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Black Bear Inn at the junction of Church St. and High St.
Whitchurch shown within Shropshire
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||West Midlands|
|UK Parliament||North Shropshire|
|List of places: UK • England • Shropshire|
Whitchurch is a market town in Shropshire, England on the border between England and Wales. It is the oldest continuously inhabited town in Shropshire. According to the 2001 Census, the population of the town is 8,673, with a more recent estimate putting the population of the town at 8,934. The town is located in the Whitchurch Urban civil parish, and is twinned with the French town of Neufchâtel-en-Bray.
Originally a settlement founded by the Romans around AD 52 or 70, it was called Mediolanum, meaning The place in the middle of the plain. The settlement was located on a major Roman route between Chester and Wroxeter and Roman artifacts can be seen at the Whitchurch Heritage Centre.
The current name comes from 'White Church' which refers to a church from Norman times made from white stone. As might be expected, there are other towns of the same name Whitchurch in England. The current impressive church is the church of St Alkmund, Church of England (Anglican). Dispensing with the colour tradition it was built in 1712 of red sandstone and stands on the site of the earlier Norman church. It is an important Listed Grade One building.
Whitchurch railway station is on the former London and North Western (later part of the LMS) line from Crewe down the English side of the Welsh border (the Welsh Marches Line) toward Cardiff. However, Whitchurch was once the junction for the main line of the Cambrian Railways, but the section from Whitchurch to Welshpool (Buttington Junction), via Ellesmere, Whittington, Oswestry and Llanymynech, closed on 18 January 1965 in favour of the more viable alternative route via Shrewsbury.
Whitchurch was also junction for the Whitchurch and Tattenhall Railway or Chester to Whitchurch branch line, another part of the London and North Western, and running via Malpas. As well as its own passenger and freight services, this line was a useful short cut for freight traffic to and from Chester and North Wales avoiding Crewe, and some long-distance passenger services were occasionally diverted this way. Although the line closed to regular services on 16 September 1957, the diverted passenger trains continued until 8 December 1963.
Whitchurch has its own short arm of the Llangollen Canal but is not a key stopping place for boaters as the arm ends about a mile from the town centre.
Whitchurch is the home of the JB Joyce tower clocks company, established in 1690, the oldest tower-clock making company in the world, earning Whitchurch the reputation as the Home of tower clocks. Joyce's timepieces can be found as far afield as Singapore and Kabul; and helped to build Big Ben in London.
Famous residents of the town include composer Sir Edward German, who was born in the town  in what is now a pub - The Old Town Hall Vaults. He is buried in the local cemetery and commemorated in the naming of a local street. Locally a televised festival - the Sir Edward German Music Festival - is hosted by St Alkmund's and St John's churches, and is held additionally, at Sir John Talbot's Technology College. The first festival was held in 2006 and the second was held in April 2009. Participants include local choirs alongside participants from local primary schools including Prees, Lower Heath and White House, as well as internationally acclaimed musicians and orchestras. Former NBA star Daniel Franey now resides in the town. He is well know with the locals for his eccentric hairstyles as well as his popular home made jam. Victorian illustrator Randolph Caldecott lived in the town for several years and many of the town buildings feature in his work. Best selling author Kate Long moved to Whitchurch in 1990.
Sir Henry Percy - aka Sir Harry Hotspur - the inspiration for the naming of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club - was killed at the Battle of Shrewsbury and buried in Whitchurch; only for his body to be later exhumed and quartered. Also buried in Whitchurch is Sir John Talbot, a military commander who fought Joan of Arc. His remains are buried under the porch of St Alkmund's church. Talbot is a major character in William Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part I, and the local secondary school " Sir John Talbot's" is named after him.
Whitchurch Rugby Club currently competes in the Midlands 2 (West) league. Founded in 1936, Whitchurch RUFC plays at Edgeley Park and has a full complement of mini and junior teams as well as under-19s (Colts), a ladies team and four senior teams. In 1998/99, Whitchurch RUFC were promoted to National Division Three North, a position which was maintained until the 2002/3 season.
The local football club, Whitchurch Alport F.C, affectionally know as the Allbran Allstars, is one of the founder members of the Mid Cheshire Football League and currently plays in Division Two of that league.
- ^ "Whitchurch town guide". BBC. 14 April 2005. http://www.bbc.co.uk/shropshire/content/articles/2005/04/01/whitchurch_town_guide_feature.shtml. Retrieved 2006-07-13.
- ^ "Whitchurch". World Gazetteer. http://www.world-gazetteer.com/wg.php?x=&men=gpro&lng=en&dat=32&geo=514277697&srt=pnan&col=aohdq&geo=-70687.
- ^ "Whitchurch Heritage Centre". Shropshire Tourism. http://www.shropshiretourism.info/attractiondetail.cfm?EstID=740. Retrieved 2006-07-13.
- ^ "Warriors and Worthies". North Shropshire Tourism. http://www.northshropshire.co.uk/famous-people/index.htm. Retrieved 2006-07-13.
- ^ "Edward German (1862-1936)". http://www.naxos.com/mainsite/blurbs_reviews.asp?catNum=223419&filetype=About%20this%20Recording&language=English. Retrieved 2008-04-12.
- ^ "Novelists heading to town". Shropshire Star. 27 May 2006. http://www.shropshirestar.com/show_article.php?aID=45794. Retrieved 2006-07-13.
- ^ "Town Guides - Whitchurch". Shropshire Star. 4 May 2004. http://www.shropshirestar.com/show_article.php?aID=16862. Retrieved 2006-07-13.
|This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Whitchurch, Shropshire. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.|