Market Drayton

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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 Shropshire
Ceremonial county Shropshire
Region West Midlands
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 North Shropshire
List of places

Coordinates: 52°54′16″N 2°29′05″W / 52.9044°N 2.4848°W / 52.9044; -2.4848

Market Drayton is a small market town in north Shropshire, England, close to the 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.

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 Dairies 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.

Recent developments in the local service industry include the retailers Argos, Wilkinson's 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 Church[edit]

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 Norman main doorway, dated 1150, is the oldest part of the present stone church, but there was almost certainly a wooden Saxon church on the same site. The Domesday Book describes "A Priest in Drayton".[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]

War memorials[edit]

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.[4]

External features[edit]

The Norman arch, over the main west door, is the only remaining part of the first stone church. The original doorway was incorporated, in about 1325, into the larger structure. The large west window above the door, has ornate 14th century stonework, pointed arches and elaborate patterns. The church is built largely of local red and grey sandstone, in a random mixture. The battlements were added in the 16th century and the pinnacles in the 19th century. Robert Clive, who attended the nearby Old Grammar School in the 1730s, is reported to have once climbed out onto one of the gargoyles.[2]

Sites of interest[edit]

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.

Notable residents[edit]

Robert Clive[edit]

Nearby at Styche Hall 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.

Povey family[edit]

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 was Sir John Povey, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland 1673-79.

Samuel Bourne[edit]

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;[5] 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 Mosley[edit]

The 1930s British fascist leader Oswald Mosley was allegedly born nearby in 1896, at Betton Hall, the home of his mother's parents, although officially established to have been born in London.[6][7] 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]


Market Drayton has always been a hotbed for musical 'talent' producing a number of bands who have progressed on to achieve national acclaim. In 1981 the town boasted the 'second best' school rock band in the country, TSB National School Band runners up, Monovision (Winners were "Mother Hen"). At the same time the local youth club were represented by the Platinum Needles[8] in the NAYC Opportunity Rocks competition final. In early 1981 the Platinum Needles were also featured on the Stoke Musicians Collective album released on Slip Records "Cry Havoc".[9] The Frolics, another band from the Grove School had success in the West Midlands area and generated a cult following locally. In more recent times Sonic State another local band have produced the theme music for a TV programme while sharing their lead singer Jenny Z with the more famous Sigue Sigue Sputnik (formed by former Generation X guitarist Tony James). During the late '70s and early '80s, Drayton also boasted one of the only recording studios in Shropshire, Redball Records. More recently Heidi Browne won the national Open Mic UK competition in 2013 with her own original music and songwriting [10][11]

Other notable residents[edit]


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 provide services 341/342 to Wellington from Monday to Saturday.

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 towns[edit]

Market Drayton is twinned with:[12]



  1. ^ "Town population 2011". Retrieved 28 November 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d "History". Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  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. ^ Francis, Peter (2013). Shropshire War Memorials, Sites of Remembrance. Logaston Press. p. 148. ISBN 978-1-909644-11-3. 
  5. ^ Photographs of India. circa 1862 - circa 1872 - Samuel Bourne Biography Cambridge University Library.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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 
  8. ^ "The Platinum Needles". Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "STOKEBEAT". Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  10. ^ "SINGING CONTEST WINNER – OPEN MIC UK 2013". Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  11. ^ "National music competition crowns Heidi Browne Open Mic UK winner!". Pop Loving Tarts. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  12. ^ Arlon Twinning on Council site

External links[edit]