In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Shifnal like this:
SHIFFNAL, a town, a parish, a sub-district, a district, and a division, in Salop. The town stands on the Shrewsbury and Birmingham railway, at the junction of a branch-line to Madeley, 17 miles E by S of Shrewsbury: was anciently called Idesall or Idsal; belonged to Morcar the Saxon; passed to successively the Dunstanvilles, the Badlesmeres, the Bohuns, the Mortimers, and the Talbots; stood originally to the W of its church, but suffered entire destruction by fire toward the end of the 15th century; was afterwards rebuilt on its present site; consists chiefly of a single street; is a seat of petty sessions and a polling place; and has a head post-office,‡ a r. ...
station with telegraph, a banking office, a hotel, public baths, an ancient cruciform church with central tower, three dissenting chapels, a mechanics' institute, two endowed schools with £19 and £10 a year, a workhouse, and charities £50. A weekly market is held on Tuesday; fairs are held on the first Monday of April, 5 Aug., and 23 Nov.; and industry is carried on in foundries, rolling and slitting mills, blast furnaces, paper mills, and coal and iron mines. The physician Beddoes, who died in 1808, was a native. Pop. of the town in 1861, 2,046. Houses, 423.
The parish includes Priors-Lee chapelry and two townships, and comprises 11,441 acres. Real property, £48,706; of which £25,972 are in ironworks, and £73 in gasworks. Pop. in 1851 ,5,617; in 1861, 5,923. Houses, 1,150. The manor belongs to Lord Stafford. Haughton Hall, Aston Hall, Hatton Grange, and Deeker Hill are chief residences. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Lichfield. Value, £450.* Patron, the Rev. J. Brooke. The vicarage of Priors-Lee is a separate benefice.The sub-district contains four parishes and a part. Acres, 23,542. Pop., 7,849. Houses, 1,556.The district includes also Albrighton sub-district, and comprises 46,053 acres. Poor rates in 1863, £4,873. Pop. in 1851, 11,483; in 1861, 11,994. Houses, 2,376. Marriages in 1863, 101; births, 441,-of which 34 were illegitimate; deaths, 271,-of which 91were at ages under 5 years, and 8 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,083; births, 3,329; deaths, 2,149. The places of worship, in 1851, were 15 of the Church of England, with 4,700 sittings; 1 of Independents, with 400 s.; 2 of Baptists, with 314 s.; 3 of Wesleyans, with 648 s.; 1 of New Connexion Methodists, with 150 s.; and 1 of Primitive Methodists, with 30 s. The schools were 15 public day schools, with 790 scholars; 17 private day schools, with 369 s.; and 15 Sunday schools, with 1,193 s.-The division is mainly identical with the district, and forms part of Brimstree hundred. Acres, 33,489. Pop. in 1851, 9,657. Houses, 1,854.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Shifnal has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Bridgnorth. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Shifnal and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Shifnal, in Bridgnorth and Shropshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 04th March 2015
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