The origin of the name Kingsland is uncertain, but presumably reflected land belonging to the Crown and granted to the Corporation at “a rather remote period, the exact date of which appears not to be known”, according to Chambers (1881). The name appeared as Chingesland in the Cartulary for Shrewsbury Abbey for 1180, as Kyngesland in 1496, and as Kyngsland in 1585. Phillips’ History of Shrewsbury (1778) described Kingsland as covering 27 acres and as the property of the Burgesses.
Kingsland proper was distinct on the south from the 16-acre site of the House of Industry and Lunatic Asylum with its associated fields. Between 1784 and 1875, the House of Industry (workhouse) with its adjoining buildings and land were owned by the Guardians of the Poor of Shrewsbury United District.
The Corporation also owned other land on Kingsland besides the 27 acres already mentioned, the main portion being the 23 acres of Kingsland House and Farm. There are records1 for this going back to the 16th century, suggesting that many of the lessees were prominent men in the town and Corporation. One lease in 1565 showed a six-year lease granted to Frances Tench, Burgess and Gentleman, by George Leigh and Richard Owen, Gentleman and Bailiff of Shrewsbury Town. Another lease for Kingsland Farm, in 1585, was granted to Richard Meighen, and another lease in 1631 to John Meighen M.A. of the Free Grammar School (Shrewsbury School). A house on the site is mentioned in the 1728 lease to Andrew Bowdler.
Archdeacon Plymley noted in the early 1790s2 that the Corporation had a farm “where Mr Loxdale has just built a mansion upon lease in Kingsland” – contemporary records suggested this may have cost about £600 and was probably conditional on Mr Loxdale getting his lease extended. The continued ownership of Kingsland Farm by the Corporation and the lease to Joseph Loxdale in the 19th century was confirmed by the 1844 Tithe Map, and the contemporary Corporation accounts showing the lease rent of £90 per annum. When Shrewsbury School purchased Kingsland House and surrounds in the 1930s, it was returning to land previously leased to and occupied by its second headmaster 300 years earlier.
From Archdeacon Plymley’s report, the Drapers Company owned the Cann Office (now called Kingsland Bank) and its associated ferry. The 1844 Tithe Map (Fig. 2) and register showed the Drapers Company also owned fields adjacent to Kingsland. These still remain as fields today – bordered on the west by the Cinderpath, and on the south by Beehive Lane. This tithe map showed the Rev. James Craig was living at Severn Hill House and owned adjoining fields (one of which is still named after him), to a total of 13A 2R 12P. As well as leasing Kingsland House and Farm, Joseph Loxdale also owned fields at the periphery of Kingsland (which later became the south side of Kennedy Road at the west adjoining Roman Road). Loxdale’s total holding was listed in 1844 as 21A or 34P, mostly freehold. The apportionment described him as owning all the land, but the 1798 Land Tax assessment showed Loxdale to be the occupant of Kingsland Farm, which was owned by the Corporation. The UDGSP (House of Industry) then held 16A 1R 29P.