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Wem Town Defences

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ51212885
Latitude 52.85496° Longitude -2.72589°

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

There are no visible remains.


There is no documentary reference to medieval defences at Wem but the topography of the town suggests a defensive circuit based on the castle. The back boundary of tenement plots off Noble Street may mark the defences to the N of the town and Leek Street and Drawwell Lane may have originated as a road inside the defences to the E and SE. The line of any defences to SW is not clear. The position of the gates of any defences may have survived as the "bars" which marked the three main entrances to the town. Garbet states that one of these was "below parsonage house" on Mill Street, another against the grammar school on Lowe Hill Road/ High Street and the third "at a long stone near the pinfold" (the position of this is not known but presumably it was on Aston Street, if this component is drawn correctly, between Leek St and Drawwell Walk). It is important to note that this is only a suggested position for defences. If defences were present they, like the castle, probably went out of use quite early. The New Street medieval suburb was outside them and there is no trace of them shown on the 1631 map of the town. (Shropshire HER)

There were at least three gates, but probably of the form of large simple bar gates rather than solid doors within a gateway structure, which would have controlled access into the town and allowed for the collection of tolls but the evidence for actual defences is slight.
Map reference is for parish church, which is central within the circuit of these possible defences.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:30

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