Author Archives: David Martin

Scenes From the Past: Shelton Bar (1873)

A drawing of Shelton Bar taken from Griffiths’ “Guide to the iron trade of Great Britain” which was published in 1873.

Faculty Friday- Trentham

The Bawdy Courts of Lichfield

This month’s faculty not only shows details of proposed changes to a church but also hints at a local status power play. The 1843 faculty for Trentham requests confirmation of rebuilding work already completed and remaining work to be done. This includes re-pewing the main church, after taking down the old galleries, with reserved seats for the Pilkingtons of Butterton Hall and building a new west gallery containing pews for the Duke of Sutherland. The architect for this project was Charles Barry.

What’s of note in these papers is that as part of the replacement of the galleries, the Pilkington’s lose their reserved gallery and are instead allocated pews on the ground floor whilst the Sutherland’s (of…

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Scenes From the Past: Tunstall Windmill

old-windmill-tunstall-stoke-on-trent
Tunstall Windmill

Tunstall Windmill was a corn mill.

It was built in 1813 on land that became known as Millfields which was on the northside of Roundwell Street between America Street and Dunning Street.

A track led from America Street to the mill which at one time was surrounded by a circular loading bay where carts were loaded and unloaded.

 The mill is mentioned by W. J. Harper in his book “By-Gone Tunstall” that was published in 1913.

In this edited extract from the book, Harper writes:

Of course, there were no houses near the mill in the earlier years of its history, save three one storey workmen’s cottages seen on the left of the drawing. In later years the mill yard was fenced in, and gardens were provided for the cottagers . . . When the mill went into disuse the corn room was used as a practice room by members of Tunstall’s drum and fife band.

Harper knew John Bickley, a member of the band, who remembered rehearsing in the corn room. John told him that a man and his wife lived at the mill. One evening the couple began to argue. During the row, the woman walked out. She didn’t come back, and her husband spent the night alone in the mill.

There was an old mine shaft nearby which was full of water. The next morning, her body was found in the shaft. She had committed suicide.

The mill was demolished in 1855. 

Spotlight on Stafford: Memories of a Volunteer at St. George’s Hospital

Staffordshire's Asylums

By Vicky Wood

St. George’s Hospital c.1975 (staffspasttrack.org.uk)

In the early 1980s, I became a volunteer at St. Georges Hospital, which had started life as the County Asylum. So, every Wednesday morning, Hilda and I would set off round the hospital with our laden trolley, which was loaded with sweets and chocolates, as well as other small items, to see what the morning would bring. The patient population was fairly static so we soon got to know our regular customers. 

There were many more women patients than men in a population of almost 1,000. This was, according to staff, because in the past, women suffering from post-natal depression were often placed in the hospital and in some cases, never left. A number of patients were attached to objects which reminded them of their children, and one I remember in particular lived in a world of fantasy where they had never…

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SPOTLIGHT ON BURSLEM: When dressing up as a ghost could land you in front of the Church Courts

The Bawdy Courts of Lichfield

In September 1627 Robert Simpson donned a white sheet and walked around Burslem, Staffordshire, pretending to be the ghost of a recently deceased local man. Was this, as Simpson claimed, a simple case of trying to frighten an individual or, as the church courts claimed, was it the sign of something much more sinister?

All sides agree that on the 12th September 1627, the same day that local potter John Turner was buried, Simpson ‘in the dark of the night’ put on a white sheet ‘with a knott on the topp or head thereof in the manner of a windinge sheete’ for the purpose of looking like Turner’s ghost but the burning question is why.

Winding-sheet containing corpse, 15th century.
Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY

The church court, in a case promoted by William and John Blore of Audley, accuses Simpson and his friend William Edge of…

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STAFFORDSHIRE’S HISTORIC CHURCHES: NEWS – Autumn 2019

Staffordshire Historic Churches

Welcome to our Autumn posting. Here we have some news-items which will be of interest to anyone who supports the preservation & heritage of Staffordshire’s historic churches.
To be alerted to more posts from us, click ‘Get Updates From This Site’ on the right hand side of this page.
You can also join our Facebook page for more topical items.

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Prince Charles’ support
The Norman alabaster archway at St Mary’s Priory Church in Tutbury in East Staffordshire was in dire need of repair, and a campaign was mounted to secure funding of £80,000 to complete the project – which was concluded over the summer. The Staffordshire Historic Churches Trust was able to make a donation out of its funds, as well as a number of other organisations.
No less a personage than Prince Charles himself also backed this campaign. See: full story.

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Rarely used elaborate church
The

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Spotlight on Hanley: “The Doctor and Parson” by Noah Heath

noah-heath- sneyd-green-the-potteries

“The Doctor and Parson” is a poem that was based on a true story. It was written by Noah Heath who was born at Sneyd Green towards the end of the 1770s or early in the 1780s. The doctor was Dr. Lane who lived in Saggar Row (now Parliament Row), Hanley. We believe that the parson was the Rev. John Middleton.

The Doctor and Parson

Verse One

The case was distressing when truly displayed,

On a languishing pillow the patient was laid,

The gossiping neighbours all had no doubt,

That the spark of existence was nearly run out;

When a grave, skilful doctor, renowned in fame,

To give some assistance, immediately came.

He feels the pulses and views him all o’er,

Refers to his judgement which way to explore,

Then turns himself round, to his treasure he hies,

And his life giving balsam then straightway applies.

Seems to have little doubt he can make a firm cure,

And the life of the patient pronounces secure.

Verse Two

In comes the parson, that sanctified man,

And declares that the doctor had took a wrong plan;

Then questions the patient again and again,

Whence arose all his sorrows, his anguish and pain,

“Your treatment is wrong, I have to say,

It’s as plain as the sun in the skies at mid-day;

Such wrong application must meet with disgrace,

For a mortification will shortly take place.”

“A mortification!” the doctor then cries;

“Yes, a mortification,” the parson replies.

“Pooh! pooh!” says the doctor, “such things I deny,

And tell you quite plainly, your reverence, you lie.

Tho’ we must all allow you’re a man of great parts,

And have a great knowledge of science and arts,

That the truth you expound, and peruse much in books,

You are a Jack-of-all-trades, we can see by your looks,

But in case like these ever silence pray keep,

And if you be the shepherd, preserve well your sheep;

Let us both mind our business, without more control,

For I’ll mind the body if you’ll mind the soul.”

Scenes From the Past: A view of Burslem from Bradwell Wood in 1865

burslem-bradwell-wood-potteries-1865

A view of Burslem, Longport and Middleport from Bradwell Wood in 1865.

Spotlight on Stone: Family History Guide

Stone is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Staffordshire. Other places in the parish include: Normacot, Moddershall, Meaford, Kibblestone with Oulton, Kibbleston, Little Acton, Darlaston, Burston, Blurton, Beech, Walton, Tittensor, Stoke, Stallington, Oulton, and Normacott. Parish church: Parish registers begin: Parish registers: 1568 Bishop’s Transcripts: 1668 Nonconformists include: Church of […]

Stone Staffordshire Family History Guide — Parishmouse

Daily Routine of a Patient, Part One — Staffordshire’s Asylums

The experience of patients in an asylum differed from individual to individual. Daily routine, however, was essential to keep the asylum running and for patients to know what was expected of them. Different groups of patients had different routines, usually determined by their mental and physical condition and their age and sex. By the late […]

Daily Routine of a Patient, Part One — Staffordshire’s Asylums
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