Some history on the county of Shropshire


Shropshire Places

Map of Shropshire

County Map of Shropshire by Thomas Moule [c.1830]

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.' It is said that 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 that 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.

Monuments include The Iron Bridge at Ironbridge - the first to be constructed in England between 1777 and 1779. Bridgnorth Castle - a Norman construction, the keep of which leans at 17° 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 later housing 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.

Some of the famous people born in Shropshire include 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 Technical College. Some of the notable people who lived in the county include Sir Philip Sidney who 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.

Folklore of the country includes 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 would wear 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 May 29th, 1786 when the tree was decorated to celebrate the marriage of local landowner John Marston with Mary Carter.

Photographs of Shropshire

Click here for more information on Market Drayton in Shropshire

Click here for more information on Whitchurch in Shropshire

Contemporary Photographs

Genealogy Connections

Click here to share your story or memories OR to send a genealogy query

Related Newspaper Articles

Pant : Dolly and Tom Jones [Romance of Heiress and Railway Porter] [1909]

"A sensation has been created in Shropshire by the secret marriage of Miss Evelyn Dorothy Hopton, a vivacious and well-known young lady in the district, to a young railway porter named Tom Jones, the son of a house decorator, residing at the Pant, four miles out of Oswestry. The young couple are only nineteen years of age, and as the parents' consent to the marriage was necessary, the manner in which they obtained it was very ingenious. The young lady, who is heiress to a considerable fortune, has been residing at Pant with her mother, with whom she came from Herefordshire some four or five years ago. Her father is a retired British officer, and is away shooting big game in Uganda. He is a protestant, while her mother is a Roman Catholic. In 1902, during a brief visit to this country, the father took steps to make his daughter a ward in Chancery, and one of the orders of the Court was that she should be brought up a Protestant. Some two years ago, however, the girl, when only seventeen years of age, was sent to a Roman Catholic convent at Brussels. Being a bright, cheery girl she disliked the place, and in less than two months managed to get free. Five months ago she struck up an acquaintance with the young Jones, and as her mother was arranging to send her to another convent she decided get married. One day last week she asked her mother in a casual way if she might marry, and her mother, who did not know the girl had a fiancé, answered in a thoughtless moment. "Yes, if you can find anyone to have you." To a similar question put by the young man to his father the reply was, "You can get married twice over if you like." The young people took the parents at their word, and obtained a licence. The marriage took place in the young man's dinner hour last Wednesday. It was witnessed by the bridegroom's sister and an Oswestry bird fancier. The couple parted company after the service, Jones returning to his duties, while his bride went home to break the news to her mother. Mrs. Hopton refused to believe her daughter's statement, but the girl showed her the wedding ring. This convinced her, and when she had recovered from surprise she set the telegraph at work. She wired the news to the family solicitor in Liverpool, and sent a messenger to Welshpool to a Roman Catholic priest. Pending the arrival of the latter, the bride was sent to her room and ordered not to leave. Towards the evening the priest arrived, the girl herself admitting him and showing into a private room, there to interview the mother. But while the interview was in progress the girl made good her escape, and rejoined her husband, moving later to some furnished quarters. She has not seen her mother since. The priest, and the family solicitor have since had an interview with young Jones. He was appealed to leave the district until he came of age, meanwhile letting his young wife return to her mother. But the couple will not hear of this, the girl herself saying she does not want to be sent to a convent. Seen yesterday she seemed quite happy with her position, and said she required no other society than that of her husband. Her concluding remark to the Pressman who interviewed her was : "I was christened in a Protestant church, baptised in a Roman Catholic church, and I returned to the Protestant church to get married."
"Heiress Marries a Railway Porter"
Yorkshire Evening Post : February 3rd 1909 Page 3

In the census of 1911 this couple were living at Greenhill Cottage at Pant. They had a three month-old son called Reginald. Tom Jones was still recorded as a railway guard.

Navigate via Interactive Map

Click here to visit the website's podcast episodes on Spotify

Click here to visit the website's YouTube Channel

Click here for a Pub Quiz

Click Here for the Pub Jukebox

Click or tap here for more information

Click here to visit the W3C Markup Validation Service