Shropshire History




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The period of history from 1660-1714 was ruled by the Stuart Kings and Queens, apart from the period of the English Civil War when it was ruled by Parliament.



1603 – James I becomes king.


1625 – Charles I becomes king.


1642 – The English Civil War starts and King Charles I travels to Shrewsbury via Wellington.  He makes the “Declaration of Wellington” in which he promises to uphold the Protestant Religion, the Laws of England and the Liberty of Parliament


1643 – Chirk Castle captured by Royalists. Wem and Whitchurch captured by the Parliamentarians.


1644 – Parliamentarians win Battle of Ellesmere and both sides carry out raids and sieges on the enemy’s strongholds.


1645 – Most of Shropshire now controlled by Parliamentarians except for castles at Bridgnorth, Caus and Ludlow.


1646 – Remaining castles captures by Parliamentarians. King Charles I particularly angry at his nephew Prince Rupert for losing Ludlow Castle.


1649 – King Charles I executed and the country ruled by the English Council of State.


1651 – King Charles II hides at Boscobel House before escaping to France.


1652 – George Jeffreys (later to become the notorious “Hanging Judge”) started at Shrewsbury School.


1653 – Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector.


1658 – Oliver Cromwell dies and is replaced by his son Richard.


1660 – The English Civil War ends and King Charles II restored to throne


1665 – Great Fire of Newport


1677 – Great Fire of Wem


1678 – Abraham Darby I born


1685 – James II becomes king. Judge Jeffreys made Baron of Wem.


1686 – Benthall Rails and other early railways opened. 


1689 – William III becomes king. The Court of the Marches was disbanded.


1702 – Anne becomes queen.


1708 – Abraham Darby leases the Coalbrookdale Furnace and experiments with smelting iron with coke instead of charcoal.


1714 – Anne dies.




Days in the Life of Tudor and Stuart Shropshire


Discovering Shropshire’s History


Society in Early Stuart England



Hopton Quarter



“Hopton Quarter” was a term used after the siege of Hopton Castle in the English Civil War to refer to treacherous treatment of captives by their opponents.

Robert Wallop, owner of the Hopton Castle estate, was a staunch Parliamentarian and a judge at the trial of Charles I. With the Harley family of Brampton Bryan Castle, just over the border in Herefordshire, Wallop opposed the forces of Prince Rupert who occupied much of Shropshire. Brampton Bryan had been threatened by the Prince's troops during 1643 but Brilliana, wife of Sir Robert Harley, had managed to hold out while her husband and son were away fighting for Parliament. Brilliana subsequently died and Lieutenant Wright took charge. He arranged for the neighbouring Hopton Castle to be manned by a small garrison before the Royalists could take it.

On 25th February 1644, Sir Michael Woodhouse and a force of Royalists laid siege to Hopton Castle, which was under the command of Samuel More, who wrote, “The enemy came before it, who, facing us with a body of horse first, within an hour sent a body of foot, who approached the outer walls (we not being able to hinder them, because the work did not flank, being an old wall made round) and burnt the lodging where K. Steward lay, they brought ladders to scale the walls, but upon our killing three of them, they sent Mr Sutton to tell me the Prince desired the delivery of the Castle of Hopton. I sent word that I understand no message that comes without drum or trumpet, and on the Friday following they retreated, and went out of the town, but kept court of Guard near to us with horse and foot ; at this time we were but 26 men in all, and we set to making some works, in which we were as industrious as any men could be, Major Phillips advised to send for more men from Brompton Castle, and they lovingly sent us 12, who meeting with the enemy, six of them at that time went back, but afterwards we had about eight men, in all 31 men”.


During 11-23rd March 1644, the Royalist siege of Hopton Castle continued.  Samuel More wrote, “The Friday fortnight after the first assault, they marched as we guessed about 500 horse and foot, and entered the town ; thereupon they sent a summons by a drum, subscribed by Sir Michael Woodhouse, who demanded the Castle in the name of Prince Rupert ; my answer was, that I kept it by authority of Parliament, and by the consent of the owner, Mr Wallop, for King and Parliament; and that night they approached part of the wall about two hours before day, and made a breach, which our sentinels discovering, gave the alarm, and there we fought with the enemy at push of pike, throwing stones and shooting ; and some of them, reported being 200 got into the breach, where we killed many, among the rest Captain Vaughan, then we repulsed them, and took six muskets, ten pikes and clubs, which they call roundheads, and after this repulse they marched away. About a week after they returned again; next day came in carriage of cannon, baskets and such things, and in the night three pieces of ordnance, by Monday eight of the clock, there came a drum, and summoned the delivery of the Castle, which if we did not yield before shooting one piece of ordnance we must not expect quarter, we returned the same answer as before, and as soon as it came, they shot at us, and continued shooting with culverine, and doing culverine from nine till five.


They shot 96 shots at our outer wall, and made a breach, which we defended for the space of two hours at least, so we gave them a repulse with the loss of one man that was killed, and three or four that were hurt, but they lost, as they said afterwards 150 of theirs. On Tuesday night they came again, and set Gregory's house on fire; our men, weary of working all night, and not out of their deaths for a fortnight's time, it was moved we should desire a parley, which being done, they bade us send our conditions, which Mr Phillips and I contrived to this effect, that we should march away with our arms and ammunition, which they denied, we should have no conditions, but yield to the Colonel's mercy. Mr Phillips and myself, and six men did plainly hear them working under us, and as the enemy told us when I was in prison, they had blown us up in two hours. We agreed to propose to the enemy, we would yield the Castle, upon quarter for our lives, answer was brought no other conditions could be yielded to, but to be referred to Colonel Woodhouse's mercy, and being brought into this condition, it was thought better to yield, than to be blown up: but indeed we all thought we should only be made prisoners, and did not think of such a death as hereafter appears."


The garrison thus surrendered on the understanding that their fate would be decided by Woodhouse. Samuel More was taken to a nearby house and taunted about the fate of his men: “Lieutenant Aldersea asked me how many of the soldiers I thought were sent to Shrewsbury. I told him I know not. He told me none, which I wondering at, apprehended they had been delivered and was somewhat cheerful. But then he answered with an oath they were all killed, where at I was troubled in myself, tho I did not much express my sorrow only said I hoped they were happy”. A popular Parliamentary account records that the soldiers had their hands cut off and were stoned or drowned in a ditch. According to one account, the old steward was offered the gentler option of having his throat cut in a chair provided for him.