NEWPORT, a market town in the Newport parliamentary division of Shropshire, England, 145 m. N.W. from London on the Stafford-Shrewsbury joint line of the London & NorthWestern and Great Western railways, and on the Shrewsbury canal. Pop. of urban district (1901) 3241. The church of St Nicholas is Early English and Perpendicular. There is an ancient market cross, greatly decayed. Newport possesses a literary institute, and a free grammar school founded in 1665. Four miles S. are the beautiful ruins of Lilleshall abbey, including a fine Norman west door and part of the front, considerable remains of the church besides, and traces of domestic buildings. The abbey was founded in 1145, under charter from King Stephen, by Richard de Baumes or Belmeis, dean of St Alkmund, Shrewsbury, for Augustinian canons, who were brought from Dorchester Abbey, Oxfordshire. Ironstone, coal and limestone are worked in the parish.
Newport is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey, but at the time of the Conquest formed part of the manor of Edgmond, which William I. gave with the rest of the county of Shropshire to Roger, earl of Shrewsbury. Henry I. is supposed to have founded the borough, at first called New Borough, after the manor had come into his hands through the forfeiture of Robert de Belesme. The site was probably chosen partly on account of the fisheries, which are mentioned in the Domesday Survey, one of the chief services of the burgesses being that of taking fish to the king's court wherever it might be. This custom was continued after Henry III. had granted the borough with the manor of Edgmond, to Henry de Audley, but in the middle of the 13th century James, son of Henry de Audley, granted that the burgesses need not take the fish anywhere except within the county of Shropshire. The burgesses must have received certain privileges from Henry I., since Henry II. in an undated charter granted them all the liberties, rights and customs which they had in the time of Henry I. This probably included a gild merchant which is mentioned in the Quo Warranto Rolls as one of the privileges claimed by the burgesses. Confirmation charters were granted by Edward I. in 1287 and Edward II. in 1311, while the town was incorporated in 1551 by Edward VI. whose charter was confirmed by James I. in 1604. The governing body consisted of a high steward, deputy steward, two water-bailiffs and 28 burgesses, but the cdrporation was abolished by the Municipal Corporation Act of 1883, and a Local Board was formed, which, under the Local Government Act, gave place in 1894 to an urban district council.
See Edward Jones, Historical Records of Newport, co. Salop; Shropshire Archaeol. and Natural History Society, vols. viii. and ix. (1885-1886); Victoria County History, Shropshire.
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