Market Drayton

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Market Drayton is a market town in north Shropshire, England, on the River Tern, between Shrewsbury and Stoke-on-Trent. Formerly known as "Drayton in Hales" (c. 1868), The town is on the Shropshire Union Canal, and the National Cycle Route 75. The A53 road by-passes the town.

The town is, reportedly, 'the home of gingerbread', through its long association with the Billington Food Group's factory. There are also currently local food factories, making yogurt and meat pies.

The town is the home of Tern Press, a highly respected and collectable small press publisher of poetry.

Despite its small size and rural location, the town has forged successful links with its twin towns of Arlon in Belgium and Pezenas in the south of France.

Sites

Of architectural interest are the many town-centre half-timbered buildings that survive from the 17th and 18th centuries. There is a sympathetically restored Norman church, St. Mary's (http://www.openchurchestrust.org.uk/MarketDrayton.htm), next to the Grammar School of 1558. The town's marketplace is ancient, with a market charter from 1246, and the market continues today.

Notable ancient local sites include: Audley's Cross, Blore Heath, site of a major War of the Roses battle; and several neolithic standing stones, "The Devil's Ring and Finger", three miles from the town.

Around five miles (8 km) from the town is Hawkstone Park – 100 acres (400,000 m²) of beautiful and enormous follies and grounds built by Sir Rowland Hill and Sir Richard Hill – which was used to represent Narnia in the BBC's TV adaptation of C. S. Lewis's books.

People

Nearby is the birthplace of Robert Clive (first Lord Clive, "Clive of India", 17251774); there is an 1860 statue in the town square, and his school desk can still be seen in the town's grammar school.

The town was the birthplace of pioneering photographer Samuel Bourne (b. 1834). He is famous for having spent six years in India from 1862 to 1869; there he founded a major studio, trekked into and photographed many of India's remotest places and, with his printer Charles Shepherd, became the most notable photographer of the Raj.

The British fascist Oswald Mosley was born nearby in 1896, at Betton Hall, although it seems he did not grow up in the area.

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