Madeley, Shropshire

Madeley is a constituent town and civil parish in Telford and Wrekin in Shropshire, England. The parish had a population of 17,935 at the 2001 census.[1]


High Street, Madeley
Location within Shropshire
Population17,935 (2001)
OS grid referenceSJ697044
Civil parish
  • Madeley
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townTELFORD
Postcode districtTF7
Dialling code01952
PoliceWest Mercia
AmbulanceWest Midlands
UK Parliament

Madeley is recorded in the Domesday Book, having been founded before the 8th century. Historically, Madeley's industrial activity has largely been in mining, and later, manufacturing, which is still a large employer in the town, along with service industries. Parts of the parish fall within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ironbridge Gorge, the site of The Iron Bridge, and a key area in the development of Industry.


The settlement of Madeley is recorded as far back as the Domesday Book. The town was founded prior to the 8th century, and subsequently became a market town in the 13th century.

Sigward, a local ruler in the time of King Æthelbald of Mercia, is said to have held 3 hides of land at Madeley.[2] Between 727 and 736 he sold his holdings to Mildburh, daughter of Merewalh, sub-king of the Magonsæte. She was the founder and first head of Wenlock Abbey. The monastery was refounded as a Cluniac priory after the Norman conquest but the manor of Madeley belonged to the church of Wenlock, throughout the Middle Ages, until the Dissolution of the monasteries. It passed to the Crown in 1540 and in 1544 was sold to Robert Broke, a prominent lawyer and politician from Claverley.

Mining of coal began before 1322, and the extraction of ironstone had begun by 1540.[3]

The town played a role in the English Civil War, as it was home to a garrison of Royalist soldiers in 1645, although this post was abandoned after the fall of Shrewsbury. Two months later, Parliamentary forces occupied the parish church.[3] Madeley is also home to a barn in which King Charles II hid after the Battle of Worcester in 1651.[4]

In the 17th century, Madeley was a small market town, but local tradesmen began to specialise, working in the river trade and in mining. In the 18th century, the north end of The Iron Bridge was built between Madeley Wood and Coalbrookdale and the settlement of Ironbridge grew by it, which took some of the commercial trade away from the old town of Madeley, including its market.

Nevertheless, as an important part of the Coalbrookdale Coalfield, Madeley was home to nearly 100 known and named pits in the old Madeley parish with coal mining continuing until the early 1900s.[5] In 1864, the Brick Kiln Leasow mine, mined for ironstone that was used to feed the furnaces at Blists Hill, witnessed a tragic accident that claimed the lives of nine miners with the victims remembered today as the Nine Men of Madeley.[6]

Madeley Court Gatehouse

In the 1970s, significant construction of new housing and recreation areas was undertaken by the Dawley Development Corporation, later known as the Telford Development Corporation, as part of the development of Telford New Town.[3]

Several of Madeley's historical sites of interest are waypoints on the South Telford Heritage Trail including: Madeley Court, Madeley High Street, Jubilee House, St Michael's Church, Madeley Windmill and the Madeley Salop Railway Station. The gatehouse to Madeley Court is a grade I listed building.[7]


Madeley is located within the civil parish and ward of the same name. The ward is within the Telford constituency, which is currently represented by Conservative MP Lucy Allan. In terms of local government, the town has representation in the local Town Council, Madeley Town Council, with six councillors representing the town,.[8] However, the term "Madeley" sometimes refers in a broader sense to a larger geographical area incorporating the town of Madeley and the neighbouring areas of Sutton Hill, Sutton Heights and Woodside, and all four fall within the boundaries of Madeley Town Council. The current composition of Madeley Town Council is 15 Labour, 1 Conservative and 1 Independent. The town is administered on the borough level by Telford and Wrekin unitary authority, and is represented as part of the Madeley and Sutton Hill ward by 2 Labour and 1 Conservative councillor. The parish of Madeley formerly incorporated Ironbridge, which has since become part of the new parish of The Gorge.


Madeley shown within Telford in Maroon.

Madeley is situated in the southern part of the new town of Telford, to the north of Ironbridge and the River Severn. Coalport, a part of the parish of Madeley can be found to the west of the town, and the modern Telford Town Centre is north of the settlement. The local area has reserves of coal and ironstone.[9]

Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ironbridge Gorge falls within the Parish of Madeley.[10] The majority of the site is within the parish of The Gorge, named for the Ironbridge Gorge, which is bridged by The Iron Bridge.


At the 2001 census, the population of the parish of Madeley was 17,935. Of this number, 8,190 were economically active, and of them, 7,477 were in employment. The ethnicity of the population was as follows: 96% of the population was found to be White, and 1.9% Asian, or Asian British. 1.3% of the population was mixed race, 0.6% Black or Black British and a further 0.2% Chinese.[11]

In terms of religion: 77% of the population are Christian, and 14.4% are of no religion. 0.7% of the population are Muslim, 0.5% are Sikh, 0.3% are Hindu, and 0.1% are Buddhist.[12]


Historically, Madeley was a mining town serving the now defunct Kemberton Colliery. It was also home to the Madeley Wood Company. By 2001, manufacturing was still a large employer in the town, with 33.1% of parish residents employed in that area. 20.7% were employed in wholesale, retail and hotels, and 11.8% in finance and business services. 5.3% of residents were unemployed.[1]


The B4373 runs through the town, and the A4169 runs along its northern edge. The nearest motorway is the M54, which connects Telford to the West Midlands conurbation and the rest of the motorway network. Most bus services are provided by Arriva Midlands, and a community bus service is provided.[13]

Near Madeley is Madeley Junction, a railway junction and its accompanying signal box. The line from this junction runs to Lightmoor Junction, and was used to carry coal to Ironbridge Power Station.[14] The nearest National Rail station to the town is Telford Central. It was also served the Coalport Branch Line from 1860 until 1952. The station remains intact and the former trackbed forms part of the Silkin Way.[15]


There are a number of nurseries and primary schools in Madeley,[16] and two secondary schools: Haberdashers' Abraham Darby[17] and Madeley Academy.[18] Haughton School, a special school for students aged five to eleven is located in the town.[19]

Religious sites

St Michael's Church

There are three churches in the centre of Madeley: St Michael's, a Church of England parish church in the Diocese of Hereford, which was designed in its present form by Thomas Telford;[20] Madeley Baptist Church; and the Roman Catholic St Mary's Church, part of the Diocese of Shrewsbury.[21][22] The Fletcher Methodist Centre can be found in the town, and on the Tweedale Industrial Estate near Madeley is the Springfield Christian Fellowship.[22]

Notable people

Residents of the town of Madeley have included Sir Basil Brooke of Madeley Court, who was instrumental in the Industrial Revolution. He was born in the local manor (which he later inherited) in 1576. His grandfather, Robert Broke, was a former Speaker of the House of Commons.[23]

Mary Bosanquet Fletcher, one of the first female Methodist preachers, and John William Fletcher, her husband and fellow Methodist who was Vicar of Madeley, had a joint ministry in the parish in the 18th century.[24] John's iron tombstone is in the parish churchyard.[25]

Major Charles Allix Lavington Yate VC, is another former resident of the town, who earned the Victoria Cross in the First World War.[26] He was kinsman of Colonel Sir Charles Yate, 1st Baronet, (1849–1940) British soldier and administrator in India, who retired to Madeley Hall and is buried in the parish churchyard.

Mary Whitehouse taught art at Madeley Modern School (now the Haberdashers' Abraham Darby) from 1960 to 1964, taking responsibility for sex education. Shocked at the moral beliefs of her pupils, she became concerned about what she and many others perceived as declining moral standards in the British media, especially in the BBC.[27]

Other notable people

  • John Bromley (died 1717), Anglican-turned-Roman Catholic clergyman and translator, died at Madeley.
  • Abraham Darby I (1677-1717), pioneering ironmaster, was tenant at Madeley Court where he died.
  • Richard Reynolds (1735-1816), ironmaster, owned Madeley Court and lived there from 1781 until settling in Bristol 1804.
  • Abraham Darby III (1750-1789), ironmaster, latter's brother-in-law and former's grandson, owned Madeley Court 1774–81.
  • James Glazebrook (1744–1803) English cleric, controversialist, and writer, born there.
  • Samuel Thorp (c.1765-1838) clockmaker, born there.
  • Joseph Anstice (1808-1836), classical scholar, essayist, hymn writer, born at Madeley Wood Hall.
  • Sir Wyke Bayliss (1835–1906) British painter, author and poet, born there.
  • John Fletcher Moulton, Baron Moulton (1844-1921), judge, Liberal politician and writer, born there.
  • Matthew Webb (1848-1883), pioneer Channel swimmer, lived in High Street in childhood before family moved to Coalbrookdale
  • Wesley Spragg (1848–1930) New Zealand butter manufacturer, exporter and temperance campaigner, born there.
  • William Dyas MBE (1872–1940), first-class cricketer, local businessman and councillor representing Madeley on both Wenlock Borough and Shropshire County Councils, born and died there.
  • Richard Guy (1877-1938), professional footballer for Manchester City and other teams
  • Edward Gwilliam (1877-1954) professional footballer for Wolves, born there.
  • Harold William Timperley (1890–1964) English author of local history and topographical studies.
  • Cecil Harris (1905-1949) professional footballer, goalkeeper for Hibernian and Darlington, born there.
  • Edith Mary Pargeter, (best known as Ellis Peters) OBE, BEM (1913–1995), English author of history and historical fiction, lived in Madeley from 1956 to 1995.
  • Billy Wright, CBE (1924–1994) former captain of Wolves and the England football team, attended Madeley Senior School, now Haberdashers' Abraham Darby.[28] Made 490 appearances for Wolves.
  • Richie Woodhall (born 1968), former boxer, 1988 Summer Olympics light-middleweight bronze medal and WBC super-middleweight champion, attended Abraham Darby School, now Haberdashers' Abraham Darby.
  • Rob Edwards, (born 1982) former Wolves and Wales full-back, 232 appearances, 111 for Wolves, born there.

See also

  • Listed buildings in Madeley, Shropshire


  1. "Madeley 2001 Census Profile" (PDF). Telford and Wrekin Council. Retrieved 12 April 2008.
  2. Victoria County History: Shropshire, volume 11: Telford, chapter 13: Madeley – Manor and other estates, s.1
  3. G C Baugh, C R Elrington (Editors), A P Baggs, D C Cox, Jessie McFall, P A Stamper, A J L Winchester (1985). Baugh, G C; Elrington, C R (ed.). A History of the County of Shropshire. pp. 21–23. Retrieved 12 April 2008. {{cite book}}: |author= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. "Upper House". Madeley Local Studies Group. Archived from the original on 17 March 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2008.
  5. " - The Mining Landscape: The most important coalfield in Shropshire is the Coalbrookdale Field, a significant part of which lies within Madeley".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. "Home - The Nine Men of Madeley Project - Explore Local Mining History in Madeley, Shropshire".
  7. Historic England. "GATEHOUSE SOUTH WEST OF MADELEY COURT (1292950)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  8. "Madeley Matters". Retrieved 15 April 2008.
  9. "A Short History of Madeley". Madeley Local Studies Group. Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved 2 July 2008.
  10. "Multi Agency Geographic Information for the Countryside". Retrieved 19 April 2008.
  11. "Madeley 2001 Census Profile" (PDF). Telford and Wrekin Council. Retrieved 15 April 2008.
  12. "Madeley" (PDF). Telford and Wrekin. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 November 2007. Retrieved 2 July 2008.
  13. "Sutton Hill/Woodside community bus". Telford and Wrekin Council. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2008.
  14. "When Steam Ruled the Rails". Madeley Local Studies Group. Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved 2 July 2008.
  15. "Silkin Way - cycling and walking route". Telford and Wrekin Council. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  16. "UK Schools & Colleges Database". Schools Web Directory UK. Retrieved 16 April 2008.
  17. "Abraham Darby Specialist School for the Performing Arts". Archived from the original on 6 October 2008. Retrieved 16 April 2008.
  18. "Madeley Academy". Archived from the original on 23 March 2008. Retrieved 16 April 2008.
  19. "Telford and Wrekin Special Schools". Telford and Wrekin. Retrieved 16 April 2008.
  20. "Exploring Telford - St Michael's Church Madeley". Archived from the original on 28 February 2009. Retrieved 25 August 2009.
  21. "Churches". The Diocese of Shrewsbury. Archived from the original on 17 April 2008. Retrieved 19 April 2008.
  22. "Places of Worship". Telford and Wrekin. Archived from the original on 28 October 2007. Retrieved 19 April 2008.
  23. "Sir Basil Brooke of Madeley". Madeley Parish Council. Archived from the original on 28 March 2008. Retrieved 15 April 2008.
  24. John A. Hargreaves, ‘Fletcher , Mary (1739–1815)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2005 accessed 18 March 2017
  25. "The Fletcher Methodist Church". Madeley Local Studies Group. Archived from the original on 17 March 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2008.
  26. "Madeley's VC – Major C.A.L. Yate". Madeley Local Studies Group. Archived from the original on 19 September 2007. Retrieved 15 April 2008.
  27. "Fearsome Mary and her fight to rid TV of 'filth'". Shropshire Star. 11 October 2021. pp. 20, 29.Report by Toby Neal, part of 'Great Lives' series on Midlands worthies.
  28. "William Ambrose Wright CBE". The Wolves Site. Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2008.
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