SHREWSBURY ST. MARY: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1824.
"SHREWSBURY ST. MARY, a parish partly in the town and borough of Shrewsbury, a curacy, within the diocese of Coventry and Lichfield, the deanery of Salop, and archdeaoonry of Salop, a peculiar. St. Mary's parish contains,-
In the borough of Shrewsbury, 955 houses, 5,328 inhab.
In the liberties of Shrewsbury, 94 510
In the hundred of Pimhill, 67 327
" ALBRIGHTON, a township in the parish of Shrewsbury St. Mary, and in the Baschurch division of the hundred of Pimhill, but encompassed by Shrewsbury liberties. 10 houses, 75 inhabitants. 3¼ miles from Shrewsbury."
" ASTLEY, a chapelry in the parish of Shrewsbury St. Mary, in the liberties of Shrewsbury. 3½ miles north-east by north of Shrewsbury."
" BERWICK, a township in the parish of Shrewsbury St. Mary, in the liberties of Shrewsbury. 2 miles north-west of Shrewsbury. The seat of Mrs. Powys. See appendix."
" CASTLE FOREGATE, a constablewick in the parishes of Shrewsbury St. Mary, Shrewsbury St. Alkmund, and Shrewsbury St. Julian, and in the liberties of Shrewsbury."
" CASTLE WARD, a constablewick in the parishes of Shrewsbury St. Mary, and Shrewsbury St. Alkmund, and in the liberties of Shrewsbury."
" CLIVE, a chapelry in the parish of Shrewsbury St. Mary, and in the liberties of Shrewsbury. 54 houses, 306 inhabitants. 3 miles south of Wem. This is said to have been the birth place of the poet Wycherley; though some affirm that he was born at the "French Farm," near Wem, and others, at Wem. Wycherley was one of the wits and poets of the reign of Charles the second, and was born about the year 1640. After receiving an education at school, he was sent to France, and transformed to the Roman Catholick religion. A little before the restoration he returned to England, and entered as a Gentleman commoner, at Queen's college, Oxford; but, being never matriculated, he quitted the University without a degree, and took chambers in the Middle Temple. He soon, however, deserted the law for the Town; and following the tsste of that dissipated age, devoted himself to the composition of comedies. His first piece, entitled "Love in a wood, or St. James's Park," made its appearance in 1672, and quickly brought its author into notice. He became a favourite with the Duchess of Cleveland, and was much esteemed by Villiers, the witty Duke of Buckingham, who presented him with a captain's commission in his own company. His good fortune did not stop here, for he was honoured with the attentions of his Majesty, who paid him a visit when he was confined by sickness, and made him many promises of future promotion. But his prospects were blasted by his marriage with the Countess of Drogheda,* without acquainting the king. The match did not prove a very happy one. His lady was excessively jealous of him; and though on her death, a few years after, she settled her whole estate on her husband, the title was disputed, and he became so involved in his circumstances, by law expenses and other incumbrantes, that he was thrown into prison. He had remained in confinement about seven years, when James the second, going to see his comedy of " The Plain Dealer," was so much delighted with it that he gave orders for the payment of the author's debts, and granted him a pension of £200 a year. But the concealment of part of his debts, and the subsequent changes of the times, left him still under difficulties, which were not removed by his father's death, when he became only a tenant for life of the estate to which he succeeded. In his old age he raised some money, and at the same time made a good bargain for a future widow, by marrying, a few days before his death, a young woman with £1500, on whom he settled a jointure.** Wycherley died in 1715, at the age of seventy-five. This writer is remembered only as a writer of comedies; of which, besides the two already mentioned, he composed two more, " The Gentleman Dancing Master," and the "Country Wife," the last of these, and the "Plain Dealer," were the most noted; and the reputation he acquired was such that Lord Rochester pronounces Wycherley and Shadwell to be the only modern wits who have touched upon true comedy. This was one libertine judging of another; for the plays of Wycherley, are Strongly Marked with his own character, some wit and strength of delineation, with much coarseness and licentiousness. It has been said of manner, compared with Moliere's; that Wycherley's "Plain Dealer" is a misanthrope, and Moleire's misanthrope a plain dealer. He attacks vice with the severity of a cynick, and the language of a libertine. A volume of poems which he published in 1704, succeeded so ill, that he applied to Pope, then a mere youth, with whom he had contracted an acquaintance, to correct the verification. The correspondence between them is printed in the collection of Pope's letters, and the editor observes upon them, that to judge by the manner of thinking, and turn of expression, one might suppose that they were mistitled, and that those assigned to the boy belonged to the man of seventy, and vice versa. Dr. Johnson remarks, that "when Pope was sufficiently bold in his criticisms, the old scribbler was angry to see his pages defaced, and felt more pain from the detection, than pleasure from the amendment of his faults." The posthumous works of Wycherley, in prose and verse were published by Theobald, in 1728. 8vo.
* His acquaintance with this lady is said to have commenced at Tunbridge, where, walking out one day with his friend Mr. Fairbread of Gray's Inn, just as they arrived at a bookseller's shop, the countess, a young, rich, and beautiful widow, came to the bookseller, and enquired for the "Plain Dealer." " Madam," said Mr. Fairbread, "since you are for the plain dealer, there he is for you;" at the same time pushing Mr. Wycherley towards her. " Yes," said Wycherley, "this lady can bear plain dealing; for she appears to be so accomplished, that what would be a compliment to others, when said to her, would be plain dealing." "No, truly Sir," said the lady, " I am not without my faults, I love plain dealing, and am never more fond of it than when it tells me of a fault." "Then Madam," said Mr. Fairbread, "You and the plain dealer seem designed by Heaven for each other." Mr. Wycherley accompanied the Countess, home, visited her daily at her lodgings, and in a short time obtained her mind to marry him. This step Wycherley took by the advice of his father; but the King, when informed of it, was highly displeased; and, as Wycherley, conscious of having acted imprudently, seldom went to court, his conduct was attributed to ingratitude.
** Mr. Edward Blount relates some particulars of the marriage, in a letter to Mr. Pope, dated January 21, 1715-46. " Our friend Wycherley had often told me, as I doubt not be did all his acquaintance, that be would marry as soon as his life was despaired of: accordingly, a few days before his death, he underwent the ceremony, and joined together those two sacraments which, wise men say, should be the last we receive; for if you observe matrimony is placed after extreme unction in our catechism, as a kind of hint of the order of time, in which they ought to be taken. The old man then lay down, satisfied with the consciousness of having, by this one act, paid his just debts,- obliged a woman who he was told had merit, and shewn an heroick resentment of the ill usage of his next heir. Some hundred pounds which he had with the lady discharged those debts; a jointure of four hundred a year made her a recompence; and the nephew was consoled with the miserable remains of a mortgaged estate***. I saw our friend twice after this was done, less peevish in his sickness, than be used to be in his health, neither much afraid of dying, nor (which in him had been more likely) much ashamed of marrying, The evening before he expired, he called his young wife to his bedside, and earnestly entreated her not to deny him one request,- the last he should make. Upon her assurances of consenting to it, he said to her, "My dear, it is only this, that you will not marry an old man again."
*** Mr. Wycherley'a widow survived his many years, even to extreme old age. The late John Lee, esq. of Wem, who died about six years ago, had conversed with an old man, who knew her well. So complete was the revenge which the dying poet took of his nephew, who it is said was so lost to all sense of decency as to insult his uncle on his death bed."
" COTTON HILL, a constablewick in the parishes of Shrewsbury St. Mary, Shrewsbury St. Alkmund, and Shrewsbury St. Julian, and in the liberties of Shrewsbury."
" GREAT BERWICK, a township in the parish of Shrewsbury St. Mary, and in the liberties of Shrewsbury."
" HANWOOD LITTLE, a township partly in the parish of Shrewsbury St. Mary, partly in the parish of Ford, and in the liberties of Shrewsbury."
" LEATON, a township in the parish of Shrewsbury St. Mary, and in the hundred of Pimhill. 51 houses, 228 tants. 4 miles north-west by north of Shrewsbury."
" LITTLE BERWICK, a township in the parish of Shrewsbury St. Mary, and in the liberties of Shrewsbury. 1½ mile north-west of Shrewsbury."
" NEWTON, a township in the parish of Shrewsbury St. Mary, and in the liberties of Shrewsbury."
" OLD HEATH, a township in the parish of Shrewsbury St. Mary, and in the liberties of Shrewsbury. 2 miles north-east by north of Shrewsbury."
" PIMLEY, a township in the parish of Shrewsbury St. Mary, and in the liberties of Shrewsbury."
" SANSAW, a township in the parish of Shrewsbury St. Mary, and in the liberties of Shrewsbury. The residence of the Rev. Dr. Gardner. 7 miles north of Shrewsbury."
" WOLLASCOTT, a township in the parish of Shrewsbury St. Mary, and in the liberties of Shrewsbury. 6 houses, 29 inhabitants."
" WOOLASCOT, a township in the parish of Shrewsbury St. Mary, and in the hundred of Pimhill. 4½ miles north of Shrewsbury."