This book provides a detailed history of the English village of Colwall, including its geography, economy, infrastructure, industry, and population. Colwall lies on the western slopes of the Malvern Hills, near the market town of Ledbury. The large village comprises Colwall Stone, Upper Colwall, and Colwall Green.
Discussing well-known landmarks, such as the Iron Age British Camp and the nearby mineral springs, this local history provides a narrative of the village’s development through the age of the landed gentry between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries, the agricultural era of the eighteenth century, and the development of a spa economy in the mid-nineteenth century. Industrialization changed the town, with new railway infrastructure, tunnels, and the 1892 opening of the Schweppes bottling plant at Colwall Stone. Today, Colwall’s rural location and beautiful scenery continue to attract both visitors and new residents to the town, making this text a valuable resource for tourists and locals alike.
The township of Wem lies on the North Shropshire Plain, about nine miles north of Shrewsbury. The centre of a much larger medieval manor and parish, the township consists of the small medieval market town and its immediate rural hinterland. Anglo-Saxon settlements existed in the area but the town developed from a Norman foundation, with a castle, parish church, market and water mill. The urban area of the township, ‘within the bars’, was distinguished from the rural, ‘without the bars’. Burgages were laid out, with a customary borough-hold tenure, but the borough never attained corporate status. Isolated from the main regional transport routes, Wem developed as a local centre of government and trade in agricultural produce, especially cheese. It was thrust onto the national stage in 1642 when Parliamentarians defeated a Royalist attack and held the town for the duration of the Civil War. The ‘great fire’ of 1677 then destroyed most of the medieval buildings in the town centre, leading to its predominantly Georgian and Victorian appearance today. The decline in agricultural employment and the withdrawal of services and industries from small market towns like Wem in recent decades is a challenge, met by the advantage of the railway station to residents who work elsewhere but choose the town as a place to live.