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The Treacle Mine seems to be closed - geograph.org.uk - 1439733.jpg
Wem High Street.
Grid reference: SJ514289
Location: 52°51’20"N, 2°43’30"W
Population: 5,142
Post town: Shrewsbury
Postcode: SY4
Dialling code: 01939
Local Government
Council: Shropshire
North Shropshire

Wem is a small market town in Shropshire, standing nine miles to the north of Shropshire's county town, Shrewsbury. Wem is on the rail line between Shrewsbury and Crewe in Cheshire.

Wem's civil parish is named Wem Urban. A separate one in the surrounding countryside is named Wem Rural. None of Wem is really urban.

The River Roden flows to the south of the town. The Shropshire Way long distance waymarked path passes through Wem.


William Hazlitt's house

The name of the town is derived from the Old English Wamm, meaning "marsh", as marshy land exists in the area of the town.

The town is recorded in the Domesday Book as consisting of four manors. In 1202, Wem became a market town.[1]

Wem supported the Parliamentarians in the Civil War, and was subject to an attack by Lord Capel, in which the town held off the attackers. In 1677, a fire destroyed many of the wooden buildings in the town.[1]

Within the town the sweet pea was first commercially cultivated, under the variety named Eckford Sweet Pea, after its inventor, nursery-man Henry Eckford. He first introduced a variety of the sweet pea in 1882, and set up in Wem in 1888, developing and producing many more varieties. There is a road to signify the Eckford name, called Eckford Park (within Wem). Each year, the Eckford Sweet Pea Society of Wem hold a sweet pea festival. In Victorian times, the town was widely known as "Wem, where the sweet peas grow".

Brewing, initially a 'cottage industry', was carried out in Wem as early as 1700, when Richard Gough wrote of a contemporary in his History of Myddle a Latin aphorism he translated: Let slaves admire base things, but my friend still/My cup and can with Wem's stoute ale shall fill.[2] By 1900[3] a Shrewsbury and Wem Brewery Company traded on a widespread scale after acquiring the brewery in Noble Street previously run by Charles Henry Kynaston.[4] The company was taken over in turn by Greenall Whitley & Co Ltd[5] but the brewery was closed in 1988.[6]


St Peter and St Paul

Wem has four main churches, of which the oldest is the Parish Church, St Peter and St Paul.

  • Church of England: St Peter and St Paul
  • Baptist
  • Methodist
  • Roman Catholic

Events and leisure

Each year Wem holds a traditional town carnival on the first Saturday of September, as well as the Sweet Pea Festival.

Hawkstone Park is nearby.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Wem)


  1. 1.0 1.1 "History of Wem". Wem. http://www.wem.gov.uk/history.html. Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  2. Woodward, Iris (1976). The Story of Wem and its Neighbourhood. Wilding's, Shrewsbury. p. 18. Gough's book was not published until 19th century.
  3. Kelly's Directory of Shropshire. Kelly's. 1900. pp. 269, 333. 
  4. Kelly's Directory of Shropshire. Kelly's. 1895. pp. 253, 312. 
  5. Woodward, Iris. The Story of Wem and its Neighbourhood. p. 114. 
  6. "End of Era for Brewery". Shropshire Star. 22 July 1987.