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Facts

SHROPSHIRE

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FUN FACTS

Shropshire is the 12th largest county or metropolitan borough in England.
Shropshire has the 42nd highest population in England.
Shropshire is in 45th place for density of population.

  1. The Royal Connection
  2. Although King Charles I was executed in January 1649, the Civil War continued on and off for a few years afterwards. The final battle took place at Worcester on 3 September 1651. The Royalist forces were commanded by Charles' son, later to be Charles II of England. At the time he was still King of Scotland. The battle was a defeat for the Royalists and Charles was forced the flee the battlefield.

    Charles was then taken to Boscobel House in Shropshire. The owners were royalist supporters. When the Parliamentarian forces came looking for Charles he hid in an Oak tree and avoided capture. The tree, or a descendant, is now known as the Royal Oak. A reward of 1,000 pounds was put up for information about the whereabouts of Charles and people were told that anyone hiding the King would be killed without mercy. When he came donw from the tree, Charles spent the night in hiding in the house and was then, eventually, taken in a coal boat from Shoreham in West Sussex to France, arriving there on 15 October 1651.

    When Charles was restored to the throne, he arrived back in London on May 29th 1660, his 30th birthday, the government decided that May 29 should be a public holiday. It became known as Oak Apple Day and people would wear a sprig of oak leaves or an oak apple on their clothing. The holiday was abolished in 1859 but the day is still celebrated in some places in England. The oak was chosen to symbolise the fact that Charles hid in an oak tree.

  3. Shropshire Eats
  4. The Shrewsbury cake or Shrewsbury biscuit (definitely more biscuit-like to my trained eye) has been around for over 400 years and has evolved over the years.

    The originals were more delicate and fragile than those that are made nowadays (see inset photo). The biscuits (or cakes) can be any size, allowing you to nibble a few or feast on one large one.

    The cakes are made from dough that contains sugar, flour, egg, butter, and lemon zest. The diamond patterns across the top, apparently made with a comb, are thought to be there to make it easier, and more lady-like, to break the biscuit (it's not a cake, come on) in to smaller pieces.

  5. Shropshire VIPs
  6. Seven random people who were born in Shropshire in the last 100 years:-
    Joe Hart (Footballer), Barbara Pym (Novelist), Christine Hawley (Architect), Lizzy Clark (Actress and Campaigner), Ian Woosnam (Golfer - I thought he was Welsh), Sandy Lyle (Golfer - I thought he was Scottish) and Hotchy (YouTube Star)

  7. Now That's Weird
  8. As a general rule, the further away from the equator that you are, the colder is the weather. I know winds can also have an effect as, in England, winds blowing in from the East in winter, will almost certainly bring cold temperatures. With these two facts in mind you would therefore expect that the lowest temparature ever recorded in England would be on the East coast or right up North near the border with Scotland. If you did, you would be wrong.

    The lowest temperature ever recorded in England was -26.1 degrees centigrade (or -15 degrees Fahrenheit if you want to feel a bit warmer). It was recorded on the night of 10th January 1982 in the little village of Edgmond in Shropshire. The village has a population of just over 2,000 people, all of whom live in igloos. No they don't.

    Just for your information, the lowest temperature recorded anywhere in the United Kingdom is -27.2 degrees centigrade recorded at Altnaharra in the highlands of Scotland in December 1995 and also recorded in Braemar, also in Scotland, which had two goes in February 1895 and January 1982. Obviously they didn't believe it the first time. But why Shropshire? Weird.

  9. It Happened Here
  10. During the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century, Britain led the world in many things. In 1779 the very first iron bridge was built over the River Severn in Shropshire. Afterwards cast iron was used in many bridges, aqueducts and buildings. You can read more about it here. The bridge was closed in 1934 but a few years ago English Heritage began a massive project on the bridge to safeguard its future.

    The whole gorge, which was formed by a glacial overflow at the end of the last Ice Age, is now a World Heritage Site. The site covers an area of 5.5 sq kms. The Gorge provided the raw materials which changed industrial processes and contains the remains of mines, pit mounds, factories, workshops and many other buildings which played a massive part in the way our country, and the world, developed. It would not be wrong to say the Industrial Revolution started here.

  11. Richard Remembers
  12. At first I thought that Shropshire was yet another drive through county but then I remembered I had actually stayed there for two nights a few years back. It was a working visit and I only went out once to do some filming. We went to a very pleasant open space near Telford but I have no recollection as to the name.

    As you can see from the photo we found a woodland and some carved wooden owls with whom Owlbut tried to make friends. He wasn't very successful. The county as a whole seemed very rural although there is a ring road around Telford which managed to confuse me completely. Be warned.

  13. Owlbut's Birdwatch
  14. The Grey Heron is easy to spot with long legs, a long beak and grey, black and white feathers. They can be seen anywhere near water. They eat lots of fish but also small birds like ducklings and also voles (not if I get there first although maybe I'll let them - they are a bit big).

    In fact they can be up to 100cms long, have a wingspan of about 190cms and weigh between 1.5 and 2 kg. There are 13,000 breeding pairs in the UK but during winter five times that number may be here. As I said they have grey, black and white feathers which can look a bit straggly. Their beaks are long and powerful, mainly yellow. Their natural habitat is woodland, farmland, grassland and general wetlands, rivers, lakes and ponds.

    Richard tells me he saw his first ever heron on his first trip around England near Watersmeet House in Devon. It was sitting high up in a tree, a place where they also lay their eggs and make their nests, hopefully not in that order.

We have asked the local Tourist Board(s) for a small contribution (50 pounds) to the cost of running this project and, in anticipation of their agreement, we are providing a link to their site(s) for the next five years. I can assure you we won't see anywhere near everything when we are there, so, if you fancy taking a trip into Shropshire check it (them) out for some great information. Apart from anything else it will get you out in the fresh air, walking around and one day you might be over 70 and still enthusiastically mobile.

All figures the latest available as at July 2020