Page 184

A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985.

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Stirchley was formerly a farming parish with an industrial belt along the north-west edge, but in the 1970s it was transformed by the building of houses as part of Telford new town. It lies on the edge of the east Shropshire coalfield, 2 km. north of Madeley and 5 km. west of Shifnal. The ancient parish and township were conterminous, forming a compact block of 840 a. (340 ha.) until 1934, when the transfer of the north-west side of the parish to Dawley urban district reduced its size to 568 a. (230 ha.). (fn. 1) Stirchley ceased to be a separate administrative unit on the absorption of the parish into Dawley U.D. in 1966. (fn. 2)

Lying in gently rolling terrain, the parish was roughly triangular in shape. Its boundaries bore little relationship to landform except in the northeast, where Edge brook formed part of the boundary with Shifnal, and in the north-west, where the boundary with Dawley followed the incised Randlay valley. The parish was bisected by the Mad brook valley, to the north-east of which a rounded hill, rising to 158 metres, formed the highest point in the parish. Stirchley is underlain by the Coalport Beds of the Upper Coal Measures, on which the extensive drift cover of boulder clay gives rise to a heavy soil, which favoured a pastoral economy and the retention of much permanent grassland until the 19th century. (fn. 3) After 1800 the productive Middle Coal Measures beneath the Coalport Beds were mined from shafts in the west half of the parish and clay was quarried for brick making.

The growth of industry in the 19th century resulted in only minor changes to the settlement pattern and until the 1970s the parish contained little more than the small cluster of houses near the church west of the Mad brook valley and a scatter of outlying farms in the east. The landscape underwent a dramatic transformation during the 1970s as extensive housing estates were built over much of the south and east as part of Telford new town development programme.

Stirchley village lay at the hub of a radial pattern of roads, lanes, and paths, linking the outlying farms to the village or giving access to distant fields. Only the Dawley-Shifnal road, which crossed the parish from west to east, appears to have been of more than local importance. The ancient road pattern survived the changes of 19th-century industrialization but was modified substantially during the 1970s. (fn. 4) Queensway, Telford's 'eastern primary road' linking the new residential and industrial areas between Oakengates and Madeley and providing a through route to Bridgnorth, was built down the eastern edge of the parish 1969-71, with a network of minor roads running from it to the perimeters of the new housing estates in Stirchley. (fn. 5)

The Coalport branch of the Shropshire Canal was built along the western edge of the parish in 1788-9, the branch to Coalbrookdale leaving the canal where it emerged from Southall Bank tunnel in the south-west corner. (fn. 6) The tramway from Hollinswood to the Severn at Sutton wharf, built c. 1798 following disputes between the canal company and coal owners, crossed Stirchley, entering the parish at the north end and passing by the Mad brook valley to Holmer in the southeast corner. Opened in 1799, the tramway closed in 1815. (fn. 7) In 1860 the Coalport Branch Railway (later L.N.W.R.) was built on the line of the canal with a station where the Stirchley-Dawley road crossed the line. (fn. 8) The station was closed to passengers in 1952 and the line closed completely in 1964. (fn. 9) In 1854 the Madeley branch of the G.W.R. cut the south-east corner of the parish near Holmer. (fn. 10) The G.W.R. also laid the Old Park mineral line from Hollinswood to the Randlay valley in 1908 to serve the industries in Stirchley. (fn. 11)

Public services came to Stirchley comparatively early for such a small village. Mains electricity was provided c. 1933 (fn. 12) and the village pump and private wells were replaced by a piped water supply c. 1947. (fn. 13)

The only building for social activities in the old village was the parish room, opened in 1922 and enlarged in 1928 perhaps to house the county library book centre which opened in Stirchley in 1928. The building was burnt down and replaced in 1935 by the brick church hall south of the rectory. (fn. 14) From 1970 social facilities were provided in the district and local centres of the Stirchley and Randlay housing estates. They included a youth club and sports complex at Stirchley centre and a community centre at Randlay housed in the former Mount Pleasant farm buildings. (fn. 15) There was a county branch library from 1975 in Stirchley Upper School. (fn. 16)


  • 1. O.S. Map 6", Salop. XLIII. NE. (1903 edn.); V.C.H. Salop. ii. 227 n.; Kelly's Dir. Salop. (1941), 261. This art. was written 1979-80.
  • 2. V.C.H. Salop. ii. 236.
  • 3. Inst. Geol. Sciences Map 1/25,000, Telford (1978 edn.).
  • 4. R. Baugh, Map of Salop. (1808); O.S. Maps 1", sheet 61 NE. (1833 edn.); 6", Salop. XLIII. NE (1889 and later edns.); 1/50,000, sheet 127 (1977 edn.).
  • 5. U. Rayska, Development of Stirchley (T.D.C. 1980).
  • 6. V.C.H. Salop. i. 427.
  • 7. Trinder, Ind. Rev. Salop. 139-40; Baugh, Map of Salop.; Salopian and W. Midland Monthly Illustr. Jnl. Dec. 1877, 60 (copy in S.P.L.).
  • 8. Trinder, Ind. Rev. Salop. (1981), 153.
  • 9. C. R. Clinker, Clinker's Reg. of Closed Stations 1830-1977 (Bristol, 1978), 37.
  • 10. Trinder, Ind. Rev. Salop. 258.
  • 11. S.R.O. 1404/1; O.S. Map 6", Salop. XLIII. NE. (1889 and later edns.); R. Christiansen, W. Midlands (Regional Hist. of Rlys. of Gt. Brit. vii, 1973), 157; below, Wombridge, Communications.
  • 12. S.R.O. 1345/62.
  • 13. A. H. S. Waters, Rep. on Water Supplies (S.C.C. 1946), 90; S.R.O. 1034/6, pp. 144, 156, 160.
  • 14. S.R.O. 1345/34, 62; R.C. Elliott, 'Development of Public Libraries in Salop.' (Loughborough Univ. M.A. thesis, 1970), app. II (copy in Salop. Librs.).
  • 15. S.C.C. Mins. (Educ.) 1972-3, 347; T.D.C. Leisure & Recreation in the Wrekin (1978); Telford and Wrekin News, May 1979, 4.
  • 16. Inf. from Salop. Librs.