Shropshire, also known as Salop, is one of the most scenic counties in Britain, yet surprisingly it’s one of the least known. Located in the West Midlands in England, Shropshire has plenty of picturesque landscapes, charming small towns and villages, and open spaces allowing visitors to get away from it all, and enjoy the lovely English countryside. Take a look below for 30 fascinating and fun facts about Shropshire.
1. The administrative centre of Shropshire is Shrewsbury.
2. Truly ancient, the county town of Shrewsbury is full of wobbly-looking Tudor buildings and tiny dark passages called “shuts”.
3. After 1066, most of Shropshire was granted to Roger de Montgomerie by William the Conqueror, which helped Roger’s wealth grow so much that he is considered, in real terms, the richest man in history.
4. Whittington Castle in north Shropshire is the only community-owned castle.
5. The Duke of Norfolk, Miles Francis Stapleton Fitzalan-Howard, who also holds the title of Baron Clun owns the 13th century Clun Castle in the small town of Clun, Shropshire.
6. Humphrey Kynaston, a notorious highwayman, son of the High Sheriff of Shropshire lived in a cave in Nesscliffe. In 1491, he was convicted of murder. He was compared to Robin Hood, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor.
7. The oldest working brewery in Britain, the Three Tuns Brewery in Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire, has been brewing beer since 1642.
8. The world’s first skyscraper, Ditherington Flax Mill, is situated just outside of Shrewsbury. It’s one of the 660 listed buildings in town.
9. Built in 1797, the building was the first in the world built in the way that all skyscrapers are built now, like a multi-story iron-framed building.
10. English Parliament first gathered in Acton Burnell in Shropshire, not in London as most people think.
11. Edward the I, brought his Parliament together at a barn in the Shropshire area, which ruins can still be seen today.
12. Bridgnorth Castle’s remains lean three times more than the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy, at a huge 17-degree angle.
13. Tourism in Shropshire is worth an enormous £561 million, providing 9% of the total West Midlands tourism.
14. Over half of all Shropshire visitors come to the countryside, rather than the towns.
15. Shrewsbury’s most famous son, recently voted as one of the greatest Britons is Charles Darwin.
16. Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury on the 12th of February 1809.
17. The first-ever modern-day Olympic Games were held in Shropshire, in Much Wenlock in 1850.
18. The games were initially designed to endorse the moral, physical, and intellectual improvement of its inhabitants. The game’s success was an important factor in the creation of the international Olympic Games in 1896.
19. Henry Eckford of Wem, Shropshire is responsible for the creation of the first-ever sweet peas in 1888.
20. Besides being responsible for giving the world the Sweet Pea flower the town Wem has one of the shortest names in Britain.
21. Prince Arthur, elder brother to Henry VIII, has his heart buried at St. Lawrence Church in Ludlow, a market town in Shropshire, in a silver casket beneath the chancel. His body was buried at Worcester Cathedral.
22. Lord Hill’s column is the tallest Doric-style column in the world, 133ft tall, standing outside Shropshire County Council’s HQ at Shire Hall in Shrewsbury.
23. The coldest temperature recorded in England was in Shawbury, a village, and a civil parish in Shropshire. It was -26.1 ˚C on the 10th of January 1982.
24. Shropshire is home to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society which was founded in 1982.
25. Are you a fan of sheep steeplechasing? If you are, it’s taking place in Shropshire every day at Hoo Farm just outside Wellington, Telford.
26. Shropshire Blue cheese isn’t made in Shropshire – it’s more likely to come from Leicestershire or Nottinghamshire.
27. The south of Shropshire is a magnet for geologists.
28. Shropshire has more rocks of different ages than any area of similar size in the world, dating from 700 to 200 million years ago.
29. The world’s oldest known complete fossil was discovered in Shropshire at Caradoc, near Church Stretton.
30. Shropshire is also home to 32 castles and 25 hill forts.