Meole Brace, Shropshire Family History Guide

Meole Brace is an Ancient Parish in the county of Shropshire.

Alternative names: Brace Meole, Meole

Other places in the parish include: Newton, Pulley, Nobold, and Newton and Edgbold.

Parish church:

Parish registers begin: 1681

Nonconformists include:

Parishes adjacent to Meole Brace

  • Sutton
  • Shrewsbury Holy Trinity
  • Bayston Hill
  • Shrewsbury St Alkmund
  • Shrewsbury St Chad
  • Pontesbury
  • Great Hanwood

Historical Descriptions

Meole Brace

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

BRACE-MEOLE, a parish in Shrewsbury district, Salop; on the Shrewsbury and Hereford railway, 1 mile S of Shrewsbury. It is partly within Shrewsbury borough; includes the townships of Newton and Edgbold, Nobold, and part of Pulley; and contains the Shrewsbury workhouse and the Kingsland lunatic asylum. Post Town, Shrewsbury. Pop., 1,215. Houses, 260. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Hereford. Value, £425. Patron, J. Bather, Esq. The church was rebuilt in 1869, at a cost of £.4,500.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales 1851

Brace-Meol, a parish within the liberty of the borough of Shrewsbury, county of Salop; 2 miles south of Shrewsbury. It includes the house of industry for all the town parishes. Living, a discharged vicarage in the archd. of Salop and dio. of Hereford; valued at £5; gross income £389. Patron, in 1835, the Rev. E. Bather. There are a day and Sunday National school, containing 112 children, a Sunday school, and three boarding schools, in this parish. Pop., in 1801, 1,253; in 1831, 1,207. Houses 230. A. P. £6,892. Poor rates, in 1837, £461.

Source: The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales; A Fullarton & Co. Glasgow; 1851.

Gregory Shropshire Gazetteer 1824

Brace Meole or Meole Brace. A parish in the borough of Shrewsbury, a vicarage discharged, in the diocese of Hereford, the deanery of Pontesbury, and archdeaconry of Salop. The parish of Meole Brace contains 213 houses, 1348 inhabitants, but in this parish is the workhouse or house of industry, for all the town parishes. It contains 290 inhabitants, all ascribed to Meole Brace in the return.

Source: The Shropshire Gazetteer, with an Appendix, including a Survey of the County and Valuable Miscellaneous Information, with Plates. Printed and Published by T. Gregory, Wem, 1824

Shropshire Gazetteer 1824

Meole Brace or Brace Meole. A parish in the liberties of Shrewsbury, a vicarage discharged, in the diocese of Hereford, the deanery of Pontesbury, and archdeaconry of Salop. 213 houses, 1,348 inhabitants, including the inmates of the House of Industry, or Workhouse, (for all the parishes of Shrewsbury,) which lies in this parish. 2 miles south of Shrewsbury.

This lovely village, is not surpassed in beauty of situation and the decorations of rural scenery by many in the kingdom. The handsome small church and parsonage – the neat aspect of the cottages, with the luxuriance of highly cultivated farms, and the decent appearance of all descriptions of inhabitants, furnish the idea of plenty and content; and must bring to the recollection of the gratified beholder the beautiful description Goldsmith gives of Auburn, which forms an opening to that inimitable poem, the Deserted Village:

Sweet Auburn! Loveliest village of the plain,
Where health and plenty cheer’d the lab’ring swain,
Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,
And parting summer’s ling’ring blooms delay’d.
Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease,
Seats of my youth, when every sport could please,
How often have I loiter’d o’er thy green,
Where humble happiness endear’d each scene!
How often have I paus’d on ev’ry charm,
The shelter’d cot, the cultivated farm,
The never-failing brook, the busy mill;
The decent church, that tops the neighb’ring hill;
The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,
For talking age and whisp’ring lovers made!

As a favourite resort of opulence, Meole has a large assemblage of pleasing villas, the habitations of those who drew their first breath amid the smiles of plenty, or the residence of those who, nurtured in the lap of labour, have, through the indefatigable exertions of honesty and industry, acquired a tolerable share of the conveniences and comforts of this life. The best station for viewing this pleasing village is perhaps from the bank, just on crossing the bridge. On the summit of the adjoining bank stands the church, which with neat erections which skirt its brow, have an interesting effect. In the front is the beautiful little bridge, thrown over the brook which meanders through the rich meadows which present themselves on the right, studded with numerous plantations. The back ground is composed of Lyth Hill, entirely mantled with fine woods, and a distant prospect of Shrewsbury, which, with its turrets, spires, and a pleasing variety of objects, serves to excite the most delightful sensations in the observer, and adds much to the picturesque beauty of the surrounding scenery.

That handsome brick building called the House of Industry, which lies in this parish, and is situated on the side of the river Severn, opposite to the Quarry, was erected in 1765, as a Foundling Hospital, at an expense of £12,000. Numbers of Children were sent here from London, and placed out at nurse during their infancy, with the neighbouring cottagers, under the superintendence of the surrounding gentry. When arrived at a proper age, they were brought into this house and employed in various branches of a woollen manufactory, and afterwards apprenticed to various individuals. About 1774, however, the governors finding their funds inadequate to the support of the charity, the house was shut up; and a few years after was rented by government, who in the American war used it as a place of confinement for Dutch prisoners.

In 1784, an act of Parliament was obtained to incorporate the five parishes of Shrewsbury and Meole Brace, as far as related to their poor, and to erect a general House of Industry. The governors of the Foundling Charity, were glad of an opportunity to dispose of their erection at a considerably reduced rate, the building was purchased together with about twenty acres of land, for about £5,500, and it was opened for the reception of paupers, in December, in that year. For a short period they were employed in the fabrication of woollen cloths, but this being found injurious to the pecuniary resources of the house, it was discontinued, and at present their employment chiefly consists in manufacturing the various articles of their clothing. They breakfast, dine, and sup, in the dining-hall, a very large room; the men, Women, boys, and girls, being each placed at separate tables. Divine service is performed each Sunday, in a neat chapel parallel with the hall. There is also an infirmary, where sick and infirm are lodged in proper wards, and attended to by nurses, and the apothecary belonging to the house. The whole is under the management of twelve directors, chosen from persons assessed in the associated parishes at £15, or possessed of property to the amount of £30 per annum, who appoint a governor and matron, to superintend the domestick economy of the establishment.

Mr. Nield, the worthy disciple of the philanthropick Howard, remarks of this place, which he visited in 1807, “This House of Industry is certainly a house of plenty, for the books every where bear record of good living, and the famous beef slaughtered here. The average number in the house is 340: the children delicate and pampered, from being accustomed to abundance and variety of provisions, and comfortable rooms, very dissimilar to the hardy peasant, and therefore ill calculated to rear up useful assistances in the employments of agriculture, or to make useful servants in this agricultural county. They would prefer a race of hardy lads, inured from their infancy to combat weather and temporary want; whose nerves are strong by early exertions, and their understandings furnished with some knowledge of rural life.” – Mr Nield’s extensive observation and experience, qualified him to judge of the most proper aliment and employment of this class of persons, far better than most of the directors and governors of similar institutions can reasonably be expected to do; and as indulgence and plenty cannot be supposed to be the portion of the children of the poor in their progress through life, we may indulge a hope that the directors will speedily devise some plan for the initiation of their young dependants into habits of judicious labour and healthy abstinence.

Along the north front of the house is a beautiful gravel walk, from whence the town is seen to great advantage. On the right, the Abbey-foregate, with its two venerable churches, various manufactories, Lord Hill’s column, and a great extent of fertile land are seen, backed by the Wrekin, Haughmond Hill, &c. In front, the river Severn flowing close underneath, the beautiful verdure of the quarry, and the town, present themselves; whilst on the left are descried a large portion of this extremely fertile county, together with the distant Montgomeryshire and Denbighshire hills. This extensive prospect over the neighbouring country, with the endless variety of scenes that present themselves to the spectator are finely described in the following lines:

Ever charming, ever new,
When will the landscape tire the view?
The fountain’s fall, the river’s flow,
The wooded valleys warm and low;
The windy summits wild and high,
Roughly rushing on the sky!
The pleasing seat, the ruin’d tow’r,
The naked rock, the shady bow’r,
The town and village, dome and farm,
Each give each a double charm,
As pearls upon an Ethiop’s arm.
Dyer.

It was from this house, that the benevolent but eccentrick Mr. Day, deluded by the fascinating eloquence of Rousseau, selected two girls on whom to try an experiment on female education, in which he proposed to unite the delicacy of a modern female, with the bold simplicity of a Spartan virgin, and form a woman who should despise the frivolity and dissipation of the present corrupted age.

Having obtained the object of his wishes, he repaired with them to France, taking no English servant, in order that they might receive no ideas but those which he chose to instil. After spending about eight months in France, he placed the one in a respectable situation in London, and with his favourite actually proceeded in the execution of his project; but experience and mature reflection at length convinced him, that his theory of education was impracticable, and he renounced all hope of moulding his protégée after the model his fancy had formed. He therefore placed her in a boarding school at Sutton Coldfield, in Warwickshire; and after completing her education, she resided some years in Birmingham, and subsequently at Newport, in this county: and by her amiable deportment secured a great number of friends. Mr. Day frequently corresponded with her parentally. In her 26th year she married Mr. Bicknell, a gentleman who accompanied Mr. D. to Shrewsbury, at the commencement of this singular experiment.

Source: The Shropshire Gazetteer, with an Appendix, including a Survey of the County and Valuable Miscellaneous Information, with Plates. Printed and Published by T. Gregory, Wem, 1824

Edgbold

Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales Circa 1870

Edgbold, a township in Meole-Brace parish, Salop; 3 ¼ miles S of Shrewsbury.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Edgebold Pulley

Gregory Shropshire Gazetteer 1824

Edgebold Pulley. A township in the parish of Meole Brace, and in the liberties of Shrewsbury. 1 ¾ mile south-west by south of Shrewsbury.

Source: The Shropshire Gazetteer, with an Appendix, including a Survey of the County and Valuable Miscellaneous Information, with Plates. Printed and Published by T. Gregory, Wem, 1824

Newton

Shropshire Gazetteer 1824

Newton. A township in the parish of Brace Meole, and in the liberties of Shrewsbury. 2 ½ miles south-west of Shrewsbury.

Source: The Shropshire Gazetteer, with an Appendix, including a Survey of the County and Valuable Miscellaneous Information, with Plates. Printed and Published by T. Gregory, Wem, 1824

Nobold

Shropshire Gazetteer 1824

Nobold. A township in the parish of Brace Meole, and in the liberties of Shrewsbury. 1 ½ mile south-west of Shrewsbury.

Source: The Shropshire Gazetteer, with an Appendix, including a Survey of the County and Valuable Miscellaneous Information, with Plates. Printed and Published by T. Gregory, Wem, 1824

Directories

Meole or Meole Brace Cassey Shropshire Directory 1875

Administration

  • County: Shropshire
  • Civil Registration District: Shrewsbury
  • Probate Court: Court of the Bishop of St Asaph (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Diocese: Hereford
  • Rural Deanery: Pontesbury
  • Poor Law Union: Shrewsbury Incorporation
  • Hundred: Condover; Shrewsbury Borough
  • Province: Canterbury
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