The East Midlands is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of NUTS for statistical purposes. It consists of Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Rutland; the region has an area of 15,627 km2, with a population over 4.5 million in 2011. There are five main urban centres, Leicester, Lincoln and Nottingham. Others include Boston, Chesterfield, Grantham, Kettering, Mansfield, Newark-on-Trent and Wellingborough. Relative proximity to London and its position on the national motorway and trunk road networks help the East Midlands to thrive as an economic hub. Nottingham and Leicester are each classified as a sufficiency-level world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network; the region is served by East Midlands Airport, which lies between Derby and Nottingham. The high point at 636 m is Kinder Scout, in the Peak District of the southern Pennines in northwest Derbyshire near Glossop. Other upland, hilly areas of 95 to 280 m in altitude, together with lakes and reservoirs, rise in and around the Charnwood Forest north of Leicester, in the Lincolnshire Wolds.
The region's major rivers, the Nene, the Soar, the Trent and the Welland, flow in a northeasterly direction towards the Humber and the Wash. The Derwent, rises in the High Peak before flowing south to join the Trent some 2 miles before its conflux with the Soar; the centre of the East Midlands area lies between Bingham and Bottesford, Leicestershire. The geographical centre of England lies in Higham on the Hill in west Leicestershire, close to the boundary between the Leicestershire and Warwickshire; some 88 per cent of the land is rural in character, although agriculture accounts for less than three per cent of the region's jobs. Lincolnshire is the only maritime county of the six, with a true North Sea coastline of about 30 miles due to the protection afforded by Spurn Head and the North Norfolk foreshore. Church Flatts Farm in Coton in the Elms, South Derbyshire, is the furthest place from the sea in the UK. In April 1936 the first Ordnance Survey trig point was sited at Cold Ashby in Northamptonshire.
The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts and The Wildlife Trusts are based next to the River Trent and Newark Castle railway station. The National Centre for Earth Observation is at the University of Leicester; the region is home to large quantities of limestone, the East Midlands Oil Province. Charnwood Forest is noted for its abundant levels of volcanic rock, estimated to be 600 million years old. A quarter of the UK's cement is manufactured in the region, at three sites in Hope and Tunstead in Derbyshire, Ketton Cement Works in Rutland. Of the aggregates produced in the region, 25 per cent are from Derbyshire and four per cent from Leicestershire. Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire each produce around 30 per cent of the region's sand and gravel output. Barwell in Leicestershire was the site of Britain's largest meteorite on 24 December 1965; the 2008 Lincolnshire earthquake was 5.2 in magnitude. Areas of the East Midlands designated by the East Midlands Biodiversity Partnership as Biodiversity Conservation Areas include: Charnwood Forest Coversand Heaths Derbyshire Peak Fringe and Lower Derwent Humberhead Levels Leighland Forest The Lincolnshire Limewoods and Heaths The Lincolnshire coast The Peak District Rockingham Forest Sherwood Forest Rutland, SW Lincolnshire and N Northamptonshire The Wash Areas of the East Midlands designated by the East Midlands Biodiversity Partnership as Biodiversity Enhancement Areas include: The Coalfields The Daventry Grasslands The Fens The Lincolnshire Coastal Grazing Marshes The Lincolnshire Wolds The National Forest The Yardley-Whittlewood RidgeTwo of the nationally designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are: The Peak District The Lincolnshire Wolds Several towns in the southern part of the region, including Market Harborough, Rothwell, Kettering, Thrapston and Stamford, lie within the boundaries of what was once Rockingham Forest – designated a royal forest by William the Conqueror and was long hunted by English kings and queens.
The National Forest is an environmental project in central England run by The National Forest Company. Areas of north Leicestershire, south Derbyshire and south-east Staffordshire covering around 200 square miles are being planted in an attempt to blend ancient woodland with new plantings, it stretches from the western outskirts of Leicester in the east to Burton upon Trent in the west, is planned to link the ancient forests of Needwood and Charnwood. Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire attracts many visitors, is best known for its ties with the legend of Robin Hood. Regional financial funding decisions for the East Midlands are taken by East Midlands Councils, based in Melton Mowbray. East Midlands Councils is an unelected body made up of representatives of local government in the region; the defunct East Midlands Development Agency was headquartered next to the BBC's East Midlands office in Nottingham and made financial decisions regarding economic development in the region. Since the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government launched its austerity programme after the 2010 general election, regional bodies such as those have been devolved to smaller groups now on a county level.
As a region today, there is no overriding body with significant financial or planning powers for the East Midlands. The East Midlands' largest settlements are Leicester, Derby, Chesterfield, Mansfield and Kettering. Leicester is the largest
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
South East England
South East England is the most populous of the nine official regions of England at the first level of NUTS for statistical purposes. It consists of Berkshire, East Sussex, the Isle of Wight, Oxfordshire and West Sussex; as with the other regions of England, apart from Greater London, the south east has no elected government. It is the third largest region of England, with an area of 19,096 km2, is the most populous with a total population of over eight and a half million; the headquarters of the region's governmental bodies are in Guildford, the region contains seven cities: Brighton and Hove, Chichester, Portsmouth and Winchester, though other major settlements include Reading and Milton Keynes. Its proximity to London and connections to several national motorways have led to South East England becoming an economic hub, with the largest economy in the country outside the capital, it is the location of Gatwick Airport, the UK's second-busiest airport, its coastline along the English Channel provides numerous ferry crossings to mainland Europe.
The region is known for its countryside, which includes the North Downs and the Chiltern Hills as well as two national parks: the New Forest and the South Downs. The River Thames flows through the region and its basin is known as the Thames Valley, it is the location of a number of internationally known places of interest, such as HMS Victory in Portsmouth, Cliveden in Buckinghamshire, Thorpe Park and RHS Wisley in Surrey, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, Windsor Castle in Berkshire, Leeds Castle, the White Cliffs of Dover and Canterbury Cathedral in Kent, Brighton Pier and Hammerwood Park in East Sussex, Wakehurst Place in West Sussex. The region has many universities. South East England is host to various sporting events, including the annual Henley Royal Regatta, Royal Ascot and The Derby, sporting venues include Wentworth Golf Club and Brands Hatch; some of the events of the 2012 Summer Olympics were held in the south east, including the rowing at Eton Dorney and part of the cycling road race in the Surrey Hills.
At Eartham Pit, Boxgrove near Halnaker in West Sussex in December 1993, the oldest human remains in the UK – a tibia bone and a pair of lower incisor teeth – were found. An Acheulean hand axe was found. Bones of a Megalosaurus were found at a slate quarry at Stonesfield in Oxfordshire and named in 1824: it is now at Oxford University Museum of Natural History. In 1822 an Iguanodon was found at Whitemans Green near West Sussex; the Meonhill Vineyard, near Old Winchester Hill in east Hampshire on the South Downs south of West Meon on the A32, was the site of where the Romano-British grew Roman grapes. The Ridgeway runs through Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire and is Britain's oldest road; the post office at Shipton-under-Wychwood in Oxfordshire, in the Cotswolds, is the oldest still in use in England, built in 1845. The first British Grand Prix was held in 1926 at Brooklands, the world's first purpose-built motor circuit built in 1907 by Sir Hugh F. Locke-King, the land owner. Much of the Battle of Britain was fought in this region in Kent.
RAF Bomber Command was based at High Wycombe. RAF Medmenham at Danesfield House, west of Marlow in Buckinghamshire, was important for aerial reconnaissance. Operation Corona, based at RAF Kingsdown, was implemented to confuse German night fighters with native German-speakers, coordinated by the RAF Y Service. Bletchley Park in north Buckinghamshire was the principal Allied centre for codebreaking; the Colossus computer, arguably the world's first, began working on Lorentz codes on 5 February 1944, with Colossus 2 working from June 1944. The site was chosen, among other reasons, because it is at the junction of the Varsity Line and the West Coast Main Line; the Harwell computer, now at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley, was built in 1949 and is believed to be the oldest working digital computer in the world. John Wallis of Kent, introduced the symbol for infinity, the standard notation for powers of numbers in 1656. Thomas Bayes was an important statistician from Tunbridge Wells. Sir David N. Payne at the University of Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Centre invented the erbium-doped fibre amplifier, a type of optical amplifier, in the mid-1980s, which became essential for the internet.
Henry Moseley at Oxford in 1913 discovered his Moseley's law of X-ray spectra of chemical elements that enabled him to be the first to assign the correct atomic number to elements in periodic table. Carbon fibre was invented in 1963 at the RAE in Farnborough by a team led by William Watt; the Apollo LCG space-suit cooling system originated from work done at RAE Farnborough in the early 1960s. Donald Watts Davies, who went to grammar school in Portsmouth, took over from Alan Turing in developing Britain's early computers, invented packet switching in the late 1960s at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington. Packet-switching was taken up by the Americans to form the ARPANET. The
Hereford is a cathedral city, civil parish and county town of Herefordshire, England. It lies on the River Wye 16 miles east of the border with Wales, 24 miles southwest of Worcester, 23 miles northwest of Gloucester. With a population of 58,896, it is the largest settlement in the county; the name "Hereford" is said to come from the Anglo-Saxon "here", an army or formation of soldiers, the "ford", a place for crossing a river. If this is the origin it suggests that Hereford was a place where a body of armed men forded or crossed the Wye; the Welsh name for Hereford is Henffordd, meaning "old road", refers to the Roman road and Roman settlement at nearby Stretton Sugwas. Much of the county of Herefordshire was Welsh-speaking, as reflected in the Welsh names of many places in the county. An early town charter from 1189 granted by Richard I of England describes it as "Hereford in Wales". Hereford has been recognised as a city since time immemorial, with the status being reconfirmed as as October 2000.
It is now known chiefly as a trading centre for rural area. Products from Hereford include: cider, leather goods, nickel alloys, poultry and cattle, including the famous Hereford breed. Hereford became the seat of Putta, Bishop of Hereford, some time between AD 676 and 688, after which the settlement continued to grow due to its proximity to the border between Mercia and Wales, becoming the Saxon capital of West Mercia by the beginning of the 8th century. Hostilities between the Anglo-Saxons and the Welsh came to a head with the Battle of Hereford in 760, in which the Britons freed themselves from the influence of the English. Hereford was again targeted by the Welsh during their conflict with the Anglo-Saxon King Edward the Confessor in AD 1056 when, supported by Viking allies, Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, King of Gwynedd and Powys, marched on the town and put it to the torch before returning home in triumph. Hereford had the only mint west of the Severn in the reign of Athelstan, it was to Hereford a border town, that Athelstan summoned the leading Welsh princes.
The present Hereford Cathedral dates from the early 12th century, as does the first bridge across the Wye. Former Bishops of Hereford include Saint Thomas de Cantilupe and Lord High Treasurer of England Thomas Charlton; the city gave its name to two suburbs of Paris, France: Maisons-Alfort and Alfortville, due to a manor built there by Peter of Aigueblanche, Bishop of Hereford, in the middle of the 13th century. Hereford, a base for successive holders of the title Earl of Hereford, was once the site of a castle, Hereford Castle, which rivalled that of Windsor in size and scale; this was a base for repelling Welsh attacks and a secure stronghold for English kings such as King Henry IV when on campaign in the Welsh Marches against Owain Glyndŵr. The castle was landscaped into Castle Green. After the Battle of Mortimer's Cross in 1461, during the Wars of the Roses, the defeated Lancastrian leader Owen Tudor was taken to Hereford by Sir Roger Vaughan and executed in High Town. A plaque now marks the spot of the execution.
Vaughan was himself executed, under a flag of truce, by Owen's son Jasper. During the civil war the city changed hands several times. On 30 September 1642 Parliamentarians led by Sir Robert Harley and Henry Grey, 1st Earl of Stamford occupied the city without opposition. In December they withdrew to Gloucester because of the presence in the area of a Royalist army under Lord Herbert; the city was again occupied from 23 April to 18 May 1643 by Parliamentarians commanded by Sir William Waller but it was in 1645 that the city saw most action. On 31 July 1645 a Scottish army of 14,000 under Alexander Leslie, 1st Earl of Leven besieged the city but met stiff resistance from its garrison and inhabitants, they withdrew on 1 September when they received news that a force led by King Charles was approaching. The city was taken for Parliament on 18 December 1645 by Colonel Birch and Colonel Morgan. King Charles showed his gratitude to the city of Hereford on 16 September 1645 by augmenting the city's coat of arms with the three lions of Richard I of England, ten Scottish Saltires signifying the ten defeated Scottish regiments, a rare lion crest on top of the coat of arms signifying "defender of the faith" and the rarer gold-barred peer's helm, found only on the arms of one other municipal authority: those of the City of London.
Nell Gwynne and mistress of King Charles II, is said to have been born in Hereford in 1650. Another famous actor born in Hereford is David Garrick; the Bishop's Palace next to the Cathedral was continually used to the present day. Hereford Cathedral School is one of the oldest schools in England; the Harold Street Barracks were completed in 1856. During World War I, in 1916, a fire at the Garrick Theatre killed eight young girls, performing at a charity concert; the main local government body covering Hereford is Herefordshire Council. Hereford has a "City Council" but this is a parish council with city status, has only limited powers. Hereford has been the county town of Herefordshire. In 1974 Herefordshire was merged with Worcestershire to become part of the county of Hereford and Worcester, Hereford became a district of the new county. Hereford had formed a historic borough and was reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. On 1 April 1998 the County of Hereford and Worcester was abolish
Birmingham is the second-most populous city in the United Kingdom, after London, the most populous city in the English Midlands. It is the most populous metropolitan district in the United Kingdom, with an estimated 1,137,123 inhabitants, is considered the social, cultural and commercial centre of the Midlands, it is the main local government of the West Midlands conurbation, the third most populated urban area in the United Kingdom, with a population of 2,897,303 in 2017. The wider Birmingham metropolitan area is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a population of over 4.3 million. It is referred to as the United Kingdom's "second city". A market town in the medieval period, Birmingham grew in the 18th-century Midlands Enlightenment and subsequent Industrial Revolution, which saw advances in science and economic development, producing a series of innovations that laid many of the foundations of modern industrial society. By 1791 it was being hailed as "the first manufacturing town in the world".
Birmingham's distinctive economic profile, with thousands of small workshops practising a wide variety of specialised and skilled trades, encouraged exceptional levels of creativity and innovation and provided an economic base for prosperity, to last into the final quarter of the 20th century. The Watt steam engine was invented in Birmingham; the resulting high level of social mobility fostered a culture of political radicalism which, under leaders from Thomas Attwood to Joseph Chamberlain, was to give it a political influence unparalleled in Britain outside London, a pivotal role in the development of British democracy. From the summer of 1940 to the spring of 1943, Birmingham was bombed by the German Luftwaffe in what is known as the Birmingham Blitz; the damage done to the city's infrastructure, in addition to a deliberate policy of demolition and new building by planners, led to extensive urban regeneration in subsequent decades. Birmingham's economy is now dominated by the service sector.
The city is a major international commercial centre, ranked as a beta- world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Its metropolitan economy is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a GDP of $121.1bn, its six universities make it the largest centre of higher education in the country outside London. Birmingham's major cultural institutions – the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the Library of Birmingham and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts – enjoy international reputations, the city has vibrant and influential grassroots art, music and culinary scenes. Birmingham is the fourth-most. People from Birmingham are called Brummies, a term derived from the city's nickname of "Brum", which originates from the city's old name, which in turn is thought to have derived from "Bromwich-ham"; the Brummie accent and dialect are distinctive. Birmingham's early history is that of a marginal area; the main centres of population and wealth in the pre-industrial English Midlands lay in the fertile and accessible river valleys of the Trent, the Severn and the Avon.
The area of modern Birmingham lay in between, on the upland Birmingham Plateau and within the densely wooded and sparsely populated Forest of Arden. There is evidence of early human activity in the Birmingham area dating back to around 8000 BC, with stone age artefacts suggesting seasonal settlements, overnight hunting parties and woodland activities such as tree felling; the many burnt mounds that can still be seen around the city indicate that modern humans first intensively settled and cultivated the area during the bronze age, when a substantial but short-lived influx of population occurred between 1700 BC and 1000 BC caused by conflict or immigration in the surrounding area. During the 1st-century Roman conquest of Britain, the forested country of the Birmingham Plateau formed a barrier to the advancing Roman legions, who built the large Metchley Fort in the area of modern-day Edgbaston in AD 48, made it the focus of a network of Roman roads. Birmingham as a settlement dates from the Anglo-Saxon era.
The city's name comes from the Old English Beormingahām, meaning the home or settlement of the Beormingas – indicating that Birmingham was established in the 6th or early 7th century as the primary settlement of an Anglian tribal grouping and regio of that name. Despite this early importance, by the time of the Domesday Book of 1086 the manor of Birmingham was one of the poorest and least populated in Warwickshire, valued at only 20 shillings, with the area of the modern city divided between the counties of Warwickshire and Worcestershire; the development of Birmingham into a significant urban and commercial centre began in 1166, when the Lord of the Manor Peter de Bermingham obtained a charter to hold a market at his castle, followed this with the creation of a planned market town and seigneurial borough within his demesne or manorial estate, around the site that became the Bull Ring. This established Birmingham as the primary commercial centre for the Birmingham Plateau at a time when the area's economy was expanding with population growth nationally leading to the clearance and settlement of marginal land.
Within a century of the charter Birmingham had grown into a prosperous urban centre of merchants and craftsmen. By 1327 it was the third-largest town in Warwickshire, a position it would retain for the next 200 years; the principal governing institutions of medieval Birmingham – including the Guild of the Ho
Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire, England. The town is on the River Severn and the 2011 census recorded a town population of 71,715. Shrewsbury is a market town whose centre has a unspoilt medieval street plan and over 660 listed buildings, including several examples of timber framing from the 15th and 16th centuries. Shrewsbury Castle, a red sandstone fortification, Shrewsbury Abbey, a former Benedictine monastery, were founded in 1074 and 1083 by the Norman Earl of Shrewsbury, Roger de Montgomery; the town is where he spent 27 years of his life. Located 9 miles east of the Welsh border, Shrewsbury serves as the commercial centre for Shropshire and mid-Wales, with a retail output of over £299 million per year and light industry and distribution centres, such as Battlefield Enterprise Park, on the outskirts; the A5 and A49 trunk roads come together as the town's by-pass, five railway lines meet at Shrewsbury railway station. The town is located 150 miles north-west of London; the town was the early capital of the Kingdom of Powys, known to the ancient Britons as Pengwern, signifying "the alder hill".
This name evolved in three directions, into Sciropscire, which became Shropshire. Its Welsh name Amwythig means "fortified place". Over the ages, the geographically important town has been the site of many conflicts between the English and Welsh; the Angles, under King Offa of Mercia, took possession in 778. Nearby is the village of 5 miles to the south-east; this was once the site of the fourth largest cantonal capital in Roman Britain. As Caer Guricon it is a possible alternative for the Dark Age seat of the Kingdom of Powys; the importance of the Shrewsbury area in the Roman era was underlined with the discovery of the Shrewsbury Hoard in 2009. Shrewsbury's known history commences in the Early Middle Ages, having been founded c. 800 AD. It is believed that Anglo-Saxon Shrewsbury was most a settlement fortified through the use of earthworks comprising a ditch and rampart, which were shored up with a wooden stockade. There is evidence to show; the Welsh were repelled by William the Conqueror. Roger de Montgomery was given the town as a gift from William, built Shrewsbury Castle in 1074, taking the title of Earl.
He founded Shrewsbury Abbey as a Benedictine monastery in 1083. The 3rd Earl, Robert of Bellême, was deposed in 1102 and the title forfeited, in consequence of rebelling against Henry I and joining the Duke of Normandy's invasion of England in 1101. In 1138, King Stephen besieged the castle held by William FitzAlan for the Empress Maud during the period known as the Anarchy, it was in the late Middle Ages. This success was due to wool production, a major industry at the time, the wool trade with the rest of Britain and Europe, with the River Severn and Watling Street acting as trading routes; the Shrewsbury Drapers Company dominated the trade in Welsh wool for many years. Despite its commercial success, Shrewbury was not immune from the effects of the Black Death. Records suggest the plague arrived in the spring of 1349, was devastating. Examining the number of local church benefices falling vacant due to death, 1349 alone saw twice the vacancies as the previous ten years combined, suggesting a high death toll in Shrewsbury.
In 1403 the Battle of Shrewsbury was fought a few miles north at Battlefield. Shrewsbury's monastic gathering was disbanded with the Dissolution of the Monasteries and as such the Abbey was closed in 1540. However, it is believed that Henry VIII thereafter intended to make Shrewsbury a cathedral city after the formation of the Church of England, but the citizens of the town declined the offer. Despite this, Shrewsbury thrived throughout the 17th centuries; as a result, a number of grand edifices, including the Ireland's Mansion and Draper's Hall, were constructed. It was in this period that Edward VI gave permission for the foundation of a free school, to become Shrewsbury School. During the English Civil War, the town was a Royalist stronghold and only fell to Parliament forces after they were let in by a parliamentarian sympathiser at the St Mary's Water Gate. After Thomas Mytton captured Shrewsbury in February 1645; this prompted Prince Rupert to respond by executing Parliamentarian prisoners in Oswestry.
Shrewsbury Unitarian Church was founded in 1662. By the 18th century Shrewsbury had become an important market town and stop off for stagecoaches travelling between London and Holyhead on their way to Ireland. Local soldier and statesman Robert Clive was Shrewsbury's MP from 1762 until his death in 1774. Clive served once as the town's mayor in 176
Peterborough is a cathedral city in Cambridgeshire, with a population of 196,640 in 2015. Part of Northamptonshire, it is 75 miles north of London, on the River Nene which flows into the North Sea 30 miles to the north-east; the railway station is an important stop on the East Coast Main Line between Edinburgh. The city is 70 miles east of Birmingham, 38 miles east of Leicester, 81 miles south of Kingston upon Hull and 65 miles west of Norwich; the local topography is flat, in some places the land lies below sea level, for example in parts of the Fens to the east of Peterborough. Human settlement in the area began before the Bronze Age, as can be seen at the Flag Fen archaeological site to the east of the current city centre with evidence of Roman occupation; the Anglo-Saxon period saw the establishment of a monastery, which became Peterborough Cathedral. The population grew after the railways arrived in the 19th century, Peterborough became an industrial centre noted for its brick manufacture.
After the Second World War, growth was limited until designation as a New Town in the 1960s. Housing and population are expanding and a £1 billion regeneration of the city centre and surrounding area is under way; as in much of the United Kingdom, industrial employment has fallen, with a significant proportion of new jobs in financial services and distribution. EtymologyThe town's name changed to Burgh from the late tenth century after Abbot Kenulf had built a defensive wall around the abbey, developed into the form Peterborough; the contrasting form Gildenburgh is found in the 12th century history of the abbey, the Peterborough version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and in a history of the abbey by the monk Hugh Candidus. Present-day Peterborough is the latest in a series of settlements which have at one time or other benefited from its site where the Nene leaves large areas of permanently drained land for the fens. Remains of Bronze Age settlement and what is thought to be religious activity can be seen at the Flag Fen archaeological site to the east of the city centre.
The Romans established a fortified garrison town at Durobrivae on Ermine Street, five miles to the west in Water Newton, around the middle of the 1st century AD. Durobrivae's earliest appearance among surviving records is in the Antonine Itinerary of the late 2nd century. There was a large 1st century Roman fort at Longthorpe, designed to house half a legion, or about 3,000 soldiers. Peterborough was an important area of ceramic production in the Roman period, providing Nene Valley Ware, traded as far away as Cornwall and the Antonine Wall, Caledonia. Peterborough is shown by its original name Medeshamstede to have been an Anglian settlement before AD 655, when Sexwulf founded a monastery on land granted to him for that purpose by Peada of Mercia, who converted to Christianity and was ruler of the smaller Middle Angles sub-group, his brother Wulfhere murdered his own sons converted and finished the monastery by way of atonement. Hereward the Wake rampaged through the town in 1069 or 1070. Outraged, Abbot Turold erected a fort or castle, from his name, was called Mont Turold: this mound, or hill, is on the outside of the deanery garden, now called Tout Hill, although in 1848 Tot-hill or Toot Hill.
The abbey church was rebuilt and enlarged in the 12th century. The Peterborough Chronicle, a version of the Anglo-Saxon one, contains unique information about the history of England after the Norman conquest, written here by monks in the 12th century; this is the only known prose history in English between the conquest and the 14th century. The burgesses received their first charter from "Abbot Robert" – Robert of Sutton; the place suffered materially in the war between King John and the confederate barons, many of whom took refuge in the monastery here and in Crowland Abbey, from which sanctuaries they were forced by the king's soldiers, who plundered the religious houses and carried off great treasures. The abbey church became one of Henry VIII's retained, more secular, cathedrals in 1541, having been assessed at the Dissolution as having revenue of £1,972.7s.0¾d per annum. When civil war broke out, Peterborough was divided between supporters of King Charles I and the Long Parliament; the city lay on the border of the Eastern Association of counties which sided with Parliament, the war reached Peterborough in 1643 when soldiers arrived in the city to attack Royalist strongholds at Stamford and Crowland.
The Royalist forces were defeated within a few weeks and retreated to Burghley House, where they were captured and sent to Cambridge. While the Parliamentary soldiers were in Peterborough, they ransacked the cathedral, destroying the Lady Chapel, chapter house, high altar and choir stalls, as well as mediaeval decoration and records. Housing and sanitary improvements were effected under the provisions of an Act of Parliament passed in 1790. After the dissolution the dean and chapter, who succeeded the abbot as lords of the manor, appointed a high bailiff and the constables and other borough officers were elected at their court leet. Among the privileges claimed by the abbot as early as the 13th century was that of ha