Wellington is rich in history with its name most likely derived from that of a Saxon settler – Weola – whose farmstead would have been located somewhere in the centre of town, possibly near The Green. A church has stood near that site for almost 1000 years and a priest is mentioned in the Domesday Book. The original churchyard still remains.
In medieval times Wellington was known as ‘Wellington under The Wrekin’ – which perfectly illustrates its intrinsic link with the mighty Wrekin, which dominates the skyline. The Wrekin is the spiritual heart of Shropshire and Wellington is proud to have been the key market town in the centre of the county. The town blossomed thanks to its famous market and boasts a town centre rich in historical architecture mainly of the Georgian period, but with the medieval ‘lanes’ – Bell Street, Crown Street and Duke Street – indicating its importance as a more ancient commercial centre.
Wellington Charter Market
Wellington Mural Trail
Made in Wellington
Wellington is proud to call itself a town of makers – a place with a long history of craftsmanship and creativity, and home to a host of modern-day makers offering a welcome antidote to all things mediocre and mass-produced.
Victoria County History of Shropshire has completed lots of research over the last 30 years and from this we have found out lots about Wellington’s historic makers and the things they made from medieval craftsmen to Victorian manufactures.
The trades and industries that historically were made in Wellington in many ways are what made Wellington the town it is today. Historical research tells us that not only was Wellington the home of the main crafts and industries but like most market towns the list dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries included skinners and shoemakers, gunsmiths and glovers, rope-makers and pipe-makers. A century later the trade directories tell us of cutlers, clock makers, jewellers, milliners, stone masons and more. The biggest change occurred during the 19th century, when workshops grew into factories and turned this middle-ranking market town into an important centre for manufacturing in Shropshire
This time capsule, which is furnished with original wallpapers, Maw’s tiles and gold medal winning fireplaces, transports you back to the pre-First World War ‘country house’ lifestyle. Packed full with everyday items belonging to the families who lived here, you can feel the familiarity and comfort of this home as well as the features of a grander house, such as the Billiard Room, Drawing Room and impressive Staircase Hall.
The 5 acres of garden is complete with glass houses, conservatory, kennels, pigsties and stables and is perfect for a wander or a game of croquet. An Edwardian tea-room serves refreshments.
Although no longer a fort The Wrekin became part of a Royal Forest during Saxon and Norman times. The Normans tried to rename the hill Mount Gilbert (after a local hermit), but the name refused to stick and the people all around insisted on still calling it The Wrekin.
There are many folk lore stories about The Wrekin involving giants and devils. Legend has it that The Wrekin was created by a disgruntled giant who had been planning on damming the Severn to flood Shrewsbury, on his way he met a canny Cobbler who persuaded him that Shrewsbury was still a long way off – “enough to wear down all these shoes” – so the giant dropped his spadesful, forming The Wrekin, and turned back for home.
It’s believed Wellington was chosen as a site roughly a day’s march from Shrewsbury where the King could be assured of a loyal audience. The identity of the field in question has never been confirmed but the Charlton family’s ancient seat of Apley Castle, on the western outskirts of Wellington, is the most likely.
Apley was garrisoned at a very early point in the conflict and several skirmishes and minor battles took place there during the course of the war.
Pictured: Coin to commemorate the Wellington Declaration; photo credit Heritage Auctions, HA.com