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Oswestry is a town with a history. The name comes from Oswald's Tree. Oswald was King of Northumbria, who was defeated here by Penda. Legend says that a bird carried away a limb or the head of the dead king and where it fell a spring bubbled forth, since known as Oswald's Well. This was all in the 7th century, but Oswestry's history goes back even further, as the massive Iron-Age hill-fort of Hen Dinas, or Old Oswestry, proves. The hill-fort can be seen in passing from the new by-pass on the north of the town, and must be the best advertisement for historic Oswestry that could be imagined. Watt's Dyke, another reminder of the area's history skirts the massive ramparts, then cuts through Oswestry and on southwards along the Maesbury road.
Petton is a parish on the A528 Shrewsbury to Ellesmere road, and the bulk of this small parish lies to the west of this road. Unlike some of its larger neighbours, Petton did get a mention in the Domesday Book as Pectone. The church at Petton stands on a small rise close to sites of Norman origin, and was built in 1727 with some remodelling in the following century.
A little way to the north is Petton Hall, now a school, which was built in the late 19th century to replace an earlier structure. For some time it was the home of the Spalding family, and later the Cunliffes who were related by marriage. Details of these families are well-documented and accounts of the customs, festivities and happenings at Petton are often typical of such households elsewhere in the county. As in any family there are those members whose activities are worthy of mention. One Spalding son died on a voyage to Barbados when he was a captain of a slave ship. Then there was a daughter who, by marriage, became Mrs. Cunliffe. She tended to set the standards in the parish, and woe betide any girl or boy who did not acknowledge the passing of her carriage either by a curtsy for touching of forehead. Such lack of respect would result in a letter to the vicar who would pass it on to the schoolteacher before the offending child was taken to task.
Pimhill is a parish to the north of Shrewsbury, but with no village by that name it seems few even now of its existence. In the west of the parish are Grafton, Forton Heath and Mytton, each a pleasant hamlet but none with sufficient of merit to get a mention in most books on Shropshire. But Fitz, which stands with its back to the Severn, is a different spot. It was here that the Reverend Waldegrave Brewster went after he left Middleton Church.
In the centre of the parish the B5067 cuts it vertically, and here can be found the township of Leaton with its rather splendid church and vicarage standing alone beside the road. It is not an old church, having been built in the mid-19th century.
In the north of the parish is Bomere Heath, a thriving village which has grown dramatically over the years. East of Bomere Heath is Preston Gubbals, with its church dedicated to St. Martin. The name is said to be derived from Godbold, a Norman priest who once preached in this church which, despite its mainly 19-century appearance, goes back to Norman times.
Ruyton XI Towns has probably had more written about it, and more books or chapters dedicated to it, than any other place in Shropshire. It is also said to be the ONLY place in the world with Roman numerals in its name. It was mentioned in the Domesday Book as Udeford and Ruitone. The "XI Towns" came later with the 14th-century Charter