Whitchurch is the oldest continually inhabited town in Shropshire.
It was known as Mediolanum (the place in the mid plain) in Roman times and was situated on the main Roman trade routes between Chester, Wroxeter and London. Its Saxon name was West Town which changed to Album Monasterium (white church) under the Normans after the building of the second church. The anglicised version of this description was subsequently shortened to Whitchurch. It was officially designated a town in 1284 and gained market status in the fourteenth century. John Talbot, the first Earl of Shrewsbury, had his heart buried at the white church after his death at Castillon in 1453, the last battle of the Hundred Years' War. The sandstone St Alkmund's Church was built in 1712 to replace the Norman church and still serves the community today.
Whitchurch has a reputation for cheese making and is seen as the home of Cheshire cheese, despite its location in North Shropshire. J B Joyce established a Whitchurch business in 1690 to make tower clocks and this is now the oldest company in the world involved in their production. As a result, the town is known as the home of tower clocks. Whitchurch has always benefited from its accessible position on the road network and the Llangollen Canal originally reached the town. This branch was subsequently filled in and the canal now stops a mile away from Whitchurch.
Whitchurch's notable inhabitants include Sir Edward German, the composer, who, lived, worked and was buried in the town in 1936. An annual festival in the church still commemorates his contribution to music, which included 'Tom Jones' and 'Merrie England'. The Victorian illustrator, Randolph Caldecott, also lived in Whitchurch and the town appears in some of his work. At the 2001 Census the town had a population of 8,673 and the total in 2008 is believed to be 8,934.