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Explore Newport

On entering Newport, you do get a sense that this is a town out of the ordinary.

To begin with you'll have to do a double take when go past the main roundabout into the town on which you'll find three metallic sheep grazing.

Perhaps this isn't that usual for a town where Crazy man of Rock Ozzy Osbourne once owned a wine bar. During the summer, Newport blooms nicely and puts on a show for the annual Britain in Bloom competition. Flowerbeds and hanging baskets providing spots of colour along the picturesque High Street.

The town is having a cultural renaissance with teashops and specialist shops lining the streets. Visitors can happily spend a few hours looking around. The Medieval, Georgian and Victorian frontages on the High street are a testament to Newport's wealthy history and there really some gems amongst them.

Smallwood Lodge is one such place, a half timbered chocolate box building where Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife once stayed. The lodge survived the 1665 Great Fire of Newport in which 162 families lost their homes and the young Princess Victoria once stayed atone of the towns hotels in 1835.

There are lots of little cobbled streets and alleyways to wonder down as you explore. The whole town looks like it has come out of the pages of a Charles Dickens novel. Indeed the great writer was an occasional visitor to the town. It is said that he modeled the character of Miss Havisham from 'Great Expectations' on Elizabeth Parker who became a recluse after being stood-up on her wedding day.

There are delicatessens and coffee shops all of which provide evocative aromas as you wonder past. As with the rest of the Shropshire, the produce is often local so you can get a taste of Shropshire to take home with you in the form of preserves, cheeses and chutneys.

The town was granted its first market charter by Henry I in the early 12th Century, which is one reason why the High is so wide - so farmers could drive their livestock to market in days gone by.

The town earned its wealth from leather, wool and fish. One of the earliest merchant guilds in England was formed here and burgesses were obliged to provide fish for the royal court.

Newport fisheries was famous and it is from here that the town gets its three fishes logo.

St Nicholas's church dates back to the 13th Century. However, a large section of the church was burnt down during the aforementioned great fire.

During the 1700's there was much rebuilding that took place and merchants would build themselves new houses or build Georgian facades to existing buildings. By this time Newport was an important coaching town between London and Chester.

During the 19th Century a canal and railway was built which linked Newport to even further places and a new Market Hall was built in 1860.

The 17th Century satirist, Thomas Brown was educated at the towns Adam's Grammar School which was founded in 1656 by Merchant Haberdasher William Adams.

The town came close to being destroyed again when on Christmas Eve 1944 one of Hitler's aerial bombers narrowly missed the town with the bomb landing in a nearby field. even so nearby buildings suffered extensive damage.

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