"Magnum opus" is the last and the best, says historian Allan

After a lifetime uncovering aspects of Wellington's past historian Allan Frost has launched his last – and what he believes is his greatest – work.

Allan with his "magnum opus."
Allan with his "magnum opus."

"It's a nice swansong," said Allan of his book "Histories of Wellington, Shropshire."

"I really don't think I could have done a better one. I'm proud of most of my books, but this one is head and shoulders above any other one I have done. It's my magnum opus, with a lot of hard work, but I think it's been worth it."

Allan with his "magnum opus."

Allan has written over 40 books, many of them about his home town of Wellington, and this book, which will be his last about the town – he still plans to write some purely for his family dealing with his family history – has taken years to compile.

"This book is something I've been planning for decades. It's mainly based on people's questions. It covers subjects which my loyal readers have asked me to research as, on the whole, very little is known about them."

It covers wide-ranging topics, including a Wellington link to Downing Street, and a Wellingtonian's role in saving England from civil war when Queen Mary died and the Protestant Elizabeth was next in line to the throne.

"Our guy Thomas Leigh, born in Wellington, happened to be the Lord Mayor of the Corporation of London at the time and it was in his purview to arrange a smooth transition and the coronation of Elizabeth. For his efforts he became Sir Thomas Leigh"

Among a variety of other subjects Allan looks at Wellington's markets and fairs, Lords of the Wellington Manor, the MPs who have served the town over the decades, the councils which have governed Wellington and, something he has frequently been asked, the town's part in the English Civil War.

However Allan, who lives in Priorslee but was brought up in Wellington, says the famous "Wellington Declaration" by King Charles I in 1642, which heralded the beginning of the war, was not made in Wellington itself, and he says suggestions that it was made at Orleton Hall have no foundation.

Records say that the speech was made at the head of his army "between Stafford and Willington" (sic) and he thinks the logical answer is that the king and his troops struck camp overnight at a place offering him noble hospitality close to the quickest route, which was across The Weald Moors via the Portway.

The book, which costs £20, is available for order from bookshops but can also be obtained direct from Allan at a.frost1@btinternet.com by email.

It was the pandemic which meant he was able to dig deeper into these various facets of Wellington.

"The fact that we were locked down on my 70th birthday in 2020, which ruined my celebratory holiday on a river in France, gave me the opportunity to confirm what I had found, and plug gaps. There is stuff in the book that people have never been able to find before or read before. It contains a lot of colour images, which is one reason why it's expensive, although I have subsidised the shop price."

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