Shropshire is a county in the English midlands bordering on Wales, of which country it once formed a part. (King Offa of the Mercians took the land from the Welsh kingdom of Powys in the 8th century, marking the limits of his realm with the famous Dyke.) Shropshire is mainly agricultural and possesses no towns noted for manufacture, though its ancient county seat of Shrewsbury has a fine market.
Ashfair, the home of Jonathan Strange, is situated in Shropshire. His wife Arabella is also a native of the county and is particularly fond of it, as she confesses to Lady Pole:
"Oh! I fear I am a very partial judge. I believe that most people would agree that it is a pretty place with green hills and woods and sweet country lanes. Of course we shall have to wait for spring to enjoy it completely. But even in winter the views can be very striking. It is a peculiarly romantic county with a noble history. There are ruined castles and stones planted on the hilltops by who-knows-what-people - and being so close to Wales it has often been fought over - there are ancient battlefields in almost every valley."
But the latter part of her description does not recommend Shropshire to Lady Pole, for she has seen too much of the gruesome legacy of battles at Lost-hope.