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Tales of old Shrewsbury

William was baptized at St. Mary’s 12th December 1736.   He married Sarah, daughter of Edwin Wild there on 2ndNovember 1755 .   One aspect of modern Shrewsbury would have been familiar to William and Sarah and perhaps they walked there when courting!    “An avenue of well grown limes follows the winding of the stream (more than 500 yards in length) and forms the principal walk which is connected with the town by three others.   The ground was planted and laid out… in the year 1719” (Shropshire Gazetteer 1824).   They would almost certainly have awoken in the early hours of 9th July 1788 when Old St. Chad’s church collapsed “when the clock struck four, the decayed pillar gave way, the tower was instantly rent assunder and falling with its great peal of bells upon the roof of the church, sunk with a great part of the building, in one tremendous crash, to the ground.”

In 1796 there was a Parliamentary election, which in Shrewsbury became notorious.   The candidates were Sir William Poultney, John Hill, Esq. and the Hon. William Hill for two seats.   More than a thousand new burgesses were sworn – “notice is hereby given that attention will be given in the Guildhall of the town of Shrewsbury between the hours of eleven in the forenoon and two in the afternoon every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday until further notice for the purpose of admitting and swearing burgesses – Loxdale Town Clerk, 26th April 1796 ”.   You could become a burgess by birth in the town, descent from a burgess, by serving an apprenticeship or by purchase.   It is believed that some men were paid up to £40 to become burgesses for this election.   Nine Peplows were sworn burgesses in 1796, including William and his son William jnr.   Sir William Poultney obtained the biggest proportion of the votes but the problem arose with the Hills.   Without the new ‘tendered’ votes, William was elected; with them John had 44 more.   There were various publications, filling a large volume, full of crimination and recrimination.   “At this election the highest talent for lampoonery was brought into requisition its unusually lengthened period, the excitement created and the almost cessation of business…”.    Being a burgess carried privileges or rights, in addition to voting at elections:  to trade in the town, to free education at the Royal Free Grammar School and pasturage in the Quarry and in Kingsland.   The Quarry is the area of parkland between the town walls and the river, where the avenue already mentioned follows the banks and where the annual flower show is held.   Kingsland is on the opposite bank of the Severn where Shrewsbury School now stands.    This election was important in the Peplow family history in that it involved William jnr. returning from London .  

Owner/SourceSarah Riley
Date6 Apr 2016

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