Lilleshall: Local government

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

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'Lilleshall: Local government', in A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford, (London, 1985) pp. 164-166. British History Online [accessed 24 April 2024]


In 1255 the abbot's manor of Lilleshall did no suit to the shire or the hundred, and in 1292 the abbot claimed to hold two great courts a year with all the pleas of the sheriff's tourn. (fn. 1) Court rolls or drafts survive for 1281, 1359, 1408-9, 1422-3, 1592, 1625-55 (intermittently), and 1812, and other records for dates between 1624 and 1817. (fn. 2) In 1281 the great court was held on the same day as one of the little courts. (fn. 3) In the early 15th century the manor's little court was apparently held every four weeks and heard separate groups of presentments for Lilleshall, Honnington, Muxton, and Donnington. The manorial officers included two constables, two aletasters, and a bailiff, parker, and woodward. (fn. 4) At that period, however, the great and little courts were held on different days. (fn. 5)

By 1592 the 'view of frankpledge and little court' were held as one session, and their jurisdiction included Longdon upon Tern manor. In 1592 Lilleshall manor had two constables and two aletasters; one of each was assigned to Lilleshall (presumably including Honnington) and one to Muxton and Donnington jointly. (fn. 6) The two manorial divisions persisted into the 19th century. By the 17th century the court was called a 'view of frankpledge with great and baron court' or 'court leet and court baron'. The officers included, for each division, a constable, an aletaster, a 'keeper of the field' (increased by 1655 to two 'overseers for the fields and field hedges') as well as a hayward, and two 'overseers of the watercourses and ditches' (also called 'overseers of the moor ditches' (fn. 7) and, by 1812, 'brooklookers'). (fn. 8) Each division had a pinfold and stocks in the 17th century. (fn. 9) In 1717 a Pinfold yard occurred at Lilleshall on the west side of the later Limekiln Lane, (fn. 10) and in 1813 a Pinfold croft lay at Donnington on the west side of the lane from the village to Donnington wood. (fn. 11) By 1812 the court was concerned only with regulating agriculture, but continued to appoint two constables. (fn. 12)

By the 1630s the manorial divisions were used for parish government; there was a churchwarden and overseer for each by the 1650s. (fn. 13) A highway surveyor occurred in 1678-9. (fn. 14) By the later 17th century the parish rates were regulated, and the accounts audited, by a body of 'lewners', usually eight, drawn from the two divisions. (fn. 15) They were sometimes augmented by other parishioners, (fn. 16) thus forming, presumably, the vestry meeting, so called by 1792 (when some 15 people were present). (fn. 17) By the later 18th century there were usually no more than four lewners, and from the 1820s they normally included the vicar. (fn. 18)

In the 17th century poor rates and charitable bequests were supplemented by 'charity money' or 'communion money', collected at communion services. (fn. 19) By 1803 the poor were farmed. There was no workhouse, (fn. 20) but by 1804 one had opened at Lilleshall. (fn. 21) About 1810 it was transferred to Donnington. (fn. 22) There were usually 8-10 inmates 1812-15 (fn. 23) but by April 1817 there were 49; (fn. 24) the house was accordingly enlarged (fn. 25) but numbers never reached that level again. (fn. 26) In 1813 the inmates were employed in flax spinning (fn. 27) and in 1820 a steam engine was installed. (fn. 28) By 1812, and until 1837, a salaried workhouse keeper (fn. 29) administered the parish's indoor and outdoor relief. (fn. 30) The overseers passed all the rate income to him and he accounted to the parish for its use. (fn. 31) In the later 19th century poor-relief was supplemented both by endowed charities and by the dukes' ex gratia benefactions. (fn. 32)

A Lilleshall board of health was formed, apparently at the time of the national cholera outbreak of 1831-2, (fn. 33) but was probably shortlived. (fn. 34)

The parish was included in Newport poor-law union 1836-1930 (fn. 35) In 1863 it was put in Newport highway district (fn. 36) and in 1872 in Newport rural sanitary district. In 1894 it was placed in Newport rural district, (fn. 37) which was absorbed by Wellington R.D. in 1936. (fn. 38) In 1898 the extreme south-west corner of the ancient parish was assigned to the new St. George's civil parish in the new Oakengates urban district. In 1934 St. George's C.P. was absorbed by the new Oakengates C.P. (fn. 39) In 1968 the Muxton, Donnington, Donnington Wood, and St. George's areas were included in the designated area of Telford new town. (fn. 40) In 1973-4 the part of Shifnal C.P. and R.D. in Telford (224 ha.) was added to Lilleshall C.P. and the areas of Lilleshall and Oakengates C.P.s were included in Wrekin district. (fn. 41) In 1982 Lilleshall C.P. was renamed Lilleshall and Donnington C.P. (fn. 42)


  • 1. Eyton, viii. 230; Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 679.
  • 2. Staffs. R.O., D. 593/J/1/1, 3, 4; /J/13/1, 2; S.R.O. 1910/484-8; S.P.L., Deeds 16330, 19398-9.
  • 3. S.P.L., Deeds 19398.
  • 4. Staffs. R.O., D. 593/J/1/1; S.P.L., Deeds 16330. Aletasters were mentioned 1359: S.P.L., Deeds 19399.
  • 5. S.P.L., Deeds 16330; MS. 4426; L.J.R.O., B/C/5, Lilleshall abbey acct. r. of 1428-9 and 1436-7.
  • 6. Staffs. R.O., D. 593/J/1/3, ct. r.
  • 7. Ibid. /J/13/2/1, ct. r. of 1625-6; S.R.O. 1910/484-8.
  • 8. Staffs. R.O., D. 593/J/1/4, ct. r.
  • 9. Ibid. /J/13/2/1, ct. r. of 1625-6; S.R.O. 4462/Con/7.
  • 10. S.R.O. 972, parcel 234, middle map of Lilleshall.
  • 11. Ibid. parcel 238, map.
  • 12. Staffs. R.O., D. 593/J/1/4, ct. r.
  • 13. S.R.O. 4462/P/1/1; /CW/1/12.
  • 14. Ibid. /P/1/2.
  • 15. Ibid. /P/1/1, s.a. 1651-2, 1656-7, 1659-60; /P/1/2-3, passim; /CW/2, passim.
  • 16. Ibid. /CW/2, s.a. 1683-4.
  • 17. Ibid. /CW/3, p. 538.
  • 18. Ibid. passim.
  • 19. S.R.O. 4462/CW/1/4; /P/1/1-3, passim.
  • 20. Abstr. Rel. to Poor, H.C. 98, p. 414 (1803-4), xiii.
  • 21. S.R.O. 38/15; /17, f. 67.
  • 22. S.R.O. 972, box 41, survey of 1808, f. 56, no. 34; box 41, survey of 1813, f. 44; parcel 238, map of 1813.
  • 23. Abstr. Rel. to Poor, H.C. 82, p. 369 (1818), xix.
  • 24. S.R.O. 4462/P/1/5, at end.
  • 25. Ibid. general accts. 10 Feb., 20 Apr., 23 July 1818.
  • 26. S.R.O. 4462/P/1/5-7, weekly pay lists.
  • 27. Ibid. /P/1/5, general accts. 30 July 1813.
  • 28. Ibid. 15 Nov. 1820.
  • 29. S.R.O., QR 297/125.
  • 30. S.R.O. 4462/P/1/5-7, passim.
  • 31. Ibid. /P/1/4.
  • 32. S.R.O. 972, box 169, lists of recipients.
  • 33. S.R.O. 4462/Misc/7. At least 6 of the 8 named therein were local surgeons in 1835: Pigot, Nat. Com. Dir. (1835), 365, 382.
  • 34. S. and B. Webb, Stat. Authorities for Special Purposes (1922), 463-4.
  • 35. V. J. Walsh, 'Admin. of Poor Laws in Salop. 1820-55' (Pennsylvania Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1970), 150 (copy in S.R.O.); Kelly's Dir. Salop. (1929), 4.
  • 36. S.R.O., q. sess. order bk. 1861-9, p. 127.
  • 37. V.C.H. Salop. ii. 216.
  • 38. Salop Review Order, 1936 (Min. of Health order no. 80345). The date 1934 is wrongly given in V.C.H. Salop. ii. 216-17.
  • 39. V.C.H. Salop. ii. 224-5.
  • 40. Dawley New Town (Designation) Amendment (Telford) Order 1968 (Stat. Instr. 1968, no. 1912), map accompanying Explanatory Note.
  • 41. New Parishes Order 1973 (Stat. Instr. 1973, no. 688); Census, 1971, Rep. for Co. of Salop as constituted on 1st Apr. 1974, 2.
  • 42. Inf. from S.C.C. Sec.'s Dept.