Hadley, Leegomery and Horton have long histories of occupation and are all listed in the Domesday Book. Hadley is listed as having ten households, Leegomery eleven households. Sadly, the Domesday Book does not tell us the number of households in Horton. The Domesday Book does not mention Apley, so it is assumed the castle there had not been built at the time the survey was made in the years following the Norman Conquest.
For much of their history Hadley, Leegomery and Horton were essentially rural communities. It is hard to imagine how these places looked before they were developed following the establishment of the 'new town' of Telford in the 1960s and 1970s. However, glimpses of 'the old' Hadley and Leegomery can still be seen in places like Castle Farm Community Centre and Leegomery Community Centre, both of which are based around former farm houses.
Industry came early to Hadley - hardly surprising, considering how close we are to Coalbrookdale! However, while Ironbridge had the River Severn for transport no such navigable waterway existed around Hadley. This problem was addressed by the opening of the Shrewsbury Canal in 1797. This provided access to the River Severn at Shrewsbury for waterborne transport to and from local mines and ironworks. The canal included a series of nine canal locks at Trench to deal with the steepening terrain and provide a link to the Wombridge Canal via an inclined plane. Ever wondered how Trench Lock got its name? Well, now you know!
Work is continuing to restore the canal to working use, although it would be mainly for leisure these days rather than commerce. For more information about the local canal network, the efforts being made to preserve and restore it and how you can help, contact the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust.
Much of the history of Hadley and Leegomery is now commemorated in local street names. Both industrial and agricultural heritage is referenced. For example, The Nettlefolds is named for the company Nettlefolds who opened their Castle Iron Works at Hadley in 1871. At one point in the nineteenth century Nettlefolds manufactured just about every woodscrew sold in Britain, and later became part of the industrial conglomerate Guest, Keen and Nettlefold (or GKN as it is still commonly known). Sankey Drive is slightly more obvious, as Sankey's still operate the Hadley Castle Works - but did you know that before Sankey's bought the works in 1910 they belonged to G. F. Milnes & Co. Ltd. who built tramcars at the site?
The Hadley and Leegomery flickr group has many photographs of Hadley, Leegomery, Apley, and Horton as well as information about the industrial heritage of the area. You can find it here: