Market Drayton is a market town in north Shropshire, England, close to the Welsh and Staffordshire border. It is on the River Tern, between Shrewsbury and Stoke-on-Trent, and was formerly known as "Drayton in Hales" (c. 1868) and earlier simply as "Drayton" (c. 1695). Market Drayton is on the Shropshire Union Canal and on Regional Cycle Route 75. The A53 road by-passes the town. The counties of Staffordshire and Cheshire are both close by.
An electoral ward in the same name exists.
Ancient local sites include Audley's Cross, Blore Heath and several Neolithic standing stones. "The Devil's Ring and Finger" is a notable site 3 miles (5 km) from the town at Mucklestone. These are across the county boundary in neighbouring Staffordshire.
The Old Grammar School, in St. Mary's Hall, directly to the east of the church, was founded in 1555 by Rowland Hill, the first Protestant Mayor of London. Former pupils include Robert Clive, and a school desk with the initials "RC" may still be seen in the town.
The great fire of Drayton destroyed almost 70% of the town in 1651. It was started at a bakery, and quickly spread through the timber buildings. The buttercross in the centre of the town still has a bell at the top for people to ring if there was ever another fire.
Other notable landmarks in the area include: Pell Wall Hall, Adderley Hall, Buntingsdale Hall, Salisbury Hill, Tyrley Locks on the Shropshire Union Canal and the Thomas Telford designed aqueduct. Fordhall Farm has 140 acres (0.57 km2) of community-owned[clarification needed] organic farmland located off the A53 between the Müller and Tern Hill roundabouts. The farm trail is open to the public during farm shop opening hours, and on the path is the site of Fordhall Castle, an ancient motte and bailey structure which overlooks the River Tern valley.
To the south-east near the A529 an 18th-century farmhouse stands on the site of Tyrley Castle, which was probably built soon after 1066 and later rebuilt in stone in the 13th century.
Nantwich & Market Drayton Railway Society - Meeting regularly in Market Drayton. Details http://www.the-gingerbread-line.co.uk/
In 1965, sausage maker Palethorpe's built a new factory employing 400 people in the town. Purchased by Northern Foods in 1990, the company was merged with Bowyers of Trowbridge, Wiltshire and Pork Farms of Nottingham to form Pork Farms Bowyers. The sausage brand was sold in 2001 to Kerry Group, but the factory remains open to this day as the town's largest employer. It produces various meat based and chilled food products, under both the Pork Farms brand and for third parties, including Asda.
Recent developments in the local service industry include the retailers Argos, Wilko and B & M which have all brought new employment to the town. It is widely considered[by whom?] to be the "Home of Gingerbread".
Supplied by a pure water source running under the town, two breweries operated in the town during the early 20th century. In 2000, Steve Nuttall started a microbrewery, Joule's Brewery Ltd, a revival of a previous Joule's Brewery at Stone, Staffordshire which had been discontinued in 1974. The new company bought the 16th century Red Lion, a pub that formerly belonged to the earlier company, where the brewery was built, completed in 2010. It produces three core ales on the site as well as a number of seasonal beers.
Market Drayton has four schools:
Grove School is a large secondary school of about 1,100 pupils, all of whom live within 12 miles (19 km) of the town.
The town has a very active arts and culture scene organised through Drayton Festival Centre.  This centre was established in 1984 and is run by volunteers. Over 30 years it has expanded considerably and now includes a cinema and theatre, an art gallery and a range of meeting rooms. It hosts a very wide range of events and has been the recipient of many awards.
The Drayton Arts Festival is held every year in October.
Market Drayton Town F.C. play on Greenfields Sports Ground in Market Drayton, which has capacity for 1,000 spectators.
Market Drayton Tennis Club is also based at Greenfields and has three all weather floodlit courts; the club plays in a number of Shropshire leagues.
Currently, Arriva provides a local bus service to Shrewsbury, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Hanley (as services 64 and 164). Beginning on 7 September 2012 Bennett's Travel Cranberry Ltd run an evening service 164 to Hanley on Fridays and Saturdays with a day service to Newcastle under Lyme on Sunday. Arriva used to provide services 341/342 to Wellington from Monday to Saturday, but this was stopped in August 2016, due to the council withdrawing funds.
Shropshire Council also run a number of bus services under the 'ShropshireLink' brand in addition to the 301 and 302 Market Drayton Town Services.
Market Drayton had a railway station which opened in 1863 and closed during the Beeching cuts in 1963. The railway station was located on the Nantwich to Wellington line of the Great Western Railway network and was also the terminus of the Newcastle-under-Lyme line of the North Staffordshire Railway network.
There is also the RC Church of St. Thomas and St. Stephen which dates from 1886.
There is also a Methodist church, an Orthodox church and a church which meets in the community centre.
Thomas Povey, the colonial civil servant and friend of Samuel Pepys, was a Londoner, but a branch of his family lived at Woodseaves, near Market Drayton; the most prominent member of this branch of the family was Sir John Povey, (1621–1679) Lord Chief Justice of Ireland 1673-79.
Nearby at Styche Hall  is the birthplace of Robert Clive, first Lord Clive, "Clive of India", (1725–1774). The Georgian house, designed by Sir William Chambers, the architect of Somerset House, replaced the half-timbered house where Clive was born. It was built for his father and paid for by Clive from the income from his Indian career.
The town was the birthplace of pioneering photographer Samuel Bourne (1834–1912). He is known for his prolific seven years' work in India 1863–70; there he founded a major studio, Bourne & Shepherd, trekked into and photographed many of the remotest parts of India and, with his printer Charles Shepherd, became the most notable photographer of the Raj.
The 1930s British fascist leader Oswald Mosley (1896 – 1980) was allegedly born nearby at Betton Hall, the home of his mother's parents, although officially established to have been born in London. When his parents separated, Oswald and his brother went with their mother to live in Smithfield Road. Mosley attended a dame school in Shropshire Street (now Beechtree House). Apart from holidays he never lived in Drayton again.
Mosley was deeply ashamed of the family's reduced circumstances and he did everything to hide the years in Drayton. Their middle class status contrasted with the huge estate of his paternal grandparents in Staffordshire. Years later, following the death of their mother, he obtained her diaries from his brother and burned them. In the 1930s, at the height of his notoriety, he returned to the town, where he held a meeting in the square.
Market Drayton is twinned with:
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