Wem lies in the county of Shropshire. The town is based in the West Midlands region of England. It is thought that the name Wem come from a Saxon word for marsh, Wamm. The town has some areas of marshy land which is probably where this name came from. The River Roden passes through the town.
Wem is thought to have been inhabited since ancient times. There is, for example, evidence that the area was settled in as early as Iron Age times by the Cornovii tribe. There was also some kind of Roman involvement in the area. By the times of the Domesday Book the town was registered as having four manors or farms in the immediate area. At this point the town was ruled by the Baron, William Pantulf. By the early 1200s the town was granted market town status by the king.
During the Wars of the Roses Wem came out on the side of Lancashire and was attacked by the Yorkists led by the Earl of Salisbury. This caused significant damage to the town’s castle, walls and fortifications. The town was essentially rebuilt by the efforts of Ralf Greystock once the war was done. During the English Civil War in the 1600s Wem favoured Cromwell’s Roundheads and was therefore attacked by the Royalists led by Lord Capel. The Royalists were, however, held off by the townspeople. In this century the town was also given its first free school which was built by Sir Thomas Adams. The town was also significantly damaged in the 1670s when a fire burned down most of its wooden buildings.
Many people know of Wem because it is considered to be home of the flower, the Sweet Pea. The first Sweet Pea was cross cultivated here in the 1880s and was known for a time as the Eckford Sweet Pea after the man who grew it, Henry Eckford. The town has its own Eckford Sweet Pea Society which holds an annual Sweet Pea festival. In Victorian times Wem was often referred to as the home of the Sweet Pea.
Walkers visiting Wem can take advantage of the town’s access to the Shropshire Way walk which passes through the town. Visitors can also join in the town’s Carnival which is usually held every year in September. The town’s market is still in existence - this takes place every Thursday in Wem Town Hall.