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The town has many Welsh language street and place names and the town's name in Welsh is Croesoswallt, meaning "Oswald's Cross".It eventually became known as Oswald's Tree in English, from which its current English name is probably derived.Occasionally in the 13th century it is referred to in official records as Blancmuster (1233) or Blancmostre (1272), meaning "White Minster".Later, Oswestry was attacked by the forces of Welsh rebel leader Owain Glyndŵr during the early years of his rebellion against the English King Henry IV in 1400; it became known as Pentrepoeth or "hot village" as it was burned and nearly totally destroyed by the Welsh.It was taken over by the Army during World War I in 1915 and used as a training camp and military hospital.On 26 December 1918 it burnt to the ground following an electrical fault.Music events take place in various venues throughout the town. The town was the home of the composer Henry Walford Davies who became the Master of the King's Musick.Musical societies include the Oswestry Choral Society and the Oswestry Recorded Music Society. Oswestry was the birthplace of Wilfred Owen, the First World War poet.
Brogyntyn Hall which belonged until recently to the Lords Harlech lies just outside the town.
Oswestry has developed a wide range of arts activities throughout the town. It organises a regular programme of films and live performances. Llanymynech Amateur Dramatic Society, five miles away on the A483.
The Attfield Theatre is based in the town's Guildhall. LADS produces three productions every year, including tours and open air performances.
Oswald was killed in this battle and was dismembered; according to legend, one of his arms was carried to an ash tree by a raven, and miracles were subsequently attributed to the tree (as Oswald was considered a saint).
Thus it is believed that the name of the site is derived from a reference to "Oswald's Tree".