The Shrewsbury Arms
Albrighton is a large village (with a population 4,157 at the 2001 census) in Shropshire, 11 miles from Bridgnorth. It stands close the county's eastern edge, a little to the northwest of Wolverhampton (across in Staffordshire) and is serves as a commuter village for that city.
The village has a railway station, which is on the Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton Line. Close are is RAF Cosford and the M54 motorway.
The name 'Albrighton' is found in the Domesday Book as Albricston, from the Old English Ælfbrihtes tun, meaning Alfbriht's village.
Albrighton received a charter in 1303, which was renewed in 1662 not as an honour but for judicial pragmatism. The charter declared that because Albrighton adjoins Staffordshire on the east, south and west sides, felons and other malefactors had fled Staffordshire to escape prosecution because there was no resident justice of the peace in that part of Shropshire.
The parish church, dedicated to St Mary Magdalene was completed in around 1181, and some rebuilding work was done in 1853. It is built of red sandstone in the Norman style. The church contains an alabaster monument to Sir Craig Wilson, as well as the Albrighton Mace donated to the village in 1663, by Lady Mary Talbot. The east window of the church dates from the 14th century.
The High Street has not been altered too much over the years. The half timbered inns, Georgian facades and lime trees still make the street picturesque. Some sources say the lime trees were planted in the 19th century by a Dr Orson Bidwell, others say a former Earl of Shrewsbury was responsible. In all probability both of them planted trees and so may many other people if a tree was damaged or failed. The diary of John Howell, tenant farmer of Beamish and House Farm gives the year of planting as 1832.
For most of the 14th century and into the 15th the manor of Albrighton, together with Ryton-XI-Towns, was held by the Carles, Careles or Careless family. The Carles were connected by marriage to the Lestranges (Lords Strange of Blackmere) and the Talbots. Albrighton left the control of this family with the marriage of an heiress to a member of the Corbet family in the reign of Henry VI.
The Earl of Shrewsbury is the premier Earl of England and, until 1918, was the biggest land owner in Albrighton. They were originally the Talbot family (later Chetwynd-Talbot), many of whom are buried in Albrighton Church.
Early in the 17th century, Albrighton was noted for making buttons and then in the 18th century clock making flourished. By 1880 it was bricks, but by and large, agriculture was the main industry before the building of the railways.
Albrighton was granted Borough status in 1303 on account of its remoteness from Shrewsbury. That was renewed in 1662 but it seemed to lapse again by the 19th century. A Mace confirming its borough status was discovered for auction at Sotheby's and this was purchased for £359 in 1948. The money was raised by local subscription under the guidance and perseverance of the Rev E E Wright.
A small jail and stocks stood somewhere near to the Crown, whilst a room above it was used for various village meetings and transactions. There was also a Toll House nearby. A press article in 1884 discussing the history of the village's regular fairs stated that they were 'held on a wide open space called the Cross, where the cross roads are in the middle of the [village]. The Market Hall stood in the midst of the space, with the lock-up under it, and the stocks and pinfold close by. Rev. Blakeway's drafts of his History of Albrighton (c.1810-1814) mentions that the Market House 'stands in the middle of the [village] and has two arches'. It is not known when the Toll Shop/House and Market Hall/House were demolished. The Rev Wright thought the buildings were more likely to be on the area of the village green but none of the early tithe maps show these buildings.
The village green was much more important in the first half of 20th century. At the time of the First World War there were swings on it, political meetings were held there, and once an evangelist lady spent three days a year in a caravan giving out leaflets and talking to people.
The population of Albrighton in 1800 was 900. In 1900 it was 1200 and was still on 1230 by 1931. Today it is over 4000.
Gas came to Albrighton in 1868 and the Gasometer was at the side of the railway goods yard. The Cosford Waterworks were established in 1857 and water was first supplied to the village in 1895. Electricity came in 1919 initially on overhead poles and later, during the 1950s, the cables were put underground.
About the village
The village has four pubs: The Crown, The Old Bush, The Shrewsbury Arms and The Harp.
Social clubs include:
- Albrighton Sports and Social Club
- Albrighton and District Rotary Club
- Albrighton Cricket Club
- Albrighton Tennis Club
- Royal British Legion
- Albrighton Bowling Club
The Albrighton Village Park has been enrolled as a Queen Elizabeth II Field.
| ("Wikimedia Commons" has material|
- Antiquities of Shropshire, Vol II, (1855) London, pp. 157–159