The heart of modern-day Telford, Oakengates is a historic market town with origins to Roman Britain. Forged from the abundance of coal and ironstone, since the 14th century to the industrial revolution, Oakengates has played a pivotal role in the region’s industrial heritage.

A brief history of our town...

48 AD

The paved Roman road, Watling Street, stretched through Oakengates and the parish and has historically been an important juncture for travel and transportation. The early settlements in the area lined this road with a Roman Fort situated at the strategic Redhill site nearby. The remnants of this road’s footprint can be found at the bottom of Market Street today.


The areas medieval origins stems from the creation of St. Leonards Priory by Lord William De Hadley in 1130, which encompassed of the majority of the Wombridge Parish area. In 1414, Oakengates became an established settlement managed by the Priory.


The first Bailiff was appointed to oversee Oakengates and the Priory of St. Leonard. In that year Parliament passed the ‘Suppression of Religious Houses Act 1535’ which began Henry VIII’s campaign to seize land, titles, and religious houses from the Church. This led to the Priory of St Leonards appointing a Bailiff who resided within Oakengates.

The site of the Priories foundations can be found today at Wombridge Churchyard and represents one of the earliest archaeological sites in the Borough.

1600 - 1900

The area grew with industry and mining, hamlets developing alongside mines and ironworks, notably at Ketley Bank. There was little cohesion, and only in the mid-19th century, when a market was established and the railways arrived, did Oakengates begin to assume an urban role. It became a central point for raw materials arriving by rail and canal being processed at the many factories and smelters.


The modern-day Telford New Town named after civil engineer and architect Thomas Telford incorporates the counties historic market towns, including Oakengates, and is home to the Borough’s Theatre. This 60’s New Town, designed by John Madin, and undertaken by the Telford Development Corporation was an effort to relieve the housing crisis following the second world war.


Mayor Stephen Reynolds opened The Wakes community centre in the heart of the town. This fantastic facility hosts events, activities, and support for residents. The modern Town Council area covers many distinct and vibrant communities including; Oakengates, Ketley Bank, Wombridge, Trench Lock, Wrockwardine Wood, Ketley Grange, Trench, and Beveley.

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