1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Whitchurch

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WHITCHURCH, a market town in the Newport parliamentary division of Shropshire, England, 171 m. N.W. from London on a joint line of the London & North-Western and Great Western railways, and the terminus of the Cambrian railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 5221. Malting and cheese-making are the principal industries. The church of St Alkmund, rebuilt in the 18th century, retains the fine tomb of John Talbot, first earl of Shrewsbury, who fell at the battle of Bordeaux (1453). The town hall and other public buildings are modern. The grammar school was founded in 1550, and here (c. 1791) Reginald Heber, Bishop of Calcutta, was educated. The parish of Whitchurch extends into Cheshire.

Whitchurch was at first known as Westun and belonged before the Conquest to King Harold, but was afterwards granted to Earl Roger, of whom William de Warenne was holding it at the time of the Domesday Survey. The name is said to have been altered to Whitchurch or Album Monasterium on account of a stone church built there soon after 1086. The manor appears to have been held by a younger branch of the Warenne family, from whom it passed by marriage to the families of Lestrange and Talbot. It was sold by the Talbots to Thomas Egerton, from whom it passed to the earls cf Bridgwater and eventually to the present owner, Earl Brownlow. Whitchurch is mentioned as a borough in the 14th century, and was governed by a bailiff, but its privileges, which sprang up with the castle, appear to have disappeared after its decay. The town has never been represented in parliament nor noted for any trade except agriculture. In 1228 John Fitz-Alan received the right of changing the day of the market he held at Whitchurch from Thursday to Monday, and in 1362 a fair lasting three days from the feast of SS. Simon and Jude was granted to John Lestrange. Lord Brownlow granted the market rights to the local authority.