All Around The Wrekin
Wrockwardine (meaning ‘the enclosure by The Wrekin’) is an ancient community that has enjoyed considerable status during the course of a long history that stretches back far beyond the last thousand years. By the end of the 10th Century, the settlement was a Hundred meeting place (an Anglo-Saxon unit of local government) and Royal Manor, the southern border of which was known as the ‘King’s Boundary’ until 1231.
At the time of the Domesday survey in 1086, Roger de Montgomery, the first Earl of Shrewsbury, was tenant-in-chief of Wrockwardine. He presided over an extensive manor, which included seven and a half outlying holdings (known as ‘berewicks’ the old English word for corn farm) including: Admaston, Allscott, Burcot, Charlton, Cluddley, Nash (a former medieval township that has now completely disappeared) and Orleton.
Domesday was essentially a record of the land and its assets that enabled the Crown to measure the extent to which it could raise taxes throughout England and parts of Wales. Wrockwardine contained five hides (an area of tax assessment containing approximately 240 acres), while four ploughs were recorded on the demesne (the area where the produce belonged to the Lord himself). The land was worked by thirteen Villeins (villagers who were technically the lord’s property) and four Bordars (smallholders who enjoyed a higher social status) and, between them, they were responsible for a further twelve ploughs. Eight Neatherds (ploughmen) were also recorded in the survey of the Manor and each plough would typically have been pulled by up to eight oxen.
The Church at Wrockwardine was probably founded in Saxon times and was given to Shrewsbury Abbey (St Peter’s) as a gift by Earl Roger. The Domesday survey records a Priest living in the Manor and it is highly probable that this was Odelerius of Orleans, who was Rector of Wrockwardine Church from 1066 until around 1095, when he left to live as a Monk at Shrewsbury. He had initially accompanied Earl Roger to England after the Conquest but is probably better known as the father of the historian Oderic Vitalis.
To the Manor Born
Wrockwardine was one of many estates where Earl Roger was Tenant-in-Chief and it is highly unlikely he ever lived there. The Manor house itself was practically derelict by the early 14th Century and today no trace survives, although the remains of a fish pond to the west of The Avenue may mark the site of the original building. Although the Lord of the Manor was not resident, the institution continued to play its part in village life for many centuries and a manorial court, presided over by the Lord’s Bailiff, sat in Wrockwardine until 1922. In the late 13th Century, the court maintained a gallows, but its business largely consisted of dealing with agricultural regulations and the assizes of bread and ale by the early 1800s, when it met twice a year. At that time, the Manor itself was divided into three parts, but was reunited in 1822 by William Cludde of Orleton, one time High Sheriff and Mayor of Shrewsbury. His son Edward, to whom the Cludde Almshouses, which stand opposite the junction of Wellington Road, were dedicated after his death in 1840, succeeded him.