Shropshire or Salop, an inland county of the W of England, is bounded on the NW by Denbighshire, on the N by Flintshire and Cheshire, on the E by Staffordshire, on the S by Worcestershire, Herefordshire, and Radnorshire, and on the W by Montgomeryshire and Denbighshire. Its outline has numerous irregularities, but is not far from being oblong. Its boundaries are chiefly artificial. Its greatest length from N to S is 48 miles; its greatest breadth is 41 miles; its circuit is about 220 miles, and its area is 859,516 acres. Its surface has been described as "possessing every variety of natural charm, the bold and lofty mountain, the woody and secluded valley, the fertile and widely-cultured plain, the majestic river, and the sequestered lake." The N and NE half for the most part is a plain, agreeably diversified by wooded vales and a few isolated hills, while the other half, especially toward the W, assumes a resemblance to the mountainous character of Denbighshire and Montgomeryshire. The chief heights are the Wrekin, near Wellington, 1320 feet high; the Clee Hills in the SE, 1805 feet high; and the Long Mynd in the SW, 1674 feet high. The chief rivers are the Severn, bisecting the county nearly through the middle; the Vyrnwy, running on part of the western boundary to the Severn; the Tern and the Worf, running to the Severn respectively near Atcham and Bridgnorth; the Teme, running along much of the S boundary, and receiving the Clun, the Onny, and the Corve from the interior; and the Dee, running along a small part of the NW boundary. The chief lakes are Ellesmere, Whitemere, Colemere, Avesmere, and Mereton Mere. Trias rocks of various kinds prevail in the N, permian and lias rocks occupy small tracts in the N, carboniferous rocks occur in the E, Silurian and Devonian rocks prevail throughout the S, and eruptive rocks occur in some of the hills. Coal is worked chiefly in the Coalbrookdale coalfield, lying between Much Wenlock, Wellington, Lilleshall, and Shifnal, but the product has greatly diminished of recent years and shows signs of exhaustion. The Forest of Wyre, the Leebotwood, the Shrewsbury, and the Clee Hills coalfields are unproductive. Ironstone is raised chiefly in the Coalbrookdale coalfield, and is used in the ironworks of the district. Lead is found in the western portion of the county, the most prolific mine being the Snailbeach, near Minsterley. Lead-mining was probably carried on here by the Romans. Copper is worked to a slight extent near Grimshill. Limestone of quality resembling marble, is quarried near Oswestry, Ludlow, and Orton; slate at Selattyn, Purslow, and Clun; and good building-stone at Grimshill and other places.
The soils are prevailingly light and sandy in the N, and loamy or clayey in the middle, and generally are fertile. The chief crops are wheat, barley, pease, turnips, and grasses, and subordinate crops in some places are oats and hops. The meadows near the Severn are very fertile. Excellent dairies are in the parts nearest the great towns of Staffordshire, but the dairies in other parts are inconsiderable. The cattle reared for the market are of the improved Leicester, Lancaster, and Cheshire breeds, and those on the dairy-lands are of mixed breeds. The sheep are generally of no particular breed, yet include a peculiar horned kind similar to the Southdown. Horses of good quality are bred. Large hogs are fattened, and turkeys are bred. Many fine orchards are in numerous parts, particularly in the S, and plantations of oak, ash, and beech are aggregately considerable. Estates and farms in general are well divided, but some are very small.
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Archives and Libraries
We have a database containing transcripts of marriage records for some parishes in Shropshire.
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
List of Registration Districts in Shropshire from 1837 to 1974.
Directories & Gazetteers
The Historical Directories web site have a number of directories relating to Shropshire online, including:
Kelly's, Pigot, Slater, etc.
Old map of Shropshire circa 1848 (Samuel Lewis)
Old map of Shropshire circa 1895 (Gazetteer of England and Wales)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Shropshire newspapers online:
- Shrewsbury Chronicle
- Wellington Journal
- Eddowes's Journal, and General Advertiser for Shropshire, and the Principality of Wales
- Ludlow Advertiser
- Salopian Journal
Parishes and places
The towns and parishes have now been moved to a separate page.
The Visitation of Shropshire, 1623 is available on the Heraldry page.