The town of Wellington is one of many fine market towns in what is still largely the agricultural county of Shropshire. Although now administratively within the environs of the new town of Telford, Wellington is still a town in its own right with a known history of over 1,500 years
The settlement is thought to have been originally founded by the Anglo-Saxons in the 6th century as a religious centre prior to the arrival of Christianity. In the 8th century a Christian cross was erected on the temple site, eventually being replaced by a church.
This was damaged in the Civil War and replaced by the present All Saints Parish Church in 1790. By 1086 Wellington had become a village with a priest. For many centuries it was the chief settlement of the Hundred (district), with annual trade fairs. Consequently, a market developed and was Chartered by King Henry lll in 1244, and a new market square and shopping streets appeared.
The market was eventually to move from the Square in Victorian times and the company which purchased the Charter Rights from the Lord of the Manor built a hall in Market Street. Market days are now Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
One of the oldest buildings in the town is the Old Hall, now a school beside the A5 road, which itself was built on the line of the Roman Road of Watling Street. To the north of the town stood Apley Castle, a 17th century house now demolished, where King Charles I tried to rally the country to his cause at the start of the English Civil War.
After the arrival of the railway in 1849, Wellington became an important junction, with lines to Shrewsbury, Crewe, Stafford, Wolverhampton and to the South via Much Wenlock. On the edge of the East Shropshire coalfield, and surrounded on three sides by fertile farmland, Wellington was the local centre for livestock and wool sales, developing into an important shopping, banking, professional, transport and trading centre.
The town has changed extensively in recent years. Now that the centre is pedestrianised, the narrow streets and the variety of shop fronts and building details make it an interesting place to explore.
Today Wellington is also an important educational centre, with a variety of primary and secondary schools and colleges.