The Next History Lesson From Martin The Town Crier

"When I am leading any of my tours around Shrewsbury, one of the most asked questions is, "What is the meaning of the word Dogpole?"

There is a couple of answers that could be given-1, is that there was a second ducking stool here in the 14th Century or that it is derived from the medieval name for top or summit- "Pol" I.E top of the Wyle Cop, or it could be that I tell our American visitors that in medieval times dogs were not allowed in the town so they had to tie them to a post hence a dog-pole! but the real reason is that part of the old inner town wall ran across this street and there was a small gate that people had to duck to get through so "Duck-hole" or, Dogpole, came into being.

At the top of Dogpole stands the impressive Newport House, built by Lord Newport between 1696 and the early 1700`s. It is said that this "New House" replaced an older timber framed house that was removed from here and re-erected at the entrance to the Castle, so in the medieval days when you moved house you did just that, you moved your house!

A few doors down is the Old House and this was used in the 1500`s by Mary Tudor, (Later Queen Mary) when she stayed in Shrewsbury for a short time before moving down to Ludlow Castle.

On the opposite side of the road in what is now a shop stood the first Ear Nose and Throat hospital and the shop is still said to be haunted by a young girl who will talk to the customers until the owner appears.

Not to be outdone by any of the other streets in Shrewsbury, Dogpole had it`s fair share of public houses:- The Plume, or Plume of Feathers was here in the 1890`s before it was closed and turned into a training school for servant girls. The Hen and Chickens stood on the site of what is now No. 8 Dogpole and this was a very large and impressive half timbered house that was the headquarters of a select group of prominent business men who met once a month for a sumptous meal. The Hen and Chickens dissapeared around 1890, and so did the club!!

In 1657 the Lord Newport is recorded as paying 1d, (1 penny!) as rent for the Talbutts inn but no record is available to show when this closed.

Once again, this is a road through the town that has thousands of people travelling down it but not many people realise that there is loads of history in each building, if only walls could talk!!
see you next month...."

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Martin Wood Martin Wood
The Shrewsbury Town Crier.

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