SHREWSBURY: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1831.
"SHREWSBURY, comprises the parishes of St. Chad, St. Mary, St. Alkmund, St. Julian, and Holy Cross St. Giles. It is a borough and market-town, having separate jurisdiction, locally in the liberties of Shrewsbury, county of SALOP, of which it is the chief town, 154 miles (N. W.) from London, containing, exclusively of the parish of Meole Brace, which is within the liberties, 18,254 inhabitants, according to the census of 1821, since which period the number has increased to about 2000 more.
This ancient borough is said to have risen from the ruins of Uriconium, now Wroxeter, a celebrated Roman station on the line of the Watling-street, which, passing through the present town in a direction from east to west, divides it into two nearly equal parts. From its situation on two hills, richly covered with shrubs and trees, it obtained from the Britons the appellations of Pengwerne and Amwithic, or YMwythig, and was by the Saxons called Scrobbes-byrig, from which, written in Domesday-book Sciropesberie, its present name is derived from what source it obtained the appellation of Salopesberie, by which it is mentioned in some ancient records, and from which it has, with the county, been denominated " Salop," has not been satisfactorily ascertained. During the octarchy, it was the capital of the district called Powysland, which comprised a portion of the Saxon and British frontier territories; and the residence of the princes of Powys, whom, in 778, Offa, King of Mercia, expelled from their possessions, adding them to his own kingdom; and, to secure his conquest, raised that stupendous barrier still called Offa's Dyke. In the reign of Alfred the Great, this town was numbered among the principal cities of Britain: it had a mint, which it retained till the reign of Henry III., there being several of the coins extant, struck in the reigns of Athelstan, Edgar, Athelred, Canute, Edward the Confessor, and Harold II., besides several between the years 1066 and 1272. When Canute was pursuing his conquests through the northern parts of the kingdom, the inhabitants revolted in his favour and surrendered the town, which, in 1016, Edmund Ironside, a short time previously to the partition of the kingdom, recovered from the Danes, inflicting signal vengeance on the townsmen for their treachery. At the time of the Conquest, Shrewsbury, with nearly the whole of the county, was bestowed by William on his kinsman, Roger de Montgomery, whom he created Earl of Shrewsbury, Chichester, and Arundel, that nobleman erecting here a formidable castle for his baronial residence. In 1069, the town was besieged by Edric Sylvaticus, and Owen Gwynedd, Prince of Wales, but was relieved by King William, who advanced from York, and defeated the assailants with great slaughter. In 1102, -Robert de Belesme, son of EarL Roger, having espoused the cause of Robert, Duke of Normandy, and commenced measures for raising him to the throne of England, in opposition to his brother Henry I., that monarch marched against the town with an army of sixty thousand men; and the earl, although he had previously fortified it with a wall on each side of the castle, across the isthmus formed by the river Severn, submitted on the approach of the king, acknowledged his treasonable conduct, and was banished to Normandy; his estates were thus forfeited, and the castle became a royal fortress. The importance of Shrewsbury as a frontier town has rendered it the scene of many and various transactions of historical interest. In 1116, the nobles of the realm assembled here to do homage, and take the oaths of allegiance, to William, son of the Empress Matilda. Stephen, in 1138, laid siege to the castle, while Fitz-Alan, the governor, was absent in forwarding the claims of the empress, and having taken it by storm, hanged several of the garrison. The frequent inroads of the Welch induced John to assemble a council here, in order to concert measures for suppressing them; and, in 1215, Llewellyn, who had married Joan, natural daughter of that monarch, appeared before Shrewsbury with a numerous army, and obtained possession of it and the castle. Henry III. soon dispossessed him of his capture, and drove him back to his own territory; but in the war with the barons, Richard, Earl of Pembroke, retired into Wales, and, being assisted by that prince, laid waste the intermediate district, and plundered and burnt the town, after having put many of the inhabitants to the sword. Simon de Montfort, whilst prosecuting the war against Henry III., obtained possession of the town, which he held only for a short time. In 1241 and 1267, the same monarch assembled an army here for the invasion of Wales, but was diverted from his purpose by the submission of Llewellyn, with whom he subsequently concluded a treaty of peace. About this time the king recommended the inhabitants to complete the fortifications of the town, of which only one side was defended, but notwithstanding the aid of royal bounty, the work was not accomplished in less than thirty years. The continued incursions of the Welch upon the English frontier induced Edward I., in 1277, to fix his residence in Shrewsbury, to which he removed the courts of King's Bench and Exchequer, and, in 1283, assembled the parliament here; the king and his court were accommodated at Acton Burnell, the seat of Bishop Burnell, the Lord High Chancellor j the lords held their sittings in the castle, and the commons, who for the first time had any voice in the national councils, assembled hi a barn in the town. This monarch having sent a force against the Welch without success, took the field in person, at the head of a numerous army, and an engagement took place at the foot of Snowdon, in which they were completely routed, Llewellyn slain, and his brother David, who had instigated him to this insurrection, taken prisoner, and, after a short confinement in Rhyddlan castle in Flintshire, brought to Shrewsbury, where, having been tried by the parliament, he was condemned and executed as a traitor, with a degree of degradation and severity previously unknown in this country, and which, till a very late period, furnished a precedent for the punishment of treason. Edward II. was received in this town with the greatest pomp in 1322, where, in the same year, he celebrated a grand tournament, which was attended by a numerous assemblage of knights and noblemen. In 1397, Richard II. convened the parliament at Shrewsbury, gave a splendid entertainment to the lords and commons, and created several peers, who at this time first assumed their seats in parliament: this, from the number of noblemen and others who attended, was called the Great Parliament; but the measures enacted, though ratified by the pope's bull, were repealed during the following reign, and the king's conduct while in this town was made the subject of one of those charges which subsequently led to his deposition. In 1403, a sanguinary battle was fought in the immediate vicinity, between the forces of Henry IV. and those of the Earl of Northumberland, who had rebelled against the king, assisted by a considerable body of Scottish troops under the command of Earl Douglas, amounting to fourteen thousand men. After a severe and protracted conflict, the victory was decided in favour of Henry: two thousand three hundred knights and gentlemen, among whom was Hotspur, son of Earl Percy, after performing prodigious exploits of valour, and six thousand common soldiers, were slain on both sides; the dead were interred on the spot, which has since been called Battlefield, where a church was afterwards erected by the king, in memory of his victory. Owen Glyndwr, who had raised an army to co-operate with the insurgents, remained inactive with twelve thousand men at Oswestry, and, on their defeat, retired into Wales. During the contest between the houses of York and Lancaster, the inhabitants embraced the cause of the former; and on the defeat of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, at the battle of Wakefield, in which he was slain, his son Edward, Earl of March, afterwards Edward IV., levied in this town and neighbourhood a powerful army, with which he avenged the death of his father at the battle of Mortimer's Cross, where he gained a signal victory. Edward, on his elevation to the throne, selected Shrewsbury as an asylum for his queen during the agitation of the times, and in the convent of the Dominican friars, in which her Majesty resided, the princes Richard and George were born, the latter of whom died in childhood, and the former, with his elder brother, Prince Edward, was inhumanly murdered in the Tower of London by their uncle, the Pn> tector, afterwards Richard III. The Earl of Richmond, on landing at Milford Haven, proceeded to this town, where he was proclaimed king, and, having strengthened his army with considerable reinforcements raised in the neighbourhood, advanced into Leicestershire, where he gained the battle of Bosworth Field, which terminated in the death of Richard III., and his own elevation to the throne, under the title of Henry VII. This monarch on' his accession visited the town, with his queen and Prince Arthur; and after celebrating the festival of St. George in the church of St. Chad, granted the inhabitants several privileges, in acknowledgment of the alacrity with which they had supported his claims to the crown. On the breaking out of the parliamentary war, Charles I. came to Shrewsbury, where he was received with every demonstration of loyalty by the inhabitants, and was soon afterwards joined by Prince Rupert, Prince Charles, the Duke of York, and several noblemen and gentlemen: the king kept his court in an ancient building, called the Council-house, and having established a mint for the supply of his exigencies, the inhabitants liberally presented their plate to be melted and coined into money for his use, of which considerable sums were expended in extending and strengthening the fortifications of the town. In 1664, Col. Mytton made two attempts to obtain possession of the town and castle for the parliament, but Was repulsed in both, with considerable loss; but having obtained a reinforcement, he made a third effort, in which he carried the place by storm, and was appointed governor. In 1651, Charles II. summoned it to surrender, but, on the refusal of the governor, marched on to Worcester; after which disastrous battle he;took refuge in the Royal Oak at Boscobel, on the confines of this county. During that monarch's retreat on the continent, a plan was formed by a party of royalists to besiege the castle , but their scheme was frustrated, and several of them were punished. James II. visited the town in 1687, and,' attended by the nobility and gentry of the county, kept his court for several days at the council-house. During this reign the castle was dismantled, and all its ammunition and military stores removed. This castle, originally of such great extent and formidable strength that, to make room for its erection, Earl Roger pulled down nearly one-fifth of the town, was a fortress of very great importance till the final subjugation of Wales, after which period it was entrusted to a constable, generally the sheriff, who made it the county prison: its importance as a frontier garrison having ceased, it fell into decay, and was repaired during the parliamentary war, as a garrison for the king; after it came into the possession of the parliament, Cromwell erected an additional fort, called Roushill, which is among the most entire of the remaining portions. The remains are situated at the northern entrance into the town, on the summit of a bold eminence overlooking the Severn, by which it is nearly surrounded, and are composed principally of the keep, a spacious modernised structure of red stone, consisting of two round embattled towers connected by a quadrangular building, one hundred feet in length; the walls of the inner court; and the great arch of the interior gateway t these include a grassy area, in which, though now private property, the knights of the shire, according to immemorial usage, are girt with their swords, on their election to parliament. On the . south side of the, court is a lofty mount rising abruptly from the river; the summit is surrounded with a. wall, and in one angle of the enclosure was a barbican, which has been converted into a summer-house, and commands an extensive, varied, and picturesque view of the surrounding country. The ramparts formerly environing the town, together with the towers by which they were defended, have, with the exception of. the part erected by Cromwell, and one of the towers on the south side of the town, been demolished. Adjoining the castle precinct, and formerly within its walls, are the remains of the ancient Council-house, where the courts for the Marches of Wales were occasionally, held, and which afforded a temporary residence to several of the English monarchs. The town is pleasantly situated on two eminences) rising gently from the river Severn, which, by its windings, forms a peninsula: it consists of several streets irregularly formed, and, with some exceptions, inconveniently narrow. Various improvements have been made under the provisions of an act obtained-in 1821, and others are in progress, for removing numerous obstructions arising from the style of building, and widening; the approaches to the town. The houses are in general of ancient character, though greatly intermixed with others of handsome appearance and modern erection j. and, under the influence of a situation admirably adapted to commercial purposes, and affording in its environs delightful spots for private residence, a very rapid de-? gree of improvement is progressively talcing place. It is well paved, lighted with gas by a company established in 1820, and supplied with excellent water from a re-, markably fine spring, called Bradwell, about two miles distant, from which, since 1574, it has been conveyed by pipes, into numerous conduits in several parts of the town, and with water from the river Severn, by a company established in 1827. Over this river are two bridges of stone, one called the English bridge, a handsome structure of Grinshill freestone of seven circular arches, crowned with a balustrade, erected in 1774, at an expense of £ 16,000, defrayed by public subscription, and connecting the suburb of Abbey Foregate with the town j the other, called the Welch bridge, a neat plain structure of five spacious arches, erected in 1795, at a cost exceeding £8000, affording a passage over the river into Wales. Near the Abbey Foregate is the military dep&t, a handsome brick building, one hundred and thirty-two feet in length, and forty feet irt width, erected in 1806, from a design by Wyatt, at an expense of £10,000; within the enclosure are two magazines for ammunition, and at each angle a-neat house for the store-keeper and. armourer: the building is capable of containing twentyfive thousand stand of arms. At the entrance into the town from the London road is a lofty column of the Grecian Doric style, rising from a base, ornamented at the angles with lions couchant, to the height of one hundred and thirty-two feet, and supporting on its summit a well-executed statue of Lieut. Gen. Rowland, Lord Hill, in honour of whose achievements in the late. continental war it was erected, by general subscription, in 1814. The public subscription library, near St., John's Hill, containing more than five thousand volumes in various departments of literature, is conducted by a president and a committee, and supported by proprietary members, who pay £2. 2. admission, and an annual subscription of £1. 11. 6. attached to it is a news-room well supplied with periodical publications. A mechanics' institution was established in 1825, where lectures are occasionally delivered. The theatre was formerly part of the palace of the Princes of Powysland, of which it still retains some vestiges, though materially altered by its appropriation to dramatic uses; it is at present. in a dilapidated condition, and performances take place in the circus. Assemblies are held monthly, during the, season, in a suite of rooms well fitted up; and races annually in September, continuing three days; the course is on Bicton heath, about two miles west of the town. The river Severn, in addition to the salmon for which it is celebrated, and with which it formerly abounded to a. much greater extent, produces trout, pike, perch, carp, eels, shad, flounders, lampreys, &c. On the southwestern side of the town is a beautiful walk, called the Quarry, comprising about twenty acres, and extending along the winding margin of the Severn for five hundred yards in length, forming a noble avenue of fullgrown lime-trees, from which diverge three other walks leading to the town. In the vicinity also are numerous pleasant walks and rides, through a country abounding in beautiful and picturesque scenery. The richly cultivated plain of Shrewsbury, extending thirty miles from north to south, and twenty-eight from east to west, is divided into two nearly equal parts by the river Severn, and surrounded by a noble range of lofty mountains, and beautiful hills. Among the former are the famed Wrekin, the Lawley, the Caradoc, the Longmynd, the Stiperstones, and the Breyddin chain, on which is an obelisk in honour of Admiral Lord Rodney; and among the latter, the beautiful wood-crowned eminences of Grinshill, Pymhill, Hawkstone, Haughmond, and others, forming a finely varied range of hills of different elevation and character. The trade, which was formerly of considerable extent and importance, has been materially diminished by thegrowth of other places; but the town has, notwithstanding, always maintained a respectable share of internal commerce. Its ancient traffic in Welch cloths and flannel was formerly the principal source of its opulence, and at present, though not restricted to the Drapers' Company as before, produces no inconsiderable profit the greater portion of those made in the counties of Montgomery and Merioneth, and part of Denbighshire, is sent to Shrewsbury. Two extensive manufactories, for thread, linen yarn, and canvas, situated near the castle, adjoining the suburb of Castle Foregate, afford employment to a considerable number of persons.) and on the banks of the river, in Coleham, are the extensive iron-foundries of Mr. Hazledine, in which the immense chains that support the stupendous bridge over the Menai straits, and the iron work in many similar erections, were cast. This town is also noted for its brawn, and for a particular kind of sweet cakes, called Shrewsbury cakes. The river affords a convenient transit for goods of every description to Worcester, Gloucester, Bristol, and other towns; and considerable quantities of grain, in which the trade is extensive, and of lighter manufactured articles, are forwarded by land-carriage to Edstaston wharf, and thence, by the Ellesmere canal, to Chester and Liverpool. The Shrewsbury canal, which is the great medium of supplying the town with coal of excellent quality, terminates near the Castle Foregate, where convenient wharfs have been constructed by the canal company, for the use of persons connected with the coal-works on the line of the canal, which, when the Birmingham and Liverpool junction canal is completed, will open a new and extensive species of traffic for the town. The market days are Wednesday and Saturday, the latter being for grain; the general market is held in a stone building, erected in 1819, and about to be enlarged by subscription; and that for corn, in the area under a spacious building of stone, erected in 1595, in the later style of English architecture; in the centre of the principal front is a spacious portal, above which are the arms of Queen Elizabeth in alto relievo, and on each side of the central arch, pillars, supporting lions with shields on their breasts, well sculptured; the building is one hundred and five feet in length, and twenty-four feet wide, and over the ground-floor is a room of the same dimensions, appropriated formerly to the Drapers' Company, for the sale of flannel, and now used as a warehouse. This town has received a succession of charters of incorporation, from the time of William the Conqueror to the reign of James II.; the earliest preserved in the archives of the corporation is dated Nov. llth, 1st of Richard I., under which, as extended and confirmed by succeeding sovereigns, and remodelled by Charles I., the government is vested in a mayor, recorder, steward, twenty-four aldermen, and forty-eight common council-men, assisted by a town clerk, two chamberlains, two coroners, sword-bearer, serjeants at mace, and subordinate officers. The mayor is elected annually on the Friday after St. Bartholomew's day, the charter directing the mayor, aldermen, and assistants, to choose the senior alderman, who hath not before served for that dignity, which course is usually followed; they also appoint the other officers of the corporation. The mayor, late mayor, recorder, three senior aldermen, and the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, with his commissary, are justices of the peace within the town and liberties. The freedom is acquired by descent, as well as by being born in the town, or obtained by apprenticeship to a member of one of the Incorporated Companies, of which there were sixteen, the Drapers' being the principal, but they are now much reduced in number. It was formerly the custom for the several companies to celebrate the festival of Corpus Christi in St. Chad's church, after which three days were devoted to festivity and recreation; the religious part of this ceremony was discontinued at the Reformation, but they still meet on the second Monday after Trinity, and go in procession to Kingsland, where they hold a rural festival, in arbours erected for the purpose, in which they are visited by the mayor and corporation. All persons above the age of twenty-one, born in the town, and all persons having served an apprenticeship in it, may demand their freedom on payment of £6. 19. 1. and all sons of burgesses, and those claiming by descent from burgesses, on paying £1.3. 6. The corporation hold quarterly courts of session, on the Friday after the county quarter sessions, for all offences not capital; and the mayor, assisted by some of the other magistrates, holds a session every Tuesday and Friday, for the determination of petty causes; they also hold a court of record, the jurisdiction of which extends over the liberties, every Tuesday, at which the mayor and the recorder preside, for the recovery of debts to any amount. A court of requests is also held, every alternate Wednesday, by commissioners appointed under an act passed in the 23rd of George III., for the recovery of debts exceeding 2s. and under 40s.; and courts leet are held annually in May and October, at the latter of which constables and other officers for the town are appointed. The assizes and general quarter sessions for the county are held here. The town and shire hall is a spacious, handsome, and commodious building of stone, erected in 1785, containing, on the ground-floor, a vestibule and two courts for the assizes, under one of which, appropriated to the Crown bar, is a cell for prisoners awaiting theirtrial: a handsome geometrical staircase leads to the upper story, where are a large room, occasionally used for county meetings, and for those of the corporation, and the incorporated and trading companies, and for other purposes; a grand jury room, ornamented with portraits of George I., II., and III., Queen Charlotte, Admiral Benbow, Lord Hill, and Admiral Owen; offices for the court of record, and for transacting the public business of the corporation. The town and county gaol, and house of correction for the county and the several boroughs therein, an extensive building of brick, pleasantly situated on the bank of the Severn, was erected in 1793, at an expense of £30,000; the entrance is through a freestone gateway, over which is a bust of the celebrated Howard, and on each side a lodge for the inspection of prisoners previously to their admission; it contains a house for the governor, a chapel, an infirmary, twenty-three wards, nine work-rooms, twenty-three day-rooms and airing-yards, and is admirably adapted to the classification, employment, and reformation of prisoners, of whom it is capable of receiving five hundred. The borough has exercised the elective franchise from the 23rd of Edward I., and has regularly returned two members to parliament: the right of election is vested in the resident burgesses paying scot and lot, and not receiving alms, of whom the number is about nine hundred: the mayor is the returning officer. Shrewsbury comprises the parishes of St. Alkmond, St. Chad, Holy Cross, St. Julian, and St. Mary, all, with the exception of St, Mary's, which is a royal peculiar, in the archdeaconry of Salop, and diocese of Lichfield and Coventry. The living of St. Alkmond's is a vicarage, rated in the king's books at £ 6, and in the patronage of the Crown. The church was made collegiate by King Edgar, who endowed it for the support of ten canons, one of whom acted as dean; but the society was dissolved on the establishment of Lilleshull abbey, to which its revenue was appropriated. The old edifice, a cruciform structure of great antiquity, was, with the exception of the tower and spire, which are one hundred and eighty-four feet in height, taken down, from an apprehension of insecurity, and rebuilt in 1795; the east window is embellished with a painting byEginton, in stained glass, emblematical of faith. The living of St. Chad's is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Crown; the church, erected in 1792, at an expense of nearly £20,000, in lieu of an older edifice, which, while undergoing repair, fell down in 1788, is a handsome circular building, in the Grecian style of architecture, with a square rustic tower supporting an octagonal belfry surmounted by a dome resting on eight Corinthian pillars; the body of the church forms a rotunda one hundred feet in diameter, surrounded by a range of duplicated Ionic pillars-between the lofty arched windows, rising from the basement, and supporting a handsome cornice surmounted by a balustrade; the entrance is through a stately portico of four Doric columns, supporting a triangular pediment; the interior has a rich and pleasing effect; the galleries are supported by a duplicated" range of Ionic pillars, from which rise Corinthian pillars supporting the roof; the chancel is adorned with a painting of the Resurrection, in stained glass, by Eginton, from a design by West, removed from Lichfield cathedral. The remains of the ancient church, formerly collegiate, and once a royal free chapel, consist only of the south aisle of the chancel, containing portions in the Norman, early English, and decorated styles of architecture:. it was fitted up for the performance of the funeral service, and is at present appropriated to the use of the charity school. The living of the parish of the Holy Cross is a vicarage, with the chapel of St. Giles', rated in the king's books at £ 8, and in the patronage of Lord Berwick. The church, occupying a low site in the eastern suburb, to which it gives name, and surrounded on the south and west by the river Rea, commonly called Meole brook, is part of the conventual church of a splendid abbey, founded for Benedictine monks, by Roger de Montgomery, in 1083, (on the site of a religious institution established prior to the Conquest, with the revenue of which it was partly endowed,) and dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul: it was a mitred abbey, and the abbots exercised episcopal authority in their house, being in some respects exempt from the jurisdiction of the diocesan: at the dissolution, in 1513, its revenue was estimated at £615. 4. 3. The king intended to make Shrewsbury the seat of a diocese, and to raise the abbey church into a cathedral, Dr. Bourchier, the last abbot of Leicester, having been actually nominated bishop; but pecuniary exigencies compelled him to abandon the design. The abbey was further distinguished by the resort of many pilgrims to the shrine of St. Winifred, whose remains had been removed hither from Gwytherin, in Denbighshire. The walls of this establishment included ten acres, and the buildings, principally in the Norman style of architecture, were extensive and magnificent: the principal remains are the western tower, the north porch, nave, and aisles of the abbey, now the parish church, besides some small portions of the conventual buildings; the former retains several features of its ancient grandeur, though many alterations have been made, particularly the introduction of a large window of seven lights, of elegant tracery, and emblazoned with armorial bearings in stained glass, in the later English style, over the west doorway, which Was originally a handsome circular arch, within which, at a much later period, a painted one has been placed; on each side of which are niches, one of them containing a statue of St. Peter, and the other a statue of St. Paul. The interior has a solemn grandeur of effect; the roof is finely vaulted, and supported on circular arches and massive piers, and in other parts the slender clustered column and the pointed arch prevail: the east window is enriched with armorial bearings, including those of Lord Berwick, by whom it was presented, and, in the central compartment, with paintings of St. Peter and St. Paul, in stained glass, by Mr. D. Evans, of Shrewsbury: there are various altar-tombs and ancient monuments, and within an arch, which formerly led to the south aisle of the transept, is an ancient figure in armour, supposed to be that of its founder, Earl Roger, who, having assumed the cowl toward the close of his life, died and was buried here. Among the ruins of the conventual buildings is a fragment, supposed to be part of the refectory, on which is an exquisitely beautiful octagonal structure of stone, resting partly on a corbel, projecting from the wall, and supposed to have been an oratory, or pulpit, from which one of the monies, according to their custom, read to his brethren while at dinner; it is an unrivalled specimen of the decorated style of English architecture, ornamented with lofty and finely-pointed windows, divided only by enriched mullions rising from the corbel, and crowned with trefoiled arches, deeply moulded; the spaces between the three northern arches are filled up to the height of four feet with stone panels, in which are enshrined figures, and the exterior is crowned with an obtuse dome almost concealed by the ivy which has overspread the building; the interior is six feet in diameter, and the roof is elaborately groined, and ornamented in the centre, where the ribs unite, with an alto relievo of the Crucifixion. The chapel of St. Giles, which was originally attached to the hospital belonging to the abbey church, stands at the eastern extremity of the Abbey Foregate, and divine service is performed in it only twice a year, being principally appropriated to the performance of the funeral service; it is a small ancient building, having recently undergone considerable repair, with a diminutive turret, and an elegant eastern window of stained glass. The living of St. Julian's is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £200 private benefaction, and £200 royal bounty, and in the patronage of the Earl of Tankerville: the church, with the exception of the tower, which is in the Norman style of architecture, was rebuilt of brick in 1750; the interior, which is neatly arranged, is decorated with sonic relics of the ancient structure; in the east wall of the chancel is a small female figure, enshrined in rich tabernacle-work, probably representing St. Juliana the patroness, and in the ceiling is preserved a considerable portion of the ancient fret-work; the east window is embellished with a painting of St. James, in stained glass, brought from Rouen during the French revolution, above which are some armorial bearings; among the monuments is a slab of coarse alabaster, inscribed with Longobardic characters. The living of St. Mary's is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Corporation and Head Master of the free "grammar school: the church is an ancient cruciform structure, partly in the Norman, and partly in the early English, style of architecture, with a western tower surmounted by a lofty spire of beautiful proportion the lower part of the tower and the south porch are of the Norman style: the interior is well arranged, and, from its frequent enlargement and alteration, comprises specimens of various styles; the nave, of which the oak roof is finely panelled and carved, and supported on circular arches and massive piers, is lighted by a double range of clerestory windows, and separated from the chancel by a highly enriched pointed arch; the windows at the ends of the transepts, and on the north side of the chancel, are early English, and the east window of the latter is embellished with stained glass, formerly in the old church of St. Chad, representing the genealogy of Christ from the "root of Jesse, and containing in each of the numerous oval compartments a king, or patriarch, of the ancestry of Joseph, the husband of the Virgin Mary: among the monuments is one to the memory of Robert Cadman, who, attempting a second time to perform his descent from the summit of the spire, by means of a rope, the other end of which was secured in a field on the opposite side of the river, was lulled by the accidental breaking of the rope. A chapel of ease to St. Mary's, dedicated to St. Michael, has recently been built near the !Castle Foregate, by public subscription, aided by a grant of £ 500 from the Incorporated Society for building and enlarging churches and chapels; it contains eight hundred and ten sittings, of which six hundred and thirty are free. A chapel of ease to the parish of St. Chad is also in progress of erection, in Frankwell. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, Wesleyan and Welch Methodists, Sandemanians, Unitarians, and Roman Catholics. The royal free grammar school was founded by Edward VL; its endowment, augmented by Queen Elizabeth, produces an annual income of about £3000: it is under the superintendence of the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, as visitor, and thirteen trustees, the mayor of Shrewsbury, who presides at the several meetings, being one: it is conducted by a head and second master, with salaries of £300 and £150 re, spectively, appointed by the Master and Fellows of St. John's College, Cambridge, and is open for gratuitous instruction to all sons of burgesses, and has maintained, for many years,a distinguished rank among the public schools of the country. Belonging to it are four exhibitions of £JO per annum each, and four of £ 15 per annum each, to St. John's College, Cambridge; four, of £ 60 per annum each, to Christ Church College, Oxford; and two of £25 per annum each, and one of £23 per annum, to either of the Universities four scholarships of £63 per annum each, and two of £40 each, in Magdalene College, Cambridge; a by-fellowship in the same college, of £126 per annum, and three contingent exhibitions. Exclusively of boys on the foundation, there are more than two hundred boarders in this establishment, for whose accommodation the ample houses of the masters, contiguous to the school, afford every advantage. The premises, in the later style of English architecture, occupy two sides of a quadrangle, with a square turret crowned with pinnacles in the angle, and comprise spacious school-rooms, and a chapel, over which is a fine library, rebuilt in 1815, at an expense of £1860, and containing an extensive and valuable collection of books and manuscripts, to which is annexed a museum of antiquities from Wroxeter, and fossils peculiar to this part of the country. Among the eminent persons who have received the rudiments of their education in this school are, Sir Philip Sydney; Sir Fulke Greville (Lord Brooke); Dr. John Thomas, Bishop of Salisbury the Rev. Dr. John Taylor, a learned critic and philologist; Dr. Waring, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics in the University of Cambridge; W. Wycherly and Ambrose Phillips, the poets; William Clark, a learned divine and antiquary; and various others. A school was founded in 1800, and a handsome freestone building erected, at an expense of £2000, containing spacious school-rooms, and a convenient house for the master and mistress, by Mr. John Allat, formerly chamberlain of the borough, who endowed it for the clothing, instruction, and apprenticing of poor children; there are twenty boys and twenty girls in the establishment, and, from the same funds, coats and gowns are annually distributed among a considerable number of aged men and women. A school for instructing, clothing, and apprenticing poor children of the parish of St. Julian, was founded, and a neat brick building erected for it, in 1724, by Mr. Thomas Bowdler, alderman and draper. The public subscription charity school, near the abbey church, was established in 1778, at which time houses for the master and mistress were built; there are one hundred land seventy boys and one hundred and forty girls in this school, who are instructed on Dr. Bell's sysrtern, and annually clothed. The royal Lancasterian school was established, and a commodious building, comprising two school-rooms, with apartments for the master and the mistress, was erected by subscription in 1812; there are one hundred and seventy boys, and one hundred and thirty girls in this institution. Sunday schools have also been instituted in connexion with the established church and with the several dissenting places of worship. St. Chad's almshouses were founded, in 1409, by Mr.BennetTupton, with a small endowment; there were originally thirteen, but for want of funds two have fallen into decay: the inmates receive sixteen shillings per annum each. St. Mary's almshouses, sixteen in number, were founded, in 1460, by Mr. Degory Watur, draper; the inmates, who must be inhabitants of St. Mary's parish, receive from his endowment £2. 6. 10, per annum each, and an upper garment every other year from the Drapers' Company; the old almshouses were taken down in 1827, and a new building has been erect ed opposite St. Mary's church. St. Giles' almshouses, four in number, are inhabited by aged persons nominated by the Earl of Tankerville, who allows them one shilling and sixpence each per week, with a quantity of coal and an upper garment annually. The house of industry, beautifully situated on an eminence adjoining Kingsland, on the south bank of the Severn, was erected in 1765, at an expense of & 12,000, by the governors of the Foundling Hospital in London, as a branch establishment; on the relinquishment of that design it was closed, and afterwards opened as a woollen manufactory for the employment of the children of the poor; it was subsequently rented by Government for the confinement of prisoners during the American war, and on the incorporation of the parishes for the maintenance of their poor, in 1784, it was purchased by the guardians and appropriated to its present use: the buildings, in addition to the inhabited apartments, comprise a chapel, school-rooms, work-rooms, an infirmary, &c., with about twenty acres of land adjoining it. The general infirmary, established in 1745, was the second formed in the kingdom, that of Winchester being the first; it is liberally supported by subscription, and is under the superintendence of a president and a committee, and, in addition to the gratuitous attendance of the physicians and surgeons in the neighbourhood, has a resident surgeon, a matron to superintend the domestic arrangements, a secretary, and other officers: the premises, originally of brick, being found too small for the increased population of the town and neighbourhood, were taken down in 1827, and have been handsomely rebuilt of stone, upon a much more extensive scale, at an expense of £ 18,735.17.10., of which, £ 13,044.1.3. was raised by subscription, forming one of the most commodious and splendid establishments of the kind in England. In the suburb of Frankwell is an hospital, founded, in 1734, by Mr. James Millington, draper, who bequeathed nearly the whole of his property for its erection and endowment: it is afneat brick building, with a turret rising from the centre, in which is a chapel (used also as a school-room), with houses for the master and mistress, and on each side are six small houses, for twelve single men or women chosen from the poor housekeepers of Frankwell, or that part of the parish of St. Chad which is nearest to it; they receive £6 per annum each, an allowance of coal, and a gown or coat; a gown or coat, with £2, is also given annually to each of ten poor housekeepers resident in Frankwell, who, on vacancies occurring in the hospital, have the preference of appointment: twenty poor boys and twenty girls, natives of Frankwell, are completely clothed, educated, and apprenticed on leaving the school; the master has a salary of £40 per annum, with £10 additional for keeping the accounts; the mistress a salary of £40 per annum, and the chaplain a stipend of £25 per annum. On the expiration of the first year of his apprenticeship, each boy, producing a certificate of good conduct, receives a present of £5, and each girl has £5 on being apprenticed. Two exhibitions of £40 per annum each, to Magdalene College, Cambridge, were given by the same founder, to which boys educated in the hospital have the first claim, and which, in default of such, revert to boys born in Frankwell, and educated in the free grammar school. Among the monastic institutions anciently existing here were, a convent of Grey friars, founded in the reign of Henry III., by Hawise, wife of John de Charleton, Lord of Powis, of which there are some remains a convent of Dominican friars, founded by Lady Genevile, of which there is not a vestige, the foundations having been lately dug up; and a convent of Augustine friars, founded by one of the family of Stafford, of which some small portions are remaining. Of the numerous chapels, the only one of which there are any remains is that of St. Nicholas, near the old Councilhouse, now converted into a stable. Among the eminent natives of this town were, Richard and George Plaiitagenet, sons of Edward IV.; Ralph of Shrewsbury, Bishop of Bath and Wells; Robert, Bishop of Bangor; Thomas Bower, and John Thomas, Bishops of Salisbury; Edward Wooley, Bishop of Clonfert; Sneyd Davies; Lord Chief Justice Jones; Richard Onslow, Speaker of the House of Commons; the Rev. Job Orton; George Costard, a distinguished mathematician Thomas Churchyard, the poet; Vice-Admiral Benbow > Dr. John Taylor, a learned critic, and editor of Demosthenes; Hugh Farmer, an eminent divine; and Dr. Charles Burney, a celebrated musician. Ordericus Vitalis, one of the best of early English historians, born at Atcham, in 1074, was educated in the abbey, Shrewsbury gives the title of earl to the family of Talbot."
[Transcribed information from A Topographical Dictionary of England - Samuel Lewis - 1831](unless otherwise stated)
[Description(s) transcribed by Mel Lockie ©2015]