A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985.
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HADLEY AND HORTON
Hadley township lies on the north-east side of Wellington ancient parish. In 1841 it was reckoned to contain 1,199 a. (485 ha.) and had roughly the shape of a tall rectangle. (fn. 1) Its southern boundary was Watling Street, its northern the old Newport-Shrewsbury road. Hadley brook (fn. 2) formed the eastern boundary; its southern part, called Springwell brook near Wombridge by the 12th century, (fn. 3) was called Beveley brook in the late 18th. (fn. 4) Hadley's western boundary mostly followed Ketley brook (called Hurley brook in its northern part) (fn. 5) but the Haybridge area extended westwards to its tributary Haybridge brook. (fn. 6) The area that adjoined the north side of Watling Street, although regarded locally as part of Ketley, was part of the ancient township of Hadley and is treated for most purposes in the present article; private houses along the north side of Watling Street that cannot be considered separately from those along the opposite side, in Ketley township, are treated in that article. (fn. 7)
Horton township, which adjoined Hadley on the east, was said in 1841 to have 354 a. (143 ha.). It was bounded on the south by the Newport- Wellington road and on the west by Hadley brook and the old Newport-Shrewsbury road. On the north and east, however, it had a tortuous outline that evidently reflected a complex division of tithes between Eyton, Preston, and Wellington parishes. (fn. 8)
In 1898 Horton township and most of Hadley township were included in the newly created Hadley civil parish. (fn. 9)
Hadley village lay on boulder clay, as did most of the township to the south and south-east. South-west and north of the village sand and gravel predominated, though much of Hadley park consisted of lake clay. South of the Boundary fault, which crossed the township's south-east quarter, lay workable coal and ironstone. (fn. 10) The land sloped downwards increasingly gently from c. 120 metres above O.D. in the south to c. 60 metres in the north. Hadley village lay at c. 85 metres. The township drained towards the Weald Moors. (fn. 11)
Most of Horton village stood on boulder clay, which also covered the area immediately south. Along the Hadley boundary, farther west, the land was predominantly sand and gravel in the south and lake clay in the north. North and east of the village boulder clay predominated, but there was much lake clay and alluvium. (fn. 12) The land sloped gently from south-east to north-west, falling from c. 75 metres to c. 60 metres. It drained towards the Weald Moors along Crow brook, north of the village, and along its tributary Hadley brook. (fn. 13)
In 1979 there were traces of an oval earthwork enclosure near Blockleys' brickworks. (fn. 14) Incoherent linear crop marks in Hadley park (fn. 15) are the only other likely indications of early land use.
The Roman Watling Street was turnpiked in 1726. Its Wellington-Newport branch passed through Hadley village and, as Trench Lane, formed Horton's southern boundary; presumably an early route, it was turnpiked in 1763. The old Newport-Shrewsbury road, along the northern boundary of both townships, was also presumably an early route. The Cotwall-Oakengates route (via Longdon upon Tern), turnpiked in 1726, also passed through Hadley village. (fn. 18) The first length of the Shrewsbury Canal (1794) crossed the northern part of Hadley township. It was disused from 1921 and formally abandoned in 1944. (fn. 19)
The Wellington-Stafford railway, built 1849, (fn. 20) crossed both townships; there was a station at Hadley, which closed to passengers and goods in 1964. (fn. 21) The Wellington-Wolverhampton line (1849) crossed Hadley township, with a halt at New Hadley by 1937. (fn. 22) In 1857 a branch of the Wellington-Wolverhampton railway was opened by the Wellington & Severn Junction Railway Co. (later G.W.R.) from Ketley Junction (in Hadley township) south to Horsehay, beyond which c. 1858 the company extended it to a terminus (in Madeley) near Lightmoor. Extensions beyond Lightmoor provided a direct route from Wellington, via Coalbrookdale, Buildwas, and Much Wenlock, to Presthope (from 1864) and Craven Arms (from 1867). From 1951 the passenger service ended at Much Wenlock. In 1962 the line from Ketley Junction to Ketley station was severed and all passenger traffic ceased. Thereafter goods from Wellington could reach Buildwas and Much Wenlock until 1963, and Coalbrookdale and Ketley until 1964, through Madeley Junction (on the Wellington-Wolverhampton line) and Lightmoor. (fn. 23) From 1964 that route was open only to sidings at Ironbridge B power station (in Buildwas). (fn. 24) The Coalport Branch Railway Co. (later L.N.W.R.) built a southward branch of the Wellington-Stafford line, from a point east of Hadley station to Coalport (in Madeley). It opened for goods in 1860 and passengers in 1861. (fn. 25) It closed to passengers in 1952, to goods beyond Stirchley in 1960, and entirely in 1964. (fn. 26)
Hadley and Horton were probably the only nucleated settlements until the later 18th century. In 1086 Hadley had 10 recorded inhabitants. (fn. 27) Numbers evidently increased a little before 1327 when there were 11 taxpayers, (fn. 28) but a mid 14thcentury collapse followed by a slow recovery may be postulated. (fn. 29) In 1542 Hadley, like Aston, Lawley, and Walcot, had about one in seventeen of the 'able' men of the parish; (fn. 30) it may have had the same proportion of Wellington parish's 219 households in 1563. (fn. 31) By 1672, however, it had left those townships behind; 22 houses were liable to hearth tax. (fn. 32) The rapid increase since 1563 was almost certainly due to settlement of miners along the north side of Watling Street. (fn. 33) Mining and iron making flourished in Ketley and Hadley townships from the later 18th to the mid 19th century (fn. 34) and Hadley township had 1,280 inhabitants in 1841. (fn. 35)
Hadley village, little affected but for the opening of new shops, then consisted of houses grouped along c. 700 metres of the Newport- Wellington road, later called High Street. Soon after 1871, however, when the Castle Iron Works opened, new streets were laid out. When its successor opened, in 1900, 94 houses were immediately added in new streets that almost joined Hadley to Haybridge, and Castle Houses, 12 dwellings in two blocks, were built near the works; the new houses resembled some at Port Sunlight (Ches.). (fn. 36) The factory's failure caused many houses to be empty until it reopened in 1910. (fn. 37) Wellington rural district council enlarged the village with 204 houses at Brookdale (1921), Parkdale (1931-9), and Sunningdale (1936). (fn. 38) Parkdale extended northwards to a small settlement along Hadley Road known as Leegomery, (fn. 39) probably founded in the 1870s (fn. 40) for Castle Iron Works employees.
West of Hadley by 1817 lay Haybridge Hall and Haybridge House. (fn. 41) Two workmen's terraces were added, (fn. 42) presumably after the Haybridge ironworks opened in 1864. (fn. 43) In the 20th century Haybridge was gradually overrun by Hadley.
Between 1947 and 1968 the R.D.C. extended Hadley and Haybridge with 676 houses and flats (fn. 44) but further expansion could not proceed until the Rushmoor sewage works (in Wrockwardine) opened (fn. 45) in 1975. (fn. 46) Wrekin district council added 61 dwellings in 5 small schemes 1975-80, (fn. 47) but most house building after 1975 was on Telford development corporation's Leegomery estate (between Hadley Park Road and Haybridge Road), (fn. 48) which combined public (rented) and private housing. (fn. 49) The corporation contributed 1,059 rented houses and flats there 1978-c. 1981 (fn. 50) and Wrekin district council 119 between 1978 and 1979. (fn. 51)
From 1978 a northern bypass diverted the Newport-Wellington road from the old centre of Hadley, (fn. 52) which was accordingly pedestrianized as a Telford 'district centre', declared open in 1981. (fn. 53)
South-east of Hadley, in the coal-bearing part of the township, lay two isolated rows of industrial workers' cottages by 1809, New Hadley and Ragfield Row. (fn. 54) The former, presumably occupied from the 1890s by B. P. Blockley's employees, (fn. 55) stood until replaced in 1930 by 20 council houses. (fn. 56) Extensions of Hadley council housing later absorbed the area.
Between Watling Street and the site of the Wellington-Wolverhampton railway there were scattered houses associated with coalpits until the mid 20th century, (fn. 57) when slum clearance (fn. 58) and the development of Allied Ironfounders' works (fn. 59) required more houses in that area. Wellington R.D.C. built 6 at Ketley Vallens in 1927 (fn. 60) and 30 near Ketleybrook in 1935. (fn. 61) A private estate of 63 houses was completed off Ketley Vallens 1935-8. (fn. 62) Near Ketleybrook the council built 374 more houses and flats 1957-66. (fn. 63)
Horton village consisted in 1840 of some 20 farmhouses and cottages around the junction of Horton Lane and the old Newport-Shrewsbury road and along the north side of the lane. (fn. 64) The village had grown little by 1983 though there had been much rebuilding and modernization.
A short length of Trench Lane lay in Horton township. Only two houses there were in Wellington parish in 1840. (fn. 65) Nearby at Trench Lock, where the lane from Hadley crossed the Shrewsbury Canal and entered Horton township, settlement followed the opening of the Trench Iron Works in 1866. (fn. 66) By 1882 workers' housing on the Hadley side of the lock included 4 terraces (64 cottages), (fn. 67) and Wellington R.D.C. added 8 houses in 1921. (fn. 68) On the Horton side there was a terrace of 6 cottages by 1882, (fn. 69) near which Oakengates urban district council completed Jubilee Terrace c. 1935. (fn. 70)
Hadley had a fuller provision for social life than the other coalfield townships, and some of its amenities rivalled those of Wellington. Horton's, however, were negligible.
Hadley township had an aleseller in 1590 (his house perhaps the resort of those presented for illegal card playing that year) and at least two c. 1620, when Horton also had one. (fn. 71) From the 18th century road improvements and nearby industrial growth caused public houses to increase in Hadley village and on Watling Street and to open near pits and ironworks. (fn. 72) The principal inns were the Seven Stars on Watling Street, mentioned 1746, (fn. 73) and the Bush, Hadley, mentioned 1822. (fn. 74) At Horton the Horse Shoe, licensed before 1800, closed c. 1939 (fn. 75) but the 19th-century Queen's Head (fn. 76) was open in 1983.
A Union Society at Hadley was registered in 1801 and a Brotherly Friendly Society began in 1823. (fn. 77) By 1898 the National Order of Free Gardeners had a lodge at the Granville Arms, (fn. 78) New Hadley, and in the 1930s the Ancient Order of Foresters had courts at Hadley and Horton. (fn. 79) The Independent Order of Rechabites had a tent c. 1940. (fn. 80)
A literary institute flourished in the 1870s and 1880s (fn. 81) and Trench Lock had reading rooms in 1898. (fn. 82) A Liberal and Labour Club was formed by 1913. (fn. 83) By 1922 it had been replaced by Hadley Working Men's Club & Institute. (fn. 84) A Comrades Club, mentioned 1934, (fn. 85) was apparently replaced before 1937 by the United Services & Village Club, (fn. 86) which had its own premises at Hadley centre in 1981. (fn. 87) An old people's rest room was opened by volunteers in 1953. (fn. 88) Wellington R.D.C. opened a children's play centre in 1964. (fn. 89) In 1980 Hadley parish council made Castle Farm a community centre (fn. 90) and premises in High Street were converted for West Indian use. (fn. 91) G.K.N. Sankey had its own sports and social club in 1981. (fn. 92)
In 1882 there was a cricket ground between Hadley village and Trench Lock. (fn. 93) The National Olympian Society held its 1883 athletics festival at Hadley. (fn. 94) The Hadley Blues football team flourished c. 1920, (fn. 95) and in the 1930s Ketley playing field, on the Hadley side of Watling Street, was opened by voluntary effort. (fn. 96) Wellington R.D.C. enlarged and improved it c. 1967 (fn. 97) and by 1981 it included squash courts, a swimming pool, and a golf driving range. (fn. 98) In 1954 the R.D.C. opened another playing field at Sunningdale, laid out at the expense of Joseph Sankey & Sons Ltd. (fn. 99) It included a swimming pool and gymnasium by 1981. In addition the Glynwed and G.K.N. Sankey works had their own sports fields. (fn. 100) In the 1980s funfairs were held near the Seven Stars. (fn. 101)
Hadley and District Orpheus Male Voice Choir, formed 1901, (fn. 102) flourished in 1983, and the Wrekin Choral and Operatic Society, founded 1964, rehearsed at Hadley. (fn. 103) The Regal cinema, formerly the Primitive Methodist chapel, (fn. 104) opened in 1934 (fn. 105) and closed c. 1957. (fn. 106) The county library opened a Hadley book centre in 1940 (fn. 107) and a new branch library in 1968. (fn. 108) Ketley book centre was located in Hadley township 1946-55. (fn. 109)