Wem is a small market town in Shropshire, England. It is the administrative centre of North Shropshire District Council, which has its headquarters at Edinburgh House in the centre of Wem. The town has a railway station - Wem railway station on the Shrewsbury to Crewe railway line. Nine miles south of the town is the county town of Shropshire, Shrewsbury.

The civil parish which constitutes the town is Wem Urban - see also Wem Rural.


The area now known as Wem is believed to have been settled prior to the Roman Conquest of Britain, by the Cornovii, Iron Age settlers. The town is recorded in the Domesday Book as consisting of four manors. In 1202, Wem became a market town.

The town supported the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War, and was subject to an attack by Lord Capel, in which the town held off the attackers. In 1677, a fire destroyed many of the wooden buildings in the town.

Within the town the Sweet Pea was first born, under the name the Eckford Sweet Pea, after its inventor, nursery-man Henry Eckford. He first introduced a variety of the sweet pea in 1882, and set up in Wem in 1888, developing and producing many varieties. There is a road to signify the Eckford name, called Eckford Park (within Wem). Each year, the Eckford Sweet Pea Society of Wem hold a Sweet Pea Festival. In Victorian times, the town was known as "Wem, where the sweet peas grow".

The name of the town is derived from the Saxon "Wamm", meaning a marsh, as marshy land exists in the area of the town. Over time, this was corrupted to form "Wem".


Wem is twinned with the town Fismes (pronounced /fiːmz/ or "feems"), in France, which also has its own road in Wem, called Fismes Way.

The River Roden flows to the south of the town. The Shropshire Way long distance waymarked path passes through Wem.

Culture and community

Within the town there are also four churches. The best known of these churches is the main Anglican Church. Each year Wem holds a traditional town carnival on the first Saturday of September, as well as the Sweet Pea Festival. Hawkstone Park is nearby.

Notable people

Wem was the birthplace of actors Peter Vaughan and Peter Jones, and was also the childhood home of the essayist and critic, William Hazlitt, whose father was a Unitarian Minister in the town.


External links

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