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Shrewsbury historic timeline

Shrewsbury has been scooped in the River Severn for over 1,000 years. Although the face of the town has changed, the ancient streets and architecture mix seamlessly with the new.

Shrewsbury's story is on the map for many reasons, discover the origins of your the defining landmarks and the better-than-fiction facts that make Shrewsbury original.

Shrewsbury skyline

Shrewsbury skyline

Period Year  
Anglo-Saxon 871-899 The daughter of King Alfred the Great and her husband Ethelred II ruled West Mercia and built a fort at Shrewsbury
901 Shrewsbury is first mentioned in a charter: 'acta es, . . . in civitate Scrobbensi'
912 St Alkmund's Church founded by Ethelfleda, daughter of King Alfred
960 King Edgar refounded St Mary's Church and St Alkmund's Church as a college
Norman 1069 Part of the wooden fort of Shrewsbury is burned during a Saxon seige by Wild Edric Sylvaticus, this was a rebellion against the Norman William the Conqueror
1074 William the Conqueror took back Shrewsbury, giving control of the area to his cousin's son, Roger de Montgomery. Roger de Montgomery started building Shrewsbury Castle to replace the burnt wooden fort
1083 Shrewsbury Abbey is founded by Roger de Montgomery, replacing a small wooden chapel known as St. Peters. Fulchred of Séez was the first abbot. Although Roger de Montgomery was liked by many, some locals rejected the changes that he was making to the town as houses had to be demolished to make way for the new developments
1085 The Domesday Survey showed that there were 252 houses in Shrewsbury. The survey reported many complaints in regards to the tax paid by those living in Shrewsbury.
1094 After the death of Roger de Montgomery, his son Robert de Belesme took power of Shrewsbury. He was greatly disliked and tried to start a rebellion against King Henry. When King Henry marches to meet him, he immediately surrendered at the Castle Gates. Shrewsbury then became a Royal Fortress.
1100 Shrewsbury is the 4th largest town in England
1126 King Henry I presented Shrewsbury to his wife Adeliza. King Henry I stayed in Shrewsbury regularly with his daughter Matilda
1137 Abbot Herbert of Shrewsbury Abbey negotiated with the Welsh for the purchase of the remains of St. Winefride from Holywell in North Wales. She has resisted the advances of a pagan Prince, resulting in her being beheaded. She was named St Wenefreda - shining with unnumbered virtues
1138 King Stephen, grandson of King Henry I was crowned king instead of his daughter Matilda, against the King's wishes he besieged Shrewsbury Castle to take control of the town from Matilda.
1158 Matilda's son, King Henry II visited Shrewsbury and instructed that the Castle be rebuilt with stone.


1189 King Richard I the Lionheart gave Shrewsbury it's oldest surviving Charter, allowing the town to collect dues, elect officials, set up guilds and hold markets
1215 Llewelyn the Great of Wales took control of Shrewsbury from King John. Shrewsbury became a frontier town as the Welsh invaded the surrounding countryside for the next 70 years.
1120-1241 Henry III instructed the building of the Town Walls.
1260 Original Market Hall built in the Square
1283 Edward I invited commoners to sit at his parliament, signalling the birth of the House of Commons. Prince David, grandson of Llewelyn the Great was tried as a traitor and murderer and was dragged through the town behind a horse before being hung and quartered at High Cross on Pride Hill, signalling the end of the Welsh Border Wars.
1284 Edward I defeated the Welsh from his base in Shrewsbury, naming his son the first English 'Prince of Wales'

Lancastrian / House of York

1403 The battle of Shrewsbury is fought. Harry Hotspur is beheaded and quartered at High Cross on Pride Hill.
1460 The Draper's Guild was founded, building Alm Houses in the town. The annual celebrate of their inception was the base of what is now the Flower Show.
1485 Henry Tudor stayed overnight on Wyle Cop (in the building that is now Henry Tudor House) before winning the battle at Bosworth Field, where was crowned king. Sheriff of Shropshire, Thomas Mytton refused his entry - saying that he would come in only over his body, when he conceded in the morning, Thomas Mytton lay on the bridge and allowed Henry Tudor to step over him into the town. He visited a further three times.


1536 Shrewsbury officially became a part of England, it has previously been considered border territory of the Welsh marches
1540 Henry VIII closed Shrewsbury Abbey
1552 Shrewsbury School is built following Henry VIII closing Catholic schools and churches.
1553 According to legend, St Alkmund's Church was damaged by the devil
1576 Extension added to the Bear Steps. The older part of the building has not been dated
1596 Old Market Hall is built as Shrewsbury undergoes industrial changes and newly established Guilds bring increased wealth to the town.
Stuart 1618 Rowley's House is built by William Rowley, a burgess of the town and a draper, brewer and maltster.
1621 St Alkmund's Church climbed four times by a drunken steeplejack
1628 Records show that a criminal was pressed to death at Shrewsbury Castle
1641 A Royalist stronghold, Shrewsbury strengthened the town walls and defences, making the town secure at night.
1645 Thomas Mytton captures the Royalist stronghold town after being let in at St Mary's Water Lane, giving it the name Traitors Gate
1653 Admiral John Benbow born in Shrewsbury. He became the Nelson of his times after running away to sea, where he fought pirates in the Caribbean.
1658 Draper's Hall is built.
1662 Shrewsbury Unitarian Church founded


1739 Showman Robert Cadman attempted to slide from the spire of St Mary's Church, head first, using a rope and a grooved breastplate. His engraved obituary stands outside the west door.
1744 English Bridge rebuilt
1762 - 1774 Robert Clive (Clive of India) is Shrewsbury's MP. He is also Shrewsbury mayor in 1762
1772 Lord Rowland Hill was born in Shrewsbury. He went on to become one of Britain's most celebrated military men.
1784 The Shrewsbury workhouse was built in Kingsland (the building would go on to become Shrewsbury School)
1788 Old St Chad's collapses. Thomas Telford had predicted the collapse of the building but had been ignored
1790 Welsh Bridge built to replace St George's Bridge
1792 The Jesse Window (dated 1327-1353) installed at St Mary's Church after being taken from Old St Chad's
1792 St Chad's Church is rebuilt with a circular knave. The circular nave was not the choice of the board, but the architects drew up the designs due to a minuting error.

Flaxmill opened

1809 Charles Darwin is born at Mount House. He was baptised at St Chads
1812 New bells were installed at St Alkmund's Church. Unfortunately, they caused the tower to sway and were removed and hung in Honolulu Cathedral
1831 Royal Salop Infirmary built. The architect, E.H. Haycock, designed the building in 'Greek Revival' style
1835 Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery established as the Museum of the Shropshire and North Wales Natural History and Antiquarian Society in Dogpole.
1840 The last public flogging took place in the Square


1848 Shrewsbury railway station built, with the first route between Shrewsbury and Chester
1853 Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery moved to Vaughan's Mansion on College Hill
1856 The Roman Catholic Cathedral is built in Shrewsbury
1857 First Shrewsbury Flower Show held just outside Shrewsbury near the Showground at Coton Hill
1858 Charles Dickens stayed at the Lion Hotel, writing to his daughter that he was staying in 'the strangest little rooms, the ceilings of which I can touch with my hand'. He also commented that he could walk out onto a balcony and "lean over a queer old rail and look all down hill and slantwise at the strangest black and white houses, all of many shapes except straight shapes."
1867 The town market moved from the Square to a new Victoria Market Hall and Corn Exchange building on Shoplatch
1875 Shrewsbury Flower Show held in the Quarry Park for the first time, Shropshire Horticultural Society established following this year's show
1879 The Dingle’s ornamental gardens opened and a statue of Sabrina, goddess of the River Severn, can still be seen today
1882 Shrewsbury School moved to the workhouse building in Kingsland and Kingsland Bridge was built
1885 Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery and Shrewsbury Library moved to the old Shrewsbury School building


1903 Shrewsbury railway station extended downwards
1907 The infamous Shrewsbury train derailment, in which 14 people died. A 26-year-old Mary Webb wrote a poem in memory of the victims, which her brother submitted anonymously to the Shrewsbury Chronicle, starting her career as a writer

House of Windsor

1922 Porthill Bridge built
1926 English Bridge rebuilt
1946 Percey Thrower becomes Parks Superintendent of Shrewsbury. He expected to stay only four or five years but remained in post for 28 years.
1965 Shrewsbury Market Hall opened
1979 Royal Salop Infirmary saved from demolition and turned into the Parade Shopping Centre and flats
1981 Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery relocated to Rowley's House
1984 Shrewsbury was the location for the 1984 film 'A Christmas Carol' and Ebeneezer Scrooge's 'gravestone' is still visible in St Chad's Church today
1989 Darwin Shopping Centre built
2004 The Old Market Hall re-opens as an independent cinema, after 5 years of renovations.
2009 Theatre Severn opened
2014 Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery reopened in the Music Hall and Vaughan's Mansion
2015 University Centre Shrewsbury welcomed first undergraduates