VCH Shropshire

Welcome to the home page of Victoria County History (VCH), Shropshire.

Here you can find out about our work on the history of the county of Shropshire, details of our activities and other news, and you will also find PDF drafts of our publications, including sections of VCH Shropshire VI: Shrewsbury Part ii, which we are currently working on. The latest draft to be added was the one on Public Preachers.

Latest News

Janice Cox’s Nonconfomist Chapels website

Mrs Cox’s internet supplier gave notice late last year that they would be withdrawing the hosting service on which Mrs Cox’s website was posted. It seemed only reasonable that we should take responsibility for the website and move it to our webpages. Many of you will be familiar with the site, and will agree with us that it is an indispensible source for Shropshire history, but if not, Mrs Cox explains:

‘Over 20 years ago, as I had an interest in religious nonconformity, I thought it would be a good idea to photograph as many chapels in Shropshire as I could, whilst they were still standing. Fortunately most of those which have closed have been converted to other uses, rather than being demolished, which means they can still be seen. Once they had been photographed I did some research to give brief notes on the history of the building. Some of the photographs were generously donated to the website by members of the public. I hope my site retains its interest as as near a definitive account of the chapels as it is possible to give.’

Janice Cox’s Gazetteer of Nonconfomist Chapels in Shropshire is also available from our Resources page.


[former] Bethesda Primitive Methodist Chapel, Old Park, Dawley, built in 1857

[former] Bethesda Primitive Methodist Chapel, Old Park, Dawley, built in 1857


We have added two further sections of text to the website; Paul Sutton, a new member of the team, has written about Copthorne Barracks and other military sites in Shrewsbury. Richard Hoyle has contributed a section on a largely forgotten civic office, the Public Preacher.


We have asked our two researchers, Judith Everard and Wendy Horton, to return to Wem Rural and complete our account of Edstaston. This is a place of mystery: there is barely a village (and so as we can tell, never was), but a very large church was erected, we have to assume, to serve a population which never materialised.

As we write, the account is having its ‘t’s crossed and ‘i’s dotted. Look out for it later in the Summer.


Our energy has recently been focused on Newport. Judith Everard has largely completed her edition of the medieval records of Newport and we are moving towards discussing publication arrangements.

We are now working towards our book Newport Townscapes and Buildings. This will see the history of the town through its physical layout and buildings, both those that are still standing and those which have been swept away and their sites redeveloped. Wendy Horton is working on the descriptions of the buildings and Richard Hoyle on aspects of the history of the town. We have the great advantage of being able to draw on the research of the Newport and District History Society and its members.

Professor Hoyle will be giving a foretaste of the of the book when he speaks to the Newport History Society on 17 September and at the AGM of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society the following Saturday, 21 September.


We are looking for volunteers to help transcribe early and mid-twentieth century data from printed forms filled in by hand into Excel. There is quite a lot of this - which is why it hasn’t been done before. The work will be done from images that we supply and we will, of course, supply training. As we will be using images, it can be done anywhere in the world. There is no date by which it needs to be done.

If interested in making a contribution to Shropshire history in this way, please contact Richard Hoyle at

A date for your diary

Our annual meeting will be held on 26 October and, as in previous years, at Central Baptist Church, Shrewsbury. Our speaker will be one of the prime movers in the refoundation of VCH Shropshire, Dr James Bowen, and his subject will be ‘Cottagers, Common Land and Common Rights in Shropshire, 1500-1900’.

Buy our book on the history of Wem

The Wem short is 174 pages, with 35 figures, 5 maps: paperback. Available by post from VCH Shropshire.

Cover of Wem short

£16 plus

£2.50 delivery

Email, to arrange a bank transfer.

If you prefer to send a cheque, please send a note of the address you want it delivered to (or print and fill in this form) and a cheque for £18.50, made out to
VCH (Shropshire) Ltd.

VCH Shropshire
Bratton Villa
Heighways Lane
All Stretton

You can also find the book in various local retail outlets, including The Wem Bookshop, 81 High St, Wem, SY4 5DR; Pengwern Books, Fish St, Shrewsbury, SY1 1UR; and Shropshire Archives (Wednesday–Friday), Castle Gates, Shrewsbury, SY1 2AQ, for £16.00, but check to see whether they are open before you travel there.

Subscribe to our mailing list

Every few months we send out an email newsletter with information about events, activities, and new items on this web site.

* indicates required