Shrewsbury High Street - Framed Picture - 11" x 14"
Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire.
The town was the early capital of the Kingdom of Powys, known to the ancient Britons as Pengwern, signifying "the alder hill"; and in Old English as Scrobbesburh (dative Scrobbesbyrig), which may mean either "Scrobb's fort" or "the fortified place in the bushes".
Over the ages, the geographically important town has been the site of many conflicts, particularly between the English and Welsh. The Angles, under King Offa of Mercia, took possession in 778.
Shrewsbury's known history commences in the Early Middle Ages, having been founded c. 800 AD.
The Welsh besieged it in 1069, but were repelled by William the Conqueror. Roger de Montgomery was given the town as a gift from William, and built Shrewsbury Castle in 1074, taking the title of Earl. He founded Shrewsbury Abbey as a Benedictine monastery in 1083. The 3rd Earl, Robert of Bellême, was deposed in 1102 and the title forfeited, in consequence of rebelling against Henry I and joining the Duke of Normandy's invasion of English in 1101. In 1138, King Stephen successfully besieged the castle held by William FitzAlan for the Empress Maud during the period known as the Anarchy.
It was in the late Middle Ages when the town was at its height of commercial importance. This was mainly due to the wool trade, a major industry at the time, with the rest of Britain and Europe, especially with the River Severn and Watling Street as trading routes. The Shrewsbury Drapers Company dominated the trade in Welsh wool for many years.
Shrewsbury has also played a part in Western intellectual history, by being the town where the naturalist Charles Darwin was born and brought up. The town is also home to the Ditherington Flax Mill, the world's first iron-framed building, which is commonly regarded as "the grandfather of the skyscraper".