there is much pebbly loam, and some light coloured clays, lying over limestone in the north borders; its southern district is very much a deep, clayey soil, with coal under, and becomes at last gravelly, rocky, and uneven. The population of this hundred in 1821, was 6,384; the number of inhabited
806 THE HUNDRED OF FORD.
houses, 1,098; the number of families chiefly employed in agriculture, 818; in trade and manufactures, 266. It comprehends the Ford and Pontesbury divisions.
The Ford division of the hundred of Ford, contains the parishes of
1. Alberbury, (part of)
1. The Shropshire part of the parish of Alberbury, contains the townships of
The township of Wattlesborough is partly in Cardeston parish.
Alberbury parish is partly in Deyther hundred, and partly in Caurse hundred, in the county of Montgomery; viz., the townships of Bausley upper, Bausley lower, Criggeon, Middleton, and Uppington.
2. The parish of Ford, contains only the township of Ford.
3. The parish of Cardeston, contains the townships of
2. Wattlesborough. (part of)
4. The parish of Westbury, contains the townships of
3. Marsh and Wigmore,
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An extraordinary flood happened at Minsterley on the evening of May 27th, 1811, of which the following interesting account is taken from the Shrewsbury Chronicle of the Friday following.
"On Monday afternoon a violent storm of hail, thunder and lightning, was widely felt, particularly S. W. of the town of Shrewsbury. The air was sultry, the lightning very vivid, and the thunder is described, by persons near Minsterley, to have been similar to the report of many cannon immediately over their beads: near the White Grit, hailstones two inches in circumference, lay almost a foot deep. About five o'clock in the afternoon, a cloud burst upon the ridge of bills called the Stiperstones, and a torrent of water, with irresistible force, and thundering sound, rushing down the hill side, swept away several small cottages belonging to the White Grit miners. Part of the vast body of water took a direction through Habberley, but the greatest quantity pursued its course along the valley through which runs Minsterley brook. From the vicinity of Mr. Nailor's, of Hoxton Mills, buildings and every thing in its way were overwhelmed; and our readers may form some idea of the bulk and impetuosity of the torrent, when they are told, that among many others which it tore up by the roots, one tree, containing about 80 feet of timber, was floated over meadows more than a mile.
"Between five and six o'clock the deluge reached Minsterley, flooding almost every house in the village. Mr. Vaughan, a farmer, was swept away from his fold, and carried several hundred yards through the bridge, where the current threw him upon a pigstie, from whence he climbed to the roof of a house and was saved: his sister was carried a great distance, and left in the branches of a tree; but so much bruised that she is not expected to survive; not a trace is left of his thrashing machine, or stabling; but five horses escaped. Thirteen persons were miraculously saved in the Angel pub-lick house: on the first alarm they ran up stairs, and when the water had reached the second story, they clung to the rafters. The stabling, with all other contiguous buildings, were swept away. In the stables were 17 horses, and they swam out. The stables of the Rev. Mr. Williams, and part of the church wall, are also carried away. The persons who
808 THE HUNDRED OF FORD.
perished in this village were, Mr. Hoggins, a farmer; Holmes, a labourer, and another person.
"The next scene of desolation was Pontesford, where it is enough to mention its ravages only at one spot. At Mr. Heighway's it burst into the house through the windows, till at length the walls gave way, and Mr. Heighway's venerable grandmother, aged 83, with two female servants and a labourer, were hurried into the abyss. Meanwhile Mr. Heighway's wife and another lady climbed upon the roof of the house, from whence they beheld Mr. Heighway clinging to a pole, who was lifted by two men upon the bridge about 30 yards distant. Mr. Bennett, an overseer of Pontesbury coal works, and two others, got into a hay loft, where deeming themselves secure, they were in the act of petitioning the Almighty to deliver the persons upon the bridge, part of which had just fallen in; when instantly the building wasswept away, and the unfortunate men were all lost. The bodies of these men were not found yesterday. The loss of Mr. Heighway it is supposed, will exceed £4000. Nearly the whole of his house, except the end on which his wife and her companion were saved, is destroyed, together with the furniture, stabling, barns, sheds, two valuable horses, tan-pits, hides, bark, &c.; and every tree is torn away from his orchard. At this place the water was at least 20 feet deep.
"At Minsterley the water was from six to eight feet deep in some houses: the house and mill at Plott's Green were carried away.
"At Hanwood the damage done in the linen mills of Marshall, Atkinson, and Co., is considerable. The stocks of flour and the premises belonging to Mr. Blower, and Mr. Pickering, have sustained much injury; and indeed it may said, that every bridge and mill within the course of the torrent, has either been destroyed or greatly damaged. Mr. Warter's of Cruck Meole, had one cow carried away, and Mr. Rogers another.
"The torrent following the course of Meole Brook, reached Coleham, one of the suburbs of this town, about half-past ten o'clock at night, with a tremendous roaring noise. The cellars and lower rooms, belonging to the Seven Stars publick house, and all the houses adjoining were deluged; the street
THE HUNDRED OF FORD. 809
in front of Mr. Hulbert's factory was inundated to the depth of nearly three feet, by an instantaneous gush. At this time the noise of the current was inconceivably. dreadful, and the cries of "Help ! Help !" - " Drowning !" &c. contributed to the horror of the sound. The force of this great body of water rushing into the Severn from Meole Brook, actually turned the current of the river Severn, which rose near the English Bridge, four feet perpendicular, in less than ten minutes. Much damage has been done at the Abbey mill, and in the garden contiguous. The force of the torrent running under Coleham bridge, carried with it a portion of the field occupied by Mr. Birch, by which several hundred square yards of ground will be lost to the owner.
"The number of lives lost, amounts to nine at Pontesford, and three at Minsterley. Yesterday, the coroner (Mr. Wollaston, of Bishop's Castle,) and a jury, assembled to view the bodies that have been found, in order that the friends of the unfortunate individuals might pay the last duty of mournful affection.
"Ours is but a faint description of the calamity and distress which have been felt. Unaccustomed as we are in this inland situation, to such scenes, no imagination can picture the desolation. It is impossible to calculate the amount of property damaged and destroyed; many hundred thousands of pounds cannot recall order, and redeem the destruction to agriculture and property of every kind. We have heard it said, that in the parishes of Pontesbury, Worthen, and Westbury, at least three thousand acres of land were deluged. The number of cottages lost, has not been ascertained; and who shall tell the anguish of many a peasant, whose family is now perhaps homeless, and whose garden ground is laid desolate."
"In this instance, the benevolence of Salopians was unbounded; the sum of £1,862 was subscribed, leaving. £514. 14s. over and above the liberal aid afforded to such sufferers as were known to require it, or who applied for relief."
810 THE HUNDRED OF FORD.
The Pontesbury division of the hundred of Ford, contains the parishes of
3. Ratlinghope, (part of)
4. Worthen, (part of)
1. The parish of Pontesbury, contains the townships of
3. Cruckton, Newnbam, and Sascott,
4. Pontesford, Plealey, and Sibberscott,
5. Cruckmeole and Arscott,
6. Hinton, Auston, and Farley,
7. Edge, Lea, and Polmere,
8. Upper Longden,
9. Lower Longden.
N. B. The township of Little Hopwood, in this parish is in the liberties of Shrewsbury, and the township of Oakes, also in this parish, is in the Condover division of the hundred of Condover.
Cruckton, the seat of Thomas Harries, Esq., about 5 miles from Shrewsbury, is a neat building, pleasantly situated, and is well sheltered by natural and artificial plantations.
2. The parish of Habberley, contains only the township of Habberley.
3. That part of the parish of Ratlinghope, (pro. Rechop) which is in the hundred of Ford, contains only the township of Gatten.
The other part of the parish viz., the townships of Ratlinghope and Stitt, is in the hundred of Purslow.
4. That part of the parish of Worthen, which is in the hundred of Ford, contains the townships of
1. Heath upper, or over, and Heath nether.
2. Habberley office.
THE LIBERTIES OF SHREWSBURY. 811
N.B. The remainder of the parish is in the hundred of Chirbury, and in Montgomeryshire.
Hampton Hall in the parish of Worthen, was built soon after the restoration of Charles the second, by Hugh Powell, Esq. It afterwards came into the possession of Captain Herbert, a descendant of the Powis family, who in the year 1749, enlarged and rebuilt it. It is now the residence and property of John Edwards, Esq., by purchase.
The principal places of note in the hundred of Ford, are Winnington, the birth place of the long-lived Thomas Parr, 11 miles north-west by west of Shrewsbury; the Stiperstones hill, about 5 miles north-east by north of Bishopscastle, and the Snailbach mines, 9 miles north-east by north of Bishops-castle, (of both which see an account under the Plain of Shropshire, and Minerals;) and Loton Hall, the seat of Sir Baldwin Leighton, Bart., near Alberbury.
THE LIBERTIES OF SHREWSBURY.
The liberties of Shrewsbury are bounded on the west by Pimhill and the hundred of Ford, on the north by the hundred of Pimhill, on the east by Bradford, north and south, and on the south by the hundred of Condover. A detached part of the hundred of Pimhill, about 11 mile long, and half a mile broad, and forming an irregular parallelogram, is surrounded by them. In the liberties of Shrewsbury as well as in the hundred of Ford there is much pebbly loam, and some reddish rock and clay, north of Shrewsbury. The population of the liberties of Shrewsbury, (which include the town,) was in 1821, 21,695; the number of inhabited houses, 3,999; the number of families chiefly employed in agriculture, 758; in trade and manufactures, 2,597.
The liberties of Shrewsbury consist of the Castle Ward, the Stone Ward, and the Welsh Ward divisions.
812 THE LIBERTIES OF SHREWSBURY.
I. The Castle Ward division, contains the following constablewicks,
1. Castle Ward, (part of) within the walls,
2. Castle Foregate, (part of)
3. Cotton Hill, (part of)
4. Great and Little Berwick,
8. Astley (chapelry,)
9. Clive, (chapelry,)
In the parish of St. Mary.
II. 1. Castle ward, (part of) within the walls,
2. Castle Foregate, (part of)
3. Cotton Hill, (part of)
5. Albright Lee,
In the parish of St. Alkmond.
N.B. The other parts of the parish of St. Alkmond, viz., part of Stone Ward, within the walls, and Preston Montford and Dinthill, are in the Stone Ward and Welsh Ward divisions.
III. 1. Castle Foregate, (part of) 2. Cotton Hill, (part of)
In the parish of St. Julian.
N.B. The other parts of the parish of St. Julian, viz., part of Stone Ward, within the walls, part of Coleham, part of Pulley, and part of Shelton and Oxon, are in the Stone Ward, and Welsh Ward divisions.
IV. 1. Battlefield,
2. Albright Hussey, or All Hussey,
In the parish of Battlefield.
See an account of the battle which was fought here in the reign of Henry the fourth, under the ancient history of Shrewsbury, at the close of the appendix.
THE LIBERTIES OF SHREWSBURY. 813
V. 1. Preston Gobalds, or Gubbalds,
In the parish of Preston Gobalds.
VI. 1. Hadnall, (chapelry,)
3. Hardwicke and Shotton,
In the parish of Middle.
N.B. The remainder of the parish of Middle, viz., Middle, Balderton, Newton on the hill, and Marton townships, and part of the township of Sleap, is in the hundred of Pimhill.
VII. Grinshill,- the only township in the parish of Grinshill.
Little more than twenty years ago, a toad was found alive in a solid block of stone, hewn out of the quarry at Grinshill. The creature survived its liberation only a few moments.- It has been carefully preserved in spirits by Sir Andrew Corbet, Bart., and is now in the possession of his son, Andrew Vincent Corbet, Esq., of Acton Reynald Hall, the proprietor of the quarry.
VIII. 1. Broughton,
In the parish of Broughton.
IX. Acton Reynold, in the parish of Shawbury.
Acton Reynold Hall, the mansion of Andrew Vincent Corbet, Esq. is distant 7 miles from Shrewsbury, on the road leading to Hawkstone. The principal part of the house is of
814 THE LIBERTIES OF SHREWSBURY.
modern erection, and is built with the beautiful free stone of the neighbouring quarry of Grinshill. The situation of the house, on a gentle elevation, is extremely pleasant, and the views which it commands, extensive and highly picturesque, comprehending one of the finest portions of the county.
N.B. The remainder of the parish of Shawbury, comprehends Edgeboulton, Shawbury, Muckleton, (part of) Preston Brockhurst, Great Wytheford, and Little Wytheford townships, in the Whitchurch division of Bradford, North; and Besford township in the hundred of Pimhill.
II. The Stone Ward division contains the following constablewicks, viz.,
I. 1. Stone Ward, (part of) within the walls,
2. Colebam, (part of)
3. Pulley, (part of)
In the parish of St. Julian.
N.B. The remainder of the parish of St. Julian, viz., part of Castle Foregate, part of Cotton Hill, and part of Shelton and Oxon, are in Castle Ward, and Welsh Ward divisions.
II. Stone Ward, (part of) within the walls,
2. Betton and Alkmere,
3. Whitley and Welbach.
In the parish of St. Chad.
N.B. The remainder of the parish of St. Chad, viz., Welsh Ward, Frank well, Up Rossal, Down Rossal, Bicton and Calcot, Onslow, Woodcote and Horton, Monkmeole and Gooshill, and part of Shelton and Oxon, is in Welsh Ward division.
Stone Ward, (part of) within the walls,
In the parish of St. Alkmond.
THE LIBERTIES OF SHREWSBURY. 815
N.B. The remainder of the parish of St. Alkmond viz., part of the Castle ward within the walls, part of Castle Foregate, part of Cotton bill, Hencot, Albrightlee and Harlacot townships, Preston Montford, and Dinthill, is in Castle Ward and Welsh Ward divisions.
IV. 1. Abbey Foregate, east end,
2. Abbey Foregate, west end,
3. Coleham, (part of)
In the parish of Holy Cross, and St. Giles,
V. 1. Meole Brace,
2. Pulley, (part of)
4. Newton, and Edgebold,
In the parish of Meole Brace.
Sutton,- the only township in the parish of Sutton.
VII. Little Hanwood, in the parish of Pontesbury.
N.B. The other parts of the parish of Pontesbury, viz., Pontesbury, Asterley, Cruekton, Newnham and Sascott, Pontesford Plealey and Sibberscott, Cruckmeole and Arscott, Hinton Auston and Farley, Edge Lea and Polmere, Upper Longden, and Lower Longden, are in the Pontesbury division of the hundred of Ford, and the township of Oakes, also in this parish, is in the Condover division of the hundred of Condover.
The Welsh Ward division, contains the following constablewicks
816 THE LIBERTIES OF SHREWSBURY.
I. 1. Welsh Ward,
3. Up Rossal,
4. Down Rossal,
5. Bicton and Calcot,
7. Woodcote and Horton,
8. Monk Meole & Gooshill,
9. Shelton & Oxon, (part of)
In the parish of St. Chad.
N.B. The other part of the parish of St. Chad, viz., part of Stone Ward, within the walls, Betton and Alkmere, and Whitley and Welbach townships, is in Stone Ward division.
II. Shelton and Oxon, (part of)
In the parish of St. Julian.
N.B. The other parts of the parish of St. Julian, viz., part of Castle Foregate, part of Cotton Hill, part of Stone Ward, within the walls, part of Coleham, and part of Pulley, are in Castle Ward, and Stone Ward divisions.
III. Preston Montford, and Dinthill, in the parish of St. Alkmond.
Preston Montford was the seat of the Hathertons, conveyed by an heiress to the Chambres of Petton, and then the inheritance of Mr. Chambre's third daughter, who devised it to her nephew, Colonel Hill, father of the present Sir Rowland Hill. It is now the residence of Sir F.B. Hill.
N.B. The other parts of the parish of St. Alkmond, viz., part of Castle Ward, within the walls, part of Castle Foregate, part of Cotton Hill, and the townships of Hencot, Albright Lee, and Harlacot, part of Stone Ward, within the walls, part of Coleham, and part of Pulley, are in Castle Ward, and Stone Ward divisions.
IV. Hanwood, in the parish of Hanwood, or Great Hanwood.
THE HUNDRED OF CONDOVER. 817
Each of the three wards has a separate High Constable, called a "Serjeant at Mace."
See an account of the ancient history of Shrewsbury, at the close of the appendix.
The principal places of note in the liberties of Shrewsbury, are, Clive, (3 miles south of Wem,) the birth place of the poet Wycherley; Hardwicke, the seat of Lord Hill, 5½ miles northeast by north of Shrewsbury; Battlefield, see appendix, at the close. Sutton, 1½ mile from Shrewsbury, famous for its Spa. see p. 648. Grinshill, Penley, and Shrewsbury. The river Severn runs through this division, of which it is the boundary in part of the north-west, dividing it from Pimhill. The Shrewsbury canal begins at Shrewsbury, and runs through the liberties, into South Bradford.
THE HUNDRED OF CONDOVER.
The hundred of Condover is bounded on the west by the hundred of Ford, on the north by the liberties of Shrewsbury, on the east by Bradford, South, a detached part of the hundred of Stottesden, and part of the franchise of Wenlock, and on the south by the hundred of Munslow. In the hundred of Condover there is more flat land than in Stottesden, Overs, and Munslow, but still great inequality of surface. The Lyth Hill stands within it, the Caradoc and Lawley, which are distinct hills of some height, and the extensive common of Longmynd, which is still higher, connects it to the south and west with the hundreds of Munslow and Purslow. In Condover hundred there is a good deal of gravelly loam, sand, and clay, and sometimes intermingled in very small beds: clayey soils lying over red sand stone, and others with gravel or sand under them. The population of this hundred in 1821, was 5,818; the number of inhabited houses, 1,023; the number of families chiefly employed in agriculture, 891; in trade and manufactures, 181. Condover comprehends the Cound and Condover divisions.
818 HUNDRED OF CONDOVER.
The Cound division of the hundred of Condover contains the parishes of
4. Acton Burnel,
7. Preen, or Church Preen,
8. Atcham, (part of)
9. Cardington. (part of)
1. The parish of Berrington, contains the townships of
3. Eaton Mascott,
2. The parish of Cound contains the townships of
1. Cound, (Lower)
4. Cound. (Upper)
Cressage, a township in this parish, and a chapelry, is is the Condover division of the hundred.
Cound Hall, is a respectable brick erection, six miles southeast of Salop, on the Wenlock road, the property of John C. Pelham, Esq. It is situated in a finely wooded flat country, with the river Severn rolling in its front, and commands a diversity of rich and picturesque scenery.
3. The parish of Pitchford, contains only the township of Pitchford.
4. The parish of Acton Burnel, contains the townships of
1. Acton Burnel,
2. Buckley and Langley, (chapelry,)
3. Acton Pigott.
Acton Burnel, is remarkable for a castle built soon after the conquest, where, in the reign of Edward the first, a parliament was held, in which several statutes were made, and
THE HUNDRED OF CONDOVER. 819
considerable grants allowed the king to carry on the wars against the Scots. Many of the Welsh nobles, who bad taken up arms, were pardoned by this parliament; and the famous act called "The Statute Merchant," was made here, by which debtors in London, York, and Bristol, were obliged to appear before the different mayors, and agree upon a certain day of payment, otherwise an execution was issued against their goods.
A great part of this castle is still standing; the walls are exceeding strong and adorned with fine battlements and rows of windows, with curious carved work. The building is square, and in many places entire, having suffered less from the injuries of time than most others in the kingdom; and, from the whole of its appearance must originally have been a noble and magnificent structure.
The castle is the property of Sir Edward Smythe, Bart., who has erected an elegant residence in its vicinity.
5. The parish of Harley, contains the townships of
1. Harley, (part of)
2. Blakeway Farm.
N.B. The other part of Harley is in Wenlock.
6. The parish of Kenley, contains only the township of Kenley.
7, The parish of Preen, or Church Preen, contains only the township of Church Preen,
The parish of Atchant, contains the townships of
4. Entstrey, or Eamstry.
820 THE HUNDRED OF CONDOVER.
N.B. The other townships in this parish, are Atcham, or Attingham, Uckington, and Berwick Maviston, all in the Wellington division of the hundred of Bradford, South.
9. The parish of Card ington, contains only the township of Holt Preen.
N.B. The other townships in this parish are Cardington, Chatwell, Cowley, Enchmarsh, Gretton, Lydleys Hayes, Plush, and Wilston, all in the upper division of the hundred of Munslow.
The Condover division of the hundred of Condover contains the parishes of
3. Church Pulverbatch, or Churton,
9. Cound, (part of)
10. Pontesbury, (part of)
11. Leighton, (part of)
1. The parish of Condover contains the townships of
4. Condover Hamlets,
6. Great Lyth,
7. Great Ryton,
8. Little Lyth and Westley,
9. * Lythwood.
* Lythwood is a royal manor.
2. The parish of Stapleton, contains the townships of
1. Stapleton and the Hamlets,
3. The parish of Church Pulverbatch, or Churton, contains the townships of
THE HUNDRED OF CONDOVER. 821
1. Church Pulverbatch,
2. Castle Pulverbatch,
Pulver-Batch had formerly a castle built in the reign of William the Conqueror. It has been long in ruins, but a sufficiency remains, to shew that it was once a place of considerable strength.
A little below this place is Huckstow forest, extending a great way among the mountains, where at Stiperstone bill rise several great heaps of stones like rocks, close together, called by the Britons Carneddau tewion. It is lincertain whether these were some of those alluded to by Giraldus Cambrensis in these words: " The last, Harald on foot, with a company of foot soldiers lightly armed, and furnished with such provisions as the country produced for him, went over all Wales, and made his way through it in so brave a manner that he left very few alive. In token and perpetual memorial of this victory, you will find in Wales many heaps of stones, according to the ancient custom in the places, where he gained any advantage, with these letters inscribed on them:
Hic fuit victor Haraldus.
Here Harald was victorious."
4. The parish of Frodesley, contains only the township of Frodesley.
5. The parish of Longnor, contains only the township of Longnor.
6. The parish of Smethcott, contains the townships of
7. The parish of Wolstaston, contains only the township of Wolstaston.
822 THE HUNDRED OF CONDOVER.
8. The parish of Leebotwood, contains only the township of Leebotwood.
9. The parish of Cound in this division contains only the township of Cressage, (a chapelry)
N.B. The other townships in this parish are Golding, Harnage, Lower Cound, and Upper Cound, all in the Cound division of the hundred.
10. The parish of Pontesbury, in this hundred, contains only the township of Oakes.
The other townships of this parish are Asterley, Cruckmeole, Cruckton, Edge, Hinton, Longden Lower, Longden Upper, Pontesbury, and Pontesford, in the Pontesbury division of the hundred of Ford, and the township of Little Hanwood, in the liberties of Shrewsbury.
11. The parish of Leighton, contains only the township of Belswardine, or Belserdine.
The other two townships of this parish viz., Leighton, and Garmston, are in the Wellington division of the hundred of Bradford, South.
The principal places of note in the hundred of Condover, are, Acton Burnel, the seat of Sir Edward Smythe, Bart., Longnor, the seat of Archdeacon Corbet, Pitchford Hall, the seat of the Hon. Cecil Jenkinson, and the lakes of Shomere, and Beaumere, about 3 miles south of Shrewsbury. The river Severn forms the boundary of this hundred on the north-east, and divides it from South Bradford.
THE FRANCHISE OF WENLOCK. 823
THE FRANCHISE OF WENLOCK.
The franchise of Wenlock is divided into seven portions, which are here numbered as they be from north to south. * The first is bounded on the west by Bradford, South a detached part of Stottesden, the hundred of Condover and the hundred of Munslow, on the north by Bradford, South, on the east by the hundred of Brimstry, and on the south by the hundred of Stottesden; this is the largest portion. The second portion lies due east from the first, and is in the center of the hundred of Brimstry. The third is nearly encompassed by the hundred of Munslow, but is bounded in one part by the hundred of Condover. The fourth and fifth are completely surrounded by the hundred of Munslow. The sixth is nearly in the center of the hundred of Stottesden. The seventh is bounded on the west and north by the hundred of Munslow, on the east by Stottesden, and a detached part of the hundred of Overs, and on the south by the hundred of Overs. In the franchise of Wenlock, pale coloured clays prevail. This pale coloured clay has the local and technical name of dye earth, and though, where it lies deep it is of a blue colour, yet when near the surface, it becomes of a pale yellow, from the oxydation of the iron it contains; it consists of twenty six parts of calcareous earth, 58 of argil 16 of silex and iron. It might have been used to advantage on the sandy lands on the banks of the river between Bridgnorth and Worcester, as a manure. This dye earth is stratified, and contains marine impressions. Ironstone and coal, are never found in it, except a small stratum of coal, sometimes near the top. In some places limestone forms the substratum to coal and ironstone; which limestone itself lies upon, what is here called black rock, having the appearance of basaltes, and in some instances it is culumnar.
* A detached part of the hundred of Stottesden, lies on the north of the first portion of the franchise of Wenlock.
There is some light land and strata of coal, of ironstone and of limestone in great abundance, covered with a soil, reduced perhaps by the operation of the air upon the limestone.
824 THE FRANCHISE OF WENLOCK.
The population of Wenlock in 1821, was 17,265, the number of inhabited houses 3,503; families chiefly employed in agriculture 1,101; in trade and manufactures 2,251.
The first, or main division of the franchise of Wenlock, contains the parishes of
1. Wenlock Parva, or Little Wenlock,
6. Wenlock Magna, or Much Wenlock,
10. Monk Hopton,
11. Ditton Priors.
And the extra-parochial place of Posenhall.
1. The parish of Wenlock Parva, contains only the township of Wenlock
2. The parish of Madeley, contains only the township of Madeley.
3. The parish of Benthall contains only the township of Benthall.
4. The parish of Broseley, contains only the township of Broseley.
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 productions. There is in Broseley a manufacture of glazed tobacco pipes.
The Tuckies, an old mansion, 1½ mile from Broseley stands upon a rising ground, at a little distance from the river Severn, and commands a prospect of the surrounding country, which is very romantick. The estate though small, is valuable, containing mines of coal which are far from being exhausted though they have been worked at different periods,
THE FRANCHISE OF WENLOCK. 825
for the last two centuries. Much iron is made on this side of the river at the furnaces belonging to Messrs. Hazledine of Shrewsbury, and Messrs. Forster.
There is a curiosity found here in the stratum of coal, resembling a fish with the head and tail lopped off, in length about 8 inches, and three in breadth. It is covered with scales, in the center of which is a black speck, and appears very natural. Its solidity, and consequently its weight, is much greater than those of the substance in which it is infolded, and when broken it appears like limestone. Its taste is rather salt and when thrown into the fire, it explodes with much violence.
The Tuckies formerly belonged to the Langleys, from whom it descended to a Mr. Edward Pursell, steward to their family, and afterwards to John Wage, Esq. of Broseley. It is at present the property of Mrs. Bryan.
About forty years ago this house was repaired for the Earl of Dundonald, (father of the present Lord Cochrane) who resided here a considerable time, making chemical experiments, among the principal of which, was that of extracting tar from coals. For this purpose many kilns or ovens were erected, which are still in use. The process was conducted, as follows.
A range of stoves was supplied with coal kept burning at the bottom; the smoke was conveyed by horizontal tunnels into a capacious funnel, built of bricks supported by arches and covered on the top by a shallow pond of water. The smoke condensed by the chill of the water, fell on the bottom of the funnel in the form of tar, and was conveyed by pipes into a receiver, whence it was pumped into a large boiler, and boiled to a proper consistence, or otherwise inspissated into pitch; the volatile parts which arose during this inspissation were again condensed into an oil used for varnish. Great quantities of this useful article were sent for the use of the navy, and much of it was used in japanning.
Lord Dundonald expended large sums of money in these undertakings, and no doubt to his skill in chemistry, his son the present admiral is much indebted. His lordship was one
826 THE FRANCHISE OF WENLOCK.
of the more experienced chemists, and thoroughly understood both the theory and the practice of the science. Many curious anecdotes of his cheerful and benevolent disposition are current in the neighbourhood.
Mr. Wase, a gentleman of Broseley, upwards of eighty years of age, relates that many years ago, this place was in possession of some Dutchmen, who had a mint for coining base money, secreted in cellars under the house. They kept race horses, and lived in a very expensive style.
On the 23rd of October, 1799, a most melancholy accident occurred near this spot. The passage boat, in crossing the river, which at this place is very rapid, was unfortunately overturned. The cause of the accident has never yet been satisfactorily explained. There were forty one persons on board the vessel, who were employed in the China works of Messrs. John Rose, &. Co. Of these, thirteen only escaped, the remaining twenty eight, were all drowned.
These unfortunate persons had just been liberated from their daily employment, at the ringing of the nine o'clock bell, and had no sooner entered the vessel, than they were precipitated into the wide current. Owing to the darkness of the night, it was impossible for those persons whom the heart rending cries of perishing friends and relations had brought to the banks of the river, to render any effectual assistance.
Many of the bodies were taken up the next morning, at a great distance from the ill-fated spot;- some remained under water a month, and a few were never found. The generous master of those who perished, (John Rose, Esq.,) provided coffins at his own expense for their interment, and was frequently seen to shed tears. His benevolent conduct towards the surviving sufferers, will never be forgotten. It will ever endear him in the estimation of his servants, and of the world at large, and when he shall be no more, his memory will be held in veneration, both as a master, and as a friend.
It was the opinion of those who were preserved, that this melancholy accident was caused by the premeditated act of the boatman, who having been some time before, refused admittance to a dance given by the persons who were in the daily habit of crossing the stream, had expressed his determination to give them a ducking. Very probably it was his
THE FRANCHISE OF WENLOCK. 827
design merely to frighten those who had offended him, without doing them any real injury. How painful must have been his feelings at the unexpected result of his dangerous frolick ! It becomes us in the midst of sport, to beware lest we scatter death.
5. The parish of Barrow, contains the townships of
6. The parish of Wenlock Magna, or Much Wenlock contains the townships of
7. Wigwag, Homer & * Harley, (part of)
8. Wyke and Bradley.
The other part of Harley, where the church stands, is in the hundred of Condover.
Isaac Hawkins Browne, Esq. who represented the town Wenlock in 1744, a very ingenious poet, was born at Burton upon Trent in 1706. He was educated first at Lichfield, of which cathedral his father was a prebendary. From thence he removed to Westminster school, where he was distinguished by Dr. Friend, the master. At the age of sixteen, he went to Trinity college Cambridge, where he took his degree of M.A. In 1727, he was entered a student of Lincoln's Inn, and in due course was called to the bar. His application to the law however, did not withdraw him from poetical exercises. Soon after his settlement in chambers he produced his piece on "Design and Beauty;" but one of the most popular of his performances, was that on a pipe of tobacco, in which he successfully imitated the styles of Cibber, Thompson, Young, Pope and Swift. In the year 1744, he married a niece of Bishop Trimnell of Winchester, and was about the same time chosen into parliament for Wenlock, but cut no figure as a senator, which made Dr. Johnson observe, "Browne, one of the first wits in this country, got into parliament, and never
828 FRANCHISE OF WENLOCK.
opened his mouth." In 1754, Mr. Browne published his Latin Poem, "De Animi immortalitate," of which there have been several translations, but the best is that of Soame Jenyns. He died in 1760, and his works were printed with a portrait of the author, in 1768. 8vo.
7. The parish of Willey, contains only the township of Willey.
6. The parish of Hughley, contains only the township of Hughley.
9. The parish of Linley, contains only the township of Linley,
10. The parish of Monk Hopton, contains the townships of
1. Monk Hopton,
2. Weston and Oxenbold.
11. The parish of Ditton Priors, or Priors Ditton, contains the townships of
1. Ditton Priors,
2, Middleton Priors.
N.B. The remainder of this parish, viz., the township of Ruthall and Ashfield, is in the hundred of Munslow.
The second division of the franchise of Wenlock, contains the parishes of
1. The parish of Beckbury, contains only the township of Beckbury.
THE FRANCHISE OF WENLOCK. 829
2. The parish of Badger, contains only the township of Badger.
The third division of the franchise of Wenlock, contains
Part of the parish of Eaton under Haywood, viz., the township of Longville, Lushcot, and Eastwall, (part of)
N.B. The other townships in this parish are Eaton, Hatton, Hungerford and Millichope, and Ticklerton, all in the fifth portion of the franchise.
The fourth division of the franchise of Wenlock contains the parish of Shipton, which contains only the township of Shipton.
The fifth division of the franchise of Wenlock contains the parish of Eaton under Haywood. (part of)
The parish of Eaton, contains the townships of
3. Hungerford and Millichope,
N.B. The other township in this parish is Longville, Lushcot and part of Eastwall, in the third division.
The sixth division of the franchise of Wenlock, contains the parish of Deuxhill, which contains only the township of Deuxhill.
830 THE HUNDRED OF BRIMSTRY.
The seventh division of the franchise of Wenlock, contains the parish of Stoke St. Milborough, which contains the townships of
1. Clee Stanton, Clee Downton, and the Moor,
2. Stoke St. Milborough.
N.B. The remainder of this parish, viz., the township of Heath, a chapelry, is in the hundred of Munslow.
The principal places of note in the franchise of Wenlock, are Madeley and Broseley, and Coalbrookdale, famous for iron and coal works. The Ironbridge and Coalport celebrated for its china manufactory, Willey, the seat of Lord Forester, and Wenlock. The river Severn runs through the northern part of the main portion, and forms part of its boundary on the east.
THE HUNDRED OF BRIMSTRY.
The hundred of Brimstry, or Brimstrey, or Brimstree, is bounded on the west by Bradford (South,) the largest portion of the franchise of Wenlock, and the hundred of Stottesden, on the north by Bradford (South,) and Staffordshire; on the east by Staffordshire, and on the south by Staffordshire, and the hundred of Stottesden. The soil in the hundred of Brimstry, like that of Bradford South, is generally a sandy loam. The population in 1821 was 18,817, the number of inhabited houses 3,537; the number of families chiefly employed in agriculture, 1,368, in trade and manufactures 1,883.
A detached part of this hundred viz., Hales Owen division is surrounded by Worcestershire, and Staffordshire. A detached
THE HUNDRED OF BRIMSTRY. 831
part of the hundred of Stottesden, lies on the east of that part of Brimstry which is connected with the rest of Shropshire.
It comprehends the Shiffnal, Bridgnorth, and Hales Owen divisions.
The Shiffnal division of the hundred of Brimstry, contains the parishes of
7. Bonningale, or Bonigall, or Bonninghall, or Bonningall,
8. Sutton Maddock,
And the extra-parochial place of Boscobel, adjoining the parish of Donnington.
1. The parish of Shiffnal contains the townships of
3. Priors Lee (chapelry)
4. Woodside & Lizard,
5. Hunnington & Evelith,
6. Hem, (The)
The townships of Hatton, Hunnington, and Evelith, the Hem, Wyke, and Grindle, which is in the parish of Ryton, are in the Hatton constablewick of Shiffnal.
2. The parish of Tong, or Tonge, contains only the township of Tong.
3. The parish of Donnington, contains only the township of Donnington. Attached to this place, is the extra-parochial place of Boscobel, see p. 20.
4. The parish of Kemberton, contains only the township of Kemberton.
832 THE HUNDRED OF BRIMSTRY.
5. The parish of Albrighton, contains only the township of Albrighton. Albrighton is an ancient corporation.
6. The parish of Ryton, contains the townships of
Grindle, though in the parish of Ryton, is in the Hatton constablewick of Shiffnal.
7. The parish of Boningale, or Bonighall, or Boningall, contains only the township of Boningale, or Bonningall.
8. The parish of Sutton Maddock, contains the townships of
1. Sutton Maddock,
Sutton Maddock, and Harrington, are both in the constablewick of Sutton Maddock.
9. The parish of Stockton, contains the townships of
The Bridgnorth division of the hundred of Brimstry, contains the parishes of
And the township of Whittemore in the parish of Bobbington. co Stafford, though Whittemore lies in the county of Salop; in this lordship, the family of Whittimere, or Whytimere, ancestors of Thomas Whitmore, Esq., of Apley, resided several centuries.
THE HUNDRED OF BRIMSTRY. 833
1. The parish of Worfield, contains the townships of
20. Bromley Burcot,
At Burcot, in the parish of Worfield, about 2½ miles from Bridgnorth, some sepulchral remains were discovered in the year 1809. In the latter part of the month of April, and the beginning of May, in that year, Mr. John Bell Hardwick having occasion to remove a great mass of accumulated soil from the base of an irregularly-terminating rock and the precipice above it, over his meadow-ground adjoining, on May the 9th, his workmen found the remains of a large semi-circular cave, in which were discovered many human bones, particularly the vertebrae, two finger-bones, a leg-bone, the arm-bone, which connects itself with the shoulder, and several ribs, scattered about in various directions.
At the north end of the interior of the cave, about five feet from the level of the ground, on the ledge of the rock eighteen inches wide, were found two human skulls near each other, deposited side-ways, and the scalp-bone of a child; also the skull and jaw-bone of a dog, the lower jaw-bone of another dog, and those of a sheep and a pig, and one of some small animal, which likewise lay in the same position at a short distance from each other. In the latter were many teeth, but not so sound as those in the human skulls. Many other bones of animals were also discovered, among which were the shanks of deer. Some of these bones had been broken to pieces, probably previous to their being deposited in the earth. At the same time was discovered a hearth, with an appearanse of
834 THE HUNDRED OF BRIMSTRY.
ashes reduced to an extremely fine powder, with a few scraps of charcoal lying about, apparently produced from oak. Two small fire-flints were also found. The human skulls and other bones, with some of the bones of the animals, were completely immured in a kind of chalky substance, which ran perpendicularly through a chink or cleft in the rock, in a narrow stratum: the skulls were filled with it; and such of the bones as it surrounded were in a state of good preservation: the roof-bone of the mouth and the teeth in these human beads were sound, and the enamel of the teeth but very little injured: the teeth themselves appeared to be all complete, except two or three in the front. The upper jaw of the first skull found, with the roof-bone, were accidentally broken off and destroyed. by the mattock used by the person at their discovery. This skull, having been covered in part with common earth and chalk, was not quite so perfect as the other.
On the following day, Mr. Hardwick, after having had the whole space within the cave cleared out, dicovered another human skull, lying on its side, upon the ledge of the rock at the inner extremity of the cave, about the same distance from the ground as the others. It appeared as if it had been violently forced into the rock, and being also incrusted with chalk, was in a high state of preservation. Within this skull were many small snail-shells, and a quantity of the chalky substance. The teeth were almost round and perfect, with the exception of two in the front. The wise-teeth were just approaching above the jaw-bone, considerably lower than the others, by which it appears this must have been a young person; the palate was also so well perserved, that the little irregularities therein were clearly to be seen of a bright or polished surface. It is remarkable that no part of the lower jaw-bone of the human subject was discovered in any part of the cave.
These discoveries have, of course, given birth to a variety of conjectures. Some have supposed this cave, which faces the eastern sun, and is thirty feet in front from south to north, and from the entrance to the farthest part of the interior, twelve feet, to have been a place of druidical worship and sacrifice, used for sacred purposes soon after the introduction
THE HUNDRED OF BRIMSTRY. 835
of christianity into these parts, when the rites of paganism were driven in their turn, to seek the protection of subterraneous caverns and hidden recesses. Others, with far greater probability, suppose this place to have been a Saxon cottage, demolished by a sudden convulsion of the rock, and downfall of the soil above it.
The ancient proper name of Boarncote, which in the Saxon language means the cote or dwelling near to the river, of which this cave is within a few paces, serves to shew the probability of this having been the cote or dwelling, which may have given rise to the word Burcott, the present name of the township.
It is also presumed, that these may have been the bones of some woodcutters, who, with their families, made this cave the place of their occasional residence. If this latter conjecture be correct, the demolition of the cave must have happened at a very remote period; seeing that as early as the year 1592, the family of Sadler had a residence at this place. In this ancient house several traditions have been preserved, tending to chew that the place was inhabited by more families than one, long before the reign of Elizabeth. It appears reasonable to suppose that this event took place at a time when no one resided on the spot, except the few unfortunate persons who were then destroyed.
There is another conjecture as probable as any of the former, that this cave was the resort of banditti, who are reported to have infested these parts in former times.
In Catstree is situated a part of the demesnes of the Saxon lords of the manor of Worfield. The family of Catstree resided here till 1619. The greater part of this township now belongs to Thomas Whitmore, Esq., of Apley Park.
At Chesterton, stands an ancient cottage, prior to the reformation, the chapel of St. John the Baptist, but since that period disused, and now occupied as an humble dwelling. In this township to the south, is still to be traced one of the most perfect Roman Camps in the Island. See an account of THE WALLS, near Chesterton, p. 451.
886 THE HUNDRED OP BRIMSTRY.
At Ewdness the family of Ewdness, its early lords resided, after them the respectable family of Felton, from which it descended to the Berkleys, who sold it to Sir William Whitmore, of Apley, Bart., from whom it vested in the Middleton family of Chirk castle, who sold it to Sir John Astley of Patshull, Bart., from whom it passed by sale to the late Sir Thomas Whitmore, K.B., and now belongs to Thomas Whitmore, Esq., of Apley Park.
2. The parish of Claverley, contains the townships of
7. Shipley & Rudge, (part of)
9. Woundwall, or Woodall,
Claverley, generally called Claverley home, lying in the Bridgnorth division of the hundred of Brimstry, and in the royal peculiar of the deanery of Bridgnorth, is bountied by the county of Stafford on the east. Beobridge, Broughton, anciently written Burghton, Gatacre, Ludatone, Shipley, and Sutton, are in the manor court of Claverley denominated foreign towns, being distinct manors. Aston, Claverley, Dallicote, Farmcote, Heathton, Hopstone, and Woundwall, are called King's Towns, and are a part of the forest, or lordship of Mode. The lordships of Beobridge, and Broughton, were a part of the possessions annexed to the Abbey of Haughmond, but after the dissolution, became the property of the Levesons, a respectable Staffordshire family, who resided at Lilleshall, in this county; and Trentham, co Stafford, and now belong to their descendant the Marquess of Stafford. In Broughton stood a chapel prior to the reformation, subject to the church of Claverley, and in this township lies an estate called Brantley. In Aston stands an old brick mansion called Aston hall, formerly belonging to the Brindleys, and their descendants, the Skinners, men of high consequence in the city of London. At the north-east extremity of this township, upon the Long Common, stood a Danish fortification, from whence the summit takes its name of Apers Castle hill. In
THE HUNDRED OF BRIMSTRY. 887
Claverley the large half-timbered mansion house presents itself, built by Sir Robert Brooke, Knight, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, whose descendants disposed of it to the Leveson family, which, soon after the Civil Wars, settled it upon the incumbent of this parish, in lieu of £10. per annum, which the Levesons had been accustomed to pay to the officiating minister, where the Rev. John Glover, the perpetual Curate, at present resides. In front of this mansion, stands an ancient cross, called the processional cross of Claverley, erected there it is presumed in the twenty-third of Edward the third, to commemorate the dreadful devastating plague which overran this neighbourhood at that period, and carried the horrors of death into every dwelling. In this township stands the parish church upon an eminence, which raises it into notice. It is a structure of many serail and built with excellent red stone; the oldest memorial therein being of the reign of Henry the sixth. In this township lies Bulwardine, formerly a village but now reduced to one habitation. The manor of Claverley, comprizes the above manors and townships, with the lordship or township of Whittemere, lying in that part of the parish of Bobbington, which is in this county, excepting that of Shipley and the Morfe. Throughout the copyhold lands the borough English custom prevails of descent to the youngest of the family. The living is a perpetual curacy in the gift of Thomas Whitmore, Esq. of Apley park, who is the present patron and lay impropriator of most of the great tithes in this parish. At the church gates, stands the charity school, where fourteen boys are annually educated. The inhabitants have a charter granted them by king Charles the second, to exempt them from the payment of tolls.
Dallicote is now in the hands of two proprietors, Mr. Grazebrook, of Stourton castle, and John Bache, of Wyken Gent. In this township is the Lea, from early times an estate belonging to the Leas, afterwards to the Billingsleys, and now to Mr. Grazebrook.
At Farmcote (in early times written Farnecote) stands the old family mansion of the Doveys, many of whom stood high in the legal profession and now belonging to their descendant,
888 THE HUNDRED OF BRIMSTRY.
Sir Stephen Richard Glynne, Bart., of Hawarden castle, co Flint, and near to it is the old family residence of the Hubbolds, who resided there upwards of 350 years, and since their day much improved by their relation Richard Edwards, Gent. whose eldest son Vincent Edwards, is the present proprietor. In this township are Sitchhouse, Wotten, and Whitley; the two latter are mostly the property of William Wolryche Whitmore, Esq. of Dudmaston M.P. for Bridgnorth.
Gatacre has formed a part of the paternal possessions of the family of Gatacre, according to Fuller, from the reign of Edward the Confessor. The present proprietor of this manor, Edward Gatacre, Esq. is Colonel of the Shropshire Militia. On the south side of this manor lies the mansion house and estate of Edward Acton, Esq. a descendant of the Actons of Aldenham, being called Gatacre Park. It was in this house then occupied by Mr. Elliot, that the Earl of Derby took shelter immediately after the battle of Worcester, and shortly before he was brought to the Scaffold, in his way to Newport.
Hopstone is mostly the property of the family of Ridley, who have been possessors here for upwards of 200 years.
Ludstone prior to first Edward the sixth, was a part of the temporal possessions of the Deans of Bridgnorth, but after the reformation was purchased by the Leveson family, and now belongs to the Marquess of Stafford, but who has no other estates here. The manor house is a curious, interesting, old structure, reerected in the early part of the reign of Charles the first, by the Whitmores of this place, surrounded by its moat, which with the ancient decanal demesnes, are now the property of Thomas Whitmore, Esq. of A pley Park. In this lordship was born Francis Jones, Knight, son of John Jones, of this place, which family enjoyed an estate here till within the last forty years. Sir Francis Jones, was of the Haberdasher's company, and lord Mayor of London in 1620. It also gave birth to Richard Yate, a very ingenious poet, eldest son of Benjamin Yate, of this place by Elizabeth Barker his wife, an almost self taught scholar of great endowments and talents, which he very frequently displayed in the Gent. Mag. from the
THE HUNDRED OF BRIMSTRY. 839
year 1734 till the year 1767, and generally on the most abstruse subjects, under the names of Yarico, Philomel R. Y. &c.
Having acquired a fair knowledge of the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages, in the latter be became the instructor of the Right Rev. Doctor Percy, late bishop of Dromore. In his political principles he was a firm supporter of the measures of Sir Robert Walpole, and on that statesman's decease, he immortalized his memory by a beautiful poetical ejaculation, published in the Gent. Mag., for April 1745. He seems after the production of the essay on the prophecies, to have sunk into retirement, residing with his sister Mrs. Gatacre, the grandmother of the present Colonel, till her death, and afterwards with his nephew, the late Edward Gatacre, Esq., till his marriage, when he removed to Roughton, where he died a bachelor, in June 1780, at the advanced age of 82. On the classick grounds of this poet, in the township of Ludstone, stands the modern built Villa of Richard Cotton, Gent., a person of a most persevering and inquiring mind, who has long cultivated the sciences, and has made it the abode of the botanist, the geologist, and the naturalist. Here are exhibited the most beautiful and sublime specimens of nature and art, not only of his own country, but from various foreign climes. He has long devoted it to the society of literati, and men of taste, who assembling here, find an asylum replete with every comfort, and are ever welcomed to his hospitable board. On the south-east extremity of this manor, lies Darnford alias Daneford brook, so called from the marauding Daues, who were in the habit of crossing this brook, when they commenced their summer incursions to the banks of the Severn, and passed over, carrying extermination and plunder into every part of the county.
In Heathton the very ancient families of Graveuor, and Whorwood enjoyed estates. Those of the latter descended to the Lady Anne Dudley, wife of Ambrose Dudley, denominated the good Earl of Warwick, and one of the daughters and coheiresses of William Whorwood, Esq .
N.B. Rudge is in the parish of Pattinghan co Stafford, and Shipley is in the parish of Claverley.
840 THE HUNDRED OF CHIRBURY.
The Shropshire part of the parish of Bobbington, contains only the township of Whittemere.
The remainder of the parish of Bobbington, is in the county of Stafford.
The Hales Owen division of the hundred of Brimatry, contains only part of the parish of Hales Owen.
The Shropshire part of the parish of Hales Owen, contains the townships of
1. Hales Owen,
Lutley, Cradley, and Warley Wigorn, in this parish, are in the county of Worcester.
The principal places of note in the hundred of Brimstry are, Boscobel, see p. 20. Tonge castle, the seat of G. Durant, Esq.; Apley, the seat of Thomas Whitmore, Esq., M.P., see p. 643; Donnington, and Shiffnal; and Aston Hall, the seat of J. Moultrie, Esq. The river Severn forms part of its boundary on the west, and divides it from the franchise of Wenlock, and from Stottesden.
THE HUNDRED OF CHIRBURY.
The hundred of Chirbury, is bounded on the west by Montgomeryshire, on the north by the hundred of Ford, on the east, by Montgomeryshire, the hundred of Purslow and the hundred of Ford, and on the south by Montgomeryshire. The soil is uneven, but has plains of a deep light coloured
THE HUNDRED OF CHIRBURY. 841
loam or clay. A small detached part of it, (viz. Guildendown,) lies between Purslow and Clun. The population in 1821, was 3,431; the number of inhabited houses, 526; the number of families chiefly employed in agriculture, 351; in trade and manufactures, 84. It comprehends the Upper and Lower divisions.
The upper division of the hundred of Chirbury, contains the parishes of
2. Church Stoke, (part of)
3. Clun. (part of)
1. The parish of Chirbury, contains the townships of
2. The Shropshire part of the parish of Church Stoke, contains the townships of
The rest of this parish is in Montgomeryshire.
3. That part of the parish of Clun, which is in the hundred of Chirbury, contains only the township of Guildendown, which is entirely separated from the rest of Chirbury, and adjoins the hundreds of Clun and Purslow.
The other townships in this parish are, Bickton, Clun, Edicliff, Hobbaris, Hobendrid, Menutton, Newcastle, Pentryhodry, Purlogue, Shadwell, Spoad, Treverward, Whitson
842 THE HUNDRED OF CHIRBURY.
Evan, and Whitcott Keysett, all in the Clun division of the hundred of Clun.
The lower division of the hundred of Chirbury, contains the parishes of
3. Hissington. (part of)
1. The parish of Worthen is divided into four quarters, viz., Byn Weston quarter, Bromlow quarter, Heath quarter, and Worthen quarter. Byn Weston quarter contains the townships of Beachfield, Walton, and Byn Weston. Bromlow quarter contains the townships of Bromlow, Grimmer, Hope, Leigh, and Meadow Town. Heath quarter is in the hundred of Ford, and contains the townships of Habberley Office, Heath Nether, and Heath Upper. Worthen quarter contains the townships of Aston Pigott, Aston Rogers, Brockton, and Worthen.
The other townships in this quarter viz., Leighton, Rhos Goch, and Trelystan form the chapelry of Wolston alias Weston nyend, and are in the county of Montgomery.
2. The parish of Shelve, contains the townships of
2. Rhitton. 3. The Shropshire part of the parish of Hissington, contains only the township of Mucklewick.
The greater part of the parish of Hissington is in Montgomery hundred, county of Montgomery.
The principal places of note in the hundred of Chirbury are, the Stiperstones, partly in this hundred, and partly in the hundred of Ford, and Marton pool. The Rea brook runs from that pool through this hundred into the hundred of Ford, where it takes the name of Meole brook, and runs into the
THE HUNDRED OF PURSLOW. 843
Severn in the liberties of Shrewsbury. The river Camlet forms its boundary on part of the north west.
THE HUNDRED OF PURSLOW.
The hundred of Purslow is bounded on the west by the hundred of Clun, a detached part of the hundred of Chirbury and Montgomeryshire; on the north by the hundreds of Chirbury, Ford, and Munslow; on the east by the hundred of Munslow, and on the south by Herefordshire. The soil of Purslow is uneven, but several of the hills are smooth, and there are fine sheep walks, with a slaty rock underneath; in some places containing so much silex, as to form a good roof slate, and in others, good building stone; but most commonly the rock is argillaceous. There are some pale coloured clays in this district, and considerable quantity of lighter soils, not so much gravelly perhaps, as mingled with argillaceous rock, and which becomes friable upon exposure to the air. In the vales, the meadow and pasture ground is very good. The population in 1821, was 7,731; the number of inhabited houses, 1,368; of families chiefly employed in agriculture,963; In trade and manufactures, 345. It comprehends the Bishopsoastle and Stow divisions.
The Bishopscastle division of the hundred of Purslow, contains the parishes of
1. Ratlinghope, or Ratlingshope, pro. Ratchop,
4. Lydham, (part of)
8. Lydbury North.
1. The parish of Ratlinghope, or Ratlingshope, pronounced Ratchop, contains the townships of
844 THE HUNDRED OF PURSLOW.
The other township in this parish, viz., Gatten, is in the hundred of Ford.
2. The parish of Norbury, contains the townships of
3. Whitcott and Hardwick.
At Asterton is a saline spring very similar to the Cheltenham Spa.
3. The parish of Wentnor, contains the townships of
4. The parish of Lydham, contains only the township of Lydham.
N.B. The rest of this parish is in Montgomeryshire.
5. The parish of More, contains the townships of
1. More and Moreswood,
At Linley there is a considerable seat, long the property of the Mores. The present mansion is a very well built house, according to the truest style of Grecian architecture. It was built by Robert More, the grandfather of the present owner. This Robert More represented Bishopscastle, and afterwards Shrewsbury, in parliament. He contributed to the Philosophical transactions of his times, and is mentioned by Baron Dillon, in his account of Spain. He made large collections in natural history. His grandfather held Hopton castle for the Parliament, in the time of Charles the first.
6. The parish of Mindtown, contains only the township of Mindtown.
THE HUNDRED OF PURSLOW. 845
7. The parish of Bishopscastle, contains the townships of
4. Lea and Oakley,
N.B. The borough of Bisbopscastle maintains its own poor, separately from the rest of the parish. Broughton, Colebatch, Lea and Oakley, and Woodbatcb, are the out liberties of Bishopscastle.
8. The parish of Lydbury, contains the townships of
1. Lydbury North,
2. Acton and Down,
4. Eaton and Choulton,
5. Eyton and Plowden,
The Stow division of the hundred of Purslow, contains the parishes of
2. Wistanstow, (part of)
4. Sibdon Castle,
6. Clungonas, or Clungunford,
7. Hopton Castle,
10. Bucknell. (part of)
And the extra-parochial places of Horderley, and Dinmore.
1. The parish of Edgton, contains the townships of
2. Brunslow or Brownslow.
N.B. The extra-parochial place of Horderley, adjoins the parish of Edgton.
2. That part of the parish of Wistanstow, which belongs to the hundred of Purslow, contains the townships of
1. Wistanstow (part of) and Woolston,
2. China Longville, or Cheney Lougville.
846 THE HUNDRED OF PURSLOW.
The remainder of the Shropshire part of this parish, viz., the townships of Felhampton, Strefford, Whittingslow, and Wistanstow, (part of) is in the upper division of the hundred of Munslow. The rest of the county is in Montgomeryshire.
3. The parish of Hopesay, contains the townships of
1. Hopesay, Barlow, and Carwood,
2. Aston in Hopesay,
3. Little Brompton, (part of the township of Clunbury and Little Brompton,)
4. Broom and Rowton.
Little Brompton, though in the parish of Hopesay, is in the township of Clunbury and Little Brompton.
4. The parish of Sibdon Castle, contains only the township of Sibdon.
5. The parish of Clunbury, contains the townships of
1. Clunbury, (part of the township of Clunbury and Little Brompton,
3. Coston, (part of the township of Coston and Shelderton,
Coston, though in the parish of Clunbury, belongs to the township of Coston and Shelderton. See Clungonford.
9. The parish of Clungonas or Clungunford, contains the townships of
1. Clungunford, or Clungonas,
5. Coston and Shelderton. (part of)
The extra-parochial place of Dinmore, adjoins this parish.
N.B. Coston, though in the township of Coston and Shelderton, is in the parish of Clunbury.
7. The parish of Hopton Castle, contains only the township of Hopton and Hagley.
THE HUNDRED OF PURSLOW. 847
At this place are the remains of a castle, of which but very few historical records exist. It was taken during the civil wars in the reign of Charles the first, and was afterwards nearly destroyed; most of the men who composed the garrison were put to the sword, and the governor, Samuel Moor, Esq., was confined as a common prisoner in Ludlow Castle. There exists a manuscript account iu the hand writing of this unfortunate governor, which details the mode of attack and defence at the siege of the castle. Camden mentions Hopton Castle as having been given with Newcastle, Shipton, and Coversham, by Henry the Second to Walter de Clifford. In the civil wars just mentioned, it belonged to Mr. Wallop, and was gallantly defended for the Parliament; the siege lasted more than a fortnight. It is now a miserable ruin.
8. The parish of Bedstone, contains only the township of Jay and Bedstone.
9. The parish of Stow, contains only the township of Stow and Weston,
The township of Lurkenhope in this parish is in the Clun division of the hundred of Clun.
10. The Shropshire part of the parish of Bucknell, contains only the township of Bucknell.
Bucknell parish is partly in the county of Hereford.
The principal places of note in this hundred, are, Heathmont, Longmont, (See Plain of Shrewsbury, p. 406,) which lies partly in this hundred, and partly in that of Munslow;
848 THE HUNDRED OF MUNSLOW.
Bishopscastle, Walcot Park, the seat of the Earl of Powis, Bury Ditches, a Roman encampment, and Burrow camp.
THE HUNDRED OF MUNSLOW.
The hundred of Munslow is bounded on the west by the hundred of Purslow; on the north by the hundred of Condover; on the east by the franchise of Wenlock, the hundred of Stottesden, and a detached part of the hundred of Overs; and on the south by Herefordshire. It wholly surrounds two detached portions of the franchise of Wenlock, and almost entirely encompasses a third. In the hundred of Munslow, there is much clay, with considerable quantities of coal, ironstone, and limestone, over which is a stony soil of great variety. The land which lies over the limestone, or is mixed with it, or with the calcareous gravel which resembles it, is reckoned the best in the neighbourhood. The next is soil lying over freestone. The upper surface of the rocks is frequently broken up by the plough, and becomes with the soil a rocky loam, fit forturnips and barley. Sometimes a slate marl lies under the surface, which soil is esteemed, but it is not common. The population, (exclusive of the borough of Ludlow,) in 1821, was 10,478; the number of inhabited houses, 1,868; of families chiefly employed in agriculture, 1,585; in trade and manufactures, 385. It comprehends the upper and lower divisions.
The upper division of the hundred of Munslow, contains the parishes of
2. Church Stretton,
3. Hope Bowdler,
5. Acton Scott,
6. Wistanstow, (part of)
1. The parish of Cardington, contains the townships of
6. Lydleys Hayes,
THE HUNDRED OF MUNSLOW. 849
N.B. The remaining township in this parikk viz., Holt Preen, is in the Cound division of the hundred of Condover.
2. The parish of Church Stretton, contains the townships of
1. Church Stretton,
2. All Stretton,
3. Little Stretton,
Church Stretton, quasi Street-town, from Watling-Street, which runs close by, is a small market town, situated in a valley, or rather a hollow, and apparently closed in by lofty and impassable mountains. The turnpike road from Shrewsbury to Ludlow passes through it. Here is a small old townhouse, and a free-school for twenty boys. The church is built in the form of a cross, with a tower in the center. The mounts are mostly covered with heath and furze, interspersed with bogs, and patches of grass, which afford excellent pasturage for numerous flocks of sheep. On the sides in many places are pieces of rock, some in their natural stations, others in detached masses. The two hamlets of 411 Strettou and Little Stretton belong to this town. Between it and the latter place is an insulated hill between two others of a mueh greater altitude, with deep entrenchments ou its summit, called Brocard's Castle. It is a post admirably adapted to guard the pass between the mounts. To the north-east of the town is Caer Caradoc, commonly called Querdock, a lofty, steep hill, with entrenchments on its summit. It probably acquired that name from having been one of the military stations of Caractacus, and it was indeed once considered as the place where he fought his last battle, until a strict comparison of its situation, with the description given by Tacitus, caused the opinion to be abandoned. Formerly a society of gentlemen used to meet annually on this hill to celebrate the fame of the British chief, in compositions both of prose and verse. A very spirited poetical effusion was on one occasion delivered, almost extempore, by the Rev. Sneyd Davies. Almost every
860 THE HUNDRED OF MUNSLOW.
dingle and narrow valley belonging to these hills has its peculiar brook, or rivulet, which in its progress forms many cascades over its rocky channel. They all produce excellent trout. The air of this district is remarkably salubrious. At Church Stretton was born Dr. Roger Mainwaring, Chaplain to Charles the first, and Bishop of St. David's, who died, 1653.
3. The parish of Hope Bowdler, contains the townships of
1. Hope Bowdler,
4. The parish of Rushbury, contains the townships of
5. Stanway and Wilderhope,
6. Stone Acton,
7. Wall under Haywood.
5. The parish of Aston Scott, contains the townships of
1. Acton Scott,
6. That part of the parish of Wistanstow which is in the hundred of Munslow, contains the townships of
4. Wistanstow. (part of)
The other townships in this parish, viz., Cheney Longville, Woolston, and part of Wistanstow, are in the Stow division of the hundred of Purslow.
7. The parish of Culmington, contains the townships of
2. Bach and Norton,
THE HUNDRED OF MUNSLOW, 851
4. Stone Burley.
The lower division of the hundred of Manslow, contains the parishes of
3. Long Stanton,
4. Priors Ditton, or Ditton Priors (part of)
8. Diddlebury, or Delbury,
9. Clee St. Margaret,
10. Cold Weston,
11. Stoke St. Milborough, (part of)
12. Stoke Say,
15. Staunton Lacy,
17. Ashford Bowdler,
18. Ashford Carbonel,
19. Richard's Castle, (part of)
20. Clungunford, (part of)
21. Bitterley. (part of)
1. The parish of Easthope, contains only the township of Easthope.
2. The parish of Holdgate, contains the townships of
2. Bouldon, or Boulden,
3. The parish of Long Stanton, or Stanton Long, contains the townships of
1. Stanton Long,
4. That part of the parish of Priors Ditton, which belongs to the hundred of Manslow contains only the township of Ruthall and Ashfield.
The other part of this parish, viz., the township of Ditton Priors, and Middleton Priors, is in the franchise of Wenlock.
5. The parish of Munslow, contains the townships of
852 THE HUNDRED OF MUNSLOW.
4. Poston, (part of)
N.B. The other part of the township of Poston is in the parish of Diddlebury.
6. The parish of Tugford, contains only the township of Tugford.
7. The parish of Abdon, contains only the township of Abdon.
8. The parish of Diddlebury, or Delhury, contains the townships of
4. Lawton & Little Sutton,
5. Peeton, or Peaton,
6. Upper Parks,
7. Lower Parks,
8. Westhope, (chapelry)
9. Great Sutton,
11. Poston, (part of)
N.B. The other part of the township of Poston, is in the parish of Munslow.
Diddlebury is the elegant seat of the Bishop of Worcester.
9. The parish of Clee St. Margaret, contains only the township of Clee St. Margaret.
10. The parish of Cold Weston, contains only the township of Cold Weston.
11. The Munslow part of the parish of Stoke St. Milborough, contains only the township of Heath, (chapelry).
The other townships of this parish, viz., Clee Stanton, and Cleo Lotman, are in the franchise of Wenlock.
THE HUNDRED OF MUNSLOW. 853
12. The parish of Stoke Say, contains the townships of
1. Stoke Say and Newton,
Stoke castle is very improperly called a castle, though it constitutes a curious specimen of the castellated mansion of former days. It has suffered a degradation not uncommon to places of ancient note; part of it being used as an out-house to an adjoining farm, and the rest suffered to fall to decay. A gate-house constructed of wooden frame work, with curious carvings, leads to the door of a large and lofty hall, which is at present destitute of any remains of a fire-place; at the end of this part of the edifice is an octagonal tower with winding stairs. The mansion is the property of Lord Craven who has great estates in this part of the county.
13. The parish of Hopton, contains only the township of Hopton.
14. The parish of Onibury, contains the townships of
15. The parish of Staunton Lacy, contains the townships of
1. Staunton Lacy,
3. East Hamlets,
4. Lower Hayton,
5. Rocke, Upper Hayton,
6. West Hamlets,
16. The parish of Bromfield, contains the townships of
854 THE HUNDRED OF MUNSLOW.
3. Halford, (chapelry) 4. Clay, Felton, & Witbach,
5. Lady Halton & Hill Halton,
6. Priors Halton,
7. Rye, Felton, and Burway.
Bromfield is only remarkable as containing the remains of a cell of Benedictines, formerly belonging to the abbey of St. Peter, Gloucester. It is delightfully situated on the road leading to Shrewsbury. Its walls were washed by the clear and pastoral river Teme. The ruins are now within the grounds of Oakley Park; the Hat pointed arch of the gatehouse is standing, with the western portion of the church, patched up, and made parochial; the latter has been so mutilated as not to deserve attention.
Tanner says this was originally a college of prebends or secular canons, who in 1155 turned Benedictine Monks; and that it was valued at £78.19s. and granted, 5th Philip and Mary, to Charles Fox.
17. The parish of Ashford Bowdler, contains only the township of Ashford Bowdler.
18. The parish of Ashford Carbonel, contains only the township of Ashford Carbone]. (part of)
The other part of this township is in the hundred of Stottesden.
19. That part of the parish of Richard's Castle, which belongs to Shropshire contains the townships of
1. Moor with Batchcot,
3. Woolverton or Wooferten.
THE HUNDRED OF MUNSLOW. 855
The greater part of the parish of Richard's Castle, is in Wolfy hundred, county of Hereford.
20. That part of the parish of Clungunford, or Clungonas, which belongs to the hundred of Munelow, contains only the township of Shelderton.
The other townships of this parish, viz., Clungunford, Abcott, Beckjay, and Broadward, are in the Stow division of the hundred of Purslow.
21. That part of the parish of Bitterley, which belongs to Munslow contains the townships of
1. Lower Ledwitch,
Of the remaining townships of this parish, Aston Botterell, and part of Snitton, are in the Cleobury division of the hundred of Stottesden; Cleeton, and Bitterley are in the hundred of Overs.
The borough of Ludlow lies near the southern extremity of the hundred of Munslow.
It contains only the parish of St. Lawrence, and is divided into three wards, viz., Broad Street and Castle Ward, Corve Street Ward, and Old Street Ward, the population of which, in 1821, was 4,820; number of inhabited houses, 1,006; families chiefly employed in agriculture, 164; in trade and manufactures, 601.
At a distance of rather more than two miles north-west of Ludlow is Oakley Park, the seat of the honourable Robert Henry Clive. The grounds naturally romantick and beautiful, are laid out with great taste and judgment; the remains of a fine forest of oaks, and the meanderings of the Teme, contribute greatly to enrich the scenery. The prospects in various directions are charming; one in particular towards the south-east, comprehending the
856 THE HUNDRED OF STOTTESDEN.
town and castle of Ludlow, is much and deservedly celebrated. The mansion, a great part of which is of modern construction, stands finely on the banks of the river; among the good pictures it contains, is a very large one by Weeninx, the celebrated Dutch landscape painter, purchased by the late Lord Clive: it is considered a chef d' ceuvre of that artist.
The principal places in the hundred of Munslow, are Longmont, which also lies partly in the hundred of Pnrslow, Norton Camp, Oakley Park the seat of the Hon. R.H. Clive, and the Clee hill, partly in this hundred and partly in that of Stottesden; and on the borders of part of the franchise of Wenlock.
THE HUNDRED OF STOTTESDEN.
The hundred of Stottesden is bounded on the west by Wenlock franchise, Munslow and Overs; on the north by Wenlock franchise; on the east by Brimstry, the liberties of Bridgnorth and Worcester, and on the south by Overs and Worcestershire. A small detached part of it lies on the east side of the hundred of Brimstry, and another detached part on the north of the main portion of the franchise of Wenlock. A part of Herefordshire viz. Farlow, a chapelry in the parish of Stottesden, is bounded by this hundred and a detached part of the hundred of Overs. in the hundred of Stottesden, there is much clay, and considerable quantities of coal, ironstone, and limestone, over which is a stony soil, ofgreat variety. The land which lies over the limestone, or is mixed with it, or with the calcareous gravel which resembles it, is frequently the best in the neighbourhood. The next is soil lying over free stone; the upper surface of the rocks is frequently broken up by the plough, and becomes with the soil, a rocky loam, fit for turnips and barley. Sometimes a slate marl lies under the surface; which soil is esteemed, but it is not common. There are some sands lying over a red sandstone, partibularly near Bridgnorth
THE HUNDRED OF STOTTESDEN. 857
The surface is irregular. Its population in 1821, was 12,160 (exclusive of the borough of Bridgnorth;) - the number of inhabited houses, 2,334; of families chiefly employed in agriculture, 1,632; in trade and manufactures, 586. It comprehends the Cleobury and Chelmarsh divisions.
The Cleobury division of the hundred of Stottesden, contains the parishes of
2. Aston Boterel,
3. Whethill, or Wheathill,
6. Hopton Wafers,
7. Neen Savage,
9. Cleobury Mortimer,
10. Hope Baggot or Baggotahope
11. Corley, or Corely,
13. Ashford Carbonel,
14. Bitterley, (part of)
15. Ludford. (part of)
1. The parish of Burwarton, contains only the township of Burwarton.
2. The parish of Aston Botterel, contains only the township of Aston Botterel.
3. The parish of Whethill, or Wheathill, contains only the township of Whethill.
4. The Shropshire part of the parish of Stottesden, contains the townships of
2. Dudlick, or Didlick,
6. Wrickton and Walkersrow.
The other township in this parish, viz., Farlow, a chapelry,) is in a detached part of Herefordshire, which is bounded by Stottesden and Overs.
858 THE HUNDRED OF STOTTESDEN.
5. The parish of Kinlett, contains the townships of
6. The parish of Hopton Wafers, contains only the township of Hopton Wafers.
7. The parish of Neen Savage, contains the townships of
1. Neen Savage,
8. The parish of Dowles, contains only the township of Dowles.
9. The parish of Cleobury Mortimer, contains the townships of
1. Cleobury Mortimer,
2. Cleobury Foreign,
10. The parish of Hope Baggot, or Baggotshope, contains only the township of Hope Baggot.
11. The parish of Corley, or Coreley, contains only the township of Corley, or Coreley.
12. The parish of Cainham, contains the townships of
2. Bennet's end.
13. The Stottesden part of the parish of Ashford Carbonel, contains only part of the township of Ashford Carbonel.
THE HUNDRED OF STOTTESDEN. 859
The other part of the township is in the hundred of Munslow.
14. That part of the parish of Bitterley which is in the hundred of Stottesden, contains only the township of Snitton.
The townships of Lower Ledwitch, and Middleton, in this parish, are in the hundred of Munslov, and the townships of Cleeton, and Bitterley, are in the hundred of Ovens.
15. That part of the parish of Ludford which belongs to Shropshire, contains the townships of
2. Steventon and Holdgate's fee.
The rest of the parish, viz. the township of Ludford, is in Herefordshire.
The Chelmarsh division of the hundred of Stottesden, contains the parishes of
2. Pattingham, (part of)
3. Astley Abbots,
4. Acton Round,
6. Morvield, or Morvill,
7. Upton Cresset,
10. Quatford, (part of)
12. Cleobury North,
14. Middleton Scriven,
16. Quat Malvern, (part of)
1. The parish of Shineton, contains only the township of Shineton.
2. The Shropshire part of the parish of Pattiugham, contains only part of the township of Shipley and Rudge.
N.B. Shipley is in the parish of Claverley, and Rudge in the parish of Pattingham. The other part of the parish of Pattingham is in the county of Stafford.
860 THE HUNDRED OF STOTTESDEN.
3. The parish of Astley Abbotts, contains only the township of Astley Abbotts.
4. The parish of Acton Round, contains only the township of Acton Round.
5. The parish of Tasley, contains only the township of Tasley.
6. The parish of Morvield, or Morvill, contains the townships of
2. Aston Air, or Eyre, or Ayres,
3. Houghton, Croft, &c.
7. The parish of Upton Cresset, contains only the township of Upton Cresset.
8. The parish of Oldbury, contains only the township of Oldbury.
9. The parish of Chetton, contains the townships of
2. Loughton, (a chapelry)
3. Eudon George,
4. Eudon Burnell.
10. The Stottesden part of the parish of Quatford, contains only the township of Eardington.
Quatford is a parish and manor in which lies the beautiful village of that name, and the lordship of the Hay, anciently the seat of the Bruyns, and Otleys, now belonging to the Hon. Cecil Cope Jenkinson.
THE HUNDRED OF STOTTESDEN. 661
Part of the parish of Quatford belongs to the liberties of Bridgnorth.
11. The parish of Neenton, contains only the township of Neenton.
12. The parish of Cleobury North, contains the townships of
1. Cleobury North,
2. Bold and Charlcott.
13. The parish of Glazeley, contains only the township of Glazeley.
14. The parish of Middleton Scriven, contains only the township of Middleton Scriven.
15. The parish of Chelmarsh, contains the townships of
16. That part of the parish of Quat, which belongs to Stottesden, contains the townships of
2. Quat Malvern,
3. Quat Jarvis,
Dudmaston was the old residence of the Dudmastons, and afterwards, (through marriage) the seat of the Wolryches. It is now the property and residence of William Wolryche Whitmore, Esq. M.P. for Bridgnorth.
17. The parish of Sidbury, contains only the township of Sidbury.
18. The parish of Billingsley, contains only the township of Billingsley.
862 THE HUNDRED OF STOTTESDEN.
19. That part of the parish of Alveley, which belongs to Stottesden, contains the townships of
1. Nordley Regis,
Part of Alveley is in the liberties of Bridgnorth.
20. The parish of Higley, contains only the township of Higley.
The borough and liberties of Bridgnorth are bounded on the west by Stottesden; on the north by Stottesden and put of Brimstry; on the east by Brimstry; and on the south by Stottesden. A detached part of the liberties is bounded on the west, north, and south, by Stottesden; and on the east by Staffordshire. The parish of St. Leonard is considered wholly in the Chelmarsh division of the hundred of Stottesden; the parish of St. Mary Magdalen adjoins the parish of St. Leonard, is divided by the river Severn, and is partly in the hundred of Brimstry, and partly in the hundred of Stottesden. That part of the parish of Quatford which lies within the liberties of Bridgnorth, is situated within the hundred of Brimstry, with the exception of about two or three acres opposite the river to Quatford, (part of Mr. Aingeworth's farm,) which lie in the Chelmarsh division of the hundred of Stottesden.
That part of the parish of Quat which lies within the liberties of Bridgnorth, is called Quat Jarvis, and is in the Chelmarsh division of the hundred of Stottesden.
The liberty of Romsley which lies within the liberties of Bridgnorth, is situated within the parish of Alveley, in the Chelmarsh division of the hundred of Stottesden.
Bridgnorth and the liberties contribute to the rate of the publick stock for the county of Salop at large.
The population of the borough and liberties, exclusive of the remainder of Stottesden and Brimstry, was in 1821, thus returned.
THE HUNDRED OF STOTTESDEN. 863
Part of Alveley parish, viz., Romsley liberty 144
Parish of St. Leonard, 2,161
Parish of-St. Mary Magdalen, 1,935
Part of the parish of Quatford. 105
The number of inhabited houses 988; of families chiefly employed in agriculture, 335; in trade and manufactures, 627.
The royal peculiar of Bridgnorth comprehends
1. The parish of St. Mary Magdalen,
2. The parish of St. Leonard,
3. The parish of Quatford,
4. The liberties of Quat Jarvis, in the parish of Quat,
5. The liberty of Romsley in the parish of Alveley,
All which are in the circuit only of the diocese of Coventry and Lichfield, and not in that diocese.
About four miles east from Quatford, is a Roman camp called the Walls, of which see a description under Quatford. p. 450.
In coming to Bridgnorth, a few acres out of the road, about 3½ miles north-west by north of the town, is one of the finest terraces perhaps in Europe. It is above a mile in length and stands very high; it is wide enough to admit six carriages abreast, and entirely open. On one side it commands a view of the river Severn for some miles, and the stupendous hanging rocks over it down to Bridgnorth bridge at the east end, with many of the rising mountains on the south side of that river; on the other side the whole country is open to it to a vast distance, with the Wrekin about fifteen miles off, bounding the view at the west end. It is part of the airing pleasure-ground of Thomas Whitmore, of Apley, Esq.
The principal places in the hundred of Stottesden, are the Clee Hill, Hoar Edge, Kinlet, the seat of W. Lacon Childe, Esq. Morvill, the seat of Sir Ferdinand Richard Edward Acton, Bart., Cleobury Mortimer, and Bridgnorth.
864 THE HUNDRED OF STOTTESDEN.
There is a singular custom observed annually in London, (at the presentation of the new sheriffs to the Cursitor Baron,) and which relates to a place called the More, or the Moors, described in a record of twenty third Edward the third, as lying near Bridgnorth, and more specifically in one of the sixteenth of that king, as near Oldbury. No such place is now known; but the name is preserved in the Mar or Mor brook, which rising at Callaughton, and flowing by Morvill, and Aldenham, passes through Oldbury, and falls into the Severn, opposite Dudmaston.
The custom is this;- when the new sheriffs are presented, a proclamation in the following words, is made by the officer of the court,- " O Yes, O Yes, P Yes ! Tenants of a piece of waste ground, called the Moors, in the county of Salop, come forth and do your service." Hereupon the senior Alderman present, steps forward and cuts a wand with a bill-hook.
It is not known in what manner this service by petty serjeanty, as it was called, has devolved upon the city of London: but it is believed to have done so, at least as early as thirty eighth Henry the eighth, when "John Gostwick, Richard Gresham, and others, the king's tenants of lands in the More, in the county of Salop, are called upon in Michaelmas term, to answer for two knives and a hazel rod of rent:" for these persons are known to have been Aldermen of London. That corporation has no property in Shropshire at the present time; nor can the Town Clerk find that it ever had. Land at More, in this county, was, however, holden, though not by the city of London, upon a tenure very similar to that which has been just described, from a very early period.
In the 29th Henry the third, Nicholas de Mora paid at the Exchequer two knives, one good, and the other very bad (pessimum) for certain land in Mora, which he held of the king in capite: in the third Richard the third, the land had come into the possession of Walter de Aldebam; and in a record of an uncertain date, by which time it was the property of the knights of St. John of Jerusalem, the manner of performing this service is specified; "a certain knight, (probably the senior) or in his absence another for him, is to hold in his hand a hazel rod of one year's growth, and of the length of a cubit; and one of the knives shall be so weak as to be
THE HUNDRED OF STOTTESDEN. 865
unable to cut it; and the other so good as that at the first stroke, it shall cut through the middle. Which service ought to be performed every year in the middle of the Exchequer, in presence of the Treasurer and Barons, on the morrow of St. Michael."
There cannot be a doubt that this is the service which is now performed. The county, the name of the land, the thing to be done, the day when it is done, (which is that on which the late sheriff's give in their account, and are supposed to pay this their rent,) all unite to prove it. The difficulty is to connect it with the city of London. That corporation must once have held the land, or they would not now render the service; and the only conjecture that occurs on the subject is, that this waste land may have devolved upon them with other property of the knights of Jerusalem, which they are known to have possessed; that the senior Alderman may represent the senior knight; and that the situation of the land may have been subsequently lost by neglect, and the distance of Shropshire from the capital.
This odd service was contrived not without ingenuity, to secure the goodness of one of the knives, and the strength of the tenant. The rod was to be of a fixed growth, and a determined length, it would therefore always be very nearly of the same thickness: further, it could not be rotten or decayed, for it was to resist a weak knife. The rod also was to be cut, not at the extremity, but through the middle; and consequently none but a good knife, and in a strong hand too, could perform such a feat at one stroke. A bill-hook has been substituted for the thwittle, (the old name for the knife,) probably because, with the wrist of an elderly citizen, the latter might not be equal to the severing such a rod as has been described, in the manner required by the law.
866 THE HUNDRED OF CLUN.
THE HUNDRED OF CLUN.
The hundred or honour of Clun is bounded by Radnorshire on the west; by Montgomeryshire on the north; by the hundred of Purslow on the east; and by Purslow and Montgomeshire on the south. Clun is very uneven; but several of the bills are smooth, and fine sheep walks, with a slaty rock under; in some places containing so much silex as to form good roof slate, and in others good building-stone, but most commonly the rock is argillaceous. There are some pale coloured clays in these districts, and a considerable quantity of lighter soils, not so much gravelly perhaps, as mingled with argillaceous rock, and which becomes friable upon exposure to the air. In the vales, the meadow and pasture ground is very good. The population in 1821, was 2,895; the number of inhabited houses, 516; the number of families chiefly employed in agriculture, 327; in trade and manufactures, 80. It comprehends the Mainstone and Clun divisions.
The Mainstone division of the hundred of Clun contains the parishes of
1. Mainstone, (part of )
2. Bettus, or Bettws,
3. Lanvair Waterdine.
1. That part of the parish of Mainstone which lies in Shropshire, contains the townships of
The remainder of this parish is in Montgomeryshire.
2. The parish of Bettus contains the townships of
3. The parish of Llanvair Waterdine, contains the townships of
THE HUNDRED OF CLUN. 867
The Clun division of the hundred of Clun contains only the parish of Clun, and part of the parishes of Clunbury and Stow.
1. The parish of Clun, contains the townships of
6. Hobbaris & Menutton,
12. Whitcott Evan,
13. Whitcott Keyset.
The town of Clun has a richly endowed hospital or almshouse. It was founded in the reign of James the first, for twelve poor men and a master, by Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton. Near the village are the remains of an ancient camp which was probably thrown up by the Romans, during their wars with the ancient Britons. It is surrounded by deep trenches, and from the whole of its appearance must have been a place of great strength.
2. That part of the parish of Stow which is in the Clun division of the hundred of Clun, contains only the township of Lurkenhope.
The other part of the parish is in the Stow division of the hundred of Purslow,
3. That part of the parish of Clunbury which is in the Clun division of the hundred of Clun contains only the township of Obley.
The other townships in this parish are in the Stow division of the hundred of Purslow.
868 THE HUNDRED OF OVERS
The principal places in this hundred are Burfield hills, Bettus hills, Gaer ditches, a Danish encampment, and Clun.
THE HUNDRED OF OVERS.
The hundred of Overs is bounded on the west and north by Stottesden; and on the east and south by Worcestershire; and is the least of the hundreds. A detached part of it is bounded on the west by Munslow; on the north by a portion of Wenlock and by Stottesden; and on the east and south by Stottesden. In the hundred of Overs there is much clay, and considerable quantities of coal, ironstone, and limestone, over which is a stony soil of great variety. The land which lies over the limestone, or is mixed with it, or with the calcareous 'gravel that resembles it, is frequently the best in the neighbourhood. The next is soil lying over freestone; the upper surface of the rock is frequently broken up by the plough, and becomes with the soil a rocky loam, fit for turnips or barley. Sometimes a slate marl lies under the surface; which soil is esteemed, but it is not common. There are some clays of a 'reddish colour, particularly near Ludlow, being almost the extremity of the hundred. The population in 1821, was 2,573; the number of inhabited houses, 487; of families chiefly employed in agriculture, 307; in trade and manufactures, 83.
It contains the parishes of
2. Bitterley, (part of)
4. Neen Solars,
1. The parish of Silvington contains only the township of Silvington and Cleeton.
2. The Overs part of the parish of Bitterley, contains only the township of Bitterley.
THE HUNDRED OF OVERS. 869
This parish contains also the townships of Lower Ledwitch, and Middleton, in the lower division of the hundred of Munslow, and the township of Snitton, in the Cleobury division of the hundred of Stottesden.
3. The parish of Milson, contains only the township of Milson.
4. The parish of Neen Solars, contains only the township of Neen Solars, or Neen Sollers.
5. The parish of Greet, contains only the township of Greet.
9. The parish of Burford, contains the townships of
4. Whitton, (a chapelry)
The principal place is the Titterstone Cleo Hill.
BUILDWAS ABBEY. Continued from p. 804.
Buildwas is extensively celebrated for the remains of an Abbey of Cistercians. This religious house was founded in the year 1135, by Roger, Bishop of Chester, for monks of the order of Savigny, who were afterwards united to the Cistercians. The Abbey was dedicated to St. Mary and St. Chad, and the foundation was confirmed by King Stephen, in the year 1139. It had, subsequently, many noble benefactions and donations, several of which were confirmed by the charter of King Richard the first, anno 1189, being the first year of his reign. Henry the second, by his charter to the Abbot Randolph, subjected the Abbey of St. Mary in Dublin to the Abbots of this place. Leland, in his itinerary says, "Matilda de Bohun, wife to Sir Robert Burnell, was founder of Build-was Abbey; though some for the only gift of the site of the house, take the Bishop of Chester for their founder." Camden seems likewise to be of the same opinion, as be mentions Buildwas as the burial place of the family of the Burnells, patrons thereof, but among all the charters of the Monasticon, there is no mention of this Matilda or Sir Robert, and the foundation is in two or three places, expressly ascribed to Roger, Bishop of Chester.
About the time of the suppression here were twelve monks, who according to Speed, were endowed with one hundred and twenty nine pounds six shillings and ten pence, though Dtigdale estimates the value at only one hundred and ten pounds nineteen shillings and three-pence. The site, with all the land belonging to this monastery, in Shropshire, Staffordshire, and Derbyshire, were granted to Edward, Lord Powis, in the twenty ninth year of the reign of Henry the Eighth.
It stands on the south bank of the Severn, in a rich pastoral valley, behind which there are woody banks, about eleven miles from Shrewsbury. The walls of the Abbey church are
BUILDWAS ABBEY. 871
almost entire. This was cruciform, with a massive tower in the middle of the cross. On each side of the nave there are seven thick pillars, five of which are round, and the two nearest the choir are square, with large square indented capitals, from whence spring arches with obtuse points. Above, is a clere story of very small round headed windows. The tower, the lower story of which remains, rests on four wide pointed arches, springing from brackets in the walls. The east end of the choir, has three narrow round arched windows, as has also that of the nave. There never was any western door here, which is singular. The side aisles, the transept and the chapels of the choir, are entirely in ruins. Under the south wing of the transept, there is a crypt, which is now converted into an excellent beer cellar, belonging to a good house, made out of the Abbot's Lodge, The whole church has evidently been groined with stone, for the feet of the brackets from whence the ribs sprang are still remaining, neatly carved on the walls. On the east is the chapter house, a parallelogram, 43 feet by 33, which is still perfect. The groined roof springs from two slender, octagonal pillars on each side, dividing it into three aisles. The entrance is by a round arch with the chevron moulding, and on each side of it are circular head windows in the same style. Over the chapter house, and the other apartments forming the east side of the cloister, are the remains of a second story, which was probably the dormitory. The dimensions of the cloister court were 1011 feet by 90. At the south eastern angle is a passage, which leads to an irregular area, eastward of the cloister, about 90 feet by 75, and on the north and east sides of this, are ranges of lofty pointed arches, which was perhaps the refectory, and in the center are the remains of a square tower. This picturesque ruin presents some curious specimens of the architecture of the period, when the round arch was giving way to the pointed, though still keeping its place in many parts of the fabrick. The view of this venerable church from the west end is peculiarly striking; the huge pillars with their bold arches and projecting capitals in perspective, receding behind each other. The four wide and lofty arches under the tower, a great fragment of that prominent feature banging over the ruins below, the whole terminated by the narrow
vane windows of the gloomy choir, and this scene of desolation contrasted with the gay verdure and scattered shrubs which now clothe the area, and the luxuriant ivy mantling the walls, altogether form a solemn spectacle of fallen monastick grandeur. Who while beholding such scenes of magnificence in rains, however he may be oppressed by misfortunes, and sunk in the depths of adversity will not derive from the sight at least a negative consolation, and, like the exiled Marius, contemplating the mouldering walls of the once flourishing Carthage, feel with the less acuteness the affliction of his own downfall!
At Buildwas there was formerly a bridge of very ancient erection, which some erroneously suppose, was built for the convenience of the famous Abbey above mentioned. It consisted of very narrow arches, and was a great obstruction to the navigation of the Severn. It was carried away by a high flood in 1795, and has been replaced by an elegant iron one, at the expense of the county; from a plan given to Mr. Telford, as county surveyor. This bridge was executed in a masterly manner by the Coalbrookdale company, and was finished in 1796. The span of the arch is one hundred and thirty feet, and the rise twenty four. But as the roadway could not be carried to a great height, advantage was taken of the Schaffhausen principle, by making the outer ribs rise to the top of the railing, and connecting them with the lower ribs by means of dove-tailed king-posts.
Continued from p. 788
Henrietta Vernon, daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas Vernon, of Hodnet, died in 1752, and bequeathed the manor and advowson of Hodnet, with other estates, to her cousin, Elizabeth Heber, wife of Thomas Heber, Esq. of Marton., in
Yorkshire, in whose family they still remain; being now in the possession of Richard Heber, Esq. M. P. for the university of Oxford.
Hodnet church, situated on a gentle eminence, is a handsome structure, of considerable antiquity, but like many of our old. churches, several of the windows are bereft of their mullions, and fitted up with modern glazing, which detracts much from its venerable aspect. It is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul. The church consists of a north and south aisle, divided by six pillars, five circular, and one octangular, which support five circular, and two obtusely pointed arches, with plain lined capitale. In the south chancel are three trefoil headed stone stalls. The north and south chancel, have the old pannelled oak ceilings, with flowered bosses. Betwixt the south aisle and chancel, the King's arms are placed, with the date 1660. Near the south door is a large, octagonal stole font, and opposite, against the walls, a box inscribed "Remember the poor." In the north chancel is an ancient reading desk, on which are chained in very old binding, " Erasmus's Paraphrase upon the - Gospells;" the "Booke of Martyres;" the "Defence of the Apologie of the Churche of England;" and "Stanhope's Christian Pattern". The tower which is in the form of an octagon, contains six bells. In Hodnet church are several monuments of the Hill family, and one of Miss Vernon..
From the conveniences of carriage afforded by so fine a river as the Severn, this county was probably more tardy than others, in the introduction of navigable CANALS. The increasing demand for its mineral and agricultural products, however,, created a necessity for devising some mode of eon.. veyance to distant markets, more rapid and less expensive than land-carriage. The example of other counties had demonstrated the advantages of artificial navikation; and those derived, from the Severn itself afforded arguments sufficient
to justify the experiment. The coal and iron found in the immediate vicinity of that river, would be brought to market on lower terms than those produced in more distant districts; and it was obvious that nothing but a similar mode of conveyance was wanting to ensure to the latter a fair chance of competition. This was particularly evident in the instance of the coal and iron mines of Oaken Gates and Ketley. But it was found, that however advantageous a canal might be to these mines, there existed a formidable obstacle in the nature of the ground, and the project fur cutting one was, for a long time, considered impracticable. The high, rugged, and insulated ridges over which it must necessarily pass, rendered it impossible to collect and reserve a sufficient quantity of water fur the purposes of lockage, the only mode which had, at that time been practised in Britain, for conveying boats from a higher to a lower level.
These difficulties might for ages have existed, had not the means of surmounting them been suggested by the bold and successful ingenuity of Mr. William Reynolds of Kelley. This gentleman having occasion to improve the mode of conveying iron-stone and coals front the Oaken Gales to the iron works at Ketley, through a distance-a emile and a half, and a descent of seventy-three feet, made a navigable canal, and constructed an inclined plane, with a double iron rail-way, by means of which the loaded boat passing down, brought up another with a load nearly equal to one third of its own weight. This inclined plane was completed in 1788. Its principle was soon discovered to be applicable to the situation of the ground which lay between the Oaken Gates stud the Severn, and under this impression, a subscription having been entered inie,418 act of parliament was obtained for the Shropshire canal.
The general direction of this canal is nearly front north to south: it commences on the north side of the Loudon road front Shrewsbury, at a place called Donnington Wood, and proceeds about 100 yards on a level; it then ascends 120 feet, by an inclined plane of 820 yards in length. From the top of this inclined plane, (which is the summit level of the canal) it passes on through Wrockwardine and Snediddll coal and ironstone works, and, near the Oaken Gates, is joined
by the Ketley canal before-mentioned; from thence it goes on by the Holingswood iron-works, and terminates at Brierly Hill, near Coalbrookdale. The main line of the canal, turning to the left at Southall Bank, goes on to the Windmill Farm, where it descends 126 feet, by an inclined plane 600 yards in length: from the bottom of this inclined plane it passes on to the east of Madeley, until it reaches the banks of the Severn, at about two miles below the iron bridge; here it descends 207 feet, by an inclined plane which is 350 yards in length; from the bottom of this inclined plane, it passes parallel with the river, and on a level above the reach of the floods, to Coalport, where it terminates.
On the completion of the Shropshire canal, another, of considerably greater extent, was projected. The heavy expense attending the land carriage of coal to Shrewsbury from the Oaken Crates, had tended, from year to year, to raise the price Of that article. The establishment of a canal appeared the most effectual means of checking this growing evil; and, at the same time, by passing through a tract of coal country, it promised the additional advantage of ensuring a more abundant supply to that market. These considerations, joined to the prospect of agricultural improvement, in the cheap and expeditious conveyance of lime and other manures, led to the formation of a company, which entered into a subscription, and obtained an act of parliament for making the Shrewsbury canal.
Having purchased about a mile of the north end of a short canal, cut by Mr. W. Reynolds, at the lower level at Wrockar.. dine Wood. in the direction of Ketley, the Shrewsbury Canal Company erected an inclined plane of 223 yards in length, and 75 feet of fall. From the termination of this plane the canal passes on by Eyton Mill to Long Lane, where it traverses a valley of considerable length, and crosses the river Tern, at the height of sixteen feet above the surface of the meadow, by means of an aqueduct and an embankment. Near this place it crosses the turnpike road, from Wellington to Shrewsbury, then passing on to Rodington, and over the river Roden, through Withington to near Atetram, it enters a tunnel of 970 yards in length; from the north end of the tunnel it continues along the base of Haughmond bill to Pimley, where it crosses
a valley on a small aqueduct and embankment: thence passing along the banks of the Severn, it terminates in a large bason and coal yard at the isthmus leading into Shrewsbury, called the Castle Foregate.
The Ellesmere navigation may be called a system of canals, extending through that large and fertile tract of country, which lies between the banks of the Severn on the south, and those of the river Mersey on the north, and between the confines of North Wales on the west, and the borders of Staffordshire on the east, a space of fifty miles in length, and more than twenty in breadth, exclusive of the valleys which open into North Wales. Its grand object is to unite the Severn, the Dee, and the Mersey, and by that means to open a communication, from the above-mentioned district to the ports of Liverpool and Bristol. The commercial advantages accruing from this connection of those rival ports, though very considerable, are only of minor importance, when compared with the beneficial effects resulting from the influence it has on the agriculture of the interjacent country.
There is a short canal, formed by the Marquis of STAFFORD, which commences at Donnington Wood, and proceeds on a level to Pave Lane, near Newport, a distance of about seven miles; with a branch to his Lordship's lime-works at Lilleshall. This canal was made for the purpose of conveying coals to the latter place from his Lordship's works at Donnington, and to the wharf at Pave Lane, for publick sale.
In districts where the inequalities of surface would not admit of canal navigation, another mode of conveyance has bees adopted to a considerable extent, viz. that of forming iron rail ways, on which articles are carried in wagons, containing from six to thirty cwt.
MINERALS. See Plain of Shrewsbury, p. 406. Rivet's. See Water, p. 664.
HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
OLIVER MATTHEWS, who, in the reign of James the first amused his age with writing "An account of the scituation, foundation, and auncient names of the famous towne of Sallop, not inferlour to manie Citties in this Realme for antiquitie, godlie government, good orders, and wealth," expresses himself in the following terms. "This most auncient and famous Towne was first founded by the noble and victorious Kinge of Brutaines, Dyffenwall Moel-myd, whom the Romans, Saxony, Normans, and Danes, called Mulmutius Dunwallo. The which foundation was first begonne about 669 yeres after Brutus' first entraunce in Brutaine, which before was called Albion, anno mundi 3525, before the incarnation of our Saviour Christe 438. This most noble Kinge Dyffenwall Moel-myd, made the Castle there, and the North Gate, and a 'wall from the Castle to Seaverne, and also from the Castle to Seaverne on the north side; leavinge Seaverne to be a wall and a defence to the town round about; saving the wall before-mentioned: and called the towne by her first name, Caer Odder yn Hafren, which is by interpretation, The Cittie or the Towne of fallinge or slidinge grounde, within the wombe of Seaverne:" The existence of such a prince as Dyffenwall, cannot be disputed. He is mentioned as a legislator in the Welsh code; entitled The Laws of Hywel Dda, or the good; but that his sceptre extended over the whole island, and that he had any concern in the foundation of Shrewsbury, are points for which not a single trace of anthentick support can be found.
878 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
According to Holinshed, Shrewsbury was a place of importance, A.D. 28, and then called Coriminium, when "the greatest lordes and estates of the Brytaines," held an assembly here to oppose the Romans and Arviragus who had allied himself with the emperor Claudius, and, "went about to bring them wholy under servile subjection and thraldome of the same Romaines." But for this assertion Holinshed seems to have had no other authority but that of the notorious fabulist, Hector Boece.
If the Welsh Chronicle galled Tysilio's were to be depended on, and if there were any proof that Digol, mentioned by him was Shrewsbury, as his editor the Rev. Peter Roberts asserts, there would be no doubt, that its founder was Maelgwn Gwynnedd, who founded the see of Bangor, about the middle of the sixth century, and died in 565. But there is no proof that this prince's court was held at Shrewsbury. His dominions on the contrary seem to have been entirely confined to the upper part of North Wales, the modern country of Caernarvon, and perhaps also Merioneth. These periods of its origin are placed too high.
But the learned Humphrey Lhuyd, in his essay on the history of Britain, seems to bring down the period of its foundation too low, and to make the Saxons its builders. "All the more considerable towns," be observes, "on the banks of the rivers Severn and Dee, are seated. on the eastern side of those streams; for the greater security against the invasions of the Welsh." As Lhuyd could not have forgotten that Shrewsbury is situated in the manner which he describes, we may infer, that when he wrote this passage, he was inclined to attribute its foundation to the Saxon invaders, at a late period of their history; when they, in their turn became exposed to the inroads of their Cambrian neighbours.
The truth most probably lies between these two last periods - that the town of Shrewsbury was built after the Saxon invasion, but owed its foundation to the Britons. It does not appear to have been a Roman station, for no vestige of that imperial people has ever been found within its circuit; but a few miles lower down the river, on the site of the present village of Wroxeter, stood the flourishing town of Uriconium. Here, after the Romans had finally withdrawn from the island,
HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY. 879
the Britons no doubt continued to occupy the seats deserted by their ancient masters, until they were driven from them by superior force. To this period we may approximate within no great number of years.
We are in possession of the poems of Llywarc Hen, which notwithstanding their great obscurity are highly valuable, as scattering a few rays of light over the darkest period of our history. Llywarc Hen was a prince of the Cumbrian Britons, who being hard pressed by the Saxons of Northumberland, retired towards the end of the sixth century to his countrymen in Powis, (or the plain of Shropshire.) His life was protracted to the unusual extent of 145 years, and on this account be received the epithet of Hen or the old. His writings contain several proofs of his acquaintance with the district now called Shropshire. Its streams, the Severn, the Monies, and the Tern,- its mountains, Digoll, (or Long Mountain,) News Cliff, or Clegyr, the Digon, or the Breiddin,- its towns, Baschurch, Ercall; Hodnet, all appear in his poems; and since he speaks also of Pengwern, the well known Welsh name of Shrewsbury, we need not doubt that it existed in his time.
Llywarc sought an assylum at Pengwern with a prince named Cynddylan, but only exchanged a northern for a southern scene of conflict. The Mercian Saxons, or more properly Angles, had by this time fought their way into the plain of Shropshire, or of Shrewsbury, (see Plain of Shrewsbury,) and Cyodrwyn, the father of Cyaddylan, had been several years before the arrival of Llywarc, expelled from Tren, (probably a town on the Tern,) by a Saxon chieftain; to whom our Cumbrian bard, with the pride of superior civilization can afford no better name than the contemptuous epithet of Twerb, or the Hog. When Llywarc came into Powis, Uriconiuw was still standing, and in possession of the Britons, for he speaks of it by the name Ddinlle Vrecou, i.e. the city of Vrecoo,) the very name which the Saxons translated into Wrekenceastre, by contraction Wrwieter, the city of the Wrekin. But Pengwern, as we have observed, was also in existence. Llywarc calls it Llys Pengwern; or the palace of Pengwern, for it was the residence of his friend and protector Cyaddylan: and hence the conclusion follows, that it was in
880 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
the poet's time, and when he was already an aged man, perhaps about the year 570, for he was born in 502, that the Britons of Wroxeter finding their station there no longer tenable, retired before the flames of the Saxon army, (for it has evidently been destroyed by fire) and sought a place of refuge higher upon the Severn; where protected by its deep bed, its sinuous windings, and the morasses of its banks, they might shroud themselves among the Alders and Willows which hid the foot, and the thickets which crowned the summit of the lofty and peninsular knoll, now covered by the capital of Shropshire.
We must not, in estimating the degree of protection imparted to Pengwern by the Severn, form our ideas by the condition of the river, in the present advanced state of cultivation. Whenever any country is thinly inhabited, trees and shrubs spring up in the uncultivated fields, and spreading by degrees, form large forests, which confining the exhalations of the soil, and obstructing the course of streams, cause the rivers to overflow, and stagnate into lakes, and marshes. Varenius, an approved geographer, even supposes that all the channels of rivers have been formed by art; and in the country of which he was a native, this is perhaps not far from the truth. The Rhine, which in the days of Tacitus, never reached the sea in the form of a river, but was lost in marshes, now empties itself by innumerable mouths, formed by the industry of the inhabitants, who have thus rescued for themselves large tracts of useful soil. The Severn, on the eastern side of Shrewsbury, ran at least in five channels, forming within the last hundred years, four islands, and spreading most probably in the days of Cynddlan, into a marshy lake from the foot of the Wyle, at least as far as the site of the Abbey. On the north-west, ancient tradition attests, and the face of the ground confirms the idea, that Coton Hill was connected with Frankwell by a bank, which caused the river to spread over the rich meadows called the Purditches, in a broad lake, and forced its waters under Hencot and Crosshill, (in a channel strongly marked by its banks, and discernible at all times, particularly during floods,) till they found their way into the present channels at Bagley-bridge. Thus at the time when the Britons abandoned Wroxeter, the situation of Pengwern was one of eminent natural strength.
HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY. 881
How long the fugitives remained in their new seat, it is vain to enquire; for our authorities present us with no notes of time at this period. But they were followed hither by the Saxons, who as at Uriconium before, reduced the place to ashes, and the elegy of Llywarc calls upon the maidens of Pengwern "to quit their dwellings and behold the habitation of Cynddylan, the royal palace of Pengwern, wrapped in flames." The British chief retired in consequence of this disaster, further to the west. E. Llhuyd quotes an ancient poem intimating that he fell in battle at Drev Wen, or the White Town; and as the Saxons were much in the habit of translating into their own language the Welsh names of places which they found established, of which it would be easy to adduce abundant proof, this may have been Whittington near Oswestry, as Lhuyd thought it was. But it is much more probable that the White Town near which the chieftain lost his life, was Withington beyond Haughmond Hill, near which village we may suppose he passed the Tern, to face the Saxon spoiler. It is certain that he was interred at Baschurch. "The churches of Besse," says Llywarc, (and this is another instance in which the Saxon name is a translation of the Welsh) " the churches of Bassa are enriched this night, containing the departed remains of the pillar of battle."
But the situation of Pengwern could not long remain without an occupant, and a few years after its destruction under Cynddylan, we find it inhabited by a king of Powis, the capital of his kingdom, and even ranking among the twenty eight cities of Britain. The kingdom of Powis at this time comprised the south-western parts of the counties of Cheshire, Flint, and Denbigh, the whole of Montgomeryshire, portions of the counties of Radnor, and Brecon, and as much of Shropshire as was unoccupied by the Saxons: i.e. at least as far as the river Severn. It is a mistake to suppose that it first originated as a territorial division in the partition of Wales between the three sons of Roderick the Great, in 876. Powis existed long before. Nennius, who finished his work in the year 858, describes the arrival in Britain of Saint Germain of Auxerre, about 430; his inhospitable reception by a king of
882 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
Jal (Yale in Denbighshire,) the miraculous destruction of that prince, and the consequent elevation of Ketel Durnluc, a poor man who had slain his only calf to supply the wants of the holy bishop, "and from Ketel's seed" concludes Nennius "is the region of Powis governed to this day." If the historian has mixed up his narrative with legendary fables, that circumstance needs not shake our belief of those facts of which he is a competent witness. The traveller who painfully explores his way through an unknown country, must gratefully accept the services of a guide, with every part of whose character he may not be fully content. Nennius is a very valuable authority for the time to which his enquiries extend, as we have scarcely any other information respecting it.
Powis or Pow isa is the low country, * a name still given by the peasants of Montgomeryshire to the plain of Shropshire, and indeed derived from that, the only level portion of the Powisian dominions, the paradise of the Cymry, as it is emphatically stiled by Llywarch. The Ketel Durnlue, (of Nennius) the patriarch of its sovereigns is in Welsh Cadelh Deyrnllwg: and expounded by Mr. Carte, the king of the river. Cadelh's descendant, (his grandson according to the genealogies) Brocwael Ysgithrog, or the tusked, king of Powis, whom the Saxon Chronicle terms, the ealderman of Britons, retained possession of at least a part of Shropshire; since Llywarc, his kinsman, calls the valley of Meisyr (probably, that of Oswestry, anciently Maserfield) the celebrated land of Brocwael. The legend of a British saint his contemporary, Melangell, latinized Monacel la, informs us that be fixed his residence in Pengwern Powis, or Shrewsbury; and that his palace occupied the spot on which the college of St. Chad was afterwards erected. Though defeated at Chester in 607, as the Saxon Chronicle has it, (or 603, as the AErae Cambro-Britannicae,) by the Northumbrian Ethelfrith, be made his escape from the field of battle with a small band of fifty
* The word Pow, a country, has disappeared from the Welsh language, but is found in a cognate dialect, the Cornish. Edw. Lhuyd's Archaeologia p. 138. Is, LOWER still exists in the Welsh.
HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY. 883
men. One writer even attributes the signal victory which the Britons soon after gained over the Northumbrian, on the banks of the Humber, to our Salopian chieftain, assisted by Cadfao, the father of Cadwallader, and other leaders. Brocwael must have died soon after, in extreme old age, if the genealogies are correct, which represent his grandfather Ketel Durnluc to have attained mature age nearly two centuries before the battle of Chester.
We should now set down some account of his descendants who wielded the sceptre of Powis within the palace of Pengwern, till their expulsion by the Saxons,- but all history is silent concerning the kings of Old Powis, and even their names are obscured by uncertainty. The legend of Monacella indeed relates that Brocwael was succeeded in his kingdom by his son Tissiliau. This prince embraced a religious life, ranks among the British saints, and has given name to several churches in Wales. On his resignation, his brother Cynan succeeded. "Afterwards," continues the legend, " Tambryd and then Curmylle and Durres Gam held the principality." But these three names have no affinity to the Welsh, and bear every mark of monkish fiction.
Though there can be no doubt that the cession of Shropshire was obtained from the British only by the military preponderance of the Saxons, yet it seems equally certain that it must have been finally the subject of a pacifick negotiation. A work of so much labour as Offa's Dyke, (See Offa's Dyke,) evidently designed according to the practice of that prince in other places, as the line of demarcation between the two kingdoms, could never have been carried into execution without the concurrence of the sovereigns on each side of that boundary. In like manner the surrender of Pengwern by the Britons seems to have been ultimately the result of positive treaty; and the whole native population appears to have accompanied their prince into Montgomeryshire. Had the Saxons obtained it by a siege or by assault, they would doubtless, as elsewhere, have retained a portion of the inhabitants in a state of servitude, but there is reason to believe that this was not the case. The British prince despoiled of the fairest portion of his dominion, retired to Mathrafal or the Vyrnwy, or Virniew, five miles beyond Welshpool, while
884 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
Pengwern, degraded from the dignity of a metropolis, passed under the yoke of an English conqueror, and is henceforth to be known by the denomination of Shrewsbury - a word of Saxon origin.
Of the state of the town under its native princes, its extent and its buildings, we possess no means of information. The arts of civil life which the Britons had cultivated, and that not without success, under their Roman masters, disappeared in the course of three centuries of uninterrupted warfare. A ditch, or a rude rampart of unhewn logs, inclosing a few hovels, in dignity far inferior to a modern barn, for the residence of the prince, and the offices of religion, some wattled buts, with a fold or two for the sheep and cattle, composed it is probable the whole of Pengwern Powis; an authentick sketch of which, if it could now be recovered, would be as interesting to the modern inhabitants of Shrewsbury, as the picture which Virgil presents to his readers of the future mistress of the world, when first visited by Eneas and his companions.
Pauperis Evandri, passimque armenta videbant
Romanoque foro, et lautis mugire Carinis.
On the invasion by the Saxons, Pengwern Powis was called Scrobbes-byrig, and was considerably enlarged by its new possessors. In 1006, Ethelred kept the Christmas holidays at this place; and in the year 1016, the inhabitants revolted to the Danish chief Canute. They were, however, afterwards compelled to return to their allegiance, and were severely punished for their defection by Prince Edmund, son of Ethelred, afterwards King Edmund Ironside.
Alphelm, a prince of the blood, having been invited by Edric, duke of Mercia, and son-in-law to Ethelred, to a banquet at Shrewsbury, and afterwards to a hunting party, was basely murdered during the chase, by one Godwin Porthund, a butcher of the town, whom Edric bad hired for that purpose. This circumstance probably gave rise to a custom, prevalent during the reign of Edward the Confessor, of keeping watch over the person of the king whenever he
HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY. 885
came to hunt in the neighbouring woods of these parts, which be sometimes did. In this reign Shrewsbury had two hundred and fifty-two houses, besides the mint, which was under the direction of three officers, who were compelled to pay into the royal treasury twenty shillings at the end of every fifteen days while the money was current. There is a coin still in preservation having this inscription: Edward Rex Anglia, and on the reverse, dlelmaer on Scrobe. Doomsday book, which mentions this fact, also takes particular notice of the following churches: St. Almund (Alkmund,) St. Julian, Salton Church, St. Cead (Chad,) and the monastery of St. Peter.
After the Norman conquest in the year 1067, or according to Rapin and Hume, 1069, Edric the Forester, with the aid of Owen Gwynedd, Prince of Wales, laid siege to Shrewsbury; but William the Conqueror, who had but just returned from a visit to his native country, in order to quell the rising tumults which every where began to threaten his Britsh dominions, soon raised the siege, and punished, or cajoled the leading English chiefs, while he took ample vengeance on the Welsh. Edric, however, was one of the last to yield to the arms or the persuasions of the Norman monarch. He nevertheless obtained forgiveness from the mercenary clemency of William, and was afterwards restored to some degree of trust and favour.
In this reign, Roger de Montgomery, the favourite and relation of the conqueror, was created Earl of Shrewsbury, Arundel, and Chichester, and had several very extensive grants made him, including, as has been already observed, nearly the whole of the county, besides a hundred and fifty-eight manors or lordships in other parts of the kingdom. In one of the deeds transferring these manorial grants, Roger styles himself, Rogerins. Dei gratid, Scrobesburiensis Comes; Roger, by the grace of God, Earl of Shrewsbury.
In Doomsday Survey, 1086, Shrewsbury is stiled a city, and the abbey is said to have been founded where the parish church of the city stood. This book also contains a summary of several municipal laws, customs, and usages, for the internal regulations of the police, and for increasing the king's
106 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
revenues. The whole amount of annual taxes was £20. of which the king had two thirds, and the sheriff one.
Hugh de Montgomery, who had succeeded his father Roger in the earldom of Shrewsbury, having been shot by an arrow, from the skilful hand of Magnus, King of Norway, was succeeded by his elder brother Robert de Belesme. In the character and conduct of this profligate tyrant, hereditary despotism, as is usually the case in all such irrational compacts, was more conspicuously manifest in vicious propensities, than even in his accession to power and territory. Such instances as this make one lament that hereditary succession must rank among other necessary evils incident to every human establishment. Earl Robert united with that party who opposed the pretensions of Prince Henry, son of William Rufus, and espoused the more legal claims of Robert, Duke of Normandy, who was just returned from the slaughter of the unoffending inhabitants of Jerusalem, still heated with the fire of superstition, and a more durable passion for the beautiful Sibylla; and who eventually lost the kingdom through the delays which his enthusiasm in the East, and his amours in Italy, bad occasioned. The settlement of Horny the first, on the throne of his father did not abate the intemperate zeal of Robert de Belesme in the service of the Duke: and he was hence induced to speak in direct terms against the person and government of the king. He afterwards broke out into open rebellion, strengthened his castles in Shropshire, and at Shrewsbury built and fortified a flank wall, from each side of the castle, across the isthmus, down to the side of the Severn.
Upon this, the earl was publickly declared a traitor, and the king marched against him with a considerable force. The surrender of Bridgnorth to Henry, induced the earl to quit Shrewsbury, and to commit its defence to three generals and eighty soldiers, hired expressly for the purpose. With the assistance of a few Welsh, with whom he had made peace, he frequently disturbed the royal forces, till being much harmssed by William Pautulf, a Shropshire man whom he had formerly offended, he was compelled to return to Shrewsbury. Soon afterwards the town was beset with an army of 60,000; and Robert de Belesme had scarcely seated himself in the
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castle, when the king in a peremptory tone demanded the immediate surrender of that place, threatening, in case of refusal, in three days to besiege the town, and hang every one found in the castle. The earl perceiving that nothing was to be done, confessed his treason, implored the royal clemency, and sent the keys by the hands of Ralph, abbot of Sees, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, which the king accepted and banished the restless earl to Normandy, to the universal satisfaction of the people, who were glad to get rid of so troublesome an oppressor. No longer, however, within hearing of the king's threats, the spirit of revenge and ambition re-kindled in his breast, and he contrived once more to appear in arms against Henry; but was at length taken prisoner, and ignominiously conveyed in chains to England, where he ended a miserable life, a close prisoner at Wareham.
The rebellion of the earl commenced A. D. 1102, and in the year in which he died, the king sent certain members of his privy council to Shrewsbury, on pretence of consulting forwetb ap Blitbyn, respecting the state of the royal affairs; but when this ill-fated Welshman arrived at the town, he was condemned for treason, and committed to prison.
We purposely omit the legend of the courageous Virgin, Wenefrede, whose bones are said to have been buried in the abbey at Shrewsbury, in the reign of King Stephen. The story of this extraordinary female has been detailed by Pennant, and cited by Phillips, the historian of this town, with a minuteness sufficiently correct to gratify and disgust the curious and the rational. It is proper, however, to notice a few circumstances, which are said to owe their origin to the tradition of this doubtful saint. One of the Abbey Foregate fairs, kept on the 22nd of June, O.S. we are informed, was established on the feast of Wenefredes's decollation. The other fair was kept on the feast of St. Peter ad vincula. Pennant says that a guild or fraternity was established at Shrewsbury, in honour of this miraculous female; and he describes its common seal, which he says, he had then in his possession, as a curious relique of superstition, from which religionists of modern times have, in this county at least, so happily emerged.
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In 1139, William Fitz Alan, a powerful baron, was governor of the town, and sheriff of the county. During the wars between Stephen and the Empress Maude, this baron espoused the cause of the empress; and with several noblemen, for some time opposed the forces of the king. He left the castle, which he bad strongly fortified, under the command of a deputy- governor, whom he compelled to swear never to deliver his trust to the king. This, however, did not prevent the monarch from besieging and taking the castle; after which he hanged several of the garrison for their contumacy.
Fitz Alan fled, yet still maintained his adherence to the cause in which be had embarked; and when the empress's son, Henry the second succeeded to the crown, and took possession of the castle, he was restored to his government and estates, including the castles of Clun and Oswestry.
During the siege just mentioned, King Stephen granted to the abbey of Buildwas, a charter of confirmation, dated Apud Salopesbiriam in Obsidione, Anno Dom. 1139. At Shrewsbury in the siege.
Early in the reign of King John, Gwynwynwyn, prince of Pow is, came to Shrewsbury, to meet the English council, then assembled at that place, to decide upon the measures necessary to be adopted to counteract and oppose the sanguinary depredations of the Welsh on the borders. With a breach of confidence, and a want of generosity, happily unusual in modern times, the English council not only refused to listen to pacifick proposals, but detained him as a prisoner.
A similar, but more inhuman act of courtly cruelty occurred soon afterwards, when the Welsh, having broken certain covenants for the due performance of which they had given as an hostage Rees the son of Maelgon, a boy under seven years of age, the English suffered or commanded a wretch of the name of Vepont, one of the king's friends, to take the infant hostage and bang him at Shrewsbury. Nor was this the only instance of savage cruelty with which the character and reign of John were disgraced. It was reserved for the monarch who reluctantly signed Magna Charts, to thirst only for the blood of children, or to refuse refreshment till his vengeance had been satiated in the death of twenty eight boys, which was the case on one occasion at Nottingham. These sanguinary
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deeds did not pass unnoticed by a just Providence. Three years after the last-mentioned perfidious act, 1215, Prince Llewellyn, of Wales, came to Shrewsbury at the head of a force, whose bravery had been signalized by many victories over the lords marchers, and had the town and castle delivered to him without any resistance.
This retributive triumph, however, did not long continue, for in 1220, we find Shrewsbury once more in the hands of the English. At this time Henry the third had succeeded the capricious and cruel John in the English throne; and it is pleasing to notice the difference in this monarch's disposition and that of his predecessor. In 1221, Henry sent for Llewellyn to Shrewsbury, and there decided a quarrel that had some time subsisted between that prince and Rees ap Griffith. He had previously taken the son of Llewellyn under his protection.
In 1233, new feuds broke out between the English and the Welsh. The Earl of Pembroke and his associates took advantage of these etents, and fleeing into Wales, joined Llewellyn. From thence, with their augmented force, they laid waste the marches between that country and Shrewsbury, in which last place they found great booty, and put the inhabitants to the sword. The king and his council, then.assembled at Gloucester, determined, after much deliberation, as the wisest policy, to disarm the fury of the insurgents by offers of pardon, and to banish the bishop of Winchester and Peter de Rivalis, the instigators of these new troubles, from the kingdom. These politick measures were accordingly successfully adopted; but, in the sequel, the Earl of Pembroke was treacherously killed by a stab in the back with a dagger, having been previously enticed away into Ireland. It is therefore the less surprising that this treaty also should be but of short duration. In 1241, the king marched in a hostile manner from Gloucester to Shrewsbury, where he remained fifteen days, designing from thence to proceed against David ap Llewellyn; but was stopped from pursuing this measure, by the timely submission of David.
In 1260, the English army rendezvoused at Shrewsbury; and shortly after, this town, with the castle, fell once more
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into the hands of rebels. They soon, however, reverted to. their former owners, and about Michaelmas 1267, Henry again appeared at this place at the head of his army, designing to quell the new disturbances which the restless temper of Llewellyn occasioned. This resolution was obstructed by the mediation of the Pope's legate, and the submission of Llewellyn. In the fifty third year of this reign, the government of the town and castle was conferred by the King on his eldest son, Edward.
The repeated disturbances of the Welsh at length rendered it necessary to take some more effectual precautions for the peace and safety of the English; and, accordingly, the Courts of Exchequer and King's Bench, in 1277, during the reign of Edward the first, were removed to Shrewsbury, in which place they appear to have been held at least for some months. The Michaelmas term in the ensuing year was kept here.
The most remarkable event on record that next took place at this town, happened in 1283, when a writ was issued for assembling the parliament at Shrewsbury, for the express purpose of taking into consideration the measures necessary to be adopted with respect to the ungrateful and rebellious David, Prince of Wales, whom the King had received, when banished by his brother Llewellyn, and bad moreover enriched by many instances of royal beneficence. David, how. ever, had never ceased to instigate his brother to war against the English, till he himself was taken prisoner and conveyed to Shrewsbury, where he was tried by the parliament, and by their advice condemned to be drawn about the town at the tail of a horse, then hanged, afterwards quartered, his bowels burnt, his four quarters sent to York, Bristol, Northampton, and Winchester, and his head fixed near that of his brother Llewellyn, (who had been slain in the battle,) on the Tower of London. This ignominious sentence was rigidly executed; and thus ended the last of the race of the native princes of Wales, and with his death commenced a mode of execution exercised on traitors, disgraceful to humanity, and useless is its example.
During this parliament, the king and his court removed to Acton Burnell; and the lords and commons assembled there. Their lordships, it is said, sat in the castle, and the honourable
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lower house in a barn belonging to the abbot of the monastery to St. Peter and St. Paul, at Shrewsbury. The honourable and right honourable members of later times have somewhat better accommodations.
During the revolt of the barons against Edward the second, occasioned by his attachment to the Spencers, that monarch marched towards Wales with an army of thirty thousand men, being determined to compel the recal of his favourites from banishment. He was met on his way by the burgesses of Shrenisbury, who conducted him to the town with great pomp. He reduced the barons, siezed their castles, and threw their persons into prison. About this time a tournament was held here, which was attended by all the knights and champions of the marches. In one of the combats, the famous Roger Mortimer, Earl of March lost his life.
After the deposition of Edward, at the instigation of the queen and her paramour Mortimer, the vengeance of their party was severely felt by the few remaining adherents to the cause of the injured king. Edmund Fitz-Alan, the most distinguished of these, was taken while seeking refuge among his tenants in Shropshire, by the people of Shrewsbury, who put him to death without the form of a trial. In gratitude for this piece of service, Mortimer, in the name of the imprisoned monarch, granted to the burgesses, whom he called "the good men of Salop," all the goods and chattels found upon the earl.
In the 20th year of his reign, Richard the second honoured the town of Shrewsbury by assembling his parliament there, by adjournment from Westminster, which he declared was on account of the great love he had to these parts. On his arrival he gave a sumptuous feast to the peers and commons in the abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul. The parliament was held in the chapter-house, with great splendour, and so numerous were the members and their retinues, that Speed calls this "the great parliament." It was certainly an important one, for, among the articles of accusation afterwards brought against the king by Henry Bolingbroke, were the exorbitant and oppressive laws which it enacted.
In the succeeding reign, a bold attempt to recover their longalost independence was made by the Welsh, under the
892 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
renowned Owen Glyndwr. This extraordinary man was descended from the last prince of Wales. He received his education in England, was appointed esquire of the body to Richard the second, and faithfully adhering to his master through every change of fortune, was taken with him, in Flint castle. On the fall of the king, be retired with indignation to his paternal estates in North Wales. In the first year of Henry the fourth, some of those estates were seized by Lord Grey de Rutbyn, a partisan of the usurper. Owen sought redress by laying his case before parliament, which was die-missed without notice. He then had recourse to arms, and recovered all his lands by force, laying waste those of his rival. Elevated by this success, he laid claim to the throne of Wales, and on the 20th of September, 1400, caused himself to be proclaimed prince. The Welshmen flocked to his stand. ard, inspired by a superstitious veneration for his character, which he propagated by professing himself an adept in natural magick.
King Henry took early and vigorous measures to suppress this insurrection, and marched in person against Glyndwr. On issuing his proclamation for the expedition to Wales, he sent orders to the bailiffs and good people of Shrewsbury to secure that important strong hold, enjoining them to compel all the Welsh residents, on pain of imprisonment, to find security for their loyal behaviour. He obtained no decisive advantage, and returned, as Falstaff says, "with some discomfort from Wales."
In the course of a long and tedious war the Welsh chieftain engaged and defeated the tenants of the Earl of March, com. mended by the king's uncle, Sir Edmund Mortimer. Affairs now began to wear a formidable aspect, and it was resolved to prosecute the war with greater vigour by invading the enemy from three different quarters. The rendezvous of the first army, commanded by the king in prison, was at Shrewsbury: that of the second, under the Earls of Stafford and Warwick, at Hereford; that of the third, under the conduct of Prince Henry, at Chester. This invasion was more unfortunate than those which preceded it; the king's forces, having undergone every vicissitude of famine, sickness, and fatigue, in vain attempts to bring the hardy mountaineers to action,
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were compelled to make an inglorious and disgraceful retreat.
The next memorable event on record, relative to Shrewsbury, is the battle which terminated the revolt of the Percys of Northumberland, against Henry the Fourth. The origin of their quarrel was a mandate from the monarch to the earl, not to ransom his Scottish prisoners taken at Holmedon, which that nobleman deemed an infringement on his rights. The jealous policy of Henry in this proceeding, and his ingratitude for the services which raised him to the throne, roused the indignation of Northumberland, and inflamed the high soul of his son, Lord Henry Percy, whose warlike and active disposition had gained him the characteristick appellation of Hotspur. Thomas, Earl of Worcester, younger brother to Northumberland, participated in their discontents, entered into their views of revenge, and proffered his assistance in overthrowing the usurper whom they had united to establish. Hotspur, who was the life of the conspiracy, took the readiest means to bring it to an issue. He released and made a friend of his valiant rival and prisoner, Douglas, entered into a correspondence with Glyndwr, and reared the standard of rebellion, around which all his vassals and adherents rallied. He was joined by a powerful levy from Scotland, under Earl Douglas and other chiefs, who, won by his example, and impelled by a rooted animosity to the king of England, warmly espoused the cause of the conspirators. When all was in readiness for open war, the Earl of Northumberland was suddenly taken ill at Berwick. Lord Percy took command of the army, and advanced to Stafford, where he was joined by his uncle Worcester. Having consulted on their affairs and inspirited their army by an harangue on the justice and glory of the cause, they directed their march towards Wales, in order to effect a junction with Glyndwr. Henry, who was apprized of their movements, placed himself at the bead of a body of troops, which had been destined to act against the Scots, and was then posted at Burton on Trent. With this army he hurried into Shropshire, having previously ordered his sons, the Prince of Wales, and Lord John of Lancaster, and his steady adherent, the Earl of Westmoreland, to meet him with reinforcements at Bridgnorth. Aware that every thing depended
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on celerity of movement, he took possession of Shrewsbury, just as the forces of Lord Percy were preparing to assail it. Meantime, Glyndwr, having mustered at Onwestry a numerous levy of Welshmen, had sent off a detachment of four thousand; but on being apprized of the king's success, thought proper to suspend the march of his main body. The gallant leaders of the rebel army, undismayed by this failure of succour, by the protracted illness of Northumberland, and by the tardy arrival of aid from other quarters, determined to give battle immediately. On the evening of the 21st of July, 1403, is answer to an offer of pardon, they sent a defiance to the king, grounded on certain charges iu justification of their revolt.
A declaration so decisive and hostile closed every prospect which the king might entertain of a compromise, and left no chance for a termination of the quarrel, but by an appeal to arms. Had the, valour of Hotspur been tempered by discretion, lie would have paused on this last resort, until the junc. tion of his ally bad given .him better assurance of success. His army was indeed already equal in number to that under the royal standard, sad it had the superior advantage of being commanded by two of the bravest captains of the age. His confidence in his own prowess, and his experience of that of his compeer, Douglas, banished every doubt of victory from his mind. His ardour, however, was damped by the transiest impression of an incident, which strongly exemplifies the usiversal superstition of the times. In preparing for the field he called for his favourite sword, when be was informed that he had left it at time village of Berwick, near Shrewsbury, where he had rested the preceding night. The name of the place startled him, and heaving a deep sigh, he exclaimed, "Alas! then, my death is near at hand, for a wizard once told me, that I should not long live after I had seen Berwick, which I thought was the town in the north, so called.- Yet will I not be cheaply won." .
On the morrow, being the eve of St. Magdalen, July 22, 1403, both armies were ready for action. The field on which they were to contend, was an open plain, extending north of Shrewsbury, before which town the king had drawn out and encamped the greater part of his forces. The battle commenced at dawn, in a place called Bullfield, a short distance
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from the north gate. Percy had stationed a body of his choice troops amidst some acres of ripe peas, in order to check the advance of his adversary's heavy-armed infantry. A flourish of trumpets, mingling with the contending shouts of "St. George and Victory!" and " Esperaunce Percy!" was the signal of onset, which was answered by a tremendous discharge of arrows from both lines. The Scots, who had the van in the confederate army, attacked the king's center with great fury, and threw it into disorder, but he, hastening with fresh succour, rallied his broken troops, and recovered their ground. He displayed a degree of courage and constancy worthy of the important stake for which he fought, frequently exposing himself in the thickest of the battle, which indeed he might the more safely do, since he had, with his usual precaution, diminished the chances of personal danger, by investing several officers in regal habiliments. Events soon proved the prudence of the stratagem. Percy sought him in every quarter of the field, and Douglas with equal impetuosity, slew three of these muck-monarchs with his own hand. The fight soon became general, and extending from Berwick westward, to the vicinity of Haughmond Abbey, in the east, continued for three hours, with various success. The undaunted bravery and valour of 'the king, were nobly seconded by the valour of his son, Prince Henry, who, that day, performed his noviciate in arms, in a manner which atoned for the profligacy of his former life, and gave earnest of the future glory of Agincourt. The Scottish champion, seconded by Hotspur, made another furious assault on the royal station, slew Sir Walter Blount, the Standard-bearer, and came nearly within sword's point of the monarch, who fled for his life. Thns foiled in their repeated attempts, the confederate chiefs, carried away by the rage of lions, broke into the ranks of the enemy, with an impetuosity that their followers were unable to support. In one of these charges - while victory was inclining strongly in his favour, Hotspur was shot through the brain by an arrow from an unknown hand, and fell gloriously in the midst of his foes. This circumstance rendered it difficult to conceal the news of his death, which some knights in his party in vain tried to do, by exclaiming, "The king is slain, long live Percy!" Henry, at
896 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
this moment returning to the charge, cried out, "The King lives; Percy is slain * - St. George and Victory !" The fate of the hero being thus proclaimed, entirely turned the fortune of the field; his army gave way on all sides, and a total rout ensued.
Douglas fled with precipitation, but being hotly pursued, he was thrown from his horse while taking a desperate leap on Haughmond hill, and seized by the enemy. The Earl of Worcester was also taken prisoner. A gallant body of knights and gentlemen of Cheshire, whose loyalty to King Richard had united them to the avengers of his murder, were overtaken and cut to pieces. Of the brave Scots, who were ever foremost in the fight, few were left alive. Henry having with difficulty put a period to the slaughter, and abated the ardour of pursuit, halted to return thanks for his victory on the field of battle, which he sanctified and commemorated by decreeing the erection of the collegiate church at Battlefield.
We shall scarcely find, says Hume, any battle in those ages, where the shock was more terrible and more constant. There are said to have fallen on both sides, nearly two thousand three hundred gentlemen, but the persons of greatest distinction were on that of the King: the Earl of Stafford, Sir Hugh Shirley, Sir Nicholas Gausel, Sir Hugh Mortimer, Sir John Massey, Sir John Calverley. About six thousand private men perished, of whom two-thirds were of Percy's army. The havock among the King's leaders may be ascribed to the personal prowess of Hotspur and Douglas, while the carnage
* It is remarkable that of the noble family of the Percys, earls of Northumberland, six earls out of eight, in seven successive generations, (besides some collateral branches) came to untimely deaths.
Henry, the first earl, was killed in the battle of Bramham Moor, in Yorkshire, in 1408, the eighth year of Henry the fourth.
His brother Thomas, earl of Worcester, was beheaded at Shrewsbury, in 140S, the fourth year of Henry the fourth.
Henry, Lord Percy, commonly called Hotspur, (son to the first earl,) was killed in the battle of Shrewsbury, the same year.
His son, Henry, the second earl, was killed in the battle of St. Alban's, is 1454, the thirty third year of Henry the sixth.
Three of the sons of the earl also fell in battle, viz. Henry, the third earl in the battle of Fowton, in 1451, the first year of Edward the fourth. Thomas, Lord Egrement, in the battle of Northampton, in 1460, the thirty eighth year of Henry the sixth, and Sir Ralph Percy, in the battle of Begley Moor, in 1464, the fourth year of Edward the fourth.
Henry, the fourth earl, son of the third earl, was killed by a tumultuous rabble in Yorkshire, in 1489, the fourth year of Henry the Seventh.
His grandson Sir Thomas Percy, was executed at Tyburn, for Aske's conspiracy in 1537, the twenty ninth year of Henry the eighth.
And the two sons of this Sir Thomas, came also to untimely ends. Thomas the seventh earl was beheaded at York, for high treason in 1572, the fourteenth year of Elizabeth, and Henry the eighth earl shot himself in the tower, in 1581, the twenty seventh year of Elisabeth.
After this, it is but justice to add, that all the descendants of this noble house, from that time to the present, being six generations, have died natural deaths, viz. Henry the ninth earl, Algernon the tenth, and Jocelyn the eleventh. Elisabeth Baroness Percy, and Duchess of Somerset; Algernon. Lord Percy and Duke of Somerset; George, Viscount Beauchamp, and his sister, the late Duchess of Northumberland, Baroness Percy.
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which generally follows defeat may account for the excessive loss of common soldiers on their side.
The pious gratitude of the victorious monarch, but ill accorded with the severe punishment he subsequently inflicted on some of the vanquished. The Earl of Worcester, Sir Theobald Trussel, and Sir Richard Vernon were executed at the high cross at Shrewsbury, and their heads exposed to publick view. on London bridge. Hotspur's body, which was found among the slain; and had been delivered to Lord Furnival for interment, was by the royal order taken from the grave, and placed between two inillestones, in the market-place, after which it was quartered and hung on the gates of Shrewsbury, and in other places of the kingdom. The lenity shewn to others of the rebels was plainly the result of Henry's policy, rather than of his mercy. He courteously released Douglas without ransom, because he feared that the Scots would have dreadfully avenged the death of a man so dear to them, and from similar motives, be afterwards accepted the proffered submission of Northumberland.
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The army of Glyndwr, amounting to twelve thousand men, had remained inactive at Oswestry during the battle. There is a tradition that he himself quitted that place in disguise, and hastening to Shrewsbury, bid himself in a gigantick oak, which commanded a full view of the field; and that after witnessing the discomfiture of his friends, returning with speed to Oswestry, be withdrew his forces into Wales, whither he was pursued by Prince Henry. In evidence of this tradition an aged and decayed trunk of a tree, at a short distance from Shrewsbury, by some called the Shelton Oak, and by others Glyndwr's Observatory, is still shown, and by many persons venerated, as an interesting monument of the Cambrian chief.
An event so interesting as the battle of Shrewsbury can scarcely be found in the annals of this country, nor could there well be conceived a nobler theme for the lay of a minstrel. The characters of the leaders both of the royal and of the rebel party, the chivalrous spirit of the times in which they lived, and the magnitude of the cause that roused them to arms, are circumstances highly susceptible of poetical description, while the train of incidents from the very origin to the termination of the feud, is of that romantick cast which requires little embellishment from fiction. There is indeed one objection which may have deterred our later Poets from the undertaking; it is, that the ground which Shakspeare has trod is sacred; but without any violation of the reverence due to his memory, it may be wished that his magnificent subject had also been celebrated by the muse that sung the tale of Flodden Field.
During the contest of the Houses of York and Lancaster, in which the crimes of Henry were visited on his posterity of the second and third generation, and a civil war of nearly half a century deluged England with blood, to the almost total extirpation of her ancient nobility, the town of Shrewsbury espoused the party of the White Rose. In the records of the corporation is preserved a letter from Richard, Duke of York, requesting the burgesses to assist him with men, in the enter-prize he meditated of removing his rival Somerset from power.
After his defeat and death at Wakefield, his son Edward, Earl of March, went to Shrewsbury, and obtained in its neighbourhood a powerful levy, which enabled him to avenge his
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father's cause, in the great victory of Mortimer's cross. He was shortly afterwards proclaimed king. The great strength of the town, and the steady attachment of its inhabitants, induced him to choose it as an asylum for his queen, during the subsequent vicissitudes of the war. Whilst she resided in Shrewsbury she twice lay.in at the convent of the Black Friars, and was delivered of Richard and George Plantagenet. The latter died young; and the former, with his elder brother, Prince Edward, was, according to history, murdered in the tower, at the instigation of their uncle the protector; but in the opinion of Horace Walpole, he was the identical Perkin Warbeck, who was executed in the reign of Henry the seventh.
Shortly after the usurpation of the crown, by Richard the third, his agent, the Duke of Buckingham, deserted him, and fled to Wales, where he took up arms, and endeavoured to excite a general insurrection against the tyrant, whom he had formerly served. An extraordinary flood of the Severn hindered his junction with the forces of his friends at Gloucester, and entirely dispersed the army of Welshmen, which be bad raised. Being abandoned by all his followers, he fled in dia. guise to Shropshire, and concealed himself in the house of one Bannister, his steward, who, tempted by the price offered for his apprehension, betrayed him to John Mitten, sheriff of the county. He was taken to Shrewsbury, where, by the king's peremptory order, and without trial, be was executed on a scaffold erected before the high cross.
The atrocious and cruel despotism of Richard soon alienated the hearts of his subjects, and disposed them to receive his rival Richmond, with open arms. That prince of " the blood of Lancaster," landed at Milford haven, on the 7th of August, 1485, with a force of about 2,000 men, and directed his route towards North Wales and the Marches. The Welsh who regarded him as their countryman, flocked to his standard, and gave him every assurance of support. Having mustered his army on the. Long Mountain, be resumed his march towards Nottingham, where Richard was posted, and advanced to Shrewsbury. On summoning the town, he was unexpectedly refused admittance by the head-bailiff, and a curious conference ensued, of which an account is given in a
900 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
manuscript belonging to the school-library.- " The head-bailey, Meister Myttoon, being a stout wyse gentilman, on demend being made of entrance, answered, sayinge that he knew no kynge but only kynge Richard, whose lyffetenants he and hys fellows were; and before he should entir there, he should go over his belly, meaning thereby, that he should be slayne to the ground and that he protested vehemently on the othe he had tacken; but on better advice Maister Myttoon permitted the kynge to pass; but to save hys othe, the sayd Myttoon lay along the ground, and hys belly upwards, and soe the said erle stepped over hym and saved hys othe."
The earl was first proclaimed king on his entrance into Shrewsbury; the inhabitants testifying their joy at his coming, and their vows for his success, by adorning their doors with green boughs, and by strewing flowers in the streets. Two thousand tenants of the earl of Shrewsbury, under his uncle Sir Gilbert Talbot, joined him immediately, and his army, with this and other reinforcements, marched for Leicestershire, where they achieved the decisive victory of Bosworth Field. During their halt at Shrewsbury, they are supposed to have infected the inhabitants with a pestilence more fatal than the sword, the sweating sickness. The mortality which it occasioned at different periods for sixty years in various parts of the kingdom, almost exceeds belief; in some places it carried off a third of the people; but, contrary to the progressive abatement of its fury in other places, the later attacks here were equally destructive with those which marked its origin, scarcely fewer than a thousand being carried off by them in a few days.
In 1488, when quietly established on the throne, Henry the seventh, paid a visit to Shrewsbury, in testimony of his gratitude, for its services to his cause; and in 1490, he, with his queen and prince Arthur, were present at a solemn festival, and attended mass in the collegiate church of St. Chad. Five years afterwards Henry again visited the town, and was nobly entertained in the castle by the corporation.
This town was not honoured with any other royal visit, nor indeed, does it appear, that any material circumstance took place till the year 1642, when the ill-fated Charles the first came hither from Nottingham at the head of his army, which
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was here amply reinforced and provisioned. The King was joined by Prince Rupert, Prince Charles, the Duke of York, and many other noblemen and gentlemen of the neighbouring counties; who volunteered their "lives and fortunes" in the royal service, in a manner worthy the cause of a monarch more deserving such support. Charles set up a mint here, at which were coined money for his use, from the voluntary contributions of plate which were sent by the inhabitants and others. The universities of Oxford and Cambridge contributed largely in this way to the royal exigencies. A purse of gold from one Thomas Lyster procured him the honours of knighthood; and Sir Richard Newport's £600, and loyalty were amply repaid by the substantial dignities attached to the titles of a baron of England, and Lord Newport, of High Ercall. The corporation, shortly after this, filed a bill in chancery against Richard Gibbons, late mayor, Thomas Challoner, schoolmaster, the sons of Robert Bettors, deceased, late senior alderman, and Richard Berrington, senior common-council man, who kept the keys of the free-school chest, to recover the sum of £600, which they had surreptitiously taken from the funds of the charity, and lent to his Majesty. It is unnecessary to add, that this bill was dismissed without any relief. It is equally needless to observe that this just appeal of charity to loyalty required only the moderate term of eleven years before the right honourable the commissioners of the Great Seal could decide even on its rejection. Noble minds perform acts of injustice, though sometimes 'necessary' for the good of the state, with tardy reluctance. What, however of justice was wanting to the plaintiffs in this cause, was made up in gratitude and gracious promises by the royal receiver, who had given his note of hand, (prefaced with many condescending assurances of thankfulness, and payable on demand,) to refund the money whenever it should be called for. And if these favours were not sufficient, Charles confirmed and enlarged the charter of Queen Elizabeth, which made the town a body corporate. He moreover repaired the castle gates, pulled down many houses near the castle, and brought the water from the Severn up to the gate, by means of a deep ditch, over which he placed a draw- bridge. He also built a strong fort at the upper end of Frankwell. In
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this fort and in the castle he planted cannon, and made it a strong place.
In 1643, Sir Fulke Hunkes was appointed governor. He was related to the celebrated Richard Baxter, who represents him as "too much of a soldier, and too civil" to please many of the king's friends. He was soon removed, to make room for Sir Richard Otteley, who was succeeded by Sir Michael Earnley. This latter gentleman, during the storming of the town by the parliament forces, in 1644, had command of the garrison. At this time Colonel Mitton, a soldier of great valour and good conduct, was governor of a small garrison at Wem, and general of Cromwell's army in this county. He was also one of the representatives in parliament for the town of Shrewsbury, and had a strong desire to reduce his constituents to obedience to his party. Having made two unsuccessful attempts, on the night of the 3rd of February, he came with his forces, consisting of two hundred and fifty foot, and the same number of horse, of the Staffordshire forces, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Rinking. The horse were commanded by Colonel Mitton. These marched towards Shrewsbury, where they arrived about three o'clock on Saturday morning.
The town was well fortified, and strongly pallisadoed. Eight carpenters went up the river in a little boat, and landed within the enemy's breast-work, under the castle hill, on the east side, The sentinels after some pause, fired upon them; but they soon sawed down so many of the pallisadoes as gave the men free passage.
The first that stormed were forty-two troopers dismounted, with their pistols and about as many firelocks. They were led on by the Rev. Mr. Huron, a puritan preacher, Captain Willers, and Lieutenant Benbow. After these followed some other musqueteers, along the side of the Severn, under the Castle Hill, and entered the town at the Water-lane Gate. After these, marched three hundred and fifty infantry, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Rinking. Having entered the streets of the town, they marched to the market-place, surprised the main guard, and put the Captain to death. The rest marched to the Castle Foregate, which was also soon gained; the guard having basely deserted it. The town being
HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY. 903
now in the possession of the enemy, they let done the drawbridge, near the Castle, and the horse immediately entered, under the command of Colonels Mitton and Bowyer. It was now day-light, and the consternation of the inhabitants was excessive at beholding the enemy in the very heart of that town, which, on retiring to rest the preceding night, they thought the most secure in the island. About twelve o'clock, the castle after a feeble assistance, surrendered, on condition that the English part of it should march to Ludlow, and the Irish be left at the disposal of Colonel Mitton. At this time, the governor, Sir Michael Earnley, was confined by sickness to his bed; but waked by the noise of the tumult, he sprang up at the moment the enemy were rushing into his chamber. This officer, although weakened by sickness, and convinced that all was lost, with astonishing courage, or culpable foolhardiness, refused to submit to the conquerors, and rejecting all quarter, wantonly perished, covered more with wounds than with glory; since true courage is distinct from rashness, and ceases to act when reason and superior force demand submission. It is for those who have no other conception of honour than as it leads to the shedding of blood to denominate that conduct glorious which often would be more aptly designated by the term suicide.
The loss in killed and wounded, on both sides, was inconsiderable; but the prisoners and property seized by the victors, were of great importance; and the plunder of the tradesmen's goods ruined many of them; though Colonel Mitton used every precaution to prevent it. For the services of this day the general received the thanks of parliament, and was made governor of the castle. The late Lieutenant governor, Crow, was tried by a court-martial at Gloucester, and afterwards hanged, for negligence and cowardice, in suffering the place to be surprised without his having made a suitable resistance. Prince Maurice, the whole of whose magazine fell into the hands of the victor, made his escape but just previously to the surrender of the castle. The judicious author of "Some Account of Shrewsbury," successfully controverts an assertion of Baxter's, that the king knew not of this signal loss till after his defeat at Naseby, when the
904 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
distracted monarch, proposing to seek refuge in his faithful town of Shrewsbury, was reluctantly told, by his courtiers; that it no longer remained in his possession. By the loss of this important station, the royal communication with North Wales was cut off, and a check put to the plan; formed by the united counties of Salop, Worcester, Chester, and Flint, to augment the king's forces.
In the commencement of this unnatural contest between the king and the parliament, Colonel John Benbow, uncle to the celebrated admirable Benbow, of naval memory, united with the parliament forces; but afterwards deserting his principles, or disgusted with the cant of his associates, espoused the cause of the arbitrary and injured monarch. He distinguished himself by opposing his quondam friends at the taking of Shrewsbury, for which vacillating conduct he was condemned by the parliament, and shot on the green before the castle, October 15, 1651. He is said to have died with great firmness. Probably, principles of loyalty even to a tyrannical, but lawful sovereign, are much better to die with, than those sentiments, which in urging reform, overstep the boundaries of right, and propagate anarchy and rebellion.
In 1654, Sir Thomas Harris, with a zeal much better meant than directed, rendered himself conspicuous by joining in an unsuccessful attempt, to surprise the castle, in order to favour the restoration of the itinerant monarch, Charles the second. For his injurious services in this affair Sir Thomas was made to suffer most severely.
Another attempt was made to reduce this town to loyal obedience after the death of the protector Cromwell, and the restoration of the long parliament; but though the spirit of loyalty and the love of monarchy, were by no means extinguished in many of the inhabitants, the ekertions of Captain Edmund Waringe, the governor of the castle, secured the place in the interests of the parliament.
If the doubtful and unwilling testimony of such a wretch as Colonel Romany may be received - a wretch on whose head lies the blood of the virtuous and patriotick Russel - the ridiculous farce of the Rye-House plot bad involved in its measures this town, as one of those places necessary to be seized in attempting to destroy the person of the king, and subvert
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the order of monarchy; but history or narrative founded on such authority, deserves little credit.
At the restoration, notwithstanding the joy which was diffused through the kingdom, it is probable that there were some in every county, who still sighed for the commonwealth; and republicans were not likely to be cured of their predilection for that form of government by the late measures of the King, and his brother, the Duke of York, afterwards James the second. So opposed had these been to the liberties, the religion, and even the honour of their country, especially since the banishment of Lord Clarendon, that many even of the best affected, had gradually relaxed from the ardour of their loyalty, and others of the best intentions had gone great lengths in order to obtain a more limited form of government. A plot, or rather a combination of plots, was on the point of breaking out into action, in the summer of 1683. The views of those concerned were very comprehensive, extending to various parts of the kingdom; and the town of Shrewsbury which had for some time been esteemed "factious" was not forgotten. "Colonel Romsay" says a cotemporary authority "discovered that Shrewsbury was to be seized, which is a walled town, ill-affected; and in the castle were thirty eight barrels of powder, one hundred and twelve pounds to the barrel, and arms for three hundred men, and great guns. The castle is strong by situation, and lies so conveniently that either from the North, or West, or Midland, or Wales, the party might easily resort thither; and if they could bailie the militia and draw the king's forces out of town, they gained their end." A former occasion had occurred, in which it was proposed by the seizure of Shrewsbury, to draw the regular troops out of the metropolis; and thus leave the seat of government exposed to attack; and the same stratagem seems to have been projected in the present case. The violent measure adopted by the court, just at this juncture, of annulling the charter of the metropolis, cannot be alleged as the cause of this conspiracy, for that illegal sentence was passed on the very same day, (June 12,) on which the plot was revealed to the secretary of state; but it was, no doubt, a complete proof
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how entirely incompatible was the government of the Stuarts, with the liberties of the kingdom. The great bulk of the population, indeed, seemed ready to submit to the yoke. All the municipal bodies of the realm, terrified by the example of London, made haste to surrender those charters which they had received from former monarchs into the hands of the sovereign, with the last hope of the victim to despotick power;
Ut liceat paucis cum dentibus inde reverti.
The corporation of Shrewsbury stood out for a twelvemonth. At length, on the 13th of June, 16S4, "at a full assembly, it was agreed unanimously, that the charter of the town should be surrendered and yielded up to his Majesty, when his pleasure should require it. This was followed up by resolutions passed on the same day, "that Mr. Recorder and Edward Kynaston, Esq. draw up a petition to his Majesty, signifying the contents of the order for surrendering the charter; and it was "Agreed and desired, that Collins Woolrich, Esq., mayor, will please to attend my lord chief justice Jones with the order; and to take with him such persons of quality as he shall think fit."
On the 20th of August, it was "ordered that the mayor and committee attend the Lord chief Justice Jones, to discourse him, touching the renewing of the charter; and unanimously agreed, that in the new charter, there shall be only twelve aldermen, and twenty four assistants." It was further " agreed, on the 20th of September, that the councell learned in the law for this corporation, attend Mr. Mayor, about surrendering the charter, when he attends Sir Thomas Jones, and in case he cannot, Mr. Mayor choose other councell;" and on the eleventh of October, the corporation found it necessary to borrow the sum of £200, for the purpose of defraying the expenses, which would attend the renewal of their charter.
The king's death, (Feb. 6th, 1684-5,) prevented this instrument from passing the great seal in his name. Within a week after that event, viz. on the 13th of Feb. the corporation sent up an address to their new sovereign, expressive of "their joyfulness in his succession, and humbly thanking him for
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his gracious declaration, in preferring the protestant religion;" no obscure intimation of their wishes on that momentous subject, which engaged all ranks with an intensity of interest difficult to be conceited by the present generation.
On the 17th of the following March, the corporation received their new charter, a few of the provisions of which deserve attention, as indicating the real views of the infatuated monarch. After expressing his gracious affection for the melioration of the town of Salop, his will that there may be henceforward a certain and undoubted manner of governing its inhabitants, to the terror of the evil, and the sustentation of the good, and his hope that if the burgesses and inhabitants, have more ample liberties and privileges by his concession, they will be the better enabled and the more bound to render him the more special service, he grants that the town shall be a free town of itself, and the burgesses and inhabitants shall be a body corporate, and sue and be sued, &c.: that there shall be one good and discreet man, of the aldermen of the town, who shall be mayor; twelve good and discreet men, the mayor being one, who shall be, and shall be called aldermen; and twenty four good and discreet men, assistants; also one famous man (praeclarus vir) recorder; one good and discreet man, steward; and one good and discreet man, common clerk; and he nominates John Wood, Esq., first and modern mayor, to continue till the Friday after Michaelmas, Edward Kynaston, Esq., Francis Edwards, Bart., Thomas Bawdewin, Esq., Roger Griffiths, Esq., Robert Griffes, Robert Forrester, Edward Phillips, Collins Woldrich, the aforesaid John Wood, Robert Wood, Richard Salter, John Hill, and Jonathan Scott, gentlemen, to be first and modern Aldermen, and John Hollyer, Samuel Adderton, George Llewellin, Thomas Bowdler, Robert Sheppard, Edward Kynaston, William Corbett, John Kynaston, John Wood, Jun., Thomas Biggs, Thomas Phillips, Humphrey Tomkyns, John Brickdale, Richard Williams, Andrew Johnson, Rowland Bright, Samuel Thornton, Cornelius Poyner, Richard Plimley, James Crosse, Henry Corser, Simon Hanmer, John Davis, and Richard Atkins, gentlemen, to be the first and modern assistants; his most beloved and most faithful cousin, Charles, earl of Shrewsbury, to be first and modern RECORDER, to
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execute the said office by himself or by his sufficient deputy his beloved Robert Price, Esq., first and modern STEWARD; and his beloved Thomas Edwards, Esq., first and modern COMMON CLERK. Then follows a clause, empowering the corporation to supply vacancies occasioned by deaths, amotion, or departure, in the manner used in the town for the last ten years; the King reserving to himself, his heirs and successors power to amove the mayor, recorder or the officers, and any of the aldermen or assistants, "at the will and good pleasure of us, our heirs &c., by any order made in privy council and signified to them under the seal thereof: whereupon the said mayor &c., so signified to be amoved, shall be declared to be amoved, "ipso facto, really, and to all intents and purpose whatsoever, without any further process," and this toties quoties, as often as the case shall happen.
The corporation of Shrewsbury, like that of other towns, was thus laid prostrate at the foot of the sovereign; and we may imagine the secret execration with which such an aggression would be received. But it is at all times a serious matter to overturn an existing government, and they who had felt the tyranny eventually resulting from an attempt to obtain liberty, were slow in resorting to a resistance which might bring back those oppressions to which civil warfare had so recently exposed them, When James, therefore made a progress through this part of hie dominions, in August 1687, either to obtain such popularity or to inspire such terror as might secure elections of parliament men, who would be disposed to second his attempts for the gradual re-establishment of property and absolute power; whatever might be the private sentiments of the inhabitants, respecting the measures he was then pursuing, there was no deficiency of the external marks of respect. Burnet, indeed, tells us that wherever "he went he saw a visible coldness both in the nobility and gentry, which was not easily borne by a man of his temper. In many places they pretended occasions to go out of their countries. Some remained at home, and those who waited on the king seemed to do it, rather out of duty and respect, than with any cordial affections." How far all this applies to the gentry of Shropshire, we are not informed, and it would be very unsafe to rely upon the testimony of so
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warm a partisan as this writer. Lord Newport, to whom they would naturally look up, had taken no pains to conceal his dislike of the King's aggressions upon the liberties and religion of his people, had in consequence been removed from the lieutenancy in the February preceding this royal visit, and not long after it, formed one of the cortege of peers who attended the bishops to the court of Kings bench, on their extraordinary trial. But we shall find some reasons, which make it very uncertain whether ever he absented himself from paying his respects to the King, upon this visit to Shrewsbury; and the corporation were by the existing charter, wholly dependent upon the crown, and could not consequently display, if they felt any resentment. They "resolved, (August 23), to expend £200 in entertaining and making a present to the King, and such further sum as shall be thought reasonable, thus evidently making the expense unlimited. They despatched two gentlemen to Gloucester and Worcester, for the purpose of ascertaining the manner in which the royal traveller was entertained in those cities; they resolved that the conduits should run with wine on the day of his Majesty's entrance, and that the corporated companies should appear with their drums, colours, flags and streamers. They further determined to meet in their gowns on the following morning under the market house, at toll of the bell, which as the king was not expected till the day after, was probably for the purpose of rehearsing their several parts.
Forty five years had elapsed since the town had been honoured by a royal visit. The corporation might prudently distrust their abilities to conduct themselves properly on an occasion so grand, and so unusual, without a little previous training; and an incident which is said to have happened at one place in the cause of this progress, may have been an additional inducement to the adoption of this wise measure. Lastly, in order to hide perhaps their pavement, which might not be much better then, than it is at present, they resolved that the streets should be gravelled, just before his Majesty's arrival.
The King left Ludlow on the morning of August 24th, and passing through the Strettons, arrived at Shrewsbury about five o'clock in the afternoon. He took up his abode at the
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Council house, which he might have remembered as the residence of his father during the civil wars, and where the corporation presented him with a purse of gold containing one hundred guineas. No particulars of his behaviour are recorded. Burnet however tells us that "through the whole of his progress he was very obliging to all that came near him, and most particularly to the dissenters, and to those who had passed long under the notion of commonwealth's men. He ran out on the point of liberty of conscience, saying, this was the true secret of the greatness and wealth of Holland; and every where recommended the choosing such parliament men, as would concur with him in settling this liberty as firmly as Magna Charta had been."
On the following morning he exercised the gift of healing formerly attributed to the Kings of England, as successors of Edward the Confessor, by touching several persons for the King's evil, but left the town soon enough to reach Whitchurch that night.
Soon after the King's return, he applied himself to the regulating of corporations, by the exercise of that power which he had reserved to himself in the new charters; substituting either papists or dissenters, or persons indifferent on the subject, or such as thought no security requisite, for those, who, as he found, would not concur with his views. To Shrewsbury, he despatched a mandate under his sign manual, dated January 1, 1687-8, in the third year of his reign, and countersigned by Lord Sunderland, president of the council, informing them that he had removed Charles, earl of Shrewsbury, from the office of their recorder, and others from other offices, and required them to elect in their room, persons whom be nominated, without administering to them any oath or oaths, (but the usual oath for the execution of their respective places) with which we are pleased to dispense in this behalf."
The mayor informs the Lord president, that immediately after be received the royal order, be caused it to be served upon all the persons named therein, except the earl of Shrewsbury, and Mr. Nehemiah Scott, who reside out of the county, and " to demonstrate the reddyness of the corporation, to comply with the order, the very next day after
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received his Majesty's letter, they elected and admitted all the persons ordered to be elected, " although this corporation is very sensible that upon the death or removal of any person, the right of election of a new member both by charter belong unto, and is vested in this corporation." The mayor then informs his Lordship that since the said election as he calls it, all the persons so elected, have taken the usual oaths for the execution of their places, except the marquess of Powis, T. Burton, Esq., C. Doughty, E. Gosnell, and S. Thomas; three of whom, Burton, Gosnell, and Thomas, mean to apply to the King, to be excused from serving in the same offices, and Mr. Doughty, prays to be excused on account of his age, (upwards of seventy-eight years) and his infirmities of body.
What effect these changes would have produced on the Shrewsbury election cannot be known. The King found so little success from all the pains he had taken, as still to postpone the convening of a parliament: and in fact none was ever summoned during the short remainder of his infatuated reign. James indeed now found it necessary to retrace his steps. The prince of Orange, was known to be embarking an army; and to this circumstance we must attribute the proclamation which the King issued on the 17th of October, for restoring corporations to their ancient charters and franchises and the orders which were the same day made in council for removing all corporate officers, mayors, aldermen, recorders &c. who had been put in by the crown since 1679. Richard Muckleston, was at this time mayor of Shrewsbury, under the new charter of 1685; the proclamation was delivered to him on the 29th of October, and he was accordingly discharged from his office, John Hill, Esq., being elected in his room, under the charter of 1638.
In February 1695-6, the kingdom was thrown into a general consternation, by the discovery of a conspiracy to assassinate the king. This, which is generally known by the name of Sir John Fenwick's plot, is so fully recounted in all our histories, as to render any detail of it in these pages quite unnecessary. On the 24th of February, an association was drawn up, reciting the existence of the conspiracy, recognizing the title of the King, engaging to defend his person and to avenge his death. It quickly spread through the country,
912 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
and was read in the " house" i. e. at the meeting of the corporation of this town, on the 13th of March, when it was agreed, nem. con., that it should be signed by the members of the house, and tendered to all absent members; and persons were also appointed to tender it to all gentlemen, burgesses, and other inhabitants. Lord Newport had been created earl of Bradford, May 11th, 1694,- and it was resolved that by him this association should be presented to the King.
That sprightly but licentious comedy, "The Recruiting Officer," is said to have been written when its author George Farquhar was resident in Shrewsbury, in that capacity. The scene is certainly laid in this town; and as the play contains more than one allusion to our great victories, under the Duke of Marlborough, particularly to the battle of Hochstet or Blenheim, which was fought in August 1704; and as the epistle dedicatory "to all his friends round the Wrekin" is, in part, an answer to Durfey's complaint, that the piece came out on the third night of his" Wonders in the Sun," which was printed in 1700, we may infer that it was written in the latter end of the first of those years, and brought upon the stage at the close of the theatrical campaign of 1705; for he says that " the season was far advanced, and the officers that made the greatest figure in his play, all commanded to their posts abroad." We are not to suppose that the plot, light as it is, had any foundation in fact; but the writer is known to have had living originals in his eye.
Justice Ballance, was Francis Berkeley, Esq., barrister at law, and recorder of Shrewsbury and Bridgnorth; he died in 1710. John Hill, Esq., of Shrewsbury, who was mayor in 1689, and who resided in the old house in Hill's lane, was one of the other Justices. He died March 29th, 1731. Worthy was a Mr. Owens, of Rhiwsaison in Montgomeryshire; probably Athelstane Owens, Esq., who married Anne, daughter of Vincent Corbet, Esq., Ynysymaengwyn, and had by her a daughter, eventually his heiress, married to Price Maurice, Esq. of Lloran. Melinda was meant for a Miss Harnage: no doubt Dorothy, daughter of Edward Hanna,
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Esq., of Belswardine. She died at Tewkesbury, in 1743, aged sixty-eight, and as Serjeant Kite oddly anticipates in the play, unmarried. Sylvia was Laconia Berkeley, the recorder's daughter, by Muriel, daughter of Sir William Childe, and his wife, Anne Lacon, (whence her christian name.) This young lady was in her twenty third year, when the comedy was written. She married Edward Browne, Esq., of Caughley, and died in 1736, at the age of fifty three. In Plume, Farquhar was thought to mean himself, and it is in accordance with what his biographers relate of his thoughtless, dissipated character. He died in April 1707.
For the very happily imagined character of Brazen, be might draw upon his own fancy, or, perhaps upon many of his associates, both in and out of the army.
December 13, 1709, Dr. Henry Sacheverell, for two scurrilous, intemperate sermons, very undeserving such exalted notice, was impeached at the bar of the house of lords; and that foolish measure of Queen Anne's whig ministry,- a measure which is condemned even by Burnet, was followed by a sentence which prohibited him from preaching for three years. A termination so impotent to a proceeding so solemn, was deemed by those who espoused his cause, equivalent to an acquittal, as it did not preclude his acceptance of any church preferment. Robert Lloyd, Esq., of Aston, who had been his pupil at Magdalen college, Oxford, presented him to the rectory of Selatyn, near Oswestry, which fell vacant about this time. The benefice in question lying in a remote part of the kingdom, the high church party had thus an opportunity which they did not neglect, of keeping up the spirits of their friends, by welcoming the doctor in the most distinguished manner, in the course of his journey to take possession of it. "In May," says the tory Salmon, "he entered upon his triumphant progress to Shropshire. He was magnificently entertained at Oxford by the University, and received in the other great towns he passed through, (Banbury, Warwick, Coventry, and Shrewsbury, are particularly specified,) with loud acclamations of the people, upon his deliverance from whiggish persecution." As he passed through the countries both going
914 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
and returning, says the whig Burnet, "he was received and followed by such numbers, and entertained with such =gni. ficence, that our princes in their progresses have not been more run after than he was. Great fury and violence appeared on many occasions, though care was taken to give his followers no sort of provocation. He was regarded as the champion of the church; and he shewed as much insolence on that occasion, as his party did folly." To the same effect Steele, in the person of Pasquin, alluding to the prosecution then impending over the Duke of Marlborough, says, "Heroes in your service are treated with calumny, while criminals pass through your towns with acclamations." In a pamphlet of the day, his reception in this town is particularly described, and it seems as if he came here on his return from Selatyn. He notified his intention of entering Shrewsbury, says that authority, on Tuesday the third of July, about noon. "Here-upon the cryer was sent about to make proclamation through the town and adjacent villages. The bells began to ring to call the rabble together, and the gentry assembled in the market place,'and went out of town in this order to meet him." Then follows an account evidently caricatured, of the procession. K-ston, O-n Cr-set, Cr-well, and M-n, * are particularly mentioned as "chief townsmen," who formed the cavalcade. "At the town's end they were joined by several parties of horse from the adjacent villages, and when they came to Montford bridge, where they had a sight of the pulpit hero, there were no less than seven thousand horse. He was safely conducted to his inn, where he was kindly entertained with wine and sweetmeats, and the
* These blanks appear to denote Joint Kynaston, Esq., of Hordley, Hardwicke, and Albrightley, or his son Corbet Kynaston; Roger Owen, Esq., of Condover, and the Council House; Edward Cresset, Esq., of Cound; Richard Cromwell, Esq., of Sidbury; and Robert Myddleton, Esq., of Shrewsbury, eventually heir of Chirk. The pamphlet gives a letter from Mr. Cresswell, signed R.C. Junior, (for his father was then living,) informing his friends, " Dr. Sachverell comes from Condover on Wednesday, the 5th of July, and doth me the honour to dine that day at the Cock and Castle, in Bridgnorth. I beg the favour of all Clergymen and others that are well wishers to him, or his doctrine, to accompany him into town, about 12 o'clock."
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mob with strong drink and tobacco; and the evening concluded with ringing of bells, and bonfires, and other demonstrations of joy." Leonard Hotchkis, afterwards head master of our free school, is said to have led his horse into town; but this information is somewhat questionable; if true, it was a mere boyish frolick; for he was then only an undergraduate of St. John's, in Cambridge. The ministers of St. Chad's and St. Mary's, Mr. Bennet, and Mr. Dawes, of maturer age, (for they had been more than thirty years in possession of their respective livings,) did not think fit to make so open a disclosure of their sentiments. They sent a message to the Raven, desiring leave to wait upon the Doctor at night; but he sent for answer that he would have no Nicodemuses."
From Shrewsbury he went to Condover, and so to Bridgnorth, Kinlet, Ludlow, and Mr. Berkeley Green's, near Worcester, but met with a rebuff in that city, by the direction of Bishop Lloyd. Nor were all the inhabitants of Shropshire unanimous in their admiration of this ecclesiastical drummer, for there is a violent invective against him in rhyme, entitled, "The Wolf stript of his Shepherd's clothing: addressed to Dr. Sacheverell, by a Salopian gentleman." Government thought the affair so important, that the secretary of state wrote to the lord lieutenant of Shropshire, (the Earl of Bradford,) that it was her Majesty's pleasure that his lordship and the gentlemen of the county should prosecute the offenders on this occasion with the utmost severity.
On the death of Queen Anne (August 1, 1714,) and the peaceful accession of George the first, the populace in many parts of the kingdom were inflamed to a high pitch of resentment; for which no adequate cause can be assigned, but the defeat of the pretender's hopes, and the return to power of a Whig ministry, from whom they apprehended danger to the church. In an ebullition of fury, they directed their attacks very generally against the places of dissenting worship. The meeting house in High Street was demolished, and the materials carried as it is said to Frankwell, and there burned with great exultation. The sufferers related that the mayor, though obliged by his office to discountenance such riotous proceedings, yet, in his heart approving the zeal of the mob, approached the scene of action, and in a very gentle voice scarcely
916 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
audible, only said "Good people, this is very wrong." To what degree of credit this story is entitled cannot be known. Times inflamed by party are little favourable to truth. It is certain that a law of the first parliament of George the first which met on the 7th of March, 1714-15, called the Riot Act, recites, that "of late many rebellions, riots and tumults have been in divers parts of the kingdom, to the disturbance of the publick peace, and the endangering of his Majesty's person and government, and the same are yet continued and fomented by persons disaffected to his Majesty," and the secretary of state wrote to one of the county magistrates, Thomas Severn; Esq., of Wallop, instructing him to be aiding in the introduction into the town, of the posse comitatus,- a line of conduct which bespeaks the distrust which the government entertained of the chief magistrate of Shrewsbury.
In the year 1715, a very serious attempt was made by the adherents of the pretender, James the third, as he was called, to place him on the throne. The Earl of Mar raised his standard in the shire of Aberdeen, on the third of September; as Thomas Forster, Esq., M.P. for Northumberland, did in that county, on the sixth of October, and began to march southwards, being joined by the Earl of Derwentwater, grandson of Charles the second, Lord Widdrington, the Scottish Earls of Nithisdale, Carawath and Wintoun, Lord Viscount Kenmuir, &c. The militias of the northern counties retired upon their approach; and the affair wore so serious an aspect, that the government found it necessary to despatch a considerable army against them. Brigadier Dormer's regiment, which was at that time quartered in Shrewsbury for the maintenance of good order, was ordered to march to Preston, in Lancashire, where the rebels arrived on the 10th of November. To defend Shrewsbury in case of emergency, its gates were put into repair, several passages were stopped up, and the trained bands, as the militia was then called, were assembled. In aid of these, and to evince their attachment to the house of Hanover, the loyal part of the population of the town and neighbourhood, entered into a voluntary association.
From this time, nothing occurred which requires notice, before the institution of the Salop Infirmary. Shrewsbury had the distinguished honour of very nearly leading the way
HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY. 917
in this species of beneficence, being, at least in the conception, second only to Winchester; for in a printed address, dated July 24, 1737, and entitled "A proposal for erecting an Infirmary for the poor, sick and lame, in this county and neighbourhood," that "recently" established in the city just mentioned, is the only one referred to. But no steps were taken to accomplish the design, before 1744. A general meeting of the contributors took place at the summer assizes of 1745, when the laws by which the institution was to be conducted, were to be agreed upon; and notwithstanding the distracted state of the country in that memorable year, the work proceeded so vigorously, that the house was actually opened in the spring of 1747, and has ever since maintained a course of unabated and increasing usefulness. The advance of the Scottish invasion in 1745, under the command of the grandson of James the second, as near to Shrewsbury as Ashborne, (sixty miles) December 4, excited much anxiety in the town. This was increased four, days after, into a violent alarm, when intelligence arrived at eleven o'clock, P.M. that the Highlanders were on their march thither, and would be here in the morning. Many of the principal inhabitants, members of the corporation, and staunch whigs quitted the town with precipitation. Even those who were the most strongly attached to the exiled family, were not less anxious than the warmest adherents of the house of Hanover, to secrete their valuable effects from the anticipated depredations of their friends. Lord Herbert, lord lieutenant of the county (afterwards Earl of Powis,) had been commissioned (October 1,) to raise a regiment of fusileers in Shropshire, which be completed in a very short time, and, on the news of the enemy's advance, marched out to meet them: but having been just raised and quite undisciplined; and being indeed quite unable in point of number to cope with the Highland army, they soon fell back. Sir Thomas Whitmore, of Apley, K.B., marched as a volunteer in the grenadier company, and is recorded to have shown more courage and resolution than many of the officers. The information which had excited so much alarm, was, after all, a mere joke of some mischievous jacobite, for the Scots were so far from any thoughts of advancing to Shrewsbury, that they were on that very night
918 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
(December 8,) marching northwards from Leek to Macclesfield. Having received no encouragement from their friends in England, they commenced their retreat homewards on the second day after their arrival at Derby; and the inhabitants of Shrewsbury resumed their former tranquillity.
One of the last executions that took place in this kingdom on account of the Stuarts, occurred in Shrewsbury, seven years after the transaction last referred to. Mr. Thomas Anderson, a Yorkshire gentleman, from the neighbourhood of Richmond, had risen to the rank of lieutenant in Sir John Ligouier's regiment of dragoons, and had deserted from it. This offence so unusual in an officer, must it is probable, have been visited with the extreme severity of military law. It originated in his attachment to the exiled family, for whose service he was also charged with enlisting men. His trial which lasted three days, commenced at Worcester on the 16th of November, 1762, and after the sentence he was removed to the town of Shrewsbury, where orders were received for his execution. Several petitions for mercy were laid before the King, from Yorkshire, Lancashire, Worcester, and Shrewsbury, but these are supposed to have been very far from doing him service, as the political principles of the petitioners were more than suspected. On Monday, December 11, about ten in the morning he was conducted from the gaol to Kingsland, under a guard, attended by the regiment. The mayor with his usual attendants was also present. Mr. Anderson was in a suit of black velvet, and behaved with great composure. His dying speech consisted chiefly of religious sentiments very properly expressed, but a few passages of it indicate his political sentiments. He prays God " to strengthen the ancient church, to encrease the members of the Royal family, and protect and guard the dearest P-, (probably Prince Charles Edward,) wherever he goes. As to the late account from London," he says "that he is pre-advised of it, and can justly say that he is guilty only of one of the faults charged upon him."
In his letter delivered to the sheriff on the morning of his execution, he holds the same language: "Nothing laid to my charge has been proved, except desertion." He requests the sheriff to cause all that befell him at Shrewsbury, and the
HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY. 919
friendship shewed him by its worthy citizens during his confinement, to be inserted in the London evening paper. "The whole town, and you, with Lady Kynaston in particular, have an assurance of my sincere thanks. The rest is to assure you that I'm entirely resigned to die, annexed to an assurance that nothing gives me any material concern, solely an affection that I have offended a GOD who has always treated me so tenderly." His last words were a request for silence, that he might exculpate Mr. Wilding, the governor of the gaol, from a malicious accusation of having treated him unkindly. "I now declare upon the word of a dying man, that both he and his wife used me with the greatest tenderness and humanity, during my confinement with him."
Mr. Anderson then composed himself to death. Five soldiers were appointed to shoot him, but only three fired. The balls from two, entered one into each breast; the third shot him through the head. Some signs of animation still remaining, the commanding officer stepped forward with a pistol, and released him from all sensation: an action which was considered by the spectators, who deeply sympathized with the sufferer, to indicate a ferocious resentment against the deceased; but which may perhaps be more candidly ascribed to the humane desire of terminating his agonies. He was buried in St. Mary's church yard on the same day. A strong feeling of indignation was excited in the regiment by the apostacy of Mr. Anderson. They would not permit the funeral procession to enter the church, that part of that fine service might be suppressed. In return, the curate, Mr. Brooks pronounced it all, without curtailment, at the grave.
Though the bill for putting the militia on its present footing received the royal assent June 28, 1757, it was not carried into effect in Shropshire before 1763: for which delay, Tate Wilkinson, a writer of little credit, gives a reason which it is to be hoped, is founded in error. Wilkinson was an actor, and patentee of the theatres at York and Hull. In his memoirs of his own life, Vol. I., p. 173, he mentions his joining Whitley.'s company of comedians, who were playing at
920 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
Shrewsbury, in September, 1763. The county militia were then assembled for the first time, though the war was over, during the whole of which it had not been embodied: and he accounts for this extraordinary delay, by observing, that on a former occasion this county had raised a regiment consisting of creditable farmers' sons, for the internal defence of the kingdom, which regiment was immediately marched off to the sea coast, was taken by surprize, forced on board transports and sent to the Indies, which breach of faith so disgusted the inhabitants of the county, that they threw every obstacle in the way of the militia.
The first day of the militia's assembling, proceeds Mr. Wilkinson was the annual fair for cattle: and after describing, and perhaps exaggerating, the rout to which the recruits were put by the oxen and sheep, he relates the offence he gave to the officers by his inadvertent performance on the succeeding evening, of the part of Major Sturgeon, in Foote's Farce of the Mayor of Garrett, then just come out, in which is contained a ridiculous account of a similar circumstance. He was extricated out of this emergency, as he says, with some difficulty, by the exertions of Mr. Littlehale, of that town, and the good humour of Chase Price, Esq., colonel of the militia, who invited him afterwards to dinner at the mess, and got him to recite the part before all the company. "The good humoured intention was smoked, and it ended with an afternoon and evening, all in perpetual harmony, animosity and discord was no more thought of."
The incident above related, gave rise to the following sportive effusion.
l. Since the Shropshire militia is now to be rais'd,
The Shropshire militia by me shall be pmis'd,
While others but trot, my muse rides full gallop,
To sing to some tune the militia of Salop.
2. The great Earl of Bath, the county's lieutenant,
Has gathered together the very best men on't,
All ready with swords in their bands to advance,
'Gainst popish invasion, from Spain and from France.
HISTORY OF SHRESBURY. 911
3 Lord Pulteney the col'nel, no bold and so brave
To Portugal's gone, his country to save,
Like a lion he fought at Valencia they say, *
For true glory all, without profit or pay.
4. The lieutenant colonel, the great squire Lawley,
in courage as great as a Huske or a Hawley, +
From Staffordshire comes, with pleasure we hear,
To head the militia of merry Shropshire.
5. Equipt with a major you'll be in a trice,
And who is so proper as major Chase Price ?
In the parliament house he has got great renown,
And he beat squire Gorges at fair Lem'ster town.
$ Captain Hall is a soldier we all must applaud;
% Captain Hill has got knowledge by going abroad;
And the brave captain Morhall, there is no one can doubt on,
For he's cousin to good squire Lyster of Rowton.
* The battle of Valentin d'Alcantara, in Portugal, where general Burgoyee commanded, and lord Pulteney, served as colonel of the royal volunteers, was fought August 27th, 1762. This fixes the date of the song within a few months, for that young nobleman died February 16th, 1762.
+ Lieutenant general Hawley, and major-general Hunke, commanded at the affair of Falkirk, January 17th, 1746, where the King's troops did not particularly distinguish themselves; though both these officers behaved very gallantly soon after, at Culloden.
$ William Pearce Hall, Esq., of Downton-hall in the parish of Staunton Lacy. His daughter and heiress married Sir C.W. Boughton Rouse, Bart.
% Samuel Hill, Esq., elder brother of the first Lord Berwick. He died unmarried in 1766.
922 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
7 When captain Wat. Williams * recruiting appears,
They ballot no men, but all list volunteers:
Captain Maurice + and be, the brave Welshmen will bring,
To join the Salopians to fight for their king.
8. The lieutenants and ensigns to name in my song
Most folks will allow would make it too long;
In short, they are all such brave gentlemen,
That the like in all England you'll not meet again.
9. I think in my heart t'would beat Shrewsbury show,
To see these brave officers all in a row:
When so gallant a sight upon the parade is,
Take care of your hearts, ye fair Shropshire ladies.
10. But my bold country lads, let none fear to go,
With such noble commanders to face the proud foe:
Who boldly will venture their fortunes and lives,
To fight for your property, sweethearts, and wives.
11. Then join in this regiment, all lads of true spirit,
Where preferment will always attend upon merit,
And by act of parliament, as you well know,
There's no one can force you from England to go.
* Watkin Williams, Eq., of Penbedw in the county of Flint, and Trenewydd in the county of Salop.
+ Edward Maurice, Esq., of Lloram, in the county of Montgomery: he afterwards took the name of Corbet, on succeeding to the estate of Ynysymaengwya, in the county of Merioneth, and died in December 1850.
HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY. 923
And now, of my ballad pray don't make a jest,
To honour the country, I have done my best;
Then fill up a glass of Joe Laurence's * beer,
And drink to the lads of merry Shropshire.
* He kept the Raven inn.
The termination of the Welsh cloth trade in Shrewsbury, is an event of too much importance to be passed over. Shrewsbury had enjoyed this branch of commerce for more than three centuries, and during the two last it had been carried on in the great room over the market house. Every Thursday + the central parts of the town were all life and bustle. Troops of hardy ponies, each with a halter of twisted straw, and laden with two bales of cloth, poured into the market place in the morning, driven by stout Welshmen, in their country coats of blue cloth, and striped linsey waistcoats: and the description given by Dyer may boast of a more than poetical accuracy.
+ The market was originally holden on Friday. The change took place in 1649.
The northern Cambrians, an industrious tribe,
Carry their labours on pygmaean steeds;
Yet strong and sprightly; over hill and dale
They travel unfatigued and lay their bales
In Salop's streets, beneath whose lofty walls,
Pearly Sabrina wafts them with her barks,
And spreads the swelling sheet.
After dinner, that is, at two o'clock, the drapers with their clerks and shearmen, assembled under the market house, and proceeded up stairs, by, seniority, having by ancient usage the right of being the first purchasers, in that order. The market being over, drays were seen in all directions, conveying the cloths to the several warehouses; and more than 600 pie.. ces of web have been sold in a day. The whole was a ready money business, and as the Welshmen left much of their cash behind them, in exchange for malt, groceries, and other shop goods, the loss of such a trade to the town, may be easily conceived. The first blow levelled at the market may be dated
984 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
from about the year 1790; when, or soon after, individuals, not members of the drapers' company, began to travel into the countries where these goods were made, (Merionethshire and the vale of the Dee, above Llangollen,) and taught the farmers that they might find a mart for their manufactures at home, without the trouble and expense of a journey to the walls of Amwythig. From that time the trade began to fail. In 1795, the market was most materially impaired, and almost ceased with the century. At length, in March 1803, the company relinquished the great room, in which they had so long carried on their business; and though much business in this branch is still transacted, the town has entirely lost the advantage it derived from the weekly visits of the Cambrian farmers, which produced so much emolument to the drapers, and raised so many families, who now shine in the foremost ranks of the gentry.
The cessation of the cloth market may also, in part, be ascribed to the improvement of the roads in Wales, which opened a more free communication to these interlopers, and this again reflected back some compensation to the town, for the loss of this branch of its trade. For, if Shrewsbury was no longer the emporium of North Wales, it was becoming the centre of communication between London and Dublin: and the agriculture of the neighbourhood, and the trade of the town, received a new impulse from the vast increase of posting and stage coaches, which were thus diverted into this line of road. This subject is sufficiently interesting to justify a brief deduction.
Stage coaches were introduced into England a short time before the restoration. Ellwood the quaker, (the friend of Milton,) in his curious life, mentions that his sister went to London in one, in the tenth month, 1659. They were evidently new vehicles in November 1663, since a young gentleman writes thus to his father in Lancashire. "I got to London on Saturday. My journey was noe ways pleasant, being forced to ride in the boote all the way. The boots of the coach were two seats placed in the sides of it, by making the doors project. The persons occupying those uncomfortable seats rode sideways, as in a modern car,
HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY. 925
The company that came up with me were persons of great quality, as knightes and ladyes. This travel so indisposed mee that I am resolved never to ride up again in the coatch."
Shrewsbury did not long remain without such a convenience: for it appears from the M.S. diary of Sir William Dugdale, that in June 1681, having occasion to remove from London to his country seat in Warwickshire, he came down by "Shrewsbury coach." The first night it stopped at Woburn; for in those times, so imperfectly settled, and in the then wretched state of the roads, no coach thought of travelling all night. The second night it stopped at Hill Morton, (near Rugby,) and thence proceeded on the third day for Coleshill, where Dugdale would of course alight. This, it will be evident, was not the nearest line from London to Shrewsbury: but might be deemed the best road, or the coach might even go out of its way to accommodate the antiquary, whose seat lay close to Coleshill. Such deviations, for the convenience of individual passengers, were at that time, not unusual.
This first stage coach to Shrewsbury, did not probably long continue. The town lay remote from the great roads, and led to little beyond it, but Montgomeryshire, then, a county of small resort. All traces of the existence of such a coach had vanished from recollection, and as late as 1760, it is remembered that a lady whom a sudden emergency of business required to go in haste to London, was obliged to ride to Ivetsey Bank, (about five miles east of Shiffnal,) to meet the coach which travelled between Chester and the Metropolis. In default, therefore, of any earlier account of Shrewsbury stage coach travelling, we present our readers with an authentick description of it, as practised from the last named city, which is only twenty miles further from London, written by the gentleman who himself underwent the journey. " In March 1739-40," says he, " I changed my Welsh school, for one nearer to the capital, and travelled in the Chester stage, then no despicable vehicle for country gentlemen. The first day, with much labour, we got from Chester to Whitchurch, twenty miles; the second day to the Welsh Harp; the third to Coventry; the fourth to Northampton; the fifth to Dunstable; and, as a wondrous effort, on the last to London, before the commencement of night.
926 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
"The strain and labour of six good horses, sometimes eight, drew us through the sloughs of Mireden, and many other places. We were constantly out two hours before day, and as late at night; and in the depth of winter, proportionably later." As post chaises were then unknown, persons of the first distinction had no means of reaching London, but the family coach and six so admirably depicted by Vanbrugh in the comedy of the Provoked Husband, or riding on horseback. "The single gentlemen" says Pennant "then a hardy race, equipped in jack boots, and trowsers up to their middle, rode post through thick and thin, and guarded against the mire, despised the frequent stumble and fall; arose, and pursued their journey with alacrity." Their boots were well covered with tallow before they set out, and the unctuous integument, with the superinduced incrustation of each day's mud was unmolested by the brush, till the wearer,
"Stain'd with the variation of each soil,"
was safely housed in the metropolis.
As to the carriage of goods to London, it is said to have been only by pack horses, as late as 1730. After a few years, however, a common stage waggon was set up, in which travellers of meaner rank were glad to find a place; and the first step towards any thing like improvement was to place a large leathern box, something like a coach, and hung upon chains in the middle of the wagon. Persons of a better class were thus separated from their inferiors. This was sometimes called the Gee-ho. It was drawn by eight horses, with two more to draw it through sloughs, and up hills. Seven, eight, and even nine days, were sometimes consumed in the journey. Such a conveyance existed in 1740, and perhaps earlier; and no other was known at Shrewsbury, till 1751.
At the close of that year a new carriage started; the Caravan: it was fitted up within, with benches against the sides, for eight, twelve, and even, as other accounts have it, for eighteen persons; and very much resembling those conveyances of the same name, in which wild beasts are now transported to country fairs. It was drawn by "six able horses," and professed to perform the journey in four days,
HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY. 927
but often occupied the whole of five. The caravan travelled the old Chester road, till the begining of 1752, when we find it "lying on Tuesdays," which was the day it left Shrewsbury, "at the Castle Inn, Birmingham," fare 15s.
The roads were now beginning, under the operation of various turnpike bills, to lay aside somewhat of their pristine horrors. In April 1753, "The Birmingham and Shrewsbury Long Coach, with six able horses, in four days," started from the Old Red Lion here, to the Bell in Holborn, fare 18s. There was even an opposition, for in the following June, Fowler's "Shrewsbury stage coach, in three days and a half," began to run from the Raven to the George, and White Hart Inn, in Aldersgate Street; fare £1. 1. 0, outside passengers half-price. This is the first mention of this class of travellers; and they, as it seems must have ridden in an immense wicker basket, of the kind delineated in Hogarth's print of Night, published in 1738, which basket though now exploded, continued even to our own time.
The communication between Shrewsbury and London, was, however, as yet, but trifling; for none of these conveyances seem to have gone more than once a week; but in April 1764, a new carriage started, called the Machine, which went thrice a week, and performed the journey in two days; fare 30s., resting at Coventry for the night. This celerity of motion could not however be maintained during the winter. The journey was at that season extended to three days; and when in the spring of 1766, the Machine returned to its former time, it received from its extreme rapidity, the new name of the "Flying Machine," in two days. This continued in 1769, when they rested at Dunchurch; the fare being raised to 36s. In August 1772, the time was reduced to a day and a half, and the fare to 34s.: the passengers sleeping at Wolverhampton, on their journey from London.
In 1776, there were three modes of getting to London. The supply, however was evidently as yet too great for the demand. The Fly as well as a rival of that conveyance was obliged to drop one journey a week during the winter, and a coach called the Diligence, soon ceased to run at all. The speculative genius of the master of the Raven, soon after struck out a new line of travelling, which brought a fresh
928 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
accession of visitors, to the town, and gradually increased this branch of business to an extent which former ages bad never known.
The road from London to Dublin, had been invariably direct to Chester, and from Chester by sea, while North Wales continued to be ruled by its native princes. No "Sae sots" might venture to travel by land to Holyhead; and even after that obstacle was removed, natural ones remained in "uncertain fords, unsafe ferries, and roads on the sides of the mountains, with precipices into the sea." The inspection of any map will show that Chester lies to the north of the right line; Shrewsbury much nearer to it; and that by adopting this latter road, a ferry at Conway, not always safe, and always unpleasant and productive of delay, might be avoided. Nor did this remark so important to Shrewsbury, escape the notice of its inhabitants, fourscore years ago. By a paper on the subject, drawn up by the late Mr. Elisha, it appears that his favourite plan was to embark for Dublin from Carnarvon, and to lead the road to that part, from London through Shrewsbury. But he proposes another route very similar to that which was afterwards realized, through Oswestry, Cerrig y Druidion, Llanrwst, Conway, and Bangor ferry.
In the beginning of 1779, occurs the first notice of any serious attempt at travelling through North Wales. It is an advertisement (April 3,) from the Innkeepers at Holyhead, Borth Ferry, Conway, St. Asaph, Llangollen and Oswestry, who styling themselves "the proprietors of the new company for reducing the rates of travelling on the Welsh roads," return thanks to the nobility, gentry, and others travelling between Holyhead and London, Bath, Bristol, &c. either by way of Shrewsbury or Chester,- for the very great encouragement and support they have received, which has enabled them to carry on their plan of fixing the rates of travelling on this road, to the same rates as in England." They state their determination to run chaises with pairs, at 9d. a mile; post coaches with four horses, at 1s. 3d.," and to render travelling through Wales agreeable and expeditious." Mr. Lawrence, is no party to this advertisement, but on the third of July following he, in conjunction with the others, set up a post coach from this town to Holyhead, in a day and a half,
HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY. 929
thrice a week, by the way of Wrexham, Mold, St. Asaph, and Conway; fare, £2. 2. 0.
This coach, it is evident could never be a formidable rival to those through Chester, as it retained all the disadvantages under which they labour, of a double ferry. But in May, 1780, Mr. Lawrence started a new one by way of Oswestry, Corwen, Llanrwst, and Conway, without, however, relinquishing his concern in that through St. Asaph. He was perhaps unwilling to break, as long as be could avoid it, with the persons interested in the old line of road. But the proprietors of the Chester coaches immediately took the alarm; and in the very next paper after the announcement of his new coach, (May 11,) in which after thanking the publick for the support already shewn to his carriages, he entreats their farther patronage, "without which" he says, "several years labour and great expense he has been at, in endeavouring to open a communication between Holyhead and London, by way of Salop, as well as Bath and Bristol, and also the great benefit that must arise from travellers to the town of Shrewsbury, and the country through which such carriages pass, will be entirely lost:" and he adverts in terms of resentment, to the conduct of his opponent, in threatening Mr. Payton with an opposition to his coaches from Birmingham through Oxford, if he did not abandon his connexion with Lawrence.
The threat of the Chester proprietor, was, in the following month carried into effect: and the Defiance from the Raven and Bell, took the Worcester road to London, thus avoiding Stratford. But this competition, while it was a benefit to Shrewsbury, by affording an increased communication with the metropolis, was of no injury to the Irish road or to Mr. Lawrence, who, on removing to the Lion, November 4th, 1780, announced his determination to pursue with unremitting industry the object he has for so many years laboured to accomplish, and expressed his hopes that "the gentlemen commissioners, and every other well wisher to these towns and the country will exert themselves in improving the roads" so as to convince travellers of the great saving and advantage which must accrue to them upon these roads in preference to any
930 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
other, and of the superiority of the accommodations." This enterprising character did not stop here. He used great personal exertion to improve the roads, and prevailed on several persons who had been upper servants in great families, to establish Inns at the several stages, thus inducing the principal Irish travellers, by the prospect of superior accommodations to prefer the Shrewsbury line, which saved them Conway ferry, and was about two miles shorter.
These exertions were not made in vain. The editor of the Shrewsbury Chronicle, February 3, 1781, is " happy to inform the publick, that the travelling through this town daily increases;" and his paper, for two or three years, at various intervals, records the names of travellers of any note, who came this way. Soon after, (April 14,) Mr. Lawrence extended his views still further, and "we have not a doubt" says the Chronicle "from the rapid increase of business on this road, if proper application is made, one, if not both of the Irish mails will pass through this town."
April 13th, 1782, care is taken "to inform the publick that the new road through Wales, via Llanrwst, has, by the activity of Mr. Lawrence, been kept open during the late inclement weather, notwithstanding most other roads were rendered impassable by the heavy falls of snow." These infant struggles of a measure, the completion of which we now witness, will not be uninteresting to those who love to contemplate the prosperous issue of industry and talent combined with perseverance. On the 3rd of September, the new lord lieutenant of Ireland, Earl Temple, arrived at the Lion, and was attended by the corporation in their formalities. "His lordship said he was extremely glad the Shrewsbury road had been recommended to him, not only as be found it considerably shorter, but because the accommodations were in every respect, perfectly to his satisfaction."
The indefatigable Lawrence, in February 1784, determines "to use every effort to establish effectually what he has so long laboured at a great expense to accomplish." Yet as late as October 5, 1792, it was deemed not inexpedient to state, that "the posting business from Ireland, by way of Holyhead through Shrewsbury, has, of late increased prodigiously."
HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY. 931
But the union of the kingdoms in 1800, and the consequent annual journeys of the Irish legislature to the metropolis of the empire, made this road an object of still greater moment, and still further stimulated Mr. Lawrence's exertions.
About the year 1802, he procured the commencement of a shorter line of road, which was completed in the Autumn of 1804, through Capel Curig and Bangor, to the exclusion of Llanrwst and Conway; thus effecting a saving of eight miles. In this undertaking he found an active and munificent patron in the late lord Penrhyn, to whom, indeed the idea is by some, and perhaps justly ascribed. The new road was a very favourite scheme of that nobleman; who in furtherance of it erected a very large and handsome inn, at Capel Curig. This road has since received the last improvements of Mr. Telford, and is now perhaps the finest in the world. It has hitherto placed the route through Shrewsbury beyond the reach of competition from Chester: and the road now maintains a mail coach, and two other daily coaches.
In the mean time, to the Machine and Fly coaches to London, which we have seen the only coaches to London in 1776, and those confined to two journeys a week, was added in January, 1780, a post coach from the Raven; at first once, but soon afterwards thrice a week. It travelled in "two easy days," and lay at Stratford; but in the following spring was advertised at one day. This was followed in June 1780, by the Defiance. In the summer of 1785, Mr. Lawrence succeeded in "procuring a mail, on Mr. Palmer's plan," and the first mail coach from London to Shrewsbury began to run on the fifth of September; and from this period it would be tedious to enumerate the gradual accession which has been made to the number of these conveyances.
The journey to London which thirty five years before, required four days, and only ten years before that time, double the number, might, in August 1788, be performed in 22 hours, and by later improvements, (October 1822) is now reduced to eighteen; while the two London coaches, twice a week, of 1776, are multiplied to seven every day, besides daily mail coaches to Chester, Hereford, Welshpool and Newtown, and other coaches, thirteen in number, to Chester, Manchester, Worcester, Aberystwith, Holyhead, and Birmingham: thus
932 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
creating such an influx of travelling through Shrewsbury, as greatly lessens, if it does not quite repair the injury it has sustained by the diminution of its trade in Welsh woollens.
It may be proper to record that on Saturday, July 30tb, 1803, prince William of Gloucester, the king's nephew, visited this place on his road to Liverpool, where he was about to take the command of the north west military district. His highness having been asked at what hour he would permit the corporation to have the honour of waiting upon him, was pleased to appoint the following morning at half past ten o'clock, at the Lion inn, when, after an appropriate address pronounced by the high steward, Joseph Londele, Esq., to which the prince made a suitable return, extremely well expressed and pretty much at length, on the existing circumstances of the country, a circle being formed, he paid his compliments to each individual of the body. He then, accompanied by the mayor and other officers, proceeded to divine service in St. Chad's church, and left a very pleasing impression on the minds of the inhabitants, who witnessed the propriety of his demeanour. He was the first prince of the blood that had visited Shrewsbury since the Revolution.
On Tuesday, October 9th, 1804, his royal highness, the Duke of Gloucester passed through this town, on returning from a visit to his son at Liverpool.
And on the evening of Tuesday, September 9th, 1806, his royal highness, George, prince of Wales, accompanied by the Duke of Clarence, passed through Shrewsbury, on his way to Rossall and Loton, the seats of Cecil Forester, Esq., M.P. (now Lord Forester) and Sir Robert Leighton, Bart. His royal highness made no stay in the town, but having changed horses in the Abbey Foregate, passed under the walls by St. Chad's church and Barker street to Rossall, where, on the following morning, he was, according to his royal highness's pleasure, signified to that effect, attended by a select deputation, consisting of the mayor, senior alderman, and high steward, * which last gentleman delivered a loyal address and received a gracious answer.
William Wilson, William Smith, and Joseph Londale, Esquires.
While most other towns, many of them of far inferior pre. tensions, had been advancing in the scale of internal improvement,
HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY. 933
Shrewsbury had remained stationary. Its streets continued almost as narrow and crooked as they had been for centuries before, its pavement of the rudest description, its thinly scattered lamps diffusing little more than a visible darkness, and its air polluted by the exhalations of open kennels. These and similar nuisances were occasioned by the scanty provisions of the Street Act of twenty nine George the second; the funds created by which were so limited as to prevent the possibility of incurring any expenses in order to remove those grievances. Many ineffectual attempts had been made to obtain a new act; but the town meetings convened for that purpose had uniformly withheld their consent to such a measure.
At length on the 28th of May, 1821, a bill received the royal assent, which though not so perfect as it might have been, has conferred such powers upon a Committee of Management as have already produced considerable effects. The committee was selected on the 18th of June, and immediately proceeded to their task. Their first step was to make an agreement with the new gas company, which had been incorporated by act of parliament, in the preceding year. The town began to be supplied with that species of light on the eighth of September, and this great improvement was carried through all the streets before the commencement of the next winter: with an extension of the period of lighting from seven months to eight, and from seven hours, or scarcely that to eleven. In the same winter of 1821, the watch was regulated upon an improved system. The narrowest parts of the several streets have been progressively widened, and their corners rounded; as at Lee Stalls in Mardol Head; at the turning from Pride Hill, into High Street; from Carrier's End towards Murivance and Barker street; from Swan Hill, into Cross Hill.
The line of houses has in many places been rendered straight, by the removal of projecting steps and windows. A path for foot passengers which before existed only in a few parts, has been secured by curb stones, and flagged or paved with brick or small pebbles. It was resolved at the beginning of 1823, to underdrain the streets by common sewers; and this grand measure is in great part accomplished. Other
934 HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY.
improvements are carrying on, or in contemplation, particularly in the widening of Dogpole and Ox Lane; the removal of St. Mary's almshouses; and the opening of a thoroughfare through that churchyard at fair times; and if the Committee of Management should continue to be judiciously chosen, and faithful to its trust, the town may in time, assume its due place among the cities of the empire.
Yet it must be acknowledged, that when the Committee have done all that lies in their power, Shrewsbury will be far from possessing that degree of cleanliness and comfort, which the declivity of its streets renders practicable, and which would accord so well with the eminent beauty of its situation. Greater powers than those which the new act confers, are requisite, that a spacious market may be provided, that the streets may be relieved from the encumbrance of booths, sheds and shambles, and that the monthly cattle fairs, by which the safety of passengers is endangered, and more than one of their senses are grievously annoyed, may be removed to some eligible contiguous situation. The pavement, too, must ever continue rugged and jolting, while three ton wagon loads of coals, which might be carried across the Raven meadow, are tamely suffered to drag along the streets. Till these and some other enormities are redressed, of which at present there appears little probability, Shrewsbury may be considered as but partially rescued from its original barbarism, and the poet's qualified commendation of the drama of his country, may be very justly applied to the subject before us:
grave virus Munditite populere, sed in longum tamen aevum
Manserunt, hodieque menent vestigia ruris.