Heritage > Counties > England
Bordering Wales the county of Shropshire covers an area of 1,347 square miles and is bisected from North West to South East by the river Severn.
Known between 1974 and 1980 as Salop the county was redesignated as Shropshire following petitions from the residents.
Shropshire has a population of 400,000 and enjoys mainly an agricultural way of life. The main commercial activities being centred on Sheep and Cattle farming.
Shrewsbury is the administrative headquarters for the county with Telford, Oswestry and Ludlow being other main towns in the county.
It was in 1779 that the first Iron bridge was built to span the River Severn and Ironbridge Gorge is a main tourist attraction to the county to this day.
Facts on the region
Origin of name: Latin: Civitas Scrobbensis, 'the city around the scrub folk'. The county could easily have followed in the footsteps of Dorset and Somerset and be known as Shropset, but due to the power and influence of Shrewsbury the county name took its form from the town (pronounced 'Shroâsbury'), leading the district to be called Shrewsburyshire which was inevitably shortened to Shropshire. Norman clerks found the Shrewsburyshire intolerable to write or pronounce and abbreviated it all to Salop.
Name first recorded: 1006 as Scrobbesbyrigscir.
County Motto: Floreat Salopia ('Let Salop Flourish').
County Town: SHREWSBURY Two church spires pierce the skyline of this finely preserved medieval town. St Maryâs spire was one of the three tallest in England; St Alkmundâs is the other. Its Lord Hill Column is only just shorter than Nelsonâs column.
County Rivers: Severn, Perry, Roden, Tern, Clun, Onny, Corve, Rea.
Highest point: Brown Clee at 1772 feet.
Shropshireâs local government: The County of Shropshire has a two-tier set-up apart from the Wrekin, which controls its own affairs. Shropshire County Council and the five districts of Bridgnorth, North Shropshire, Oswestry, Shrewsbury & Atcham and South Shropshire administer the rest of the County. The towns of Oldbury and Halesowen are Shropshire detached in Worcestershire under the administration of the two unitary councils of Dudley and Sandwell.
The local landscape
Mountainous and rugged in the southwest, the highest point here being the Stiperstones, the county is more level in the east, although still hilly, with the river Severn winding through lush valleys. North of the Severn are the meres - a sort of Shropshire leak district - for which the county is famous. The Salop plain stretches from Whitchurch in the north to Church Stretton in the southwest, and the Wrekin rises from this plain to around 1200 feet. In the south are the Clee Hills.
Much of this area on the western edge of England is largely hill country, very verdant and deeply sliced with river valleys. It retains a remote, almost cut off atmosphere, even though the county town of Shrewsbury on the Severn was a gateway to the principality of Wales.
Local Towns and Villages
BISHOPâS CASTLE Very pretty off-the-beaten track town clinging to a steep hillside with plenty of interesting pubs (including the Three Tuns, dating back to 1642), restaurants and antique shops to browse through.
BRIDGNORTH Worth seeing alone for the flight of steps and railway with the steepest gradient in England that links the High and Low Towns.
CHURCH STRETTON Said to have the highest golf course in England (much of it over 1,200 feet).
DAWLEY Domesday town which became a constituent part of Telford ÎNew townâ. Dawley Castle, built in 1361, owned by King Richard Ii but destroyed in 1645.
DONNINGTON Once an important flax and hemp centre, this town has a cobbled market place with attractive Georgian houses. Matthew Flinders, who discovered that compasses were affected by the iron in ships, died here in 1814.
ELLESMERE Attractive capital of the countyâs Lakeland with nine meres of its own and many boats jostling for berths.
IRONBRIDGE/COALBROOKDALE Home to probably the most famous bridge in the country, the worldâs first iron bridge at 196 feet in length. It straddles a gorge across the Severn and is now justifiably a World Heritage Site.
NEWPORT Inland fishing town since Saxon times!
OSWESTRY Unpretentious market town, Welsh in character with Georgian and Victorian buildings standing in harmony. Nearby, the Old Racecourse is a high stretch of common with great views.
TELFORD New, brash and a seemingly endless array of roundabouts and business parks, this was Britainâs first new major city for centuries, begun in 1963.
Places to Visit
Attingham Park, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Hawkstone Park, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Oakley Hall, Market Drayton, Shropshire
Weston Park, Shifnal, Shropshire
Acton Burnell Castle, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Adcote School, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Shrewsbury's annual Shropshrie and West Midlands Show is held in May, and in June thereâs a regatta and later flower festivals.
At Clun there a show and carnival in August, a pageant in May.
Ludlow has race meetings and an annual summer festival.
Bishopâs Castle has a fair in May, and a summer carnival, as well as traction engine rallies.
Famous names from the region
Charles Darwin was born and educated in Shrewsbury,. Thereâs a statue in the library gardens.
The ashes of A E Housman repose in Ludlow churchyard.
Clive of India was born in Market Drayton.
The composer of Merrie England, sir Edward German, was born at Whitchurch.
Britainâs Îfirst ladyâ in the early 1990âs, Norma Major wife of John is a Shropshire lass.