Albrighton History

The Village of Albrighton, once the Borough of Albrighton dates back to Saxon times when Albric or Alberic settled here after the battle of Wednesbury in 591.    Albric and his followers formed a tun.   In the vast forest of Brewood they found a suitable site with streams, fertile ground and neighbouring tuns growing nearby, e.g., Ryton, Donington and Omphreston.   After three hundred years, there were 180 acres cultivated in strips, together with grazing for sheep.   Algar and Godhit were named as the last leaders in the tun.

After the Norman Conquest the Saxons had fled and William the Conqueror gave Shropshire to Roger de Montgomery who in turn allocated Albrighton to Normannus Venator, a forester.   Although recorded in the Domesday Book as cultivated land which had been left fallow, there were soon 480 acres under cultivation.   Most produce went to the Lord of the Manor; the surrounding forest was preserved for the King.

Albrighton was granted Borough status in 1303 on account of its remoteness from Shrewsbury; this was renewed in 1662 but seems to have lapsed by the nineteenth century.   A mace confirming its Borough status was discovered in 1948 and bought by the village from Sotherbys.

During the period up to 1500 Albrighton Manor was held by the following families; Pitchford, Tregoz, de la Warre, Troutbeck and Talbot.    The last named, after distinguishing himself in a battle in France received the Earldom of Shrewsbury.    In 1517 Sir John Talbot was in granted permission to build a watermill for grinding corn, he then created the pool, now part of the Donington Nature Reserve, by damming up the Humphreston Stream, putting in a weir and sluice gate to get a constant supply of water for the mill.    The mill was in the area now known as Clock Mills.

The Earls of Shrewsbury were the biggest landowners in Albrighton, finally selling up all their estates in December 1918, their estates totalled 1,910 acres.   Early in the 1600's button making was an industry in the manor.   Then in the 1700's clock makers moved into the Clock Mills area and John Baddley, the most famous installed the first clock at St. Mary's Church in about 1790.    Albrighton Church dates back over 800 years, the tower having been built in the 12th century.    The height was raised in 1549 to accommodate the bells; there was a low nave, the width of the tower.   The chancel and south aisle were added in the 13th century.

A big restoration took place in 1852/1853 when the nave and south aisle were restored and the north aisle and porch added.    The lych gate was erected in 1936, then in 1993 there were again significant restorations, the present church clock was given in 1872 and is a Joyce clock of Whitchurch.

Albrighton was helped in 1848 when the Shrewsbury and Birmingham Railway Company constructed the line.   The station was erected one year later in 1849.   Albrighton remained an agricultural village until the 2nd World War when it became a commuter village and a large increase in population resulted from the building of RAF Cosford in 1938.   In 1800 the population was 900; in 1900 it was 1,200 and is now over 4,000.   A grant of Approbation was made to RAF Cosford in 1998.

Gas came to Albrighton in 1868 and mains water in 1895, electricity in 1919.The Village School, a National School was built in 1856 but with the big increase in population later three further schools were built, the County Junior in 1952, the County Infants in 1956 and St. Mary's in 1968.    The village library was started in 1869, by 1898 its stock of books was 7,000 it now has facilities for computing and is an important asset to the village.   The Post Office was started in 1877 and grew in proportion to the village as did the Fire Service which was helped by the introduction of mains water.   It was originally horse drawn and was motorised in the 1920s.   Further upgrading has followed.   The Albrighton War memorial was erected in 1921 with the establishing of the Royal British Legion.   Other important dates are the opening of the by-pass in 1963 and the motorway in 1984/85.

Ernest Howells

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