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The early potical history of Shropshire is largely concerned with the constant incursions and depredations of the Welsh from across the border. The Saxon Chronicle relates that in 1053 the Welshmen slew a great many of the English wardens at Westbury, and in that year Harold ordered that any Welshman found beyond Offa's Dike within the English pale should have his right hand cut off. Various statutory measures to keep the Welsh in check were enforced in the 14th and 15th centuries. In 1379 Welshmen were forbidden to purchase land in the county save on certain conditions, and this enactment was reinforced in 1400. In 1379 the men of Shropshire forwarded to parliament a complaint of the felonies committed by the men of Cheshire and of the Welsh marches, and declared the gaol of Shrewsbury Castle to be in such a ruinous condition that they had no place of imprisonment for the offenders when captured. In 1442 and again as late as 1535 acts were passed for the protection of Shropshire against the Welsh. But apart from the border warfare in which they were constantly engaged, the great Shropshire lords were actively concerned in the more national struggles. Shrewsbury Castle was garrisoned for the empress Maud by William Fitz-Alan in 1138, but was captured by Stephen in the same year. Holgate Castle was taken by King John from Thomas Mauduit, one of the rebellious barons. Ludlow and Shrewsbury were both held for a time by Simon de Montfort. At Acton Burnell in 1283 was held the parliament which passed the famous Acton Burnell statute, and a parliament was summoned to meet at Shrewsbury in 1398. During the Percy rebellion Shrewsbury was in 1403 the scene of the battle of King's Croft, in which Hotspur was slain. On the outbreak of the Civil War of the 17th century the Shropshire gentry for the most part declared for the king, who visited Shrewsbury in 1642 and received valuable contributions in plate and money from the inhabitants. A mint and printing-press were set up. at Shrewsbury, which became a refuge for the neighbouring royalist gentry. Wem, the first place to declare for the parliament, was garrisoned in 1645 by Richard Baxter. Shrewsbury was forced to surrender in 1644, and the royalist strongholds of Ludlow and Bridgnorth were captured in 1646, the latter after a four weeks' siege, during which the governor burnt part of the town for defence against the parliamentary troops.

Shropshire is noted for the number and lustre of the great families connected with it. Earl Godwin, Sweyn, Harold, Queen Edith, Edward the Confessor and Edwin and Morcar are all mentioned in the Domesday Survey as having held lands in the county before the Conquest. The principal landholders at the time of the survey were the bishop of Chester, the bishop of Hereford, the church of St Remigius, Earl Roger, Osbern Fitz-Richard, Ralph de Mortimer, Roger de Laci, Hugh Lasne and Nicholas Medicus. Earl Roger had the whole profits of Condover hundred and also owned Alnodestreu hundred. The family of Fitz-Alan, ancestors of the royal family of Stuart, had supreme jurisdiction in Oswestry hundred, which was exempt from English law. Richard Fitz-Scrob, father of Osbern Fitz-Richard and founder of Richard's Castle, was lord of the hundred of Overs at the time of the Conquest. Gatacre was the seat of the Gatacres. The barony of Pulverbatch passed from the Pulverbatches, and was purchased in 1193 by John de Kilpeck for £100. The family of Cornwall were barons of Burford and of Harley for many centuries. The family of Lestrange owned large estates in Shropshire after the Conquest, and Fulk Lestrange claimed the right of holding pleas of the crown in Wrockworthyn in 1292. Among others claiming rights of jurisdiction in their Shropshire states in the same year were Edmund de Mortimer, the abbot of Cumbermere, the prior of Lanthony, the prior of Great Malvern, the bishop of Lichfield, Peter Corbett, Nicholas of Audley, the abbot of Lilleshall, John of Mortayn, Richard Fitz-Alan, the bishop of Hereford and the prior of Wenlock.

The earliest industries of Shropshire took their rise from its abundant natural resources; the rivers supplying valuable fisheries; the vast forest areas abundance of timber; while the mineral products of the county had been exploited from remote times. The lead mines of Shelve and Stiperstones were worked by the Romans, and in 1220 Robert Corbett conferred on Shrewsbury Abbey a tithe of his lead from the mine at Shelve. In 1260 licence was granted to dig coal in the Clee Hills, and in 1291 the abbot of Wigmore received the profits of a coal-mine at Caynham. Iron was dug in the Clee Hills and at Wombridge in the 16th century. Wenlock had a famous copper-mine in the reign of Richard II., and in the 16th century was noted for its limestone. The Domesday Survey mentions salt-works at Ditton Priors, Caynham and Donnington. As the forest areas were gradually cleared and brought under cultivation, the county became more exclusively agricultural. In 1343 Shropshire wool was rated at a higher value than that of almost any other English county, and in the 13th and 14th centuries Buildwas monastery exported wool to the Italian markets. Shropshire has never been distinguished for any characteristic manufactures, but a prosperous clothing trade arose about Shrewsbury and Bridgnorth, and Oswestry was famous in the 16th century for its fine Welsh cottons.

Antiquities.—The ecclesiastical ruins and buildings of Shropshire are numerous and beautiful. Among the numerous monastic buildings the finest remains are those of Shrewsbury Abbey, Lilleshall near Newport, White Ladies nunnery near Shifnal, Much Wenlock priory and Bromfield priory near Ludlow (see the towns named). Besides these, Haughmond, 5 m. N.E. of Shrewsbury, an Augustinian foundation of the 12th century, has left extensive remains including a chapter-house, hall, monks' well and other domestic buildings. Of Buildwas Abbey, on the Severn above Coalbrookdale, a Cistercian foundation of 1135, there are fine Norman and Early English remains of the church and chapter-house, together with the abbot's house and a series of passages below ground. Among the churches of the larger towns, those of Bridgnorth and Ludlow are conspicuous. Among village churches, those of Stottesdon and Stanton Lacy in the south of the county, show considerable traces of pre-Conquest construction. Of Norman date those of Wroxeter, in which fragments from Uriconium are incorporated, Claverley E. of Bridgnorth, Holdgate or Holgate in Corvedale and Clun, are good examples, but there is a remarkable number of Norman doors and fonts throughout the county. The church of Cleobury Mortimeris good Early English, and that of Tong near Shifnal fine Perpendicular with a splendid series of tombs, while the churchyard cross at Bitterley, near Titterstone Clee, is a beautiful specimen of the work of the same period. The solitary church of Battlefield, N. of Shrewsbury, marks the scene of the fight between Henry IV. and the Percies in 1403.

The remains of castles are generally slight, but the noble ruins at Ludlow are a noteworthy exception. The powerful fortress of Clun and the castle at Holdgate are Norman. Of the 13th century are those at Hopton near Clun and Acton Burnell, S.E. of Shrewsbury, where Edward I. held parliament in 1283. Middle Castle between Shrewsbury and Wem shows small ruins of the 14th century. At Moreton Corbet on the Roden, N.E. of Shrewsbury, there is an old castellated mansion, but by far the finest example of this type in the county, and one of the best in England, is Stokesay Castle near Craven Arms. This beautiful relic dates from the 13th century, and is almost perfect, having a large hall and massive southern tower, and a remarkable half-timbered gatehouse. Shropshire is also rich in medieval domestic buildings, and in the streets of Ludlow and Shrewsbury are many beautiful examples of half-timbered architecture. Among old country mansions may be specially noted the half-timbered Pitchford Hzill, near Shrewsbury and Benthall Hall, near Broseley, dating from 1535.

See Victoria County History, Shropshire; W. Pearson, Antiquities of Shropshire (London, 1807); R. W. Eyton, Antiquities of Shropshire (12 vols., London, 1853—1860); J. C. Anderson, Shropshire: Its Early History and Antiquities (London, 1864); C. H. Hartshorne, Salopia Antiqua (London, 1841); Walcott, Introduction to Sources of Salopian Topography (Shrewsbury, 1879); La Touche, Handbook to the Geology of Shropshire (1886); Borderer, Hunting and Sporting Notes in Shropshire (London, 1885—1886); Hughes, Sheriffs of Shropshire, 1831—1886 (Shrewsbury, 1886); Waiter, An Old Shropshire Oak (4 vols., London, 1886-1891); Fletcher, Religious Census of Shropshire in 1676 (London, 1891); Cranage, Architectural Account of the Churches of Shropshire (Wellington, 1894—1899); Timmins, Nooks and Corners of Shropshire (London, 1899): Shropshire Notes and Queries (1885, &c.); Shropshire Archaeological and Natural History Society (1877 &c.); Salopian Shreds and Patches (1874—1891).

SHROUD (O. Eng. scrud, garment; cf. Icel. skrudh, in the secondary sense of rigging, allied with “shred,” O. Eng. screade, a piece, strip), originally a word meaning garment, clothing or covering, but now particularly applied to the garment in which a dead body is wrapped preparatory to burial, a winding sheet. The shroud is usually a long linen sheet wrapping the entire body. This was formerly dipped in melted wax (Lat. cera), whence the name “cerecloth,” often wrongly written serecloth or searcloth and “cerements.” In nautical usage the Icelandic meaning of skrudh, tackle, rigging of a ship, has been adopted in English; the “shrouds” of a ship are the set of