Wellington is a town in the unitary authority of Telford and Wrekin and ceremonial county of Shropshire, England and now forms part of the new town of Telford, with which it has gradually become contiguous.
The total town population of Wellington was 25,554 in 2011 making it by far the largest of the borough towns and the third largest town in Shropshire when counted independently from Telford. However, the town centre serves a greater area of approximately 60,000.
Its name is most likely derived from that of a Saxon settler - Weola - whose farmstead would have been located somewhere in the centre of town, possibly near The Green. A church has stood near that site for almost 1000 years and a priest is mentioned in the Domesday Book. The original churchyard still remains. A new church, designed by George Steuart, was built in 1789.
Wellington's first market charter was granted to Giles of Erdington, lord of the manor, and is dated 1244 (See citation in external links) and a market still exists today. The market had an open-sided market hall by 1680 - and possibly much earlier - but this was dismantled c.1805 (See Citation in external links). In 1841, a market company formed to purchase the market rights from Lord Forester in 1856. Several years later in 1848, the company built a town hall with the butter market below, creating a permanent covered home for traders.
In 1642 King Charles I stayed overnight 'in the environs of' Wellington (i.e. not in the town itself) when on his way from Newport to Shrewsbury to rally support for his cause (and to exchange cash for honours), and while here he made his 'Wellington Declaration' in which he said that he would uphold the Protestant Religion, the Laws of England, and the Liberty of Parliament.
The second Shropshire Olympian Games, organised by celebrated Olympic revivalist Dr William Penny Brookes, were held in Wellington in May 1861.
To the north-east of the town is the site of Apley Castle, originally a fourteenth-century fortified manor house, the remains of which were converted into a stable block with the building of a grand Georgian house, which was itself demolished in the 1950s. The surviving stable block has been converted into apartments and retains some medieval features.
The creation of Telford
Dawley New Town was designated by the Government in 1963, and was expanded to encompass Wellington in 1968 under the new name of Telford, named for the great engineer and first county surveyor of Shropshire, Thomas Telford. The creation of Telford has divided opinion in Wellington ever since, with some celebrating the jobs and investment it brought to the area and others bemoaning the negative impact on Wellington's own economy – as well as its status and sense of identity. The development of Telford Town Centre since the 1970s has hit Wellington's retail centre hard. The local football team had its name changed from Wellington Town to Telford United.
Local politics left Wellington in conflict with Wrekin District (now Telford & Wrekin) Council for many years, with claims and counter claims of neglect. In more recent years, however, the Council has started making heavy investment to make improvements to the town. Chief amongst these has been the redeveloped Wellington Civic and Leisure Centre near the centre of the town, which has brought together the library, town council, swimming pool and gym, along with a new register office. 200 borough council officers are also located at the new complex.