Shrewsbury Town Walls (13th Century)
- HER Number (PRN): 01095
- Site Name : Shrewsbury Town Walls (13th Century)
- Protected Status:
Grade: Ref No.: 1003709 Title: Town wall section W of Belmont Crescent Type: Scheduled Monument
- Protected Status:
Grade: Ref No.: 1003715 Title: Title not entered Type: Scheduled Monument
- Protected Status:
Grade: Ref No.: 1003710 Title: Town wall section E of Belmont Crescent Type: Scheduled Monument
- Protected Status:
Grade: II* Ref No.: 1254934 Title: TOWN WALLS Type: Listed Building
- Protected Status:
Grade: II Ref No.: 1271331 Title: TOWN WALL TO SOUTH OF NUMBERS 3-10 Type: Listed Building
- Civil Parish:
- Grid Reference: SJ 49 12
- Related Monuments:
- Brief Description: Scheduled Monument and Listed Building: Shrewsbury's 13th century town walls, including a number of surviving sections, some Scheduled or Listed.
- Description: A synthesis of the history and course of the Town Wall has not yet been compiled. PAW 14/11/90.
LB desc: Beeches Lane section: Begun in 1226 for Henry III. Red sandstone ashlar in large blocks, c 3m high.; two buttresses to west with chamfered plinths and moulded weatherings, and the base of a third. Continues eastwards as base of north Wall of Severn House (not itself listed.) <14>
LB desc: Town Walls section: A substantial part of the C13 town wall remains, the street known as Town Walls being laid across the top of it. Built of sandstone with rampart and raised steps and buttresses. Overlooking bank sloping to river. Begun by Henry III in 1226 <15>
LB desc (1995): Remains of medieval town wall and attached building, St Mary's Water Lane .
Remains of wall and building. Probably C13 and later. Coursed and squared red sandstone. Length of wall originally part of city wall which also forms the long wall of a single-storey building with low pitched Welsh slate roof. Remains of carved finial at apex of gable, but no orginal openings.
In 1989 two evaluation trenches were excavated by BUFAU in advance of the proposed development of the Nurses Home site at c SJ4937 1265. Three walls, F1, F12 and F4 were revealed, one of which was probably the C13 town wall <19>
In 1987 a deep pit was excavated by contractors involved in the construction of the Charles Darwin centre at the rear of No 23 Pride Hill. It was dug against the SW corner of the standing building and cut through a mass of purple Keele Beds sandstone rubble set in a greenish gritty mortar, at a distance of c 32.5m from the street frontage. The stonework and its matrix were identical to the core material of the C13 town wall observed and excavated at three other sites in the area <20>
In November 1993 the SCC AS carried out a watching brief on the site of the new Records and Research centre. A wide ditch revealed in the lower terrace of the development site, curving south westwards from c SJ 4933 1284 to SJ 4931 1282 may represent a section of the town ditch now thought to have run outside the line of the thirteenth century town walls in the Roushill area <38>
In 1993, Baker, Lawson et al depicted two variants on the course of the wall from that marked on the SMR Record map in one of their figures illustrating the development of the plot pattern in Raven Meadows <38>
In 1993 the Oxford Archaeological Unit carried out an evaluation of the St Julian's Friars area on the site of a proposed development. Trench 10 centred at SJ 4950 1228 was intended to locate the town wall as projected from previous sightings to the W. Most deposits down to 50.4 were late, and they dipped across the line of the town ditch, the upper fills of which contained C18 finds. A wall probably revetted the outer edge of the ditch at this period. There was a C14 English jetton in the primary silt. The masonry of the town wall was encountered at OD 50.2 and survived to two courses of ashlar plus one offset course on the outside face. ...The town wall was built on a silty clay, with C13 pottery, overlying an alluvial silt. Trench 8 centred at SJ 4955 1229 had been rotated N/S in order to cross the projected line of the town wall exposed in Trench 10, but instead only encountered layers of post medieval fill. It appears that the wall line at trench 10 could be following the relict profile of a bank on the alluvial surface. ...This excavated section of wall can be seen as providing a defence in the early C13 for what had previously been only a suburb. The failure to locate the wall in Trench 8 indicates that it had returned N before this point.....The property boundary visible on early maps forming the E side of No 46 Wyle Cop may indicate the line of the wall here. The substantial ditch found immediately outside the town wall in Trench 10 is assumed to have been an integral part of the medieval defensive system. A grant of land made in 1303/4 refers to all that place behind the walls called la Mote of the said walls down as far as the Severn next to the tenement of the friars minor, i.e. the Greyfriars. The OAU report proposed that the town ditch followed the wall when it turned N, and argued for the existence of channel to it from the river, forming a wharf for barges. This would have been in the vicinity of the site of the Kennings garage, formerly the Barge Garage, itself built on the site of the Barge Inn. See SA 4716 <39>
The town walls date from the 13th century (though earlier phases of town defences for Shrewsbury have been suggested, little is known about these). In 1218 Henry III ordered the townsmen to strengthen and enclose the town. Many repairs and alterations were subsequently made and are evidenced in the documents <40>
Where the 13th century town wall has been identified, it has a number of distinctive characteristics. It was constructed of red and purple sandstone blocks bonded in a greenish, gritty mortar, was of about 1.8m width and had a chamfered plinth course near the base of its outer face [<5>] <44>
The early defences of the town had relied primarily on the river, with its limited crossing points, and the castle to guard the narrow land access to the north. With the unrest at the beginning of the 13th century the town was provided with a defensive circuit consisting of a stone wall with an external ditch. This work was finished by 1242, when rights of murage are first recorded and excess stone was granted to the Dominican Friars. Where they have been investigated archaeologically, the preparation works for the building of the wall removed all earlier deposits and features. A clay bank up to 7 feet high and 30 feet wide was created - though this could conceivably be of an earlier period than the wall itself. The wall was 4.5 feet (1.37m) thick and had a rubble core. Its external face had a chamfered plinth which varied in height from 2 feet to 2.5 feet (0.61m-0.76m), stepping down to conform to the slope. An original wall height of 15 to 20 feet has been postulated. By the 15th century, however, timber framed houses were being built behind and on the wall, and some parts of the wall, behind Pride Hill and Castle Street, had beed demolished and reused as foundations for town houses. This may have been a result of the pacification of Wales, after which Shrewsbury's strategic importance declined <45>
- Record Type: Monument
(00) Card index: Shropshire County Council SMR. Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards. SMR record cards. SMR Card for PRN SA 01095. (01) Card index: Ordnance Survey. 1960. Ordnance Survey Record Card SJ41SE47 . Ordnance Survey record cards. SJ41SE47 . (02) Field Monument Warden Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC). 1986. Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 21039. (03) Monograph: Carver Martin O H (ed). 1983. Two Town Houses in Medieval Shrewsbury. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Vol 61. p5-45. (04) Field Monument Warden Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC). 1987-Oct-26. Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 33231 (26/10/1987). (05) Article in serial: Barker Philip A. 1960. Excavations on the Town Wall, Roushill. Medieval Archaeol. Vol 5. p181-210. (06) Volume: Anon. 1909/ 1912. Transactions of the Caradoc & Severn Valley Field Club. Trans Caradoc Severn Valley Fld Club. Vol 5. p175-190. (07) Article in serial: Beaumont H. 1956. Article in the Archaeological Journal. Archaeol J. Vol 113. p191. (08) Article in serial: Drinkwater C H. 1883. The Inner Wall of Shrewsbury. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 1, Vol VI (=Vol 6). p257-267. (09) Article in serial: Radford C A R. 1957/ 1960. The Medieval Defences of Shrewsbury'. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Vol 56. p15-20. (10) Monograph: Pevsner Nikolaus. 1958. Buildings of England (Shropshire). Buildings of England. p284. (11) Monograph: Forrest H E. 1911. Old Houses of Shrewsbury. p32-33. (12) Article in serial: Carver Martin O H. 1973/ 1974. Early Shrewsbury - An Archaeological definition in 1975. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Vol 59. Pt 3, p225-263. p251. (13) Manuscript: Smith J T. 1953. Shrewsbury: Topography and Domestic Architecture to the Middle of the 17th Century. (14) List of Buildings: Department of the Environment (DoE). 1972-Sep-19. 5th List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest (Shrewsbury). Vol 653-0. List volume. Amt for Beeches Lane, Town Wall section, 07/08/1986. (15) List of Buildings: Department of the Environment (DoE). 1972-Sep-19. 5th List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest (Shrewsbury). Vol 653-0. List volume. p201. (16) Photograph: Anon. 1958. Roushill Excavations. (17) Photograph: Anon. Town Wall At Rear Of Chs Clarke Garage. (18) Excavation report: Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit. 1989. Nurses Home Site, Windsor Place, Shrewsbury: Interim report of archaeological investigations. BUFAU Rep. (19) Excavation report: Buteux Simon. 1989. Shrewsbury Blackfriars and nurses' home: archaeological evaluation. BUFAU Rep. p2-4, p5-11. (20) Archaeological fieldwork report: Baker Nigel J. 1988. The Archaeology of the Charles Darwin Centre. BUFAU Rep. p11. (21) Photograph: Ryan Carole. 1980. Town Walls, Shrewsbury. Colour. (22) Photograph: Burrow Ian. 1976. Town Walls, Shrewsbury. Colour. (23) Photograph: Anon. Town Walls, Shrewsbury. Colour. (24) Photograph: Watson Michael D. 1982. Town Walls, Shrewsbury. Colour. (25) Photograph: Anon. 1986. Town Walls, Shrewsbury. Colour. (26) Scheduled Monument notification: Department of the Environment (DoE). 1974. Map of Scheduled area, 1974. (27) Scheduled Monument notification: Ministry of Public Buildings and Works. 1966. Map of Scheduled area, 1966. (28) Scheduled Monument notification: Ministry of Works. 1951. Map of Scheduled area, 1951. (29) Scheduled Monument notification: Ministry of Works. 1952. Map of Scheduled area, 1952. (34) Correspondence: Various. 1985. Correspondence, 1985. (35) Photograph: Tyler Alan W. 1980-May. Flue, Pride Hill Chambers, N side. Black and white. 35mm. (36) Photograph: Watson Michael D. 1984/ 1985. Town Wall, Shrewsbury. Black and white. 35mm. (37) Article in serial: Baker Nigel J et al. 1993. Further Work on Pride Hill. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Vol 68. p1-64. Fig 19. (38) Watching brief report: Hannaford Hugh R. 1995. A Watching Brief at the New Records and Research Centre, Shrewsbury. SCCAS Rep. 64. (39) Archaeological fieldwork report: Durham B. 1993. St Julians Friars Shrewsbury - an Archaeological Evaluation. Oxford Archaeol Unit Rep. p11, p13-16. (40) Deskbased survey report: Vaughan T. 1994. Shrewsbury Town Walls - A Desktop Survey. (41) Photograph: Anon. 1980-Nov. Town Wall, Old Shrewsbury School. Black and white. 35mm. (42) Correspondence: Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council. 1990/ 1991. Correspondence, 1990-91. (43) Correspondence: Department of the Environment (DoE). 1980. Correspondence, 1980. (44) Watching brief report: Hannaford Hugh R. 2001. A Watching Brief at St Chad's Church, Shrewsbury. SCCAS Rep. 205. (45) Watching brief report: Nash A F. 2004. Land at the rear of 60 Mardol, Shrewsbury, Shropshire: a report on a watching brief. Marches Archaeology Series. 316.
- Related Places:
- For more information contact: Shropshire Council HER
- Date Last Edited: 18/01/2011 17:09:01