At one time in its history, Ruyton-XI-Towns enjoyed the privilege of its very own fire brigade with the luxury of its own fire engine.

The appliance had been manufactured by Roberts of Willow Street in Oswestry. It was kept for a while in a building that stood close to Platt Bridge Cottage.

Unfortunately, in the due course of time, the damp atmosphere from the River Perry played havoc with the fire hose, causing it to be inoperable due to it falling foul to rotting. In 1877, the local vicar was appealing to his ‘flock’ for funds to be used to keep the fire engine known as ‘Old Safety’ in a good state of repair etc.

That same year the parish had been presented with a hearse. This would also have to be allowed the same protection as the fire engine.

Three years later, in August 1880, Mr Rowland Minton abided by his late father’s request to provide a small area of land in the centre of Ruyton. The purpose of this was to erect a building to store both the hearse and fire engine. When on December 19, 1880 the Shrewsbury Town Hall and Law Courts suffered a serious blaze, it was a ‘wake-up’ call to the residents of Ruyton to keep their fire engine in a constant state of readiness.

At the beginning of 1881 in January, Mr Minton was not too enthusiastic about making the aforementioned land available.

The Reverend Bulkeley-Owen and Mr Darby from Little Ness had only managed to raise enough funds to purchase a new harness for the horse-drawn fire engine. The situation was of a downcast nature.

Hope came in February. When a meeting was held at the school, the Reverend Bulkeley-Owen donated a further £10 while Mr J H N Walford gave £5 followed by a £1 contribution from Mr Brown, who agreed to convey the bricks which he stated were less expensive than stone to the site where the new building was to be constructed. (Incidentally, Mr Brown apparently was the owner of his very own brickyard!).

The shelter for the fire engine and hearse was completed by 1883 and there were further financial contributions from Miss Kenyon, which meant there was a better quality roof covering the shelter than the one originally suggested.

It was in the July of 1883 that the fire engine (Old Safety) was pampered by being lubricated and painted.

It was then to head the parade of the Oddfellows Jubilee festivities etc. It appears at this event, a John Cox was to stand in a hose bucket and raise the Royal Standard. The rejuvenated fire appliance was then placed in its new shelter but apparently was not used as much as the hearse as time went on!

By August 1889 Old Safety underwent a rigorous inspection and it was in a good efficient condition except for a leaking fire hose. In November of that year a man hurried to Ruyton to report a blaze at Pradoe. A Mr Brown promptly placed his large horse into the shafts of the fire engine. (A Mr Swainson had also offered his hunter for this purpose). However, the people of Pradoe extinguished the fire before Old Safety could show what it was capable of. It seems the fire engine at Ruyton was considered too slow to respond to most emergencies. ‘Captain Brown’ from the local area was most concerned with this situation.

In March 1890, following a meeting at the school the previous month, the vicar of Ruyton purchased a hose and buckets. He offered a suggestion that every young man residing within 200 yards of the fire engine’s shelter should establish a fire brigade for the village.

It seems a local fire brigade was formed but from what I can gather there was not a great enthusiasm for this. The building that housed the hearse and fire engine eventually had other uses until it was demolished in 1966 alongside some cottages to allow the entrance for the playing field in the village.

As regards firefighting, Ruyton was to depend on the local fire station at Baschurch.

Ruyton Hall

The name Kynaston has been familiar in the Ruyton area for many years.

These local Kynastons it seems have descended from the son of Griffin Kynaston, William, going back as far as 1485 (the year of the Battle of Bosworth).

It was that year that Humphrey Kynaston (not the Nesscliffe highwayman) obtained land in Houghton while David of the same family had acquired property in Teddesmore and Sutton.

It was Richard Kynaston who was the great grandson of the founder of the family. In 1540 he presented the village of Ruyton with its mace (sword of state). Unfortunately, Richard was to die a year later. He is commemorated in the church with later members of the Kynaston family.

Thomas Kynaston, the son of Richard was apparently living at Coton. (I assume this is the Coton situated by the B5476 between Wem and Whitchurch). However, it is Thomas that was responsible for the building of Ruyton Hall. Generations of the Kynastons had resided at this house for appreciably more than 400 years until 1958.

In 1605 Richard Kynaston (probably the son of Thomas) is listed with Thomas Gittens and Sir George Yonge, Lord of the Manor as the only freeholders in Ruyton.

In 1611 Thomas Kynaston purchased 220 acres and four dwellings from the estate of Sir George Yonge.

This was before parish registers were used but according to certain records it seems fairly accurate according to dates/occurrences etc. Parish records for Ruyton were first used in 1719.

During the 1600s and 1700s the Kynaston family were most enthusiastic about county politics. From 1695 until 1709, John Kynaston of Hardwick near Ellesmere was Tory Member of Parliament representing Shrewsbury.

It is not clear why, but he had a difference of opinion with his oldest son Corbet living at Hordley in support of his younger brother Edward. From 1714-23 he was Whig Member of Parliament for Shrewsbury. Ten years later in 1734 he stood for the county until the time of his death in 1740.

Regarding Corbet Kynaston from Hordley, he was a devoted follower of the ‘Pretender’.

When he had heard Corbet had died, James Stuart was most saddened. It was quoted by Thomas Carte; “The king has had a great loss in the death of Corbet Kynaston who was a man of honest principles in nature and would have ventured in life and fortune for him in any circumstances whatsoever”. It appears this was the very same member of the Kynaston family who was the owner of Shelvock and was stated as being the headless Old Corbet of Coton Ghost eminence.

It seems the Shropshire Kynastons had a pattern of marrying within the extended family from all parts of the county. One marriage during the middle of the 1600s was of William Kinaston of Lee near Ellesmere being wedded to Jane Kynaston of Ruyton. (It is interesting to note that the spelling of the surname was not always with a ‘y’!). The stables at Ruyton Hall were erected by William Kynaston in 1705. According to certain records, his initials and date are carved above the door of the horse accommodation at the hall.

Three sons, Edward, Thomas and William’ were born to William and Jane Kinaston. William it appears was most academic, educated at Shrewsbury before moving on to St John’s College, Cambridge.

On leaving college he was called to the Bar in 1706 and married a lady from Essex by the name of Dorothy Taylor. By 1721 William gained the position of Master of the Chancery. At that time he presented the Lord Chancellor with 1,500 guineas.