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Ellesmere Town Defences

In the civil parish of Ellesmere Urban.
In the historic county of Shropshire.
Modern Authority of Shropshire.
1974 county of Shropshire.
Medieval County of Shropshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ402348
Latitude 52.90754° Longitude -2.88940°

Ellesmere Town Defences has been described as a Urban Defence although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.


In 1258 Peter de Montfort was empowered to raise money to enable him to wall the town of Ellesmere (Eyton 1860, 240). At present there is no documentary or archaeological evidence that the defences were built. If they were in fact constructed, their location and the date at which they went out of use remains to be demonstrated. It has been suggested that in the mid-13th century Ellesmere was restricted to an area to the west of the church and that Watergate Street represents the line of the town defences (Anon 1957-60, 3). The town was quite small at this time, with only 59 burgages recorded in 1280 (Sylvester 1969, 310), but even so this seems too large a settlement to have been protected by defences on the high ground above Watergate Street and Birch Road. For the purposes of this assessment a defensive circuit following Church Street, Willow Street, and running behind St John's Street, is suggested. This is provisional, based on topographical and cartographic evidence, and should be tested archaeologically. (Dalwood and Bryant 2005)

A single grant of murage, for 5 years, in a relatively small market town, is unlikely to have raised sufficient money for a building programme, although funding for such a project did not have to raised from murage alone. At best the grant may suggest an intent to build walls, although probably for their prestigious quality rather than any defensive reason. At worst Montfort was increasing his income from the town market by a manipulative play on people's fears.
Map reference for parish church which should have been within any intended circuit.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:32

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