Shropshire Day in England Date in the current year: February 23, 2022

Shropshire Day in England Some ceremonial counties of the United Kingdom have a special day set aside to celebrate their cultural heritage. For example, Shropshire Day is celebrated on February 23 because it is the feast day of Saint Milburga, who is venerated as the county’s patron saint.

Shropshire is first mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a collection of annals chronicling the history of the Anglo-Saxons that was originally compiled around 890 and updated until the mid-1100s. The mention is dated 1006 – six decades before the Norman conquest. The name Shropshire is derived from the Old English Scrobbesbyrigscīr (“Shrewsburyshire”), which can be loosely translated as “the shire of the fortified place in the scrublands”.

Following his invasion of the British Isles, William the Conqueror granted most of the lands of Shropshire to his kinsman Roger de Montgomery, who was made Earl of Shrewsbury in 1071. Normans named the lands Salop, derived from the Anglo-French “Salopesberia”. The name survived until the 20th century and even became the official name of the county in 1972. The locals, however, launched a campaign to rename the county. The name Shropshire became official on April 1, 1980.

Shropshire is a landlocked ceremonial county that borders Wales, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, and Herefordshire. It consists of two unitary authorities, Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin. Geographically, Shropshire can be divided into two halves, north and south. Most of the county’s large towns (Shrewsbery, Oswestry, Whitchurch, Market Drayton, Newport, Telford) are situated in North Shropshire, while South Shropshire is a rural area with no large towns.

The celebration of county days in England is a relatively new tradition, but Shropshire is one of the ceremonial counties whose county day coincides with the feast day of its patron saint, so Shropshire Day has been celebrated for quite a while. Other ceremonial counties where county days coincide with the observance of their patron saint’s day are Devon, Dorset, Durham, Kent, Orkney, Oxfordshire, and Shetland.

The patron saint of Shropshire is Saint Milburga, also known as Saint Milburgh or Saint Midburh. She was a daughter of King Merewalh of Magonsæte and the older sister of Saint Mildrith and Saint Mildgyth. Escaping from a forced marriage to a neighboring prince, Milburga entered Wenlock Priory founded by her father and eventually became its abbess.

According to legends, Milburga had a gift of healing and could even restore sight to the blind. She is also said to have had an ability to communicate with birds (for example, ask them to stop damaging the crops). Several stories relate miracles performed by the saint, such as the miraculous growth of barley and the creation of a spring.

Saint Milburga died on February 23, 727. Since Wenlock Priory became the spiritual center of Shropshire during the time she was the abbess, the feast day of Saint Milburga is now celebrated as Shropshire Day. The celebration isn’t particularly grand, though.

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Category

Anniversaries and Memorial Days

Country

United Kingdom

Tags

Shropshire Day in England, holidays in England, county days in England, Shropshire, Saint Milburga, ceremonial county