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Dawley is a small town in the borough of Telford and Wrekin and ceremonial county of Shropshiremarker, Englandmarker. Today it forms part of the new town of Telfordmarker (which was originally, in 1963, going to be named Dawley New Town before it was decided in 1968 to name the town Telford instead after the engineer and road builder Thomas Telford). Dawley is however one of the older settlements in Shropshire, being mentioned in the Domesday Book. It is divided into Dawley Magna ("Great Dawley") and Little Dawley (also shown as Dawley Parva ("Little Dawley") on older maps). The town's main parish is officially called Great Dawley - Dawley Hamletsmarker is a separate parish, which covers Little Dawley and other neighbouring villages/suburbs.


Dawley is mentioned in the Domesday book, and is therefore one of the older settlements in Shropshire. It was for over three centuries a mining town, both for coal and ironstone. Clay extraction for local industrial-pipe factories, brickyards and the pottery industry has been a major influence on the landscape.

Prior to large scale levelling as part of the development of Telford New Town, the area was covered by clay mounts and large clay pits that dominated the landscape to the extent that they formed points of reference for the locals. There is still a local clay pipe factory in the adjacent Doseley village; grey clay predominates on the immediate outskirts of Dawley.

The mining had an important impact on the culture. The Springwell Pit Disastermarker in 1872 cost eight men and boys their life.

There was a castle in Dawley, but it was demolished around 1648. The site is unknown, although the Castle Pools (on the old quarry site) and Castle Ironworks (built by the Darby family, one of whom commissioned the world famous Iron Bridgemarker) possibly indicate the general area where it may have stood. Prior to the landscaping, following the creation of Telford New Town, extensive ruins were detectable next to the Castle Pools and are shown on old maps as being the location of the castle. In the 1980s the whole area was buried under thick topsoil and planted with trees. Ironbridge is a short distance away.

The adjacent village of Horsehaymarker was the site of a bridge and later a crane fabrication factory that exported around the world. The bridge over Victoria Fallsmarker is said to have been built there. Telford Steam Railway trust is located across the road from the former factory site.


Dawley has a street market every Friday. Dawley town centre consists of a single pedestrianised street that was previously the main route from Bridgnorth in the south to Wellington in the north. The area around Dawley, not covered by Telford New Town, is rural and provides extensive opportunities for walking. The Ironbridge Gorgemarker and The Wrekinmarker are both pleasant walks from Dawley.

On the northern edge of Dawley is Malinslee where St. Leonards church stands. The design of St. Leonards, an elongated octagon, is said to have been influenced by Thomas Telford. Other churches supposedly influenced by Thomas Telford, during his work in Shropshire, are at nearby Madeleymarker and Bridgnorthmarker.


There are seven primary schools in the Dawley area, and a comprehensive secondary school, The Phoenix Schoolmarker. There are two special schools in Dawley: the Mount Gilbert and Southall schools.

Notable people

Dawley was the birthplace of Captain Matthew Webb who was the first man to swim the English Channelmarker - his monument stands on the High Street. Legend suggests that a pig stood up against a wall to watch the parade in Webb's honour that was held on his return.

Edith Pargeter, who under her pen name of Ellis Peters wrote the Brother Cadfael novels, went to school in Dawley. Numerous roads in Aqueduct, such as Cadfael Drive and Ellis Peters Drive, are 'themed' after her.

Danielle Jones, a character in EastEnders, came from Dawley.

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