|Newport, Shropshire, (Salop)
1844: a history
|By 1844, Newport is: a corporate borough, market-town, and parish, in the division of its name; 139 miles N.W. by N. from London, and 19 E.N.E.. from Shrewsbury, situated near the line of the Roman Watling Street, on the North-Eastern border of the county, on a branch of the Liverpool & Birmingham canal. The town, which is situated in a delightful part of the country, sustained, in the year 1665, damage by fire of upwards of the amount of £30,000. A very large sum at that period. Its appearance now is respectable, having many handsome dwellings, two proprietory banking establishments, a bank for savings, a spacious market-hall, and some good inns.
The principal manufactory here, (one of a truly ingenious and interesting character), is that belonging to Messrs. Huxley & Buckley, from which all descriptions of bendware and turnery, together with hair sieves, and dairy requisites of every kind, are produced, of the most perfect and approved description; they are also general manufacturing and agricultural chymists, and manufactureres of Roman cement and plaster of Paris.
Messrs. J. & J. Cobb's building establishment is upon an extensive scale; and there are several considerable maltings. Mines of coal and iron, and quarries of limestone are in the vicinity of the town, as are some corn mills.
The liberties and privileges of the town commenced, by grants, as early as Henry I, and they have been confirmed by succeeding monarchs. The corporation comprises a high steward, a deputy steward, two bailffs, and about twenty-five burgesses, who are entitled to certain property within the parish; the rents arising from which are chiefly applied to defray the expense of keeping in repair a water-course and pipes, by which, from a spring about a mile distant, the inhabitants are supplied with this essential element. The water is conveyed into five large cisterns, placed in different parts of the town, four of which were erected and beautified, under the direction of the corporation, at a considerable expense, and are rendered a great ornament, as well as convenience, to the inhabitants. There is also derived, from a large tract of land, a fund which is applied, amongst other purposes, to the repairs of the streets, lighting of the town, and apprenticing poor children.
His Grace, the Duke of Sutherland, is lord of the manor, and holds courts-leet annually; and petty sessions, for the Newport division of the hundred, and held here by the magistrates.
The parish church of St. Nicholas, formerly belonged to the abbey of St. Peter & St. Paul, in Shrewsbury, and was alienated, by permission of Henry VI, to Thomas Draper and his heirs, by whom it was made collegiate for a warden and four lay chaplains. The edifice is principally in the ancient style of English architecture, with a square tower. It has recently been repaired and beautified, at a cost exceeding £3,000. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Crown: the present incumbent is the Rev. William Sandford [A.M?]. There are places of worship for Independents, Roman Catholics, & Wesleyan Methodists.
The school here was founded, and amply endowed, in 1656, by William Adams, Esq., a native of Newport, who assigned certain lands for the support of a master and an usher, for the endowment of four exhibitions at any of the colleges in Oxford or Cambridge, for the erection and support of four alms-houses for as many poor persons, for annually apprenticing three poor children, and for other purposes. This school also enjoys the benefit of four exhibitions, founded by Mr.Careswell. The land belonging to this charity yields an annual income of nearly £1,000.
There are alms-houses for four poor females, founded and erected in 1446, by William Glover, of this town; a national school, originating from a free grammer school of very ancient foundation, and several other charities and funds invested in trustees.
Newport is the centre of an union, under the new poor law, comprising sixteen townships. The town is indebted to the same gentleman, who so munificently endowed the free school, for its market-hall. The country around here is of the most interesting character, very fertile, the prospects beautiful, and enriched by many seats of note; and among other subjects worthy of observation in this neighbourhood, are the ruins of St. John's abbey, at Lilleshall, about three miles hence.
The market is held on Saturday; cattle and sheep fairs (or markets) every alternate Tuesday; and annual fairs on the first Tuesday after Candlemas, the Saturday before Palm-Sunday, May 28th., July 27th., September 25th., and December 10th., chiefly for live-stock. The parish contained, in 1831, 2,745 inhabitants; and by the late census (1841), the diminished number, 2,497.