1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bishop's Castle

BISHOP’S CASTLE, a market town and municipal borough in the southern parliamentary division of Shropshire, England; the terminus of the Bishop’s Castle light railway from Craven Arms. Pop. (1901) 1378. It is pleasantly situated in a hilly district to the east of Clun Forest, climbing the flank and occupying the summit of an eminence. Of the castle of the bishops of Hereford, which gave the town its name, there are only the slightest fragments remaining. The town has some agricultural trade. It is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. Area, 1867 acres.

Bishop’s Castle was included in the manor of Lydbury, which belonged to the church of Hereford before the Conquest. The castle, at first called Lydbury Castle, was built by one of the bishops of Hereford between 1085 and 1154, to protect his manor from the Welsh, and the town which sprang up round the castle walls acquired the name of Bishop’s Castle in the 13th century. In 1292 the bishop claimed to have a market every Friday, a fair on the eve, day and morrow of the Decollation of St John, and assize of bread and ale in Bishop’s Castle, which his predecessors had held from time immemorial. Ten years later he received a grant from Richard II. of a market every Wednesday and a fair on the 2nd of November and two days following. Although the town was evidently a borough by the 13th century, since the burgesses are mentioned as early as 1292, it has no charter earlier than the incorporation charter granted by Queen Elizabeth in 1572. This was confirmed by James I. in 1617 and by James II. in 1688. In 1584 Bishop’s Castle returned two members to parliament, and was represented until 1832, when it was disfranchised.