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Shrewsbury, Shropshire (England)

English Town

Last modified: 2021-04-17 by rob raeside
Keywords: shrewsbury | shropshire |
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image by Pete Loeser, 25 February 2021

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Introduction: Shrewsbury

The history of the medieval and beautiful town of Shrewsbury is quite interesting. Here is what the Shrewsbury Town Council has to say about its history:

Shrewsbury is a vibrant town with a long distinguished history. First recorded in a Charter of 901, Shrewsbury developed as a market town aided by the natural defensive qualities of a large meander in the River Severn. The original Castle (thought to replace a Saxon fortress) was built by Roger de Montgomery under order of William the Conqueror and was rebuilt and enlarged by Edward II. The public library, where Charles Darwin studied as a schoolboy, and the timber framed Rowley's House Museum are among a wealth of historic listed buildings on steep narrow streets and little alleyways, that make Shrewsbury a major tourist destination.

The town has a population of more than 70,000 and is surrounded by the ancient Shropshire hills of the Stiperstones, the Long Mynd, Wenlock Edge and the Wrekin. The county has a scenic landscape made famous in A. E. Housman's A Shropshire Lad. North of Shrewsbury lies the site of the Battle of Shrewsbury (1403) where Henry IV defeated the rebellious Barons of the Welsh Marches and Hotspur was killed. The town is 40 miles west of Birmingham and about 60 miles east of the Snowdonia National Park.

In more recent years the town has undergone considerable development in commercial and cultural areas. It is the regional shopping centre, served by numerous specialist shops as well as two main shopping centres and out of town retail parks. The town experiences a lively nightlife based around the numerous pubs, bars and restaurants. Other highlights of Shrewsbury include The Quarry (the town's municipal park designed by Percy Thrower), the Abbey made famous in the Brother Cadfael detective novels of Ellis Peters and the annual international Shrewsbury Flower Show. In addition a new purpose built theatre situated on the riverbank next to the council's offices opened in March 2009.

Shrewsbury Town Council came into being on 1 April 2009 as a result of Local Government Reorganisation. At the same time the existing Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council ceased to exist and its powers and duties were split between the new unitary council for Shropshire and the Town Council.

The Town council's area includes the whole of Shrewsbury town centre and adjoining residential areas. With a population of more than 70,000 it is one of the largest town councils in England, providing horticultural services for the town, as well as being responsible for The Quarry, numerous small parks, sports pitches, recreation grounds, allotments and highway verges. In addition, the Council manages the provision of the town's market, community facilities, bus shelters, street lighting and public toilets.

The Council also continues to uphold the historic civic traditions upheld by former Borough Mayors. The Mayor is the First Citizen of the town and is often called upon to help promote local charities or causes. It is an impartial role that is not dictated by any political preference. In addition to his or her duties as ambassador for the town, the Mayor also has a civic role to perform as the Chairman of the Council. The mayoral history in Shrewsbury dates back as far as 1638.

Source: Shrewsbury Town Council: History of the Town.
Peter Loeser, 25 February 2021

Shrewsbury is also the birthplace of Charles Darwin.
Ron Strachan, 6 March 2021

Description of the Shrewsbury Flag

The flag in use by the Shrewsbury Town Council is basically a banner-of-arms from their town coat of arms. It can be describe in heraldry terms as "Azure, 3 leopard faces Or." The three leopard loggerhead pattern, referred to as "loggerheads" locally, was used by local lords of the area on their shields. While the modern definition of loggerhead is now "a blockheaded or a disproportionately large head" these three "leopard" faces have been in use in Shropshire as a traditional emblem for the county and several of its towns. The use of Loggerheads on the Shrewsbury town arms, first recorded in 1623, is an example and the symbol has become part of the local identity over the years. Some also think that the actual name originated from the practice of carving the head of animals on logs used as a battering ram.
Peter Loeser, 25 February 2021

Shrewsbury Town Council Logo

image located by Pete Loeser, 25 February 2021

The Shrewsbury Town Council shows this logo on their website header using the loggerheads (leopards) from their town coat of arms.
Source: Shrewsbury Town Council website.
Peter Loeser, 25 February 2021

Shrewsbury Town Coat of Arms
Shrewsbury Borough Council

image by Pete Loeser, 25 February 2021

The coat of arms of the former Shrewsbury Borough Council, and now the Town Council, depicts three loggerheads (leopards), with the motto Floreat Salopia, a Latin phrase that can be translated to "May Shropshire Flourish""
Peter Loeser, 25 February 2021

As for the lions and leopards, there is considerable overlap between these two beasts.

"Heraldry hit Europe during a thirty-year period in the mid-12th century. How the rules became so rapidly codified and so widely accepted still has historians baffled. Lions were among the earliest and most frequent charges - probably due to their Christian allegorical significance. Lions passant guardant (the most common pose) were originally called leopards (lupars in early Norman English), and the lions of England are still occasionally called leopards. In early iconography they lack manes and look a lot more like leopards. By the 14th century the leopards had definitely evolved into lions (at least in art if not in heraldic terminology)..."

This is from a discussion in August of 1998 about the "Banner of England" by T.F. Mills. His contribution explains the seemly confusion between lions and leopards, at least a bit.
Rob Raeside, 26 February 2021

Shrewsbury Flag Variants
Commercial Flags

image by Pete Loeser, 25 February 2021

The coat of arms of Shrewsbury contained three leopards heads called the loggerhead. Shrewsbury Borough historically used the leopard, but between about 1986 until about 1992 had a Celtic shrew and from 2007 to 2015 had a badge depicting a lion rather than a leopard. The flag of Shropshire, and other county crests also uses the three loggerheads design. This commercial variant uses leopards.
Peter Loeser, 25 February 2021

image by Pete Loeser, 25 February 2021

Placing a community's name across the horizontal red bar is a common manufacturer's solution for cities without a clear cut design for their flag, such as this example.
Peter Loeser, 25 February 2021
based on this photo of a decorative tin wall plague.

image by Pete Loeser, 25 February 2021

Another manufacturer's solution for the lack of an official flag is the use of the Saint George's Cross flag defaces with text as in these two examples.
Peter Loeser, 25 February 2021

West Mercia Police
Flag and logos

WMP Flag     WMP Department Crest
image by Pete Loeser, 25 February 2021
based on this photo taken at their police headquarters.

The Shropshire Constabulary was the territorial police force responsible for policing rural Shrewsbury between 1840 and 1967, when it became part of West Mercia Constabulary which later modernized its name to the West Mercia Police. In 1947 the Shropshire Constabulary absorbed the pre-existing Shrewsbury Borough Constabulary, including the borough forces in the towns of Bridgnorth, Ludlow, Much Wenlock and Oswestry. In 1967 the Shropshire Constabulary "amalgamated" with the Worcestershire Constabulary, Herefordshire Constabulary and Worcester City Police to form the West Mercia Constabulary.
The West Mercia Police Flag uses the arms from their department crest centered on a white background.
Peter Loeser, 25 February 2021

West Mercia Police Logos


All these images of the West Mercia Police Department's logo were located by Peter Loeser, 25 February 2021

University Centre Shrewsbury

image by Pete Loeser, 25 February 2021

The University Centre Shrewsbury is a new university located in Shrewsbury that opened in 2014. It was established by the Shropshire Council with help from the University of Chester. It offers both postgraduate and undergraduate programs and degrees.
Peter Loeser, 25 February 2021

Shrewsbury Flaxmill Malting Tower Flag

image located by Pete Loeser, 25 February 2021

The first flag to be officially flown from the restored 100-year-old tower of the Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings tower was the 12-year-old Vivian Wang's winning entry to the 2020 Young Thinkers competition run by Morris & Company and the University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS) as part of the 2020 Darwin Festival.
Source: Restored Shrewsbury Flaxmill Malting's Tower revealed - NEWS Article October 5, 2020.
Peter Loeser, 25 February 2021