The place takes its name from the river Clun upon which it stands. Deriving from an earlier Colun, it shares its very early British root with the two rivers Colne, in Lancashire and Essex, each of which has a town of the same name on its banks (Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names).
The town or village of Clun grew up around the site of the later Saxon church towards the end of the 7th century AD. However, in the surrounding area there was a scattered population at least as early as the Neolithic period about 5000 years ago. Clun was on the historic drove road where flocks and herds were driven from Wales to the markets in the Midlands and even to London. At the time of the Norman conquest Clun formed part of the extensive lands of Eadric The Wild around whom many strange legends have grown up. He was, however, an historic character who led a revolt against King William I, whereon his lands were confiscated and given to Roger de Montgomery who was created Earl of Shrewsbury. Roger in turn granted 27 manors of which Clun was the largest to Robert (better known by his nickname Picot) de Say. These lands constituted a single Marcher Lordship which became known as the Barony of Clun. The present holder of the title is the Duke of Norfolk. The early Lords of Clun had the power of life and death and one William Kempe held his house by the service of carrying to Shrewsbury the heads of felons executed at Clun.
The Normans established a Borough near the castle; the typical grid pattern is still quite clear in High Street, Newport Street, Kidd Lane, Powell's Lane, Ford Street and Hospital Lane. In 1204 King John granted a charter for a three day's Fair to be held at Martinmas (11 November) and, at an unknown date, another three day's fair was established commencing on 12th May, the feast of Saints Nereus, Achilles and Pancras. In 1272 there were 183 burgages (or tenures) although the number declined soon after. The medieval Lords had a Portmoot to collect market dues, a Halmoot to deal with their Welsh tenants and a Swanmoot to enforce the Laws of Clun Forest. The later Manorial Court, together with the Borough Court occupied a building which stood on the site of the present Bowling Green. In earlier times there may have been a chapel here, attached to the castle. However in 1780 the 2nd Lord Clive pulled down the old courthouse and used the material towards the building of what is now the Town Hall.
The principal officers were two bailiffs; their silver-mounted maces, dating from the 16th and 17th centuries are on display in the museum together with the silver armorial seal of the Walcots of Walcot Hall. See Museum The Walcots were the Lords of the Manor from mid-17th century until 1760, when they sold it to Lord Clive of India, whose descendant, The Earl of Powis, is the present Lord.
The 14th century pack horse bridge that crosses the river connecting Saxon Clun to Norman Clun has given rise to a local saying: "whoever crosses Clun Bridge comes back sharper than he went"
[The above information was extracted from "A Brief History of Clun" by F E S Baker, published by the Clun Town Trust]
The Clun Heritage Leaflet is now available from Clun Museum and Clun Garage (Tourist Information). The Leaflet can also be downloaded by clicking here