Oswestry - Pigot's Directory 1835
OSWESTRY, a market-town, borough and parish, in the hundred to which it gives name, is 178 miles from London, 18 from Shrewsbury and Wem, 20 from Whitchurch, and 8 from Ellesmere, situated upon the main road from London to Holyhead. The town stands upon higher ground than any other in Shropshire, and the country around is delightfully varied with hills, vales, wood and water, and exhibits some very rich and picturesque scenery. Oswestry is a town of great antiquity, and its present appellation, which is a corruption of Oswaldstree, was derived from the name of St. Oswald, King of Northumberland, who was defeated and slain here, by Penda, King of Mercia. Subsequently, when the great Offa constructed the barrier, still known by his name, Oswestry stood between it and Watt’s-dyke, which ran parallel to the former at the distance of two miles. It was thus rendered a border town, and hence was frequently the scene of contest, first between the Saxons and the Britons, and afterwards between the latter and the Normans. In 1212 King John burnt both the town and castle, which were then in the possession of the Fitzalans, and plundered a part of Wales on account of the refusal of Llewellin to join his standard, in opposition to Louis, the dauphin of France, who had been invited to England by the rebellious barons. Oswestry was likewise destroyed by the Welsh prince, called Llewellin the Great, in 1233. During this period it was encircled by a strong wall, which had four gates, fronting the four cardinal points. Some traces of the wall still remain, but the gates were entirely demolished about the year 1769. Of the castle, which stood on a high artificial mount, at the west side of the town, only a few fragments now exist; these, however, are sufficient to indicate its former prodigious strength and consequent importance as a place of defence. The town is governed by a mayor, recorder, high-steward, town clerk, murenger, coroner and other inferior officers. The body corporate consists of the mayor, twelve aldermen, and fifteen common council-men, who elect the mayor, recorder and murenger; but the high-steward and town clerk are nominated by the lord of the manor, and the office of coroner is always held by the chief magistrate of the preceding year. The petty sessions for the hundred are held here, besides the courts connected with the borough. The church is a very ancient and spacious building, with a plain, well proportioned tower at one end; the living is a vicarage, in the incumbency of the Rev. Thomas Salwey, and in the gift of Viscount Clive, who is lord of the manor, and holds courts leets and baron annually, on the Friday after the feast of St. Michael. There are four meeting-houses for dissenters, besides one for Welsh methodists, two national schools, and a free grammar school. Oswestry has been much improved within the last few years, in consequence of an act obtained in 1810, for widening, paving and lighting the streets, and by the spirit of building which has resulted from that measure. The principal trade of the town is malting, which is hervery extensive; there is also a respectable hat manufactory of Mr. Roberts; and there are abundance of coals in the vicinity of the town. Upon the little river Mordu is a manufactory of flannel; and Messrs. Croxon & Evans, of the town, trade very extensively in that article. This neighbourhood is to be remarked for its great respectability; and to the number of genteel and opulent families that it contains may, in a great measure, be attributed the prosperity of the town of Oswestry. The market-days are Wednesday and Saturday; the former is a good market for grain and other produce; the latter as the butchers’ market, a well as for other commodities of domestic consumption. The fairs are, the third Wednesday in January, March 15th, May 12th, the Wednesday before Midsummer-day, August 15th, the Friday before Michaelmas-day, and December 10th, for cattle, sheep, pigs, pedlery, &c. The parish contains twelve townships, exclusive of the town of Oswestry; the population of those several places collectively, amounted, by the census of 1821, to 3,613 persons; and the number of inhabitants in the town was 3,910, total in the entire parish 7,523.
WHITTINGTON, a parish, containing a village, once a market-town, is in the same hundred as Oswestry, two miles north-east of that town. The only object worthy observation here is the remains of a strong castle, anciently belonging to the Fitzwarrens. In 1821 the population of the parish was 1,749.
Bailey-street, OSWESTRY, William Leigh, Post Master.
- Lettersfor LONDON &c. are despatched every morning at half-past nine, and arrive at half-past three in the afternoon.
- For HOLYHEAD, letters are despatched every afternoon at a quarter past three, and arrive at half-past nine in the evening.
- To ELLESMERE, a horse post is despatched at two in the afternoon, meeting the CHESTER and LIVERPOOL Mail, and arrives at a quarter past ten in the morning.
- To LLANFYLLIN, a horse post is despatched every afternoon at a quarter before four, and arrives at eight in the morning.
Nobility, Gentry and Clergy
Academies & Schools
Not otherwise described are day schools.
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- Pigot & Co. Commercial Directory, 1835