Large tree in foreground with views of hills and open landscape

Fascinating facts

Shropshire: fascinating facts

Not only is Shropshire a first choice location for enterprise and one of England’s few remaining rural idylls, but it is also a county with a rich historical, architectural, geological, botanical and sporting past. For instance, did you also know that….

  • Shrewsbury in Shropshire houses the tallest Doric Column in England. Situated outside the Shropshire Council offices, standing at 133 ft 6 in (40.7 m), it commemorates Rowland Hill, 1st Viscount Hill, with a 17 ft (5.2 m) tall statue standing on the top of the column. Built between 1814 and 1816, the column’s  diameter is 2 ft (0.6 m) wider than Nelson’s Column, and, not including the pedestal, is 15 ft (4.6 m) higher.
  • Shropshire is home to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. Founded in 1982 the Society offers help and advice to those with sick, injured or orphaned hedgehogs. It’s patrons include Ann Widdecombe, Ben Fogle, Chris Beardshaw, CJ de Mooi, John Challis, Sir Ken Dodd, Lorna Watson & Twiggy Lawson.
  • Shropshire can boast 32 castles and 25 hillforts
  • The heart of Henry VIII’s older brother Arthur is buried in St Laurence Church in historic Ludlow beneath the chancel.  The rest of his body was interred at Worcester Cathedral.
  • Newport in Shropshire recorded the coldest temperature ever in England on 10th January 1982 :  minus 26 degrees centigrade
  • Shropshire is home to the world’s first skyscraper. Ditherington Flax Mill, on the outskirts of Shrewsbury, was the first multi-storey iron-framed building – and therefore the forerunner of every skyscraper and tower block in the world. Built in 1797 there are plans for its redevelopment and it is one of 660 listed buildings in the town.
  • The first-ever modern day Olympic Games were held in Shropshire. To be precise, Much Wenlock in 1850. The brainchild of Dr Brookes, the games were originally designed to promote the moral, physical and intellectual improvement of the inhabitants of the town and its neighbourhood. Their success was a major factor in the creation of the international Olympic Games in 1896.
  • Charles Darwin is Shrewsbury’s most famous son and was recently voted as one of the greatest Britons. The naturalist and author of “The Origin of Species” was born in Shrewsbury on 12 February 1809.
  • Three international airports are just over an hour’s drive of Shropshire: Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.
  • Shropshire is sandwiched between two world heritage sites (Ironbridge Gorge and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct).
  • The Shropshire Hills are designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) and over around a quarter of the County’s area.
  • Shropshire is home to the Müller Dairy, which is based in Market Drayton in the north-east of the county – and 90% of the milk used in production comes from within 30 miles of the dairy. Their TV adverts regularly showcase our beautiful countryside and the first was shown in September 2008.
  • All three of the West Midlands business support functions for the food and drink industry are within the county of Shropshire, making it the best place to start up, expand or relocate your food and drink business.
  • Besides having one of the shortest names in Britain, the Shropshire town of Wem is also responsible for giving the world the Sweet Pea flower.
  • The castle keep at Bridgnorth leans at a seventeen-degree angle. This is three times further than the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
  • Shrewsbury boasts the tallest town crier in the world, at 7ft 2in, and now also has the tallest MP in the United Kingdom: Daniel Kawczynski is 6ft 8.5in tall.
  • Most of Shropshire was granted to Roger De Montgomerie by William the Conqueror after 1066, which helped Roger’s wealth grow so much that he is considered, in real terms, the richest man in history.
  • Shropshire, particularly the south of the county, is something of a magnet for geologists. There are more rocks of different ages here than any area of similar size in the world (dating from 700 to 200 million years ago). Places like Ludlow and Wenlock Edge have even given their names to geological periods. The world’s oldest known complete fossil was also discovered in Shropshire at Caradoc, near Church Stretton.
  • Fenn’s Whixall Moss National Nature Reserve is an internationally important designated wildlife site and is one of the most southerly lowland raised bogs in Britain; and, at 948 hectares (2,340 acres) it is also the third largest.
  • Wartime blockbuster Atonement, (2007) starring Keira Knightly and James McAvoy was partly filmed in Stokesay Court in Onibury, which was used for the Tallis home in the movie.
  • The country’s only community-owned castle is Whittington Castle in north Shropshire.