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Ellesmere in 1841

Ellesmere is in the northern district of the county, in the hundred of Pimhill. A part of the parish is in Flintshire. The population of the portion in Shropshire, which includes the whole of the town, was, in 1831, 6,540 ; the population of the whole parish being 7,057.

The town owes its name to the mere or lake close to which it stands. In ‘Domesday' Earl Roger is stated to have held Ellesmere, and it was subsequently granted to various personages ; among the rest by King John to Llewellyn, prince of North Wales, who married Joan, the king's daughter; but it seems only to have been held at the will of the king, who probably was not disposed to give up a town and castle of such importance situated in the marches of Wales. In the reign of Henry III, David, the son of Llewellyn, surrendered Ellesmere to the crown, and it was then granted to the family of Lord de Strange, who had previously held it, and it was continued in that family and their connections by marriage with the Kynastons and earls of Derby, by one of whom, in the reign of Elizabeth, the manor of Ellesmere was alienated by licence to Richard Spence, Esq., and Edward Savage, who, the following year, alienated it to Thomas Egerton, afterwards lord chancellor, and created Baron of Ellesmere. Sir Edward Kynaston, in the reign of Elizabeth, obtained a weekly market on Tuesday for this place, as well as a yearly fair. There are no remains of the castle, but the eminence on which it stood is ascertained.

The town is neat and clean, and its appearance is much enlivened by the beautiful lake close to which it stands. The church is large, but irregularly built. The tower is in the centre. The tracery of the eastern window is very beautiful. The market is well attended, and flax and stockings form principal articles of sale. The chief trade of the town consists in malting and tanning. Six fairs are held here in the course of the year.

The living is a vicarage, the annual value of which is returned at £386. In 1833 there were sixteen day-schools here, one of which is wholly supported by endowment, and contains 12 boys and 12 girls. Seven of the other schools are partly supported by subscription, and partly by payments from the parents, and contain between 300 and 400 children of both sexes. In the remaining schools, about 250 children are taught wholly at the expense of the parents. There are also two day and boarding-schools, and two Sunday-schools, one in connection with the Established Church, and the other supported by dissenters. A lending library is attached to the latter.