The county of Shropshire formerly had the administrative title of Salop from
1974 to 1980 when it was changed back to Shropshire. The origin of the name
Shropshire is the Old English 'Scrobbesbyrigscir' which translates as 'the shire
with Shrewsbury at its head.' However, the Normans found both Shrewsbury and
Shropshire, 'Scrobbesbyrig' and 'Scrobbesyrigscir' difficult to pronounce so
they softened them to 'Salopesberia' and 'Salopescira' and Salop is the
abbreviation of these.
Shropshire is bordered by Cheshire in the north, Staffordshire in the east,
Herefordshire and Worcestershire in the south, and Wales in the west. The
south-western part of the county is quite mountainous and rugged with The Stiperstones being the highest point. The eastern part of the county is shaped
by the winding River Severn which has cut lush valleys. North of the Severn are
the Meres for which the county is famous. The Wrekin rises from the Salop plain
to around 1200ft and in the south there are the Clee Hills. At 1772ft, Brown
Clee is the highest point in the county. Other rivers in the county are the
Perry, Roden, Tern, Clun, Onny, Corve and Rea.
Before the Roman conquest, the county was occupied by three principal tribes -
the Cornavii, the Ornovices, and the Silures. It was the leader of the latter,
Caractacus, who was defeated by the Romans under Scapula in the 1st century. In
the 8th century, Offa built the dyke which marked the western boundary of his
Kingdom. Nobles built many castles in the county which was often raided by the
Welsh. These were finally crushed in the reign of Edward I who further fortified
the Welsh Marches with large castles. In 1403 a large battle was fought between
King Henry IV and Harry Hotspur, the son of the Earl of Northumberland, which
ended in victory for the King. In the 15th century the Court of the Marshes was
established to curb the power of the Lord Marchers and to secure justice for the
Welsh. Shropshire was mainly Royalist during the English Civil War.
Coalbrookdale was a key location during the Industrial Revolution - it was here
that Abraham Darby claimed to be the first to smelt iron with coke.
Shropshire has more notable landmarks than most counties, including The Wrekin -
a hill topped with an ancient fort, The Stiperstones, The Devil's Chair, The
Meres - Shropshire's Lake District, Clee Hills including Brown Clee, Wenlock
Edge, Severn Gorge, and Offa's Dyke.
The Iron Bridge at Ironbridge - was the first to be constructed in England
between 1777 and 1779. Bridgnorth Castle - a Norman construction, the keep of
which leans at 17º from the perpendicular. Lord Hill's Column - the highest
Doric column in the country. Buildwas Abbey - dating from the 12th century, the
extensive ruins of which still remain. Attingham Hall - a classical style
mansion built in 1785 for the 1st Lord Berwick. Bentnall Hall - an Elizabethan
stone house built near the Severn Gorge. Shrewsbury Castle - first built in 1080
and rebuilt in the 13th century and which now houses the Shropshire regimental
museum. Shrewsbury Abbey - the nave and west tower still survive. Lilleshall
Abbey - the ruins of a house founded in 1148 for Arroasian canons. Ludlow Castle
- built in 1090 by the Norman knight Roger de Lacy. Stokesay Castle - a
fortified and moated manor house dating from the 12th century.
Famous People born in Shropshire
William Langland, author of The Pies. Plougham was born in Cleobury
Mortimer. Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury in 1809 and lived there until
the age of 16. Wilfred Owen was born in Oswestry in 1893 and attended Shrewsbury
Famous People who lived in Shropshire
Sir Philip Sidney lived at Ludlow Castle as a boy and was educated at
Shrewsbury. Samuel Butler also lived at Ludlow Castle from 1660 and part of his
'Hudibras' was written there.
There was once a wicked giant living in Wales who had a grudge against the
Mayor of Shrewsbury and all the townsfolk so he decided to dam the River Severn
so that it would flood the town. He set off one day with a huge spadeful of
earth with which he planned to dam the river but was tired by the time he got to
Wellington. It was there that he met a cobbler who was carrying a sack full of
old boots and shoes. He asked the cobbler how far it was to Shrewsbury who asked
him why he was heading there. The cobbler was horrified when the giant told him
of his plans to flood the town - mainly because he would lose so much business
in one fell swoop. So he told the giant it was further than he could walk and
that he'd worn out all those boots and shoes just walking back from there it was
so far away. The giant decided he was too tired to walk that far so he decided
to return home. He dumped the spadeful of earth where he stood and this became
known as The Wrekin and the earth that he scraped off his boots next to it is
the little Ercall.
Shropshire Pie is made from rabbit with artichoke hearts and 'dumplings'
made with rabbit livers, bacon and oysters. Must sound horrendous to veggies. In
the tiny village of Aston-on-Clun a huge oak tree is decorated each year with
flags of all nations. This custom dates back to 29th May 1786 when the tree was
decorated to celebrate the marriage of local landowner John Marston with Mary
The Shropshire Agricultural Show is held at Shrewsbury every May. The Powys
Eisteddfod is held at Oswestry in July.
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1860 List of Public Houses in
Post Office Directory
"Good thoughts his only friends, His wealth a well-spent age, The earth his
sober inn And quiet pilgrimage.”