It is situated 39 miles North West of Birmingham, on a remarkable loop of the Severn which renders the town almost an island, in a similar way to the River Wear's effect on Durham.
Controversy still reigns over the correct pronunciation. Even local people disagree over whether it should be "Shrowsbury" or "Shroosbury".
The earliest settlement here was probably of British citizens of Wroxeter, fleeing from their town when the Roman legions departed, and in the 6th century it was the seat of the Welsh princes of Powys, and known as Pengwern. It became a thriving town in the 8th century as part of Mercia.
Shrewsbury's importance was guaranteed when Roger de Montgomery, one of William the Conqueror's most trusted followers, built Shrewsbury Castle here, and it became one of the major bastions against the Welsh.
He also founded Shrewsbury Abbey, later immortalised by Ellis Peters in the Brother Cadfael novels.
Shrewsbury has a superb collection of impressive black and white timber framed houses, and a number of fine churches, including the 18th century St. Chad's Church.
There are surviving portions of the Town Walls, and a Water Gate still exists.
The town is entered by road by the English Bridge from the East, and by the Welsh Bridge from the West.
At the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403, Henry IV defeated the forces of Henry Percy, known as Hotspur, who was killed in the battle. His body was hanged, drawn and quartered in the town centre.
Charles I briefly made Shrewsbury his capital during the Civil War, and for many years it was the seat of government of the Welsh Marches.
Shrewsbury School is one of the country's most famous public schools. Several of the originators of the satirical magazine "Private Eye", namely Richard Ingrams, William Rushton, Christopher Booker and Paul Foot, were at school here together, and other old boys include Samuel Butler, Charles Darwin, Sir Fulke Greville, Michael Heseltine and Sir Philip Sidney.
Shrewsbury has a wonderful reputation for the quality of its parks, gardens and floral displays. Most responsible for this was the legendary gardener Percy Thrower, who was the Head of the town's Parks Department. There is a superb annual Flower Show held in the lovely park known as The Quarry.
Today, in addition to the wonderfully historic and picturesque areas of the town, such as Bear Steps, Grope Lane and the Frankwell suburb across the Severn, Shrewsbury has some excellent indoor shopping centres, which do not in any way spoil the look of this fascinating old town.
Shrewsbury Cathedral (Catholic) was built by Augustus Pugin in 1856.
Robert Clive, known as Clive of India, was M.P. for Shrewsbury, and Lord Hill, right hand man to the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo, was a local man.
Famous people born in Shrewsbury include John Benbow, Admiral; Charles Darwin, deviser of the theory of evolution; Sandy Lyle, golfer; and Thomas Minton, ceramic manufacturer.
In the 1980s, a version of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", starring the extraordinary actor George C. Scott, was filmed in Shrewsbury. The film crew left behind Ebenezer Scrooge's gravestone.
Shrewsbury cake, a flat round biscuit, was originally made at Shrewsbury.
Blue Badge Guide Colin Crosby is available to lead Guided Walks around Shrewsbury for groups.