MARKET DRAYTON: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1831.



"MARKET DRAYTON (or DRAYTON IN HALES), a parish, comprising the market-town of Drayton in Hales, Drayton division of the hundred of BRADFORD (North), county of SALOP; and the townships of Ahnington, Bloore in Tyrley, and Hales, in the northern division of the hundred of PIREHILL, county of STAFFORD, and containing 4426 inhabitants, of which number, 3700 are in the town of Drayton in Hales (including the hamlet of Little Drayton), 19 miles (N. E. by N.) from Shrewsbury, and 159 (N.W. by N.) from London. Nennius endeavours to identify this with the Caer DraUhon of the Britons, enumerating it as one of the principal cities belonging to that people; and the correctness of his opinion has not been arraigned by any succeeding writer. It is evident, from the discovery of the foundations of several houses in the adjoining fields, that the town anciently occupied a more extended site than it does at present. In the record of Domesday it is mentioned by the name Draitune. The manor was successively in the possession of the abbot of St. Ebrulph, in Normandy, and the abbot of Combermere, in Cheshire; the latter, in 1246, received the grant of a market to be held at Drayton, on Wednesday, and a fair on the eve, day, and morrow, of the nativity of the Virgin Mary.

At Bloreheath, about two miles from the town, but in the county of Stafford, a sanguinary encounter occurred, on the 23rd of September, 1459, between five thousand Yorkists under the command of Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, and ten thousand Lancastrians under that of James Touchet and Lord Audley. Although the numbers were thus disproportionate, the latter were defeated, and their general and two thousand four hundred men slain: after this the earl proceeded to join the Duke of York at Ludlow, whither he was hastening when interrupted by the opposite party. During the parliamentary war, this neighbourhood was the scene of a skirmish, on the 25th of January, 1643, when Prince Rupert routed the enemy, who were commanded by Sir Thomas Fairfax.

The town stands on the north-western bank of the river Tern; it is clean and moderately well paved, and the houses present a neat appearance. There are manufactories for paper, and for hair-cloth for chair-bottoms, and some business is done in malting; but the trade, which was formerly very considerable, has declined, in consequence of the construction of the Grand Trunk canal. The market, formerly of greater repute than at present, is on Wednesday. Fairs, for horned cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, and hempen and woollen cloth, are held on the Wednesday before Palm-Sunday, Wednesday before June 22nd, September 19th, and October 24th. The petty sessions for the Drayton division of the hundred are held here.

The living is a vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Salop (except that portion of the parish lying in the county of Stafford, which is within the peculiar jurisdiction of the courts leet and baron of the manor of Tyrley), and diocese of Lichfield and.Coventry, rated in the king's books at £ 12.10. 7., and in the patronage of Richard Corbet, Esq. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, was built, with the exception probably of the steeple, in the reign of Stephen 5 it consists of a nave, aisles, a chancel, and a square tower supported by buttresses and adorned with battlements and pinnacles; the whole of the building, except the tower, was thoroughly repaired in 1787; and it has lately received an addition of one hundred and fifty sittings, one hundred of which are free,. the Incorporated Society for the enlargement of churches and chapels having granted £ 100 towards defraying the expense. Here are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Wesleyan Methodists. A free grammar school was founded in 1554, and endowed with a rent-charge of £22 pe annum by Sir Rowland Hill, and £10 per annum by Lady Lake, for a master and an usher, whose offices were consolidated by a decree of the court of Chancery in 1816, arid the master's salary fixed at £26 per annum; the school is open to all the boys of the parish, the usual number of scholars being about sixty. In 1730, the Rev. Richard Price left property producing £8. 14. per annum, for teaching children, and other purposes; and John Bill bequeathed £240, for teaching and apprenticing ten boys. There are also various smaller benefactions, for apprenticing poor children, and other charitable purposes."

[Transcribed information from A Topographical Dictionary of England - Samuel Lewis - 1831](unless otherwise stated)

[Description(s) transcribed by Mel Lockie ©2015]