Our next history lesson from Martin Wood Shrewsburys very own town crier

Anyone coming into Shrewsbury to shop is bound to walk along High Pavement, and Shoemakers Row, although those names have long since disappeared and has been replaced by what is now known as Pride Hill.

The name, Pride Hill, was taken from a 15th Century family called The Prides who owned many shops in the area and also owned land known as "Pridesditches" below Coton Hill close to what is now the County showground.

From the top of Pride Hill looking down the street on the left was often known as "Double Butchers Row" or "The Shambles" due to the amount of butchers that congregated there on market days and on the right hand side this was used by the shoemakers.

At the top of Pride Hill is the High Cross and it was here in 1283 that the last of the Welsh princes, David, was executed for crimes against the King.
David`s greatest crime was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time as his brother, Llewellen, who was the Welsh leader was killed on his way to do battle with King Edward who had nicked his bride to be and he was not a happy man!!

So once Llewellen had died David held the reins until he was captured by Edwards soldiers and brought into Shrewsbury.
King Edward wanted to overthrow the welsh once and for all so rather than bringing David to London, which would take a while, the king ordered his entire court to move to Shrewsbury and ordered twenty main towns in the Country to send two of their deputies and each Sheriff of the land to send two of his knights and they met at Shrewsbury Abbey. This was the first court in the land to have commoners representing their own areas and so Shrewsbury held the first English Parliament !!

Things did not go right for David and he was quickly found guilty of many crimes including commiting murder on a Palm Sunday and being a traitor against the Crown.
Davids punishment was to be dragged through the town tied to a horses tail and then hung, drawn and quartered with his head being placed on a stake next to his brothers in London and his body bits being sent to Bristol, York, Northampton and Winchester so next time you park illegally you have been warned!!

Another famous body to be put on display at the High Cross was that of Henry Percy or Hotspur as he was known and this happened after the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403 when Hotspur was killed and, although his body was taken to Whitchurch and buried there, King Henry ordered that he be dug up and put on display at the High Cross before he to was Hung, Drawn and Quartered and his head journeyed down to London to be put on a stake on London Bridge, gruesome stuff indeed!

Shopping trends as they are these days, most of the shops on Pride Hill have changed over the years but some of the buildings can still be remembered such as Morris`s Cafe which is now W. H. Smiths. The cafe was opened in 1913 and soon became the place to meet  having seperate ladies tea rooms and gents smoking rooms as well as a rooftop garden.

It would also be most remiss of me not to mention the few inns and hostelries that graced Pride Hill over the years and these include the Clarendon Hotel, (next to where waitrose is now) the Wagon and Horses, the Horseshoes, the Rainbow, the Greyhound Hotel, (now Thomas Cook`s) the Rising Sun, the Red Lion and the Leopard, enough there to wet anyones whistle!! see you next time....."


Martin Wood Martin Wood
The Shrewsbury Town Crier.

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