Wem in 1841
Wem lies on the road between Shrewsbury and Whitchurch, about 10 miles north of the former town. The parish, which in 1831 contained 3,973 persons, is partly in the hundred of North Bradford and partly in Pimhill hundred. The manor of Wem falling to the crown in consequence of the attainder of Philip Howard, earl of Arundel, James II conferred it on the notorious chancellor Jefferies, who was created Baron Wem. The title became extinct with his son
The town is pleasantly situated near the source of the river Roden. It consists principally of one large open street. In addition to the weekly markets, six fairs are held here annually. The church is a handsome structure with a lofty steeple and a fine chancel. The living is a rectory, to which is annexed the chapelry of Edstaston, with a net annual income of £1,767. There are one infant and seven day schools. One of the latter is a free grammar-school, founded and endowed by Sir Thomas Adams. It contains 30 boys. A scholarship of £80 per annum at Christ Church, Oxford, is attached to this school. One national school contains about 200 children. In 1835 there were four Sunday-schools, all connected with dissenters : a lending library is attached to one of them.
Sir Thomas Adams, mentioned as the founder of a grammar school, was born here in 1586. He was brought up as a draper in London, but received his education at the University of Cambridge. He was elected lord mayor of London in 1645. Being a warm partizan of Charles I, he was sent to the Tower, where he was confined some time. He is said to have subsequently sent large sums of money to Charles II while abroad, and he was deputed, previous to the Restoration, to accompany General Monk to Holland to attend Charles on his return to England. He was soon afterwards created a baronet, and died in 1667. He founded a professorship of Arabic in Cambridge, which was for some time held by Abraham Wheelock, at whose suggestion Sir Thomas Adams went to the expense of printing and diffusing the Persian Gospels.