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Bridgnorth is a town in Shropshiremarker, Englandmarker, along the Severn Valleymarker. It is split into Low Town and High Town, named on account of their elevations relative to the River Severn, which separates the upper town on the right bank from the lower on the left. The population of the town of Bridgnorth was 11,891 at the 2001 Census and a 2008 estimate puts it at 12,216.

History

Bridgnorth is named after a bridge over the River Severn, that was built further north than an earlier bridge at Quatfordmarker. The earliest historical reference to the town is in 895, at which time it is recorded that the Dane created a camp at Cwatbridge, and subsequently in 912, Æthelfleda constructed a mound on the west bank of the River Severn, or possibly on the site of Bridgnorth Castlemarker, as part of an offensive against the Danes.

After the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror granted the manor of Bridgnorth to Roger de Montgomerie. The town itself was not created until 1101, when Robert de Belesme, the son of Roger de Montgomerie, moved from Quatford, constructing a castle and church on the site of the modern-day town. The castle's purpose was to defend against attacks from Walesmarker. On Robert's attainder, in 1102 the town became a royal borough. Later, in 1546, the town was incorporated by James I.

It is probable that Henry I granted the burgess certain privileges, for Henry II confirmed to them all the franchises and customs which they had in the time of Henry I. King John in 1215 granted them freedom from toll throughout England except the city of London, and in 1227 Henry III conferred several new rights and liberties, among which were a gild merchant with a hanse. These early charters were confirmed by several succeeding kings, Henry VI granting in addition assize of bread and ale and other privileges. The burgesses returned two members to parliament in 1295, and continued to do so until 1867, when they were assigned only one member. The burgesses were additionally granted two fairs: a yearly fair on the feast of the Translation of St. Leonard and three following days was granted in 1359, and in 1630, Charles I granted them licence to hold another fair on the Thursday before the first week in Lent and two following days. The town was disfranchised in 1885.

In 1978, Bridgnorth twinned itself with the French town of Thiersmarker, and later in 1992 it also twinned with the Bavarianmarker town of Schrobenhausenmarker, Germanymarker that had already twinned with Thiers a few years earlier. On August 21, 2003, Bridgnorth was granted Fairtrade Town status.

In 2005, unverified German papers dating from 1941 were found, outlining new details about Operation Sealion, the military plans of Nazi Germany for an invasion of Britain. Two quiet Shropshire towns were mentioned in the documentation—Ludlowmarker and Bridgnorth. Some experts believe that it was Hitler's intention to make Bridgnorth the German headquarters in Britain, due to its central position in the UK, rural location, rail connections and now-disused airfield.

Landmarks

View from High Town over the River Severn
Bridgnorth is home to a funicular railway that links the high and low towns, the Castle Hill Railwaymarker, which is the steepest and only inland railway of its type in the country. Additionally, within the Low Town is Bridgnorth railway stationmarker on the Severn Valley Railwaymarker, which runs southwards to Kidderminstermarker.

The ruins of Bridgnorth Castlemarker, built in 1101, are present in the town. Due to damage caused during the English Civil War, the castle is inclined at an angle of 15 degrees.

High Town is dominated by two Church of England churches: St. Mary's Churchmarker, a church built in the classic style of the late 18th century, which was designed by Thomas Telford; and St. Leonard's, which was formerly collegiate and, from 1860, was largely rebuilt.

Other notable buildings in the town are the seventeenth century Bridgnorth Town Hall, a half-timbered building, and a surviving town gate the Northgate which houses the Museum. Daniel's Millmarker, a well known watermill is situated a short distance along the River Severn from Bridgnorth.

Culture

In terms of culture and entertainment, there is a theatre, the Theatre On The Stepsmarker, and a 1930s cinema (still in use), the Majesticmarker, originally having one screen, but now three. There is a museum, the Northgate Museum, with many artifacts connected with the town and surrounding area and is the first independent museum in Shropshire to be awarded Accreditation by the MLA [45614]. The town has a number of bars and restaurants and, beyond these, there are 27 pubs, most of which traditional, which makes the town attractive to many tourists, such as the Railwayman's Arms, Golden Lion, New Inn, King's Head and Stable Bar, Bear, Shakespeare and Bell & Talbot.

Education

The 'Old Grammar School' in St Leonard's Close with the tower of St Leonard's Church in the background


There are a number of Primary Schools in Bridgnorth, including: Castlefields County Primary School, two Church of England schools, St Mary's and St Leonard's; the Roman Catholic St John's school; and, in addition, the Morville and Brown Clee schools.

The town has two Secondary schools: Oldbury Wells Schoolmarker and Bridgnorth Endowed Schoolmarker (previously named Bridgnorth Grammar Schoolmarker). These serve the town and its outlying villages, including Alveleymarker and Highleymarker.

Sport & Clubs

Bridgnorth Town F.C. is the local football club, based in Bridgnorth. They joined the Worcestershire Combination in 1938 and have twice reached the 5th round of the FA Vase. They won the championship of the West Midlands League Premier Division in 2008.

Bridgnorth Spartans Juniors Football Club is one of the biggest junior football clubs in Shropshire, running 20 teams in the 2008/09 season. These teams include 16 boys' teams, ranging from Under-8s to Under-16s, three girls' teams and a women's team. They also run a crèche for 3 to 7 year-olds at St Mary's School on Saturday mornings called Little Spartans. Home games are played at Oldbury Wells School on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the season. The home kit features a colour scheme of red & black, arranged in stripes.

Bridgnorth Rowing club is a ranked the second fastest on the Severn (from the 2008 Head Of the River results). They compete year-round in local regatta and head events and have a boat house in Bridgnorth's Severn Park. Bridgnorth RC regularly hosts an annual regatta for local clubs, and a Fun Regatta event for competitors trained from the local community.

Bridgnorth Army Cadets is the oldest Army Cadet detachment in Shropshire. The Army Cadet Force (ACF) In 2010 will be celebrating 150 years.

In 2007, Bridgnorth hosted the UK Downhill Street Race in Cycling.

Notable residents

A number of notable people have been born in or lived in Bridgnorth, including Francis Moore (1657 - 1715), the originator of Old Moore's Almanack. Richard Baxter (November 12, 1615 - December 8, 1691) the English Puritan church leader, divine scholar and controversialist, called by Dean Stanley "the chief of English Protestant Schoolmen" lived in Bridgnorth town centre, in 1640. David Preece (May 28, 1963 – July 20, 2007), an English professional footballer who played in midfield, who played three times for the England B team, was another person born in Bridgnorth.

Bridgnorth Grammar School Headmaster's House in St Leonard's Close


Notable people who received their secondary education at Bridgnorth Grammar Schoolmarker (now renamed Bridgnorth Endowed Schoolmarker) include Dr Thomas Beddoes, the physician and scientific writer, Professor Peter Bullock, the Nobel Prize winning soil scientist, Rev. Robert William Eyton, the author of The Antiquities of Shropshire, Bishop James Fraser, the reforming Bishop of Manchester, Rev. Osborne Gordon, the influential Oxford don, Sir John Josiah Guest, engineer, entrepreneur, and Member of Parliament, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, the Hollywood character actor, Lord Lingen, an influentual Victorian civil servant , Dr William Macmichael, physician to Kings George IV and William IV and author of The Gold-Headed Cane, Bishop Thomas Percy, Bishop of Dromore and author of Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, Henry John Roby, the classical scholar, writer on Roman law, and Member of Parliament, Bishop Francis Henry Thicknesse, inaugural Suffragan Bishop of Leicester, General Sir Charles Warren, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police during the period of the Jack the Ripper Murders and a General in the Second Boer War, and Cyril Washbrook, the cricketer who played for Lancashire and England.. Guitarist Max Rafferty, and singer Ross Antony, are also former students of the Endowed School.

Closest cities, towns and villages

References

  1. http://www3.shropshire-cc.gov.uk/bridgnor.htm
  2. http://sthweb.bu.edu/shaw/anna-howard-shaw-center/biography?view=mediawiki&article=Thomas_Beddoes
  3. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article3964340.ece
  4. http://thepeerage.com/p15964.htm
  5. http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/FRA_GAE/FRASER_JAMES_1818_1885_.html
  6. http://www.archive.org/stream/osbornegordoname00marsuoft
  7. http://yba.llgc.org.uk/en/s-GUES-DOW-1722.html
  8. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0362567/bio
  9. http://www.aim25.ac.uk/cats/8/7161.htm
  10. http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poet/256.html
  11. http://www.freebase.com/view/en/henry_john_roby
  12. Who was Who 1897-1990 (London, 1991)
  13. http://www.casebook.org/ripper_media/rps.spion.html
  14. http://content-www.cricinfo.com/england/content/player/22322.html


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