VCH Shropshire

Our strategy

In many respects we continue along lines which were set for us by the old Shropshire VCH office and by VCH Central Office.

1. There will be a second volume of the history of Shrewsbury, but where the first one was arranged as a series of narrative chapters, this one will be thematic. So where the first volume had discussions of religion in the town at every period, the second volume will have accounts of the individual parish churches from the time that they first appear in the historic (or archaeological) record to the present day. The scheme for Shrewsbury Part Two can be found here.

We have made a great deal of progress on this since 2015, notably by commissioning research from Dr Judith Everard and Wendy Horton, documentary and buildings historians respectively. Their account of the medieval parish churches will all be posted on the website by the end of 2022.

Our big challenge now is to find the money – around £40,000 – to employ a historian to work on the twentieth-century townscape and building history of the town. And a smaller sum to prepare an account of the medieval and early modern buildings, many of them now lost.

2. Soon after our foundation, we commenced work on Wem (town), largely paid for by the Jean Jackson Trust. This resulted in our history of Wem which appeared at the end of 2019. As our work on Wem (town) was coming to an end, we decided that there were advantages in writing the histories of the townships of the extensive parish of Wem, many of the sources and personalities of the rural townships being the same as those for the town. In this way we could use the knowledge we gained from Wem (town) to the benefit of our history of the whole parish. These Wem Rural histories are mostly complete, but some townships remain to be researched and written. They are however parked until we can find an injection of funding. For what remains to be done and the likely costs, please see our strategy paper.

3. At the time of its dissolution the VCH office had commenced work on a history of Newport and the surrounding townships. We have picked up this history (the draft prepared by David Cox before his retirement) and wish to produce a full-length history of the town of Newport. We have the willing support of the Newport History Society in this venture.

At a later date we may well research the history of the surrounding parishes.

In 2019 we undertook a scoping study with the aid of funding from Newport Town Council to ascertain what needed to be done to prepare the history and the likely costs. Current research focuses on two areas:

  • First on medieval Newport where we have a grant from the Shropshire History and Archaeological Society with some additional funding from the Marc Fitch Trust to prepare an edition of the medieval records of the town.
  • Second on the townscape and buildings of the post-medieval town, where, at the time of writing (September 2022) we have funding from the Newport History Society and the John Pagett Trust of the Wrekin Historical Group, but this falls sort of the whole funding required for this stage of the larger project.

We have, in the Newport History Society, the great advantage of working with a group of committed volunteers.

4. We would be pleased to hear from any individuals or local history societies in the county who wish to write the history of their community in the VCH style employing VCH’s conventions. We would of course advise on these.