OSWESTRY: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1824.


"OSWESTRY, a parish and market town in the Oswestry division of the hundred of Oswestry, a vicarage discharged, in the diocese of St. Asaph, and the deanery of Marchia.* Oswestry parish, not including the town, contains 692 houses, 3,613 inhabitants. The town, 844 houses, 3,910 inhabitants. The entire parish contains 1,536 houses, 7,523 inhabitants. 17½ miles north-west of Shrewsbury, 179 miles north-west of London. Market on Wednesday, Fairs 3rd Wednesday in January, March 15, May 12, Wednesday before Midsummer-day, August 15, Friday before September 29, December 10. LAT. 52. 53½ N. LONG. 3. 9 W.

Previously to the reign of Edward the first, this part of England, which is on the very borders of Wales, was termed the Northern Marches, and was governed by a Lord President, who kept his court at Ludlow Castle, and who, down to the reign of Charles II. lived in a style little inferior to that of royalty.

Oswestry was called by the Britons Tre'r-cadeiriau; literally, the town of chairs, or, seats commanding an extensive view, (as Cadair Idris, the chair of Idris, and others) as there are several eminences commanding such views in the neighbourhood.

We find that Oswael, one of the sons of Cunedda Wledig, as a reward for his services in driving the Irish from Gwynedd, in conjunction with his brothers, obtained that district called Osweiling, where the present town of Oswestry is situated, The town may ascribe its foundation and name to this Oswael; who, it is said, erected a place of religious worship there.

The Saxons called this place Maserfield, derived from Maes Hir, (brit.) the long field; and Felle, (sax.) fierce, cruel, outrageous; in allusion to the battle between Penda, king of Mercia, and Oswald, king of Northumberland; or more probably Feldt, a field, added by the Saxons, the looking on Maes hir merely as an epithet, without knowing its signification. It is conjectured that the Welsh called it Croesoswallt, and the English Oswald's-tree, from a circumstance which is thus related: Oswald, previous to the battle with Cadwallon, near Severus's Wall, set up a cross of wood, and making intercession overthrew his adversary.

The town was also termed Blanc-minster, White-minster, and in ancient records, Candida-ecclesia, and Album-monasterium, from its ' fair and white monastery.' During the time when Meredydd ab Bleddyn inherited Oswestry, the inhabitants called it Trefred, a contraction of Tre Meredith, Meredith's Town, This prince dying in 1129, the name was lost, and the town resumed its former appellation.

It is supposed that Oswestry was founded about the end of the fourth century. It formed part of Powisland, which when entire extended in a direct line, from Broxton hills, in Cheshire, to Pengwern Powis, or Shrewsbury, (including a large tract of land of both of those counties,) and from the latter place, stretched through the eastern limits of Montgomeryshire, comprehending all that county and part of Radnorshire and Brecknockshire. It then turned northward, included the Cwmmuds of Mowddwy, Edeyrnion, and Glyndyfrdwy and Merionethshire, and came along a part of the Clwydian Hills, to the summit of Mael-famma, including all Denbighshire, except those parts which at present constitute the lordships of Denbigh and Ruthin. From hence, taking a south-easterly direction, it extends to Molesdale, Hopedale, and Maelor, in Flintshire. It was perhaps of much greater extent under the reign of Brochwel Ysgythrog, who was defeated by the Saxons at the battle of Chester, in 607. After this event, the borders became a scene of rapine; the Welsh and Mercian, alternately making most terrible inroads into each other's dominions.

Oswald and Oswy were sons of Ethelfrid the Wild, king of Northumberland. Redwald, king of East Anglia, having defeated and slain their father, in 617, Oswald and Oswy were taken into Scotland, where they continued during the reigns of Edwin and Osric. After the latter were defeated and slain by Penda and Cadwallon, Oswald and Oswy returned from Scotland, in 634, where they had been baptised in the Christian religion, according to the Church of Rome. Oswald having united the kingdoms of Deira and Bernicia, (Northumberland) and promoted this religion there, prepared to meet Cadwallon, the Briton, who had attacked his dominions. Over this prince he gained a decisive victory. Encouraged thus far, he wished to curb his restless, ambitious neighbour, Penda.

August 5th, 642, the contending armies of Oswald, king of Northumberland, and Penda, king of Mercia, met here: Oswald approached with his army to what is called Maes-y-Alan, or Churchfield, then open. About four hundred yards west of the church is a rising ground, where the battle began. The assailant appears to have driven Penda's forces to a field nearer the town called Cae Nef. [Cae Nef is situated on the left of the turnpike road leading to the free-school: it signifies Heaven-field. The Hefenfeld in Northumberland is said to have received its name on account of Oswald attributing the victory over the Britons solely to the interposition of Heaven.]

Here Oswald fell. Penda, with a savage barbarity caused the breathless body of Oswald to be cut to pieces, and stuck on poles, as so many trophies of his victory. [In a MS. account of the town, written in 1635, there is the following observation ' There was an old oake lately standing in Mesburie, within the parish of Oswestry; whereon, by tradition, one of king Oswald's arms hung.]

Oswald's strict virtue, great humility, and zeal for the advancement of the religion he had embraced, gained him the love and esteem of his subjects. He had been a great benefactor to various monasteries, and his character was so much revered by the monks, that a short time after his death, he was canonized; and the field in which he was slain, became celebrated for the numerous miracles that were believed to have been wrought in it.

Oswald's Well is situated a little to the west of the free-school, and is supplied by a spring flowing from the elevated ground above it. The well is a small square basin, in a recess formed by a stone wall, and arched over. On the back is a rudely-sculptured head of king Oswald; and the front was secured by an iron grate. A second recess of the same kind is divided from the former, by a slight stone wall; and in this recess, there is water also, which was, perhaps, granted for common uses, whilst the other may have been held sacred. There was formerly a chapel or cell near it, but no vestige of either remains; and the well itself is in a very ruinous state, but the water is good. There is a tradition, that when Oswald was slain, an eagle tore one of the arms from the body, and flying off with it, fell down and perished upon this spot, from which the waters flushed up, and have continued to flow ever since, as a memorial of the event.

On the place of martyrdom, as the monks have termed it, a Monastery was founded, dedicated to St. Oswald; but there are no evidences at present extant of the time either of its foundation or dissolution. In the reign of Henry VIII. no part of the building was left; for Leland, who then visited this place, says that the cloister only was standing within the memory of persons then living.

From the above it appears, that the White Monastery was in or near the town itself. In another poem he says,- 'it was on the south-side of the town;' which is the situation of the present church, with respect to the ancient walls of the town. There is, also, a spot of ground near the church, still called Erw Myneich, that is, Monk's Acre; and, as the ancient name of the church was Blanc-minster, there can be little doubt but that the monastery was adjoining to the church. Some traces of the foundation are still discoverable, in digging graves in the churchyard. A celebrated writer is inclined to think it to have been collegiate; a kind of establishment very frequent in places of martyrdom or of assassination, reverential or expiatory, according to the nature of the event.

Until the year 777, Oswestry was possessed by the Britons; when the warlike king Offa passing the Severn with a mighty force, expelled them from their fruitful seats on the plains, and reduced the kingdom of Powis to the western side of the celebrated ditch still known by his name. The princes of Powis were then constrained to quit their ancient residence at Pengwern, or Shrewsbury, and remove to one not less fertile, to Mathrafel, in the beautiful vale of Myfod. From this period, their kingdom was called indifferently that of Powis, or of Mathrafael. The plains of Shropshire became a confirmed part of the Mercian kingdom; and the parts beyond the Severn of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, and the county of Hereford submitted to the yoke. The Britons still alive to their injuries, privately formed a plan of revenge. They entered into an alliance with the king of Sussex and Northumberland, and made a breach in the rampart during the night, passed the boundary, at early dawn attacked the camp of Offa, in an unprepared state, and put great numbers to the sword. The Mercian monarch narrowly escaped with a small remnant of his army.

The tract which forms the country above Croes-oswallt or Oswestry, and the two Maelors, (Gymraeg or the present Bromfield, and Saesnag or the present Flintshire Maelor) with many other Cwmmwds, relapsed to their natural masters. Such was its state till 843, the reign of Roderic the Great, prince of all Wales; who, in his mother's right, possessed North Wales; in that of his wife, South Wales; and by that of his grandmother, Nest, sister and heiress to Congen ab Cadell, king of Powis, he added Powisland to his dominions. He according to the destructive custom of gavel-kind, divided his principality among his children. To Anarawd he gave North Wales; to Cadell, South Wales; to Mervyn, Powisland. Each wore a Talaith or diadem of gold, beset with precious stones; whence they were styled Y Tri Tywysog Taleithiog, or the three crowned princes. After the death of Mervyn, Cadell usurped the portion of his brother. His eldest son Hywel Dda, or the Good, in 940, again united all Wales into one government. He left four sons, who divided South Wales and Powis between them; while North Wales was assumed in 948, by Iago ab Idwal Voel, and Ieuav. Edgar made them pay tribute of wolves' heads, and in forty five years those animals were greatly lessened.

The confusion that ensued on account of this partition, prevents any thing being said with certainty, until Bleddyn ab Cynvyn, who ruled Wales jointly with his brother, at the time of the Conquest, re- united the kingdoms of North Wales and Powis. The succession to the whole principality passed from his children; but Powisland devolved to his sons, and came at length entire to Meredydd, the eldest born, after the contentions and slaughter usual after such partitions. Oswestry was called Trefred, in honour of this prince. He made the division which finally destroyed the power of the once potent kingdom of Powis. To his eldest son, Madog, he gave the part which bore afterwards the name of Powis Vadog: to Gryffydd, the portion called Gwenwynwyn. POWIS VADOG, which belongs more particularly to our history, consisted, according to the division of the times, of five Cantrefs or a hundred townships; and these were subdivided into fifteen Cwmmwds.

Cantrefs. Cwmmwds. In what Shires.

{ Dinmael, Denbighshire.
{ Edeyrnion, Merionethshire.
{ Glyndyfrdwy, Ibid.

{ Yale, or Jal, Denbighshire.
{ Ystrad Alan, or Mold, Flintshire.
{ Hope, Ibid.

{ Merfford, Flintshire.
{ Maelor Gymraeg or Bromfield, Denbighshire.
{ Maelor Saesnag, Flintshire.

{ Croes-vaen, and Tref y Waun, or Chirk, Denbighshire.
{ CROES-OSWALLT, or Oswestry, Shropshire.

{ Mochnant-is-Rhaiadr, Cynllaeth, etc., Denbighshire.

{ Nan-heudwy, Whittington, Shropshire.

Madog married Susanna, daughter of Gryffydd ab Conan, prince of North Wales, by whom he had two sons; Gryffydd Maelor, and Owen ab Madog. To the first, he gave the two Maelors, Yale Hopedale, Nan-heudwy, Mochant-is-Rhaiadr, &c.: to Owen, the land of Mechain Is-coed; and, to his natural son, Owen Brogyntyn, a young man of great merit, Edeyrnion and Dinmael. Madog's chief residence was at Oswestry; where he built the castle, about 1140, according to the Welsh records. His second wife was Maud Vernon, an English woman of noble birth. He died at Winchester, and his body was honourably conveyed to Powis, and buried at Myfod. His widow married Fitzalan, Lord of Clun; who in right of his wife, obtained the town and castle of Oswestry. This William was a descendant of Alan who came in with the conqueror, and was the first of the Fitzalans that was baron of Oswestry. Alan was of the stock of the Fitzalans, earls of Arundel, a powerful race, that existed, with fewer checks than common to dignity, for about five hundred years. Fifteen of these enjoyed the baronage of Oswestry, in addition to their other great estates.

The title of baron of ' Oswaldestre,' is now held by the duke of Norfolk. His ancestor, Thomas, duke of Norfolk, married lady Mary, daughter of Henry, last earl of Arundel of the name of Fitzalan, 13th Eliz., when the lordship of Oswestry was conveyed to the duke. The Powis family afterwards became possessed of the manor, &c. in which it now continues,

The nation being divided in the reign of Stephen, concerning his right to the crown, many of the nobility rose in support of the empress Maud. William Fitzalan espoused the cause of the latter, and united his forces with the noblemen of that party. However he was at length obliged to fly, leaving his estates, &c., to the mercy of the exasperated king. True to his honour, he did not deviate from those principles, which he had, at the risk of his life and fortune, supported: and firmly adhering to the interest of the empress, until her son, Henry II. succeeded to the throne, his integrity was faithfully rewarded; and his honours and estates, among which were the Castles of Oswestry and Clun, restored to him.

In 1164, Henry the second, after the fatal battle of Eulo, in Flintshire, determined once more to attempt the subjugation of Wales, and to revenge the ravages carried through the borders by its gallant prince, Owain Gwynedd. For that purpose, be assembled a vast army at Oswestry, where he encamped, and stopped a considerable time; till hearing that Owain and Cadwaladr with all the strength of North Wales, prince Rhys with South Wales, and all the power of Powis had met together and pitched their tents at Corwen, he then marched from Oswestry to the banks of the Ceiriog. Recollecting his misfortunes in the forests of Eulo, he directed his advanced guard to clear the passage, by falling the trees, in order to secure himself from ambushment. The pikemen, and flower of his army, were posted to cover the workmen. The spirit of the Welsh soldiery grew indignant at this attempt; and, without the knowledge of their leaders they fell with irresistible fury on these troops. The conflict was obstinate and bloody, and numbers of brave men perished. In the end, the Welsh retired to Corwen. Henry reached the summit of the Berwyn; but was so distressed by dreadful rains, and by the activity and prudence of Owain, who cut him off from all supplies, that he was obliged to return with great loss of men and equipage. He however wreaked his vengeance on the unfortunate hostages which the Welsh had sent to him some time before, by putting out their eyes !

This contest is sometimes termed The Battle of Corwen; but with more propriety that of Crogen, for it took place beneath Castell Crogen, the present Chirk castle.- The place is still called Adwy'r Reddau, or pass of the graves of the men.who were slain here.

Considerable privileges have been granted to the town by its lords. The first charter of Oswestry was given by William earl of Arundel, in the reign of Henry II.; and, from its brevity, was called by the Welsh, SIARTER CWYTA, or the short charter. The following observations occur in it: ' I have received in Protection my Burgesses and Blanc-minster. [There are many charters of Protection. The gentleman who furnished the above translation, has one in his museum.] Richard de Chambre was Constable of White-minster. Thomas de Rossal of John Fitz Alan, in Chief, of one Knight's Fee at White- minster. [A Knight's Fee is so much inheritance of land, as is sufficient to maintain a kight; which in the reign of Henry III. was £15, or two hundred acres of land.]

The aforesaid William in levying an aid for the marriage of the king's daughter, in 1165 certified his knight's fees to be in number thirty five and a half; whereof nineteen were de Veteri feofmento and sixteen and a half de novo. He magnificently entertained Giraldus Cambrensis and the archbishop of Canterbury, in his castle of Oswestry on their journey to incite the people to arm themselves for the intended Crusade. Giraldus seemed to think the entertainment savoured too much of luxury. In a scutage made in the reign of king John, the said earl was not to do ward at any place but Blancminster, for the knight's fees held by him; nor to furnish more than ten soldiers, horse or foot, in the county of Salop; or more than five out of it.

Early in the reign of John, Gwenwynwyn, lord of Powis, went to Shrewsbury, to meet the king's council. He was dishonourably made prisoner, and confined in the castle of that place, to deter the Welsh from ravaging the borders. Notwithstanding this treatment of their prince, they actually sent a child under seven years old, in 1212, as an hostage for their performance of a treaty just made; but owing to some infringment of the peace, on the part of the Welsh, the child was hanged in inrewsbury, by one of the king's creatures.

In 1214, Llyweln ab Grufydd ab Madog, made his complaint to the archbishop of Canterbury, against the constable of Oswestry, for disturbing him in the third part of the ville of Ledrod, and compelling him to send two young noblemen to be put to death, after an ignominious manner, in derogation of their birth and extraction; which disgrace their parents would not have undergone for three hundred pounds sterling ! He states, also, that the constable had twice imprisoned sixty of his men, when each man was compelled to pay ten shillings for his liberty: and that when the Welsh people came to Oswestry fair, the constable would seize their cattle, by driving them into his castle, and refuse to pay for the same.

1216. Lewis, the dauphin of France, being invited by the English barons against king John, landed in the isle of Thanet, and marching forward to London, received homage of all the barons who were in actual war against the king. John removed to Hereford, in the marches of Wales. He sent to prince Llywelyn and Bruce, imploring their assistance, but they did not hearken to his proposals. In revenge, he caused twenty eight hostages, children of eminent Welsh families, to be hanged at Shrewsbury. Radnor and Hay castles he destroyed; and Oswestry, which belonged to John Fitzalan, who had taken part with the barons, was burned to the ground.

After the death of that prince, John Fitzalan was reconciled to his successor, Henry III.; and in 1227, procured for his manor of Blanc- minster, the GRANT of a fair on the eve, the day, and the day after St. Andrew's feast. The bailiffs were also made clerks of the market, with privilege to imprison nay person detected in forestalling; for which was paid twenty marks as a consideration. These persons sometimes abused their prerogative; and it cannot be surprising that the grievances which the Welsh complained of to Edward I. should chiefly arise from this town.

In the rebellion of the earl of Pembroke, against Henry III. in 1233, Oswestry again experienced the dreadful effects of revenge. The confederates taking advantage of the perpetual animosity subsisting between the Welsh and English, joined Llywelyn ab Jorwerth, a prince who long supported a character distinguished for enterprise and bravery; burned the town; plundered the inhabitants of the marches, and laid waste the country: then entering Shrewsbury, made great booty there; put a great number of the inhabitants to the sword, and burned a considerable part of the town.

In 1277, Edward I. made Shrewsbury the chief seat of government for several months, that he might be ready to receive the necessary aid from his courts, in the subjugation of Wales, an enterprise long meditated. He surrounded Oswestry with walls, that it might be less liable to plundering excursions, and as a key to his intended conquest. A murage or toll was imposed upon the county, (the burgesses of the town of Shrewsbury excepted) for six years, for the building of the same; in which period it is presumed they were completed. It appears they were about a mile in circumference, with an entrenchment on the outside, which could be filled with water from the numerous streams in the vicinity. The remains of this fortification are still visible. ' Several strong towers were erected on the walls,' but not a vestige of either is to be seen at this time. There were also four gateways, the only inlets into the town. These gates, in latter days, became extremely inoonvenient for the passage of carriages, &c. The Black-gate was taken down by consent of the earl of Powis, and pillars erected in their place. The corporation also entered into an agreement, in 1782, with the succeeding lord of the manor, for the demolition of the remaining three gates, and appropriating the materials to the erecting of a prison within the town. This was carried into effect, and pillars were also substituted in their stead.

The New-gate was built in the reign of Edward II. It was used as a prison and guard-room for soldiers. The horse with an oak branch in his mouth, over the arch way, was the crest of the Fitzalans, and is borne by the present earl-marshal of England, as the dexter supporter of his shield. The oak branch on the seal of king Oswald, as mentioned in the MS. of John Davies, esq., Recorder, 1635, was a mere ornament; as on those of the bailiffs of Shrewsbury, and several royal seals in the time of Edward I. There is a very ancient carving of the horse and oak bough in the old house at Tren-ewydd, near Whittington.

The Beatrice-gate was probably erected by Thomas, earl of Arundel, in the beginning of the reign of Henry IV., who named it in compliment to his wife, Beatrice, natural daughter to the king of Portugal. Over this gate were the arms of the Fitzalans; a lion rampant- Willow-gate (properly Wallia-gate) took its name from being the thoroughfare to Wales, over the boundary of Offa. The precise time of its erection, or that of the Black-gate, which was taken down in 1766, is not known.

In 1400, the town was burned during an insurrection of the Welsh. After a peaceable submission of upwards a century, they made an attempt to regain their ancient independence under the renowned Owain Glyndwr. He was squire of the body to Richard II., whose cause he favoured, and therefore had no interest at the court of Henry IV. His resentment against the usurper was incited by wrongs publick and private: by the murder of the unhappy Richard, to whom he was strongly attached by being a personal favourite, and by the strong partiality the Welsh had for their late king.

Owain first appeared in arms in the summer of 1400. Lord Grey of Ruthin, had unjustly seized upon some part of Glyndwr's estates, which mostly lay between Llangollen and Corwen. Owain sought justice without having recourse to violence: he laid his case before parliament, but he met with no redress. He therefore commenced his warlike career by attacking his enemy, lord Grey; and immediately recovered the lands which that nobleman had deprived him of. Aided by the inaccessible mountains of his country, and soldiers, on whose valour he relied, he set at defiance the whole power of England. Glyndwr animated by his descent from the ancient line of British Princes, caused himself to be proclaimed Prince of Wales, September 20th, 1400.

In 1403, he assembled his forces at Oswestry, in order to join lord Percy, (surnamed Henry Hotspur) against the king. The Welsh chieftain had sent off only his first division, amounting to four thousand men, whose valour was conspicuous in the day of action; in which fell his brother-in-law, Sir Jenkin Hanmer. Henry prevented him from proceeding with the rest, by posting himself between Oswestry and Shrewsbury, just at the critical time when Percy appeared before its walls. Eager to give battle, Percy withdrew his army to an advantageous ground about three miles from Shrewsbury. Henry's 'courage failing' he sent the abbot of Shrewsbury to offer terms, but the earl of Worcester artfully misrepresented the message to Percy, who, in return, sent defiance to Henry; and placing himself upon an eminence, he animated his soldiers by a warm speech, when the battle began with a heavy discharge of arrows from both armies. After three hours dreadful conflict, the fall of Percy closed the tragick scene. His friends fled in great confusion, leaving six thousand, of their side dead on the field. On the king's side there fell about sixteen hundred, and three thousand were wounded. Glyndwr, at the head of twelve thousand men, had the mortification of being obliged to remain innctive at Oswestry; but probably pressed forward, when the king's forces removed to the field of action, for Gough observes, that about two miles from Shrewsbury, where the Pool road diverges from that which leads to Oswestry, there stands an ancient decayed oak tree, of which there is a tradition, That Glyndwr ascended it to reconnoitre; but finding that the king was in great force, and that the earl of Northumberland had not joined his son, Percy, he fell back to Oswestry, and, immediately after the battle, retreated precipitately into Wales. However, Glyndwr carried on a marauding war, and plundered the marches.

Shall it be said earl Douglas wyll
Avenge not Hotspur's death?
Long as Scots' bloode does my veins fyll
I'll weare the sanguine wreathe.
Oh GLYNDWR ! with thy hardye traine,
Why had we not THY aide?
Curst was my fate- Oh ! thousands slain
Of freyndes are yonder laide!'

Owain is unjustly censured for his conduct on this occasion, and blamed for what, it seems, he could not effect. His great oversight appears to have been the neglect of attacking Henry immediately after the battle, when the royal forces had sustained a vast loss, and were overcome with fatigue; when his own followers, and the remains of the northern troops, would have formed an army nearly double that of the king.

In 1409, he began to make head again. He made great devastations on the marches, and in those parts of Wales that were well affected to the English government. The estates of lord Powis suffered greatly. Henry, therefore, directed a writ to that nobleman, to raise his forces, and suppress, in the most vigorous manner, this new disturbance. He was at the same time desired not to quit the country, but to keep his castles garrisoned, and not to permit any of his estates to be deserted. Similar orders were issued to Thomas, earl of Arundel; Reginald, lord Grey, &c. This activity proved fatal to Rhys Ddn, and Philip Scudamore, two of Owain's best officers, whom he had sent into Shropshire, where they committed great excesses. They were both made prisoners, sent to London, and executed. Towards the close of the year, several of the officers of the lords marches, either through dislike to the war, or for the sake of preserving their country from the fury of the Welsh, by their own authority, formed a truce with Glyndwr and his partizans. This only served to enable them to make their inroads on other parts with more security. Many of the loyal borderers were slain, and others plundered, in consequence of these agreements. Henry was highly irritated, and immediately issued writs from Northampton to Thomas, earl of Arundel; Sir Richard L'Estrange, lord of Knockyn, Ellesmere, and other bordering manors; Edward Charlton, lord Powis; and Reginald, lord Grey of Ruthin; and to the deputy lieutenant of Herefordshire, directing them to cause such illegal compacts to be rescinded, and Glyndwr and his adherents to be pursued, and attacked with the utmost vigour.

From this period, Owain never made any attempts worthy of historick notice. Numbers of his followers deserted; which obliged him to confine himself within that extensive tract that forms the Alps of Wales, and act entirely upon the defensive. He kept his prisoners so securely confined, that even Henry in 1412, was under the necessity of entering into a treaty with him about the redemption of some prisoners. The prison where Owain confined his captives, was not far from his house, in the parish of Llansantfraid Glyndwrdwy; and the place is to this day. called Carchardy Owen, Glyndwrdwy. Glyndwr maintained his situation, for in 1415, his affairs bore so respectable an appearance, that Henry V. condescended to enter into a treaty with him; and for that purpose deputed Sir Gilbert Talbot, with full powers to negociate with Owain, and even to offer him and his followers a free pardon, in case they should request it. It is said, that this grace was obtained by the mediation of David Holbetch, steward of the manors of Oswestry, Bromfield, and Yale, and founder of the free-school in this town. The event of this affair does not appear. It was probably interrupted by the death of Owain, which happened on the 20th of September, in the same year.

1471. Welsh cloths and cottons were formerly brought to Oswestry, as the common market, and there brought principally by the Shrewsbury drapers. The Welsh wished to draw the trade more into their own country, bnt the English purchaser could not be persuaded to follow them on account of the unsettled state of the principality. In the corporation records at Shrewsbury, relating to the drapers, is the following order: 'twenty fifth Elizabeth, 1583. Ordered that no draper set out for Oswestry market on Monday before 6 o'clock, on forfeiture of 6s. 8d. and that they should wear their weapons all the way, and go in company.- Not to go over the Welsh bridge before the bell toll 9.' This precaution appeared necessary, in consequence of the frequent robberies in the marches.

The plague raging in Oswestry, in 1585, ' a market was kept at Knocking, (about ten miles from Shrewsbury) and a half- penny paid by the drapers for every piece of cloth bought.' When that calamity ended, the drapers resorted to Oswestry, as usual. The 'covetous and ambitious company of drapers' frequently disagreeing with the inhabitants, and perhaps wishing to dispense with their Monday's travel to our town, resolved to remove the mart to Shrewsbury. But, through the interference of the earl of Suffolk, in the reign of James I. their resolution was ineffectual. The lordship of Oswestry, was at this time possessed by that nobleman, who, jealous of his interests, obliged the Shrewsbury drapers to relinquish the attempt to establish the trade in their own town. In 1618, the earl being dismissed from his high offices under the crown, and heavily fined, his influence probably decreased; for we find that the drapers in '1621, Agreed to buy no more cloth in Oswestry.' The MS. of John Davies, esq., recorder, observes that 'Oswestry flourished and was happy indeed by reason of the market of Welsh cottons. £1,000 in ready money was left in the town every week: sometimes far more. But now (1633) since the staple of cloth is removed to Shrewsbury, the town is much impoverished, Shrewsbury having now ingrossed the said market: whether better I cannot say; but I say,

Montua, vae ! miserae nimium vicina Cremonae.'

The amount of webs annually brought to Shrewsbnry, according to Mr. Pennant, was about 700,000 yards; but this is far short of the total quantity made in North Wales. The Welsh manufactures still 'coveting to draw the trade more into their own country,' have of late years fixed it at Welsh-pool, whither the purchasers repair once a fortnight.

In 1542, there was a fire in this town, by which two long streets, with extensive property were consumed. It began at two o'clock in the morning, and ended at four, to the great marvelling of many, says Camden, that so great a spoil happened in so short a time. The houses were then principally bnilt of timber, and slated.

As the register of burials, marriages, &c., for part of the year 1567, is ' dymynished and lost,' probably the church or at least the place where the register was deposited, did not escape the flames. This is the more probable, as the extremity of the suburbs in which that edifice is situated, is now denominated Pentrepoeth, which signifies, the burnt end of the town.

The plague visited Oswestry, in April, 1559, and continued throughout the principal part of the year, during which time, upwards of five hundred people were swept away. The disease commenced with a violent perspiration, (from which it was termed the sweating sickness) which lasted till either the death or recovery of the afflicted. It seldom continued above twenty fear hours; those persons who were seized in the day, were put to bed in their clothes to wait the issue; and these who were seized in the night, were desired to stay in bed, but not to sleep.

This remarkable and dreadful malady, which raged for many years in the kingdom, is said to have originated among the levies raised abroad by Henry VII. from hospitals and gaols; and who, regardless of health or cleanliness, were thronged on board the transports.- About half-a-mile from the town, on the Welshpool road, is Croeswylan. At this place is the base of an old cross, said to have been erected when the plague was in the town; and during that time the market is said to have been held at this cross, lest the country people by coming into the town should be infected; or because of their fears if they did so.

This dreadful scourge, again appeared in Oswestry; which is thus recorded in the parish register: "This yere, the xviijth daie of March, 1585, the plague began in this towne, and contynued until the xxth of July; whereof died three score and four persons, and no more." The flannel market was held at Knocking until that calamity abated.

In the troubles of Charles I. the county of Salop was strongly attached to the cause of that unfortunate monarch. The gentlemen of the county on the eighth of August, 1642, signed a declaration in his favour; and the corporation of Shrewsbury resolved in common council, that ' If his Majesty came to that place, the town should make him the best entertainment the troublesome times could afford:' which affectionate reception he experienced on his arrival there, September 20th. Oswestry was garrisoned for the king in the begining of the civil wars. It was rendered by its walls a place of considerable strength, and fearful lest the enemy shonld annoy the place from the tower steeple, the governor pulled it down to the body of the church, part of which structure was likewise demolished.

After several unsuccessful attempts to obtain possession of the town by the parliament forces, it was at length on the 22nd of June, 1644, besieged by the earl of Denbigh and general Mytton, with a detachment from the main body of the army which then lay at Drayton. This force consisted of only two troops of horse and two hundred foot soldiers. The attack was so furious, that in the short space of an hour, and with the loss of one man killed and three wounded, a breach was effected in the wall, by which the infantry entered. The cannon then played smartly against the Newgate, which was soon destroyed, when a bold youth named George Cranage, went with his hatchet, and let down the chains of the drawbridge, over which the horsemen passed immediately. The royalists retired into the castle, and the inhabitants, in consternation, fled there for shelter. Thither they were soon followed. Cranage was persuaded by some of the parliament officers to fasten a petard to the castle gate. Being enlivened with wine, he undertook the dangerous enterprise. With the petard hidden, he crept unperceived from one house to another, until he got to that next the castle, from which he sprang to the gate: he fixed his engine, set fire to it, and escaped unhurt. This, by the force of its explosion, burst open the castle gate, when the garrison finding it was useless to make further resistance, surrendered on assurance of quarter. The deputy governor, four captains, and about three hundred men were made prisoners. The king's party received a great check on the taking of Oswestry. However, only a week after that event, the royalists, consisting of about three thousand foot and fifteen hundred horse, under the command of colonel Marrow, attempted to retake the town. Intimation of their approach was immediately sent to Sir Thomas Middleton, then at Knutsford, in Cheshire, who hastened to the assistance of the garrison; attacked the king's troops, and completely routed them; took two hundred common men, seven carriages, and one hundred horse. In consequence of severe losses in other parts, the cause of royalty drooped, and soon after its partisans were effectually dispersed.

General Thomas Mytton was born in the year 1608, at Halston, the ancient seat of the Myttons. In 1629, he married a daughter of sir - Napier, bart. of Luton. He was returned for the borough of Shrewsbury; and in 1645, was chosen sheriff by the parliament, while sir Francis Ottley, of Ottley, knt., held the same office from the king. Mytton, in that capacity, appointed a court to be held in Oswestry, August the 27th, 1646, for the purpose of electing a representative for the county, in the room of sir Richard Lea, of Lea Hall, bart., who had been displaced. However, in the early part of the morning of that day, having only a few persons accompanying him, he secretly adjourned the meeting to Alberbury, at which place he returned his relative, Mr. H. Edwards. Nearly a thousand freeholders assembled at Oswestry on this occasion, for the purpose of giving their suffrages in behalf of Andrew Lloyd, of Aston, esq.; a great number of whom, petitioned parliament in his favour, in consequence of the secret proceedings of Mytton. As a soldier, Mytton was able, active, and successful on the part of parliament, during the civil wars in the reign of Charles I. By his military prowess, most of the strong holds in North Wales and part of Shropshire, were subdued, and he greatly distinguished himself in several battles. The general had the honour of taking Harlech castle, being the last fortress which held out for the king. Love of Liberty, it appears, was the motive which actuated general Mytton in his conduct, and not ambition; but finding that Cromwell's views were different from his own - which were merely to curb the arbitrary designs of Charles - he resigned his command and retired. He died in London in 1656, and his remains were conveyed to Shrewsbury, and interred in St. Chad's church.

Sir Thomas Middleton of Chirk castle, was related to Mytton, by marriage, and ably supported the cause of that distinguished general. The repairs of one of the wings of his castle in Cromwell's time, cost nearly £28,000. Towards the close of his life, he found that he had established a more intolerable tyranny than that which he had formerly opposed. In 1659, upon the rising of the royalists in Cheshire, under sir George Booth, sir Thomas, then eighty years old, took up arms to restore the ancient constitution. He proclaimed Charles II. in Wrexham, which greatly encouraged the friends of the king in Denbighshire and Shropshire. However, sir George was defeated by the vigilant Lambert; and sir Thomas obliged to take refuge within his castle, where, after two or three days shew of defence, he was compelled to yield to such terms as the conqueror was pleased to dictate. When this fortress was besieged, by the parliament forces, one side, with three of its towers were thrown down by the enemy's cannon. These were rebuilt in twelve months, but at the enormous expense of £80,000. In the church at Chirk there are several monuments in memory of the Middletons: the best is a bust of the aforesaid sir Thomas Middleton, armed, with a peaked beard, and long hair. By it, is another of his lady, a Napier of Luton.

Oswestry is situated on the north-west border of Shropshire. The Parish contains the townships of Oswestry, Middleton, Hisland, (anciently Hides-land) Wooton, Aston, Measbury, Morton, Cricketh, Weston Cotton and Sweeny, [in one township] Treflach, Trefonnen, Trefarclawdd, Pentregaer, Kynynion, (in old deeds, Conynion) and Llanfords. The outer parts of the town, with respect to its ancient walls comprise four Suburbs; namely, the southern, which includes Church street, Upper and Lower Brook street and Pentrepoeth; the western, part of Willow street; the northern, part of Beatrice street; which, when Leland passed through Oswestry, in the reign of Henry VIII. had "many barns for corn and hay, to the number VII score several barns:" the eastern Black-gate, in which there were "XXX barns for corn, with other houses 'longing to the townesmen." Leland's account of Oswestry is very copious: he observes, "there be, withyn the towne X notable streates: the iii most notable streates be, the Cross streate, the Bayly streate, and Newgate streate. The houses within the towne be of timbre, and slated. There is a castelle, set on a mont be likelihood made by hand; and ditched by south-west, betwixt Beatrice-gate and Willow-gate, to the which the wall commith. The towne standeth most by sale of cloth made in Wales. There goith thro' the towne by the Crosse, a broke, comming from a place caullid Simon's well, a bow-shot without the waulle by N. W. This broke commith in through the waulle betwixt Willow-gate and New-gate, and so renning through the towne, goith oute under the Black-gate. There be no towers in the waulles beside the gates. The town is dickid about, and brokettes ren ynto it, The chirch of St. Oswalde is a very fair leddid chirch, with a great tourrid steple, and it standeth without the New-gate; so that no chirch is there within the town."

Of late years, the town of Oswestry has made great progress in the taste and number of its buildings; yet several of those vestiges of antiquity, timber buildings, still remain. Several houses in Bailey street may be ranked under that head; particularly the Three-tuns, which in former days was the principal inn in the town, and the chief resort of the drapers. The feast of St. David is annually celebrated in this venerable mansion, which is usually attended by most of the gentlemen of the town and neighbourhood. On the opposite side of the street is another spacious antique edifice, the stories of which, project considerably over the street. On the front of this house, facing Cross street, is the figure of a spread eagle, raised on the plaster. The Lloyds of Trenewydd, &c. bore the eagle in their coat of arms, and probably one of that family may have been the founder. The decay of our woods was the cause of disusing timber in building in most parts of England, about the middle of the sixteenth century; but in this town, it was certainly the mode of building rather later. To this cause, may be ascribed the rapid progress of the fires with which it has been so often unfortunately visited.

The town is seated on a gentle acclivity, and the prospects from the rising ground above it, are perhaps not surpassed by any of the kind. The rich and luxuriant Vale of Shropshire, is, as it were, a map beneath the feet: Hawkstone, the seat of sir Rowland Hill, bart. nephew of the gallant general lord Hill; the Staffordshire hills, Nescliff rock, the celebrated retreat of Humphrey Kynaston, surnamed the Wild; (see Kynaston's Cave,) the Wrekin, the lofty spires of Salopia, the Styperstones, &c. are seen in the distance. Towards Wales, the Alpine heights and lowly vales are seen in rich profusion: here the traveller may glance upon a country which was eminently distinguished as the birth-place and residence of the children of freedom - a people, who, by their independent spirit and martial prowess, for centuries chastised rapacity and injustice, and made oppression and tyranny tremble upon the throne.

The corporation of Oswestry consists of a mayor, recorder, steward, twelve aldermen, fifteen common council men, coroner, murenger, town-clerk, marshal, sergeants, &c.

The charter, by which the corporation acts, was granted by Charles II. The first royal charter was given by Richard II. but the burgesses enjoyed great privileges from their lords long before that reign.

The population in 1801, amounted to 5,839, and the number of houses to 1,217. The trade in Welsh flannels was of considerable importance, but has completely fallen off. Excellent coals are procured near the town, and also lime and building stone. The Ellesmere canal, which unites with the Montgomeryshire line at Llanymynech, is about three miles from Oswestry.

The remains of the Castle, are on an artificial mount on the outside of the town, being little more than a heap of shattered walls and mortar. It had a deep ditch extending to the Beatrice-gate on the one side, and Willow-gate on the other. According to Powell, the castle was founded in 1149, by Madog ab Meredydd ab Bleddyn, prince of Powis. A tower here, went by the name of Madog's Tower, says Leland, which seems to confirm the account respecting the founder of the castle. The English historians, however, assign to it a more ancient date: they inform us that it was in being before the Norman conquest, (1066) and that Alan, a noble Norman, had the town and castle bestowed upon him by William the Conqueror, soon after his accession. The Norman period began with the system of subjugating this country, by previously parcelling it out, and granting such parcels to various military adventurers, who should acquire them by negociation or force.- These territories were to be held in capite of the crown. Alan was the stock of the Fitzalans, earls of Arundel. The castle and manor continued in the possession of this family, with little interruption, until the reign of queen Elizabeth, when it became extinct. Dugdale says, there was a castle here at the Conquest: which is probable, for the artificial mount on which it stood, shews it to have been in existence before the Normau epoch. The Britons and the Saxons gave their fortresses this species of elevation. The Normans built on the firm and natural soil or rock: but often made use of those mounts, which had been the sites of Saxon castles. This appears to have been the case with the one in question. A Fitzalan, probably, repaired or rebuilt, and added to that which he met with here. A tower, also, might have received the appellation of Madog, in compliment either to the son of Meredydd, or to some other great personage of the same name.

The square, which is still called the Bailey-bead, was the ballium or yard of the castle: a mount in the Castle-field, on the outside of the great ditch is the scite of its Barbican or outer gate, at which the halt and blind were usually relieved. This mount, from its use, bears the name of Cripple-bank or gathe, to this day. By an inquisition, 21st Richard II. after the death of Richard, earl of Arundel, it appears that there was a free chapel dedicated to St. Nicholas, infra Castrum de Oswaldestre, and that the advowson belonged to the earls of Arundel.

Sixth Henry the II. Guy le Strange, sheriff of Shropshire accounted in the Exchequer for salaries paid out of the king's revenues to the wardens in the castle of Blancminster, (Oswestry) the inheritance of William Fitzalan, then lately deceased. 15th John. John, nephew of William Marshall, earl of Penbroke, being guardian of the Marches of Wales, was at the same time made governor of the castles of Blancminster and Shrawardin, in com. Salop. Henry III. John Fitzalan, as heir to Hugh de Albany, earl of Arundel, had upon the death of of that earl, assigned for his purpary, the castle of Arundel; and, upon paying £1000 fine, was admitted to the possession of his castle here. 24th Henry III. On the death of John Fitzalan, John le Strange had a grant of the custody of the lands of John, his son, (then a minor) with an allowance of 300 marks per ann. for guarding Blanc-minster, Serawarthin, and Clun. 1st Edward I. John de Oxinden had the custody of the castle of Blanc-minster, upon the death of John, earl of Arundel.- 3rd Edward I. Bogo de Knovil was sheriff of the county, and keeper of the castle of Blancminster, 8th Edward I. Isabel, mother of Richard, earl of Arundel, had the custody of the castle of Blancminster, and also of the hundred of Oswaldster, daring the minority of her son; but two years after, her brother, Edmund de Mortimer, supplanted her, and got the grant to himself. 18th Edward I. Adam de Montgomery, died governor of this castle. 27th Edward I. Peter Meuvesine de Berwicke, juxta Akinton, died in the same office. 27th Edward II. After the attainder of Edmund, earl of Arundel, Roger Mortimer, lord of Wigmore, had a grant of the castle. 21st Richard II. Richard, earl of Arundel; being attainted and executed, the king seized upon his lands and manors, and granted them to William Scrope, the newly-created earl of Wiltshire. 7th Henry IV. Thomas, son of the attainted earl, after he was restored in blood, freed the burgesses from many impositions of the constable of the castle, &c. Sometime after this date, the name of John Trevor Vaughan, occurs as constable of the castle; and after him, that of Jeffrey Kyffin. 25th James I. Thomas, earl of Suffolk, his wife, lord Walden, sir Arnold Herbert, and William Hayward, grant to the lady Craven, sir William Whitmore, George Whitmore, and their heirs, the lordship, manor, and castle of Oswestry.

The castle was garrisoned for Charles I. in the beginning of the civil wars: a colonel Lloyd was governor. Sir Absetts Shipman succeeded him, and continued in that post, until the town and castle surrendered to the parliament forces under the earl of Denbigh and general Mytton, the 22nd June, 1644. From hence, the earl hastened to other service, and left Mytton governor of the town. After the death of the king; this fortress was demolished.

Besides the tenants of the lordship and hundred of Oswestry there were many in the hundred of Bradford and Pimhill, whose tenure was to do service at this castle.

The Church is dedicated to St. Mary. The present structure is of no great antiquity: it is spacious, and not inelegant. The bold square tower at the west end is furnished with eight harmonious bells, upon which is a set of " ill-measured chimes." It appears that the chancel commonly called St. Mary's, was demolished "in the late wars, anno 1616; " and that the tower, and part of the body of the church were demolished in the civil wars, 1644. The vicarage-house, situated on a piece of ground adjoining to the church yard, with many other buildings, was burnt to the ground in the same year, in consequence of the town being besieged. The church was probably stripped of every article of value in those unhappy times: its ancient "well-toned organ" graces one of the churches in London, at the present day.

The interior has undergone great improvements of late years: a handsome organ was erected by subscription in 1812. The salary of the organist is £40. per annum. The velvet cushion and cloth in the pulpit, and the velvet cloth on the communion table having the royal arms and " A.R. 1702" worked thereon, were bequeathed by John Mucklestone, esq. alderman - mayor in 1692. The service of plate belonging to the church consists of a silver bowl, the gift of Richard Mason. esq.; ditto, the gift of Richard Mason, gent.; ditto, the gift of Mr. David Edwards; a silver plate and salver, the gift of Mrs. Roderick; a large silver flagon, three silver covers to the bowls, silver cup, salver, and a pewter dish. The iron gates facing the town and the smaller one adjoining, were put up by the parish, in 1738, at the expense of £46, 1s. 4d. The elm trees in the church yard were planted at the cost of the Rev. Thomas Owen, when vicar of the parish, between the years 1707 and 1713.

Among the monumental inscriptions are the following:

"In memory of Mr. HUGH YALE, alderman of this town, and DOROTHY, his wife, daughter of Roger Roden, esq. of Burton, in the county of Denbigh, whose bodies are interr'd within ye chancel of this church, commonly call'd St. Mary's, before its demolition in the late wars, anno 1616. They gave to ye poor of this town the yearly interest and benefice of one hundred pounds, to continue for ever; besides other good acts of charity." Beneath this inscription: "Underneath are interred the remains of MARGARET, the wife of David Yale, esq. daughter and heiress of Edward Maurice, of Cae-nor, gent. she departed this life, the 20th day of December, 1754, aged 66. Also lye the remains of DAVID YALE, esq. who dy'd Jan. 29th, 1762, aged 81. This was erected by her son, John Yale, of Plas yn Yale, clerk."

On elegant mural monuments on the north side of the chancel:

"M.S. RICHARDUS MAURICE, Arm. Ad pedem Columnae huic Mann. oppositae, Exuvias Mortales Uxoris ALICLAE, Filiae Thomae Carpenter De Home; Com. Herefordiae, Arm. Cum unica ex eodem Filia Anna, Tumulavit, Septemb. 4, A.D. 1700, AEtat. 22. Et MARGARETAE itidem Secundis illi Nuptiis conjunctae. Filiae Johannis Price, A.M. ex qua Unum Suscepit Filium Johannem, Cum Matre placide dormientem Denat. Septemb. 4, A.D. 1716, AEtat 32. In Uxorum & Liberorum Memoriam H.M.R. MAURICE, P.C. In eodem Tumulo Et Suos aliquando Cineres depositurus, AEterna Requie fruiturus, si erga Deum Pietas Erga Pauperes Benignitas, erga Omnes summa Benevolentia illam Requiem afferre valeant. Obiit Primo die Junii Anno Salutis 1749, Et Suae AEtatis 84."

"MDCCCXII. In memory of LEWIS JONES, esq. for 14 years town-clerk of Oswestry: he died June 5th, in the 56th year of his age. This tablet was erected by the corporation of this town, in token of their affectionate rememberance of a man, who was remarkable for his knowledge of the laws of his country; and for his readiness in imparting that knowledge, with a view to prevent litigation among his neighbours."

"To the memory of ELIZABETH, the wife of Mr. Lewis Jones, who died 26th Sept. 1801, in the 38th year of her age.

This small tribute of affectionate regard, as a testimony of her worth, and an expression of his one deep regret, is placed by her surviving husband."

"Sacred to the memory of Captain ROBERT WATKIN LLOYD, of major general Gwynne's regiment of cavalry, only son of Robert Lloyd, esq. of Swanhill, aged 17. He fell a victim to the yellow fever on the 26th of June, 1794, at Port au Prince, in Saint Domingo, having survived the capture of that place. In him were united a mind firm and vigorous; a disposition kind and benevolent; manners engaging and mild; giving promise of a character, which might one day have added lustre to his profession; have adorned the circle of polished society, and have sweetened the enjoyments of domestic life." - "Sacred also to the memory of ROBERT LLOYD, esq. of Swanhill, father of the above-named Watkin Robert Lloyd, who departed this life on the 3rd day of October 1803, aged 58. By that event, his family lost an affectionate husband and father; the county, an upright magistrate; and the publick, an amiable man."

A superb monument at the east end of the chancel:

"ROBERT POWELL LLOYD, son of Robert Lloyd, of Swan-hill, esq. by sarah his 2nd wife, died the 11th of March, Anno 1769 and was interred in the vault beneath, aged 5 years. SARAH, mother of the above R.P. Lloyd, died 19th of Aug. 1790, aged 59 years. Also ROBERT LLOYD, esq. the father, died the 5th of April, 1793, aged 72 years."

A neat tablet at the same end:

"Sacred to the memory of THOMAS TREVOR, clerk, M.A. son of Roger Trevor, of Bodynfol, in the county of Montgomery, esq., vicar of this parish 50, and of Rhuabon, 15 years; chaplain to sir W. Williams Wynne, baronet; and one of his Majesty's justices of the peace for the counties of Salop and Denbigh, who died 29th February, 1784, aged 76. Of manners unaffected, he performed the service of the church with a peculiar grace; and by a propriety of elocution, attracted the attention, and raised the devotion of his hearers. He was an active and upright magistrate, a tender husband, kind relation, and steady friend. He married twice - first, Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Maurice, of Trefedrhyd, in the county of Montgomery, esq. 11th June, 1762: Afterwards, Ann, daughter of Gabriel Wynne, of Dolarddyn, esq. and relict of George Robinson, of Brithdir, esq. both in the county of Montgomery, who survived."

"Sacred to the memory of the Reverend JOSEPH VENABLES, L.L.B. who was born 31st Aug. 1726, and died the 14th of 1810. As a minister of the Gospel, he illustrated his precepts by his example, by his piety, benevolence, and general character as a man. To his relations, his affection and kindness were unbounded; for society, his friendship was ardent and sincere; and when his Creator called him to another and a better world, he closed a long and well-spent life, respected and lamented."

The House of Industry, is a very extensive building, situated about a mile from the town, near the road leading towards Pool. It was erected a few years ago by the joint subscription of the town and parish of Oswestry, the several parishes of Whittington, Felton, St. Martin's, Chirk, Selattyn, Knockin, Kinnerley, Ruyton, Llansilin, Llanyblodwell, and the township of Llwyntidman, in the parish of Llanymynech, for the use of their poor.- The board-days are every Monday.

A writer, speaking of this structure, observes, that " it is a ridiculously splendid brick-building, intended not for a purpose which its exterior seems to prompt, but for the abode of the indigent and wretched. It is a strange perversion of common sense, made by ostentation and folly, when elegance and show become the concealment of poverty and distress. Convenience, humility and obscurity, should rather distinguish the dwelling of the unfortunate, whether their circumstances be derived from their own crimes or from the crimes of others." The extensive calico printing works of Henry Warren, esq. are situated near the house of Industry, upon a fine stream of water, called the Morda; from which the hamlet takes its name.

The free grammar school of Oswestry, is pleasantly situated on the west side of the town, The present building was erected in 1780. This seminary of learning was founded and endowed, as early as the reign of Henry the Fourth, by "Davy Holbeche, a lawyer, steward of the town and lordship, who gave up land to it."

The National Society gave £200, and the town, as much as made up the deficiency to purchase the present national school- room over the town clerk's office, and the fitting it up for the instruction of schoolmasters for Wales, according to the plan adopted by that society; and also for the education of the children of the poor in the town and neighbourhood. There are upwards of one hundred boys in the school at present. Mr. John Morris, is the schoolmaster.

There is also a School for Girls in the town-hall, which as well as the boys' school, is supported by annual subscriptions and donations, and a charity sermon, yearly. Mrs. Williams, schoolmistress.

The Guild-hall is situated near the site of the castle, and forms one side of the spacious square called the Bailey-bead.- It is a plain stone building, with a high clock turret, and comprises a long room, where the quarter sessions and other publick affairs of the town are transacted; a jury room, and space beneath the whole, used as a dwelling-house and shop. The guild-hall is the private property of the earl of Powis. A few years ago, permission was obtained from his lordship to convert the ground-floor into a market-hall; but this has not yet been effected.

The town clerk's Office is a lofty building near the guild-hall, erected with the stone belonging to the town gates after their demolition, flanked with two neat brick-built houses. The records of the corporation are deposited here.- The cells or places of temporary confinement, are contiguous to the office. A room over the office is used as a school, and for performing the Church service in Welsh.

The theatre stands at the bottom of Lower Brook-street. It is neatly fitted up, and a respectable company of comedians perform therein a few weeks in the autumn.

The Bank of Messrs. Croxon, Jones, Croxon, and Co. is situated in Willow-street. Agents, Messrs. Brown, Cobb, and Co. Bankers, London.

The Post office is kept at the Cross Foxes Inn, Church-street, where the mail coach arrives from London every evening at about half-past ten; and returns from Holyhead about three o' clock in the morning. This inn is replete with every convenience, and is supposed to be equal to any in the whole line of communication between London and Holyhead. The house is spacious and elegant, and the assembly room is equally so."

" ASTON, a township in the parish of Oswestry, and in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry, chapel to Oswestry. 2 miles south-east of Oswestry. Aston Hall is the seat of William Lloyd, esq. See appendix."

" CRICK HEATH, a township in the parish of Oswestry, and in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry. 4 miles south of Oswestry."

" CROSS STREET, a township in the parish of Oswestry, and in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry."

" CYNYNION, a township in the parish of Oswestry, and in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry."

" HISLAND, a township in the parish of Oswestry, and in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry. 2 miles southeast of Oswestry."

" LEG STREET, a township in the parish of Oswestry, and in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry."

" LLANVORDA (or LLANFORDA), a township in the parish of Oswestry, and in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry. 1½ mile south-west of Oswestry.

The seat of Henry Watkin Williams Wynn, Esq. John Davies, Esq., recorder, 1635, in his MSS. "Observations of Oswestry," says, "Rynerus, bishop of St. Asaph, suppressed the old church of the Mercians, called Llanvorda."

" LLYNYMON (or LLOYNYMAIN, or LLWYNYMAEN), a township in the parish of Oswestry, and in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry. 1½ mile south-west of Oswestry.

" MAESBROOK (or MEESBROOK), a township in the parish of Oswestry, and in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry.

" MAESBURY, a township in the parish of Oswestry, and in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry. 3 miles south-east of Oswestry."

" MIDDLETON, a township in the parish of Oswestry, and in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry. 2 miles south-east of Oswestry."

" MORETON, a township in the parish of Oswestry, and in the hundred of Oswestry. A curacy, in the diocese of St. Asaph, and the deanery of Marchia. 3½ miles south of Oswestry."

" PENTREGAER, a township in the parish of Oswestry, and in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry."

" SWEENEY, a township in the parish of Oswestry, and in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry. 2 miles south of Oswestry.

Sweeney Hall, the seat of T.N. Parker, Esq., on the left of the road to Pool, was built a few years ago, on the site of an old mansion- house, near to which are the vestiges of a burial ground; adopted as such, in the turbulent period of the Commonwealth. The following inscriptions are still legible;

" Here lieth Mrs. Abigail Chetwood, daughter to Sir Richard Chetwood, who died the first of May, 1658."

" Thomas Baker, Esq. deceased March 19, aged 68, nano dom. 1676,"

The above Thomas Baker served the office of high sheriff for the county, A.D. 1649, the first year of Oliver Cromwell's usurpation; and in the parliament of 1663, he was summoned by Cromwell, with John Brown of Little Ness, as a knight of the shire.

The above Thomas Baker dying without issue, A.D. 1676, his property descended to his niece, Mary, the wife of Thomas Brown, of Little Ness, Esq., (son of the above John Browne,) and in succession, to Sarah, the wife of T.N. Parker, Esq."

" TREF ARCLAWDD, (pro. Trefarcluid.) A township in the parish of Oswestry, and in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry. 2 miles south-west of Oswestry."

" TREFLACH, a township in the parish of Oswestry, and in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry. 3 miles south-west by south of Oswestry."

" TREFONNEN, a township in the parish of Oswestry, and in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry. 4 miles south-west of Oswestry."

" WESTON COTTON, a township in the parish of Oswestry, and in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry."

" WOOTON, a township in the parish of Oswestry, and in the upper division of the hundred of Oswestry."

[Transcribed information from A Gazetteer of Shropshire - T Gregory - 1824](unless otherwise stated)

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