Shropshire facts for kids
|Motto: "Floreat Salopia" ("May Shropshire flourish")|
Shropshire in England
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Lord Lieutenant||Algernon Eustace Heber-Percy|
|High Sheriff||Christine Holmes|
|Area||3,487 km2 (1,346 sq mi)|
|• Ranked||13th of 48|
|Population (2005 est.)||450,700|
|• Ranked||42nd of 48|
|Density||129/km2 (330/sq mi)|
|Area||3,197 km2 (1,234 sq mi)|
|• Ranked||4th of 326|
|• Ranked||of 326|
|Density||[convert: needs a number]|
Districts of Shropshire
|Members of Parliament||List of MPs|
|Police||West Mercia Police|
|Time zone||GMT (UTC)|
|• Summer (DST)||BST (UTC+1)|
Shropshire (// or //; alternatively Salop; abbreviated, in print only, Shrops; demonym Salopian //) is a county in the West Midlands of England, bordering Powys and Wrexham in Wales to the west and north-west, Cheshire to the north, Staffordshire to the east, Worcestershire to the south-east and Herefordshire to the south. Shropshire Council was created in 2009, a unitary authority taking over from the previous county council and five district councils. The borough of Telford and Wrekin has been a separate unitary authority since 1998 but continues to be included in the ceremonial county.
The county's population and economy is centred on five towns: the county town of Shrewsbury, which is culturally and historically important and close to the centre of the county; Telford, a new town in the east which was constructed around a number of older towns, most notably Wellington, Dawley and Madeley, which is today the most populous; and Oswestry in the north-west, Bridgnorth just to the south of Telford, and Ludlow in the south. The county has many market towns, including Whitchurch in the north, Newport north-east of Telford and Market Drayton in the north-east of the county.
The Ironbridge Gorge area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, covering Ironbridge, Coalbrookdale and a part of Madeley. There are other historic industrial sites in the county, such as at Shrewsbury, Broseley, Snailbeach and Highley, as well as the Shropshire Union Canal.
The Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covers about a quarter of the county, mainly in the south. Shropshire is one of England's most rural and sparsely populated counties, with a population density of 136/km2 (350/sq mi). The Wrekin is one of the most famous natural landmarks in the county, though the highest hills are the Clee Hills, Stiperstones and the Long Mynd. Wenlock Edge is another significant geographical and geological landmark. In the low-lying northwest of the county overlapping the border with Wales is the Fenn's, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses National Nature Reserve, one of the most important and best preserved bogs in Britain. The River Severn, Great Britain's longest river, runs through the county, exiting into Worcestershire via the Severn Valley. Shropshire is landlocked and with an area of 3,487 square kilometres (1,346 sq mi) is England's largest inland county.
The county flower is the round-leaved sundew.
- Towns and villages
- Places of interest
- Famous people
- Cultural references
- Images for kids
The area was once part of the lands of the Cornovii, which consisted of the modern day counties of Cheshire, Shropshire, north Staffordshire, north Herefordshire and eastern parts of Powys. This was a tribal Celtic iron age kingdom. Their capital in pre-Roman times was probably a hill fort on the Wrekin. Ptolemy's 2nd century Geography names one of their towns as being Viroconium Cornoviorum (Wroxeter), which became their capital under Roman rule and one of the largest settlements in Britain. After the Roman occupation of Britain ended in the 5th century, the Shropshire area was in the eastern part of the Welsh Kingdom of Powys; known in Welsh poetry as the Paradise of Powys. It was annexed to the Angle kingdom of Mercia by King Offa in the 8th century, at which time he built two significant dykes there to defend his territory against the Welsh or at least demarcate it. In subsequent centuries, the area suffered repeated Danish invasion, and fortresses were built at Bridgnorth and Chirbury.
After the Norman conquest in 1066, major estates in Shropshire were granted to Normans, including Roger de Montgomerie, who ordered significant constructions, particularly in Shrewsbury, the town of which he was Earl. Many defensive castles were built at this time across the county to defend against the Welsh and enable effective control of the region, including Ludlow Castle and Shrewsbury Castle. The western frontier with Wales was not finally determined until the 14th century. Also in this period, a number of religious foundations were formed, the county largely falling at this time under the Diocese of Hereford and that of Coventry and Lichfield. Some parishes in the north-west of the county in later times fell under the Diocese of St. Asaph until the disestablishment of the Church in Wales in 1920, when they were ceded to the Lichfield diocese.
The county was a central part of the Welsh Marches during the medieval period and was often embroiled in the power struggles between powerful Marcher Lords, the Earls of March and successive monarchs.
The county contains a number of historically significant towns, including Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth and Ludlow (which was the seat of the Council of Wales and the Marches). Additionally, the area around Coalbrookdale in the county is seen as highly significant, as it is regarded as one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution. The village of Edgmond, near Newport, is the location of the lowest recorded temperature (in terms of weather) in England and Wales.
The origin of the name "Shropshire" is the Old English Scrobbesbyrigscīr, which means "Shrewsburyshire". The name may, therefore, be derived indirectly from a personal name such as Scrope (also spelt Scrobbe).
Salop is an old name for Shropshire, historically used as an abbreviated form for post or telegrams, it is thought to derive from the Anglo-French "Salopesberia". It is normally replaced by the more contemporary "Shrops" although Shropshire residents are still referred to as "Salopians". Salop however is also used as an alternative name for the county town, Shrewsbury, which also shares the motto of Floreat Salopia.
When a county council for the county was first established in 1889, it was called Salop County Council. Following the Local Government Act 1972, Salop became the official name of the county, but a campaign led by a local councillor, John Kenyon, succeeded in having both the county and council renamed as Shropshire in 1980. This took effect from 1 April of that year.
The border with Wales was defined in the 16th century – the hundreds of Oswestry (including Oswestry) and Pimhill (including Wem) and part of Chirbury had prior to the Laws in Wales Act formed various Lordships in the Welsh Marches.
The present day ceremonial county boundary is almost the same as the historic one. Notably there has been the removal of several exclaves and enclaves. The largest of the exclaves was Halesowen, which became part of Worcestershire in 1844 (now part of the West Midlands county), and the largest of the enclaves was Herefordshire's Farlow in South Shropshire, also transferred in 1844, to Shropshire. Alterations have been made on Shropshire's border with all neighbouring English counties over the centuries. Gains have been made to the south of Ludlow (from Herefordshire), to the north of Shifnal (from Staffordshire) and to the north (from Cheshire) and south (from Staffordshire) of Market Drayton. The county has lost land in two places – to Staffordshire and Worcestershire.
Geographically, Shropshire is divisible into two distinct halves – north and south. The county has a highly diverse geology. The West Midlands green belt extends into eastern Shropshire, covering an area north from Highley, to the east of Bridgnorth, north to the eastern side of Telford, leaving Shropshire eastwards alongside the A5. This encompasses Shifnal, Cosford and Albrighton, and various other villages paralleling Dudley and Wolverhampton.
The North Shropshire Plain is an extension of the flat and fertile Cheshire Plain. It is here that most of the county's large towns, and population, are to be found. Shrewsbury at the centre, Oswestry to the north west, Whitchurch to the north, Market Drayton to the north east, and Newport and the Telford conurbation (Telford, Wellington, Oakengates, Donnington and Shifnal) to the east. The land is fertile and agriculture remains a major feature of the landscape and the economy. The River Severn runs through the lower half of this area (from Wales in the west, eastwards), through Shrewsbury and down the Ironbridge Gorge, before heading south to Bridgnorth.
The area around Oswestry has more rugged geography than the North Shropshire Plain and the western half is over an extension of the Wrexham Coalfield and there are also copper deposits on the border with Wales. Mining of stone and sand aggregates is still going on in Mid-Shropshire, notably on Haughmond Hill, near Bayston Hill, and around the village of Condover. Lead mining also took place at Snailbeach and the Stiperstones, but this has now ceased. Other primary industries, such as forestry and fishing, are to be found too.
The A5 and M54 run from Wolverhampton (to the east of the county) across to Telford, around Shrewsbury parallel to the line of Watling Street, an ancient trackway. The A5 then turns north west to Oswestry, before heading north into Wales in the Wrexham area. This is an important artery and the corridor is where most of Shropshire's modern commerce and industry is found, notably in Telford new town. There are also a number of railway lines crossing over the area, which centre at Shrewsbury. To the south west of Telford, near the Ironbridge Gorge, is Ironbridge Power Station.
The new town of Telford is built partly on a former industrial area centred on the East Shropshire Coalfield as well as on former agricultural land. There are still many ex-colliery sites to be found in the area, as well as disused mine shafts. This industrial heritage is an important tourist attraction, as is seen by the growth of museums in the Ironbridge, Coalbrookdale, Broseley and Jackfield area. Blists Hill museum and historical (Victorian era) village is a major tourist attraction as well as the Iron Bridge itself. In addition, Telford Steam Railway runs from Horsehay.
- For information specifically on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, see Shropshire Hills AONB.
South Shropshire is more rural, with fewer settlements and no large towns, and its landscape differs greatly from that of North Shropshire. The area is dominated by significant hill ranges and river valleys, woods, pine forests and "batches", a colloquial term for small valleys and other natural features. Farming is more pastoral than the arable found in the north of the county. The only substantial towns are Bridgnorth, with a population of around 12,000 people, Ludlow and Church Stretton. The Shropshire Hills AONB is located in the south-west, covering an area of 312 sq mi (810 km2); it forms the only specifically protected area of the county. Inside this area is the popular Long Mynd, a large plateau of 1,693 ft (516 m) and Stiperstones 1,759 feet (536 m) high to the East of the Long Mynd, overlooking Church Stretton.
The A49 is the main road through the area, running north to south, from Shrewsbury to Herefordshire. A railway line runs through the area on the same route as the A49 with stations at Church Stretton, Craven Arms and Ludlow. The steam heritage Severn Valley Railway runs from Bridgnorth into Worcestershire along the Severn Valley.
Because of its valley location and character, Church Stretton is sometimes referred to as Little Switzerland. Nearby are the old mining and quarrying communities on the Clee Hills, notable geological features in the Onny Valley and Wenlock Edge and fertile farmland in the Corve Dale. The River Teme drains this part of the county, before flowing into Worcestershire to the south and joining the River Severn.
One of the Clee Hills, the Brown Clee Hill, is the county's highest peak at 1,772 feet (540 m). This gives Shropshire the 13th tallest hill per county in England.
South West Shropshire is a little-known and remote part of the county, with Clun Forest, Offa's Dyke, the River Clun and the River Onny. The small towns of Clun and Bishop's Castle are in this area. The countryside here is very rural and is in parts wild and forested. To the south of Clun is the Welsh border town of Knighton.
Natural England recognised the following national character areas that lie wholly or partially within Shropshire:
- Shropshire Hills
- Shropshire and Staffordshire Plain
- Oswestry Uplands
- Mid Severn Sandstone Plateau
- Teme Valley
- Herefordshire Lowlands
- Clun and North West Herefordshire Hills
- Whixall Moss
The climate of Shropshire is moderate. Rainfall averages 760 to 1,000 mm (30 to 40 in), influenced by being in the rainshadow of the Cambrian Mountains from warm, moist frontal systems of the Atlantic Ocean which bring generally light precipitation in Autumn and Spring. The hilly areas in the south and west are much colder in the winter, due to their high elevation, they share a similar climate to that of the Welsh Marches and Mid-Wales. The flat northern plain in the north and east has a similar climate to that of the rest of the West Midlands.
Being rural and inland, temperatures can fall more dramatically on clear winter nights than in many other parts of England. It was at Harper Adams University, in Edgmond, where on 10 January 1982 the lowest temperature weather record for England was broken (and is kept to this day): -26.1 °C.
|Climate data for Shawbury|
|Average high °C (°F)||7.2
|Average low °C (°F)||0.8
|Rainfall mm (inches)||56.3
|Source #1: Met Office|
|Source #2: Met Office - RAF Shawbury (1971–2000 averages)
RAF Shawbury is located approximately 7 miles (11 km) NE of Shrewsbury, and 12 miles (19 km) NW of Telford.
Shropshire has a huge range of different types of rocks, stretching from the Precambrian until the Holocene. In the northern part of the county there are examples of Jurassic, Carboniferous, Permian and Triassic. Centrally, Precambrian, Cambrian, Ordovician, Carboniferous and Permian predominate. And in the south it is predominantly Silurian and Quaternary. Shropshire has a number of areas with Silurian and Ordivician rocks, where a number of shells, corals and trilobites can be found. Mortimer Forest and Wenlock Edge are examples where a number of fossils can be found.
For Eurostat purposes, the county (less the unitary district of Telford and Wrekin) is a NUTS 3 region (code UKG22). The two Shropshire unitary areas (covering all of the ceremonial county), together with the authorities covering the ceremonial county of Staffordshire, comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region.
Shropshire county flag
Shropshire coat of arms
Shropshire's blazon is erminois, three pile azure, two issuant from the chief and one in base, each charged with a leopard's face. The arms were officially granted on June 18, 1896 and continued by the new authority in 2009. The heads are often referred to as "the loggerheads". This is thought to originate from the practice of carving a leopard head as a motif on the head of the log used as a battering ram.
Shropshire county flower, round-leaved sundew
In a national poll in 2002 conducted by Plantlife International, the round-leaved sundew (drosera rotundifolia) was chosen as Shropshire's county flower. The round-leaved sundew is a crimson-coloured insectivorous plant that requires a boggy habitat. Due to habitat loss its range is now dramatically reduced  and Shropshire's Longmynd is one of the few areas in England where it can now be found.
Shropshire Day, 23 February
Shropshire's county day is on 23 February, the feast day of St Milburga, abbess of Wenlock Priory. St Milburga was the daughter of Anglo-Saxon king Merewalh, who founded the abbey within his sub-kingdom of Magonsæte. The town adjoining the priory is now known as Much Wenlock, and lies within the boundaries of the modern county of Shropshire.
Shropshire motto, Floreat Salopia
Shropshire's motto is Floreat Salopia, meaning "May Shropshire flourish".
Towns and villages
Shropshire has no cities, but 22 towns, of which two can be considered major. Telford is the largest town in the county with a population of 138,241 (which is approximately 30% of the total Salopian populace); whereas the county town of Shrewsbury has a lower, but still sizeable population of 71,715 (15%). The other sizeable towns are Oswestry, Bridgnorth, Newport and Ludlow. The historic town of Wellington now makes up part of the Telford conurbation. The majority of the other settlements can be classed as villages or small towns such as Much Wenlock. Several villages have larger populations than the smallest town, Clun. The largest of these, Bayston Hill, is the 10th most inhabited settlement in the county. The names of several villages close to the border are of Welsh origin, such as Gobowen and Selattyn.
The larger settlements are primarily concentrated in a central belt that roughly follows the A5/M54 roadway. Other settlements are concentrated on rivers, for example Bridgnorth and Ironbridge on the Severn, or Ludlow on the Teme, as these waterways were historically vital for trade and a supply of water.
Telford and Wrekin shown within
Rivers, Motorways, 'A' Roads, Settlements
|Largest settlements (by population):
The town of Telford was created by the merger and expansion of older, small towns to the north and east of The Wrekin. These towns now have sizeable populations that now make up the population of Telford: Wellington (20,430), Madeley (17,935), but the Telford and Wrekin borough towns incentive aims to make Oakengates into the largest of the towns.
- See also: Railways of Shropshire
Shropshire is connected to the rest of the United Kingdom via a number of road and rail links. Historically, rivers and later canals in the county were used for transport also, although their use in transport is now significantly reduced. The county's main transport hub is Shrewsbury, through which many significant roads and railways pass and join.
Canals in Britain were originally constructed for the transport of goods, but are now mainly used for leisure. In northern Shropshire three canals with a total navigable length of 41 miles (66 km) are managed by the Canal & River Trust: the Shropshire Union Canal (from north of Adderley to near Knighton), the Llangollen Canal (from Chirk Aqueduct to Grindley Brook) and the Montgomery Canal (from its beginning at Frankton Junction to Llanymynech). In addition, the Shrewsbury and Newport Canal potentially could be restored in the future.
Major roads in the county include the M54 motorway, which connects Shropshire to the rest of the motorway network, and more specifically to the West Midlands county. The A5 also runs through the county, in an east-west direction. The road formerly ran through Shrewsbury, although a large dual-carriageway bypass has since been built. Other major trunk roads in the county include the north-south A49, the A53 and the A41.
There are a number of major railway lines running through the county, including the Welsh Marches Line, the Heart of Wales Line, the Cambrian Line, the Shrewsbury to Chester Line and the Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury Line, as well as heritage railways including the well established Severn Valley Railway. The Cambrian Heritage Railway exists in Oswestry. The three train operating companies working in the county are London Midland, Arriva Trains Wales and Virgin Trains. A new company, Wrexham & Shropshire, commenced services from Shropshire to London Marylebone station, in spring 2008 but the service was discontinued on 28 January 2011 leaving Shrewsbury without a direct link to the capital. Virgin Trains commenced services from Shrewsbury to London Euston station on 11 December 2014.
Two major water supply aqueducts run across Shropshire; the Elan aqueduct running through South Shropshire carrying water from Elan Valley to Birmingham and the Vyrnwy Aqueduct running through North Shropshire delivering water from Lake Vyrnwy to Liverpool.
Places of interest
- Abraham Darby, early industrialist
- Adrian Jones, sculptor of the Quadriga at Hyde Park Corner
- Alison Williamson, of Church Stretton, Archery Olympic bronze medalist
- Amy Bagshaw, an international gymnast, forced to retire early due to injury.
- Barbara Pym, novelist
- Billy Wright, Born in Ironbridge, Wolverhampton Wanderers football player as well as England captain
- Charles Babbage, early computing pioneer (lived at Dudmaston Hall)
- Charles Darwin, eminent naturalist
- Chris Hawkins (of Loppington), radio presenter, DJ
- Craig Phillips of Newport, winner of Big Brother 2000
- The Lords and Ladies Craven, historically residing in Stokesay Castle
- David Edwards, footballer (born in Shrewsbury), Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C & Wales
- Edith Pargeter (1913–1995), author
- Edmund Plowden (1518–1585), legal scholar and theorist
- Sir Edmund Plowden (1590–1659), Proprietor, Earl Palatine and Governor of New Albion
- Edric the Wild, an Anglo-Saxon magnate
- Eglantyne Jebb of Ellesmere, social reformer and founder of the Save the Children Fund
- Fred Jordan farm worker from Ludlow and one of the great traditional English singers
- George Jeffreys of Wem, infamous judge
- Greg Davies, comedian and actor grew up in Wem
- Humphrey Kynaston (1474–1534), highwayman
- Isobel Cooper (Izzy), famous opera singer from Much Wenlock
- Ivan Jones, writer of The Ghost Hunter
- Joe Hart, born in Shrewsbury, Manchester City and England goalkeeper
- John Mytton, 'Mad Jack' Mytton, Regency rake, MP, gambler and horseman
- John Wilkinson, of Broseley, industrialist
- Jonathan Corbett TV presenter,
- K. K. Downing, guitarist with Judas Priest
- Lara Jones, writer of the Poppy Cat books
- Len Murray, former head of the T.U.C.
- Mal Lewis Jones, writer
- Mary Beard, classicist and public personality at Cambridge University
- Mary Webb (1881–1927), author
- Matthew Webb, first man to swim the English Channel
- Mirabel Osler, author
- Pete Postlethwaite, actor lived near Church Stretton until his death in 2011
- Sir Philip Sidney, prominent Elizabethan
- Rajesh Mirchandani, TV presenter
- Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive, 'Clive of India'
- Rowland Hill, 1st Viscount Hill, Napoleonic era general
- Roy Wood, of Wem, in the band Wizzard
- Stephen Marchant, ornithologist
- Stewart Lee, stand-up comedian, writer and director.
- Sybil Ruscoe, TV and radio presenter
- T'Pau, 1980s pop group
- Trevor Rees-Jones, bodyguard and author
- Tricia Sullivan, American science fiction author lives in Shropshire
- Wilfred Owen, leading First World War poet
- William Farr, epidemiologist and early bio-statistician
- William Henry Griffith Thomas, (1861–1924) evangelical Anglican theologian
- William Penny Brookes, founder Wenlock Olympian Games, founding father, International Olympic Movement,
- William Wycherley, Restoration dramatist and playwright famous for The Country Wife
- Shropshire has been depicted and mentioned in a number of works of literature. The poet A. E. Housman used Shropshire as the setting for many of the poems in his first book, A Shropshire Lad, and many of Malcolm Saville's children's books are set in Shropshire. Additionally, D. H. Lawrence's novella, St. Mawr, is partially set in the Longmynd area of South Shropshire.
- The early twentieth century novelist and poet Mary Webb was born in Shropshire and lived most of her life there, and all her novels are set there, most notably Precious Bane, with its powerful evocation of the Shropshire countryside. A school in Pontesbury bears her name.
- In Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Jonathan Strange is from the county, and some parts of the book are set there.
- Another fictional character from Shropshire is Mr Grindley, from Charles Dickens' Bleak House.
- P. G. Wodehouse's fictional Blandings Castle, the ancestral home of Clarence, the ninth Earl of Emsworth, is located in Shropshire. Also from Shropshire is Psmith, a fictional character in a series of Wodehouse's novels.
- In The Importance of Being Earnest, Algernon attempts to trick Jack into revealing the location of his country home by inferring he resides in Shropshire.
- The 1856 plantation literature novel White Acre vs. Black Acre by William M. Burwell features two Shropshire farms acting as an allegory for American slavery – White Acre Farm being the abolitionist Northern United States, and Black Acre Farm being the slaveholding Southern United States.
- The county has also appeared in film: the 1984 film version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol was filmed in Shrewsbury. The 2005 sit-com The Green Green Grass is set in Shropshire and is filmed near Bridgnorth.
- Shrewsbury Abbey of Shropshire features in the Cadfael Mysteries; Brother Cadfael is a member of the community at the Abbey.
- In music, the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote "On Wenlock Edge" in 1907.
- In the film Howards End, Mr. Wilcox's daughter gets married in Shropshire. Part of the novel is set near Clun.
- In the book Good Omens, Shropshire is mentioned as being developed by the angel Aziraphale.
- In the novel A Room With a View, Charlotte Bartlett states that the romantic Italian landscape reminds her of the country around Shropshire, where she once spent a holiday at the home of her friend Miss Apesbury.
- The 2011 documentary Rome Wasn't Built In A Day was filmed in the Roman city of Viroconium Cornoviorum near the village of Wroxeter.
- In the final episode of Ever Decreasing Circles, Martin's neighbour Paul announces he is moving to Shropshire.
- The British sitcom The Green Green Grass is set in Shropshire, with Boycie's wife being surprised and asking "what's Shropshire?" upon learning she was moving there, used in the original BBC advertisement of the series.
- The 2015 video game Everybody's Gone to the Rapture takes place in a fictional village in Shropshire.
- The 1955 Daffy Duck-Porky Pig cartoon Deduce, You Say is a parody of the Sherlock Holmes novels and movies. In this cartoon, Daffy Duck (as a character named Dorlock) is looking for a criminal known as the Shropshire Slasher.
Images for kids
Shrewsbury School, with its boathouse on the River Severn in the foreground.
The Royal Air Force's Defence Helicopter Flying School is based at RAF Shawbury.
Shrewsbury is Shropshire's county town and seat of Shropshire Council.
The whole county (including Telford and Wrekin) is served by the Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Shropshire Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.