Wem Town Defences

Has been described as a Questionable Urban Defence

There are no visible remains

NameWem Town Defences
Alternative Names
Historic CountryShropshire
Modern AuthorityShropshire
1974 AuthorityShropshire
Civil ParishWem

There is no documentary reference to medieval defences at Wem but the topography of the town suggests a defensive circuit based on the castle. The back boundary of tenement plots off Noble Street may mark the defences to the N of the town and Leek Street and Drawwell Lane may have originated as a road inside the defences to the E and SE. The line of any defences to SW is not clear. The position of the gates of any defences may have survived as the "bars" which marked the three main entrances to the town. Garbet states that one of these was "below parsonage house" on Mill Street, another against the grammar school on Lowe Hill Road/ High Street and the third "at a long stone near the pinfold" (the position of this is not known but presumably it was on Aston Street, if this component is drawn correctly, between Leek St and Drawwell Walk). It is important to note that this is only a suggested position for defences. If defences were present they, like the castle, probably went out of use quite early. The New Street medieval suburb was outside them and there is no trace of them shown on the 1631 map of the town. (Shropshire HER)

Gatehouse Comments

There were at least three gates, but probably of the form of large simple bar gates rather than solid doors within a gateway structure, which would have controlled access into the town and allowed for the collection of tolls but the evidence for actual defences is slight. Map reference is for parish church, which is central within the circuit of these possible defences.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSJ512288
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  • Salter, Mike, 2013, Medieval Walled Towns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 143
  • Garbet, S., 1918, History of Wem p. 230 online transcription alternative [online transcription > http://www3.shropshire-cc.gov.uk/ebooks/L000002.pdf]


  • Dalwood, H. and Bryant, V. (eds), 2005, The Central Marches Historic Towns Survey 1992-6 Download copy
  • Buteux, V., 1993-96, CMHTS SMR Records Shropshire: Wem, Wem 5545