Lake Lapworth

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Lake Lapworth existed in England in the Ice Age when ice from Wales and the north blocked the outlet of the River Severn near the site of Chester. The Severn backed up, forming Lake Lapworth, until it overflowed southwards and cut the Ironbridge Gorge, permanently diverting part of the Severn drainage into the Lower Severn. It was named by Leonard Johnston Wills for Charles Lapworth, who first suggested its existence in 1898.[1] F.W. Harmer (1835-1923) also put forward a similar, independent, theory in 1907,[2][3] based on observations of glacial lake sediments on the Shropshire Plain.

The carving out of the Ironbridge gorge exposed coal, iron ore, fireclay and limestone deposits which enabled the development of ironworks in the area at the start of the Industrial Revolution.

The market town of Newport, Shropshire, sits atop a sandstone ridge, which in the last Ice Age was an island or peninsula in Lake Lapworth. Early man fished here, and two log boats were uncovered a mile from Newport. One has been preserved and is now at Harper Adams University at Edgmond in Shropshire.

Aqualate Mere is a remnant of Lake Lapworth.


  1. ^ Wills, L.J. (1924). "The Development of the Severn Valley in the Neighbourhood of Iron-Bridge and Bridgnorth". J. Geol. Soc. 80: 274–308. doi:10.1144/GSL.JGS.1924.080.01-04.15. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  2. ^ "The Monthly Record". Geogr. J. 31 (2): 215. February 1908. JSTOR 1776890.
  3. ^ Harmer, F.W. (November 1907). "The Origin of Certain Cañon-like Valleys". J. Geol. Soc. 63: 470–513. doi:10.1144/GSL.JGS.1907.063.01-04.33.

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