Whittington

Extract from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England, 1831.
Transcribed by Mel Lockie, © Copyright 2010
Lewis Topographical Dictionaries

WHITTINGTON, a parish in the hundred of OSWESTRY, county of SALOP, 3 miles (E.N.E.) from Oswestry, containing 1749 inhabitants. The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry and diocese of St. Asaph, rated in the king's books at £25. 4. 2., and in the patronage of the Trustees of the late Rev. J.R.Lloyd. The church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is supposed to have been built, in the reign of Henry II., by Fulk Fitz-warine, lord of the manor, who procured a market and fair to be held here, both which have been long disused: it was rebuilt in 1806. The river Perry runs through the parish; also the Ellesmere canal, which here divides into four branches, called the Chester, Llangollen, Montgomeryshire, and Weston canals. Robert Jones, in 1679, bequeathed two cottages and five acres of land, directing the rents to be applied in support of a school; and, in 1706, Griffith Hughes left seventeen acres of land, one-half to be given to the school here, and the other to that of Ruabon; upwards of one hundred boys are instructed on the National system. [Ed: Ruabon (Rhiw-Abon) is Denbighshire, 5 miles from Wrexham]

There is also a school for fifty girls, founded by Elizabeth Probert, and conducted on the same plan. Lloyd, in his "Archaeologia", imagines this place to have been celebrated, under the name Drev Wen, or the White Town, by Llowarch Hen, a noble British bard, who nourished about the close of the sixth century; and describes it as the place where Condolanus, a British chieftain, was slain, in an attempt to expel some Irish invaders. According to the bards, it was subsequently the property and chief residence of Tudor Trevor. After the Conquest it was given to Roger, Earl of Shrewsbury, and, on the defection of his son, Earl Robert, and the confiscation of that nobleman's immense estates, in the reign of Henry I., the castle and barony were granted to the Peverells, from whom, by the marriage of Mellet, second daughter of William Peverell, to Guarine de Mets, who received her hand as the reward of his distinguished prowess in a tournament held at the castle in the Peak, in Derbyshire, they passed to the illustrious race of Fitz-warine, whose feats of chivalry and valorous exploits have furnished a subject for romance, and, in modern times, have been beautifully illustrated in a poem by J.F.M. Dovaston, Esq., of West Felton, in the vicinity.

The Fitz-warines were lords of the place for nearly four hundred years, and every heir, for nine descents, preserved the Christian name of Fulk. The castle then became a border fortress, and the neighbourhood the frequent scene of battle between the lord's retainers and the Welch; in these conflicts the building, probably, sustained considerable injury, since license was granted by Henry HI. to the renowned Fulk Fitz-warine, for repairing and fortifying it. The remains consist of one large tower, with traces of four others, and the exterior gateway, which is inhabited by a farmer. On the green, annually at Midsummer, a gay assemblage of the young people of the vicinity, called the Whittington Club, similar to those at Ellesmere and Oswestry, takes place. A court leet and baron is annually held in a modern portion of the castle, rebuilt, a few years ago, by William Lloyd, Esq., the present lord of the manor. Coal is thought to lie beneath the surface of some parts of the parish, but no mines have yet been opened.

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