the far north near the Cheshire border, this bustling market
town is the oldest continually occupied settlement in Shropshire.
The town was founded in around
70 AD by the Romans, who named it Mediolanum, meaning 'the
place in the middle of the plain'. Built on a low hill, the
town was on a major Roman route half way between the cities
of Chester (Deva) and Wroxeter (Viroconium). Much of the
Roman town plan survives in the layout of Whitchurch's streets.
The town is the home of J B Joyce
& Co., the world's oldest tower clockmakers (established in
1690). Examples of their work can be found on palaces and
cathedrals all over the globe but no other town has so many
amazing public clocks as Whitchurch.
St Alkmund's church in the High
Street has a particularly fine example. An earlier church
on this site, thought to have been built of local chalk, gave
the town its name, 'White Church'.
The Heritage Centre illustrates
the facinating history of the ancient market town. At the
Craft Centre next door visitors can also see traditional items
Whitchurch is famous for cheesemaking
and despite being in Shropshire is widely considered to be
the home of Cheshire cheese.
There are a number of interesting
Town Trails, including the Clock Trail, and Jubilee Park is
the starting point of five long distance walking routes, popular
with walkers on holiday in the area.
About a mile out of the town
along the Shropshire Way is the Llangollen Canal and the magnificent
flight of staircase locks at Grindley Brook.
Whitchurch's most famous son
is Sir John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, whose heart is buried
under the porch of St Alkmund's Church. His fame is perpetuated
in Shakespeare's King Henry VI, Part One. Other famous former
residents include the Victorian illustrator Randolf Caldecott
and the musician Sir Edward German.