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Market Drayton is a market town in north Shropshire, England, close to the Welsh and Staffordshire border. It is on the River Tern, between Shrewsbury and Stoke-on-Trent, and was formerly known as "Drayton in Hales" (c. 1868) and earlier simply as "Drayton" (c. 1695). Market Drayton is on the Shropshire Union Canal and on Regional Cycle Route 75. The A53 road by-passes the town. The counties of Staffordshire and Cheshire are both close by.

Market Drayton
Tudor House Hotel, at the corner of Cheshire Street and Shropshire Street.
Market Drayton is located in Shropshire
Market Drayton
Market Drayton
Market Drayton shown within Shropshire
Population 11,773 (2011)[1]
OS grid reference SJ673321
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district TF9
Dialling code 01630
Police West Mercia
Fire Shropshire
Ambulance West Midlands
EU Parliament West Midlands
UK Parliament
List of places
52°54′16″N 2°29′05″W / 52.9044°N 2.4848°W / 52.9044; -2.4848Coordinates: 52°54′16″N 2°29′05″W / 52.9044°N 2.4848°W / 52.9044; -2.4848

In 1245 King Henry III granted a charter for a weekly Wednesday market, giving the town its current name. The market is still held every Wednesday.[2]

An electoral ward in the same name exists.



In 1965, sausage maker Palethorpe's built a new factory employing 400 people in the town. Purchased by Northern Foods in 1990, the company was merged with Bowyers of Trowbridge, Wiltshire and Pork Farms of Nottingham to form Pork Farms Bowyers. The sausage brand was sold in 2001 to Kerry Group, but the factory remains open to this day as the town's largest employer. It produces various meat based and chilled food products, under both the Pork Farms brand and for third parties, including Asda.

Müller Dairy have a factory making yogurts. The town is also the home of Tern Press, a highly respected and collectible small press publisher of poetry. Image on Food also makes local gingerbread.

New canalside development

Recent developments in the local service industry include the retailers Argos, Wilko and B & M which have all brought new employment to the town. It is widely considered[by whom?] to be the "Home of Gingerbread".

Supplied by a pure water source running under the town, two breweries operated in the town during the early 20th century. In 2000, Steve Nuttall started a microbrewery, Joule's Brewery Ltd, a revival of a previous Joule's Brewery at Stone, Staffordshire which had been discontinued in 1974. The new company bought the 16th century Red Lion, a pub that formerly belonged to the earlier company, where the brewery was built, completed in 2010. It produces three core ales on the site as well as a number of seasonal beers.[3]

St Mary's ChurchEdit

St. Mary's Church from the south

The church stands on the top of a prominent outcrop of red sandstone rock above the River Tern. The Domesday Book describes "A Priest in Drayton", and there was likely a wooden Saxon church on the same site prior to the construction of the present Norman stone building, which dates to 1150.[2]

In 1201 Pope Innocent III forbade the weekly market which had traditionally taken place in the churchyard after the Sunday morning service. As a result, the market moved northwards a few hundred yards, to its present site in the town. In the 1320s major building work was undertaken in the church. In the Georgian era galleries and box pews were added, but in the 1880s these were removed.[2]

The church boasts some fine stained glass. The west window, depicting Queen Victoria, is by Shrigley and Hunt. The east window, showing the Resurrection of Jesus, is by Charles Eamer Kempe (1837–1907). Other Kempe windows are in the south west corner of the nave, depicting Jesus healing the blind near Jericho, raising Lazarus from the dead, and healing the paralytic at Bethesda, and at the north east corner: the flight into Egypt and Presentation of Jesus at the Temple.[2]

The Corbet family, who were lords of the manor and church patrons, are memorialised in several locations in the church. A brass plaque with the Corbet coat of arms serves as a monument to Rowland Corbet (d.1560). Above this is a monument to Dame Alice Corbet (d.1682), who bore twenty children.[2]

The original organ was installed in 1805, and was replaced after 1866. At one time the current organ blocked the view of the altar, but the pipes have since been moved to behind the reredos and the console to the north side of the chancel.[2]

External featuresEdit

The exterior of the church, largely rebuilt and restored in the late 19th century, consists of red sandstone ashlar with some grey sandstone in tower.[4][5] The angle-buttressed tower features battlements that were added in the 16th century and crocketed corner pinnacles from the 19th century. St Mary's has a peal of eight bells, the oldest of which dates to 1700. The tenor bell weighs 1,960 lb (890 kg) and the treble 616 lb (279 kg).[2]

The Norman arch over the main west door is the only remaining part of the original stone church. Early in the 14th century the doorway was incorporated into the superstructure; the large west window above the door features ornate and elaborately patterned stonework typical of the period. Robert Clive, who attended the nearby Old Grammar School in the 1730s, is said to have once climbed out onto one of the tower's carved gargoyles.[2][5]

Buntingsdale ChapelEdit

The chapel has been long associated with the owners of Buntingsdale Hall - especially the Bulkleys, the Mackworths, the Tayleurs and again the Macworths. The part converted into the choir vestry lies over the old family vaults. The paintings by Parry (late 20th century) depict Man's search for God and (on the reverse) Seasons of Faith.[6]

War memorialsEdit

The church contains a "Chapel of the Resurrection", a side chapel dedicated, refurnished and panelled in memory of the parish war dead of both of the 20th century's world wars. It has a huge brass memorial tablet unveiled after the First World War and a set of kneelers bearing service badges of the regiments in which those commemorated served. To the right of the main chancel arch are plaques to Major Charles Egerton Hugh Harding (died 1917) and Second Lieutenant John Aleric Everard Upton (killed in the Battle of the Somme 1916), while on the chancel's south wall is a plaque to Lieutenant Charles Henry Lycett Warren, killed at the Siege of Lucknow 1857.[7]

Sites of interestEdit

Ancient local sites include Audley's Cross, Blore Heath and several Neolithic standing stones. "The Devil's Ring and Finger" is a notable site 3 miles (5 km) from the town at Mucklestone. These are across the county boundary in neighbouring Staffordshire.

St. Mary's Hall plaque

The Old Grammar School, in St. Mary's Hall, directly to the east of the church, was founded in 1555 by Rowland Hill, the first Protestant Mayor of London. Former pupils include Robert Clive, and a school desk with the initials "RC" may still be seen in the town.

The great fire of Drayton destroyed almost 70% of the town in 1651. It was started at a bakery, and quickly spread through the timber buildings. The buttercross in the centre of the town still has a bell at the top for people to ring if there was ever another fire.

Other notable landmarks in the area include: Pell Wall Hall, Adderley Hall, Buntingsdale Hall, Salisbury Hill, Tyrley Locks on the Shropshire Union Canal and the Thomas Telford designed aqueduct. Fordhall Farm has 140 acres (0.57 km2) of community-owned[clarification needed] organic farmland located off the A53 between the Müller and Tern Hill roundabouts. The farm trail is open to the public during farm shop opening hours, and on the path is the site of Fordhall Castle, an ancient motte and bailey structure which overlooks the River Tern valley.

To the south-east near the A529 an 18th-century farmhouse stands on the site of Tyrley Castle, which was probably built soon after 1066 and later rebuilt in stone in the 13th century.

Nantwich & Market Drayton Railway Society - Meeting regularly in Market Drayton. Details

Notable residentsEdit

Povey familyEdit

Thomas Povey, the colonial civil servant and friend of Samuel Pepys, was a Londoner, but a branch of his family lived at Woodseaves, near Market Drayton; the most prominent member of this branch of the family was Sir John Povey, (1621–1679) Lord Chief Justice of Ireland 1673-79.

Robert CliveEdit

Nearby at Styche Hall [8] is the birthplace of Robert Clive, first Lord Clive, "Clive of India", (1725–1774). The Georgian house, designed by Sir William Chambers, the architect of Somerset House, replaced the half-timbered house where Clive was born. It was built for his father and paid for by Clive from the income from his Indian career.

Samuel BourneEdit

The town was the birthplace of pioneering photographer Samuel Bourne (1834–1912). He is known for his prolific seven years' work in India 1863–70;[9] there he founded a major studio, Bourne & Shepherd, trekked into and photographed many of the remotest parts of India and, with his printer Charles Shepherd, became the most notable photographer of the Raj.

Oswald MosleyEdit

The 1930s British fascist leader Oswald Mosley (1896 – 1980) was allegedly born nearby at Betton Hall, the home of his mother's parents, although officially established to have been born in London.[10][11] When his parents separated, Oswald and his brother went with their mother to live in Smithfield Road. Mosley attended a dame school in Shropshire Street (now Beechtree House).[citation needed] Apart from holidays he never lived in Drayton again.

Mosley was deeply ashamed of the family's reduced circumstances and he did everything to hide the years in Drayton. Their middle class status contrasted with the huge estate of his paternal grandparents in Staffordshire. Years later, following the death of their mother, he obtained her diaries from his brother and burned them. In the 1930s, at the height of his notoriety, he returned to the town, where he held a meeting in the square.[citation needed]


  • John Lewis (1855–1926), football referee and a founder of Blackburn Rovers F.C., was born at Market Drayton
  • Reginald Heber Macaulay (born in Hodnet 1858 – 1937) was an amateur English footballer who won the FA Cup with Old Etonians in 1882 and made one appearance for England in 1881 playing as a forward.
  • Arthur Morris (footballer) (1882–1945) was an English professional footballer who played in the Football League for Birmingham
  • Harold Emerton Edge (born Market Drayton 1892 – 1944) an English cricketer, a right-handed batsman who bowled medium pace

Other notable residentsEdit

  • Elizabeth Wriothesley, Countess of Southampton (1572 – 1655) was one of the chief ladies-in-waiting to Elizabeth I of England in the later years of her reign.
  • Mary Cholmondeley (born in Hodnet 1859 – 1925) was an English novelist. Her best-selling novel, (published in 1899) Red Pottage, satirised religious hypocrisy and the narrowness of country life. It was adapted into a silent film in 1918.
  • Stephen Morrey (1880 – 1921) was an English-born merchant, farmer and political figure in Saskatchewan. Morrey owned a hardware business in Market Drayton.


Market Drayton has four schools:

Grove School is a large secondary school of about 1,100 pupils, all of whom live within 12 miles (19 km) of the town.


Currently, Arriva provides a local bus service to Shrewsbury, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Hanley (as services 64 and 164). Beginning on 7 September 2012 Bennett's Travel Cranberry Ltd run an evening service 164 to Hanley on Fridays and Saturdays with a day service to Newcastle under Lyme on Sunday. Arriva used to provide services 341/342 to Wellington from Monday to Saturday, but this was stopped in August 2016, due to the council withdrawing funds[12].

Shropshire Council also run a number of bus services under the 'ShropshireLink' brand in addition to the 301 and 302 Market Drayton Town Services.

Market Drayton had a railway station which opened in 1863 and closed during the Beeching cuts in 1963. The railway station was located on the Nantwich to Wellington line of the Great Western Railway network and was also the terminus of the Newcastle-under-Lyme line of the North Staffordshire Railway network.


Market Drayton Town F.C. play on Greenfields Sports Ground in Market Drayton, which has capacity for 1,000 spectators.

Market Drayton Tennis Club is also based at Greenfields and has three all weather floodlit courts; the club plays in a number of Shropshire leagues.

Twin townsEdit

Market Drayton is twinned with:[13]



  1. ^ "Town population 2011". Retrieved 28 November 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "History". Retrieved 15 October 2016. 
  3. ^ "Cheers as brewery marks its success, Business with roots in medieval past now one of county's biggest". Shropshire Star. 29 July 2016. p. 16. Report by James Pugh.
  4. ^ Newman, John (2006). Shropshire. Yale University Press. p. 393. ISBN 0-300-12083-4. 
  5. ^ a b Church Of Saint Mary, Market Drayton Shropshire History
  6. ^ "Welcome to St Mary's Church, Marker Drayton." Leaflet in church.
  7. ^ Francis, Peter (2013). Shropshire War Memorials, Sites of Remembrance. Logaston Press. p. 148. ISBN 978-1-909644-11-3. 
  8. ^ Website of Historic England retrieved Jan 2017
  9. ^ Photographs of India. circa 1862 - circa 1872 - Samuel Bourne Biography Cambridge University Library.
  10. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 39. Oxford University Press. 2004. p. 469. Article by Maurice Skidelsky. Birth home stated to be 47 Hill Street, Mayfair.
  11. ^ General Register Office Index of Births in England and Wales for October, November and December 1896 (Registration district: St George, Hanover Square, Middlesex), p. 399 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Arlon Twinning on Council site Archived 3 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine.

External linksEdit