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Cannock

"Cannock, a large and well built village, with about 1100 inhabitants, is pleasantly situated on the western verge of the extensive heath or chase from which it has its name, on the turnpike road between Walsall and Stafford, eight miles N by W of Walsall, and nine miles SSE of Stafford, and about four miles from the Spread Eagle, Brownhills, Four Ashes and Penkridge Railway Stations. Though not mentioned in Domesday book, it was a considerable village in the reign of King John. Dugdale asserts that Henry I had a summer residence here, and there are records of a castle having existed here, though no vestiges of it now remain. The parish of Cannock is very extensive, comprising about 20,000 acres, of which more than a third is uninclosed on Cannock Chase. It has a good light soil, well adapted to the growth of corn, turnips and grass. It contains only 2852 inhabitants, and is divided into the six liberties of Cannock, Great Wyrley, Huntington, Cannock Wood, Hednesford, and Leacroft.
The whole parish, except Great Wyrley and Huntington, is in the manor of Cannock & Rugeley, of which the Marquis of Anglesey is lord. The greater part of this manor is held by copyholders, who pay chief rents and heriots. The manor includes the whole of Cannock Chase, which comprises 32,000 acres of heath, extending from the Trent, near Shugborough, southward nearly to Aldridge, a distance of twelve miles, and varying from one and a half to five miles in breadth. It was a celebrated forest during the Saxon heptarchy, being the favourite chase of the Mercian kings. At the north end, near Rugeley, and on parts of the western border, are several coal mines, in which is found a particular species of iron ore, called Cannock stone, which oxygenates so rapidly as to be capable of much useful application.
About three miles NE of Cannock village, is the Marquis of Anglesey's beautiful seat, Beaudesert Park, one moiety of which is in the liberty of Cannock Wood, in this parish, and contains the vestiges of an extensive British encampment, a little to the south of which is Radmoor, where there are some remains of an Abbey of Cistercian monks.
Cannock Wood extends from two to four miles NE of Cannock, and is the liberty which includes part of Beaudesert Park and Radmoor Abbey ruins. It has a few good farms, and 275 inhabitants, and includes a large portion of the open heath, where there are a number of cottages, with small plots of garden attached.
Hednesford, or Hedgford, two miles NE of Cannock, and five miles S by W of Rugeley, is an enclosed hamlet on Cannock Chase, containing a number of scattered houses, 304 inhabitants, and a large lake called the Hedgford Pool, covering about 23 acres. Here also is a good inn, and extensive stabling for blood horses, of which about 120 are generally trained here in the season, and exercised on the excellent turf of Hedgford Hills. The horses trained here belong to a number of the most spirited members of the turf, and find employment for eleven of the most distinguished trainers and jockeys in the kingdom. On the margin of the lake the late Edmund Peel, Esq, of Fazeley, built a handsome mansion, about 20 years ago, called Hedgford Lodge.
Huntington is a hamlet and liberty on the Stafford road, two miles N of Cannock, and contains 121 souls, and upwards of 800 acres of land. Lord Hatherton, of Teddesley Hall, is owner of nearly all the soil, and lord of the manor, which adjoins the western side of Cannock Chase, and is celebrated for its white gravel, of which large quantities are sent to distant places for covering garden walks, etc.
Leacroft, one mile S by E of Cannock, is a hamlet of 228 souls, several scattered farm houses, and a corn mill. Here are Reaumore or Rumer Hills, where there was once a noted medicinal spring.
Great Wyrley is a township, containing about 800 inhabitants, and a long village of detached houses, two miles S of Cannock and six miles N by W of Walsall. It has several collieries, which employ most of the inhabitants of the neighbouring village of Wyrley Bank. Wyrley & Essington Canal was cut under an act passed in 1792, chiefly for the purpose of affording a cheap transit for the coal got in this neighbourhood. The Duke of Sutherland and General Vernon, of Hilton Park, are owners of most of the soil and the former is lord of the manor.
Church Bridge is a small village in Great Wyrley township, one and a half miles S of Cannock, on the Watling Street, and on one of the tributary streams of the Penk, where Mr Gilpin established, about 50 years ago, an extensive manufactory of edge-tools, augers, hammers, etc, and a forge, a tilt, rolling and grinding mills, and furnaces for converting and refining iron and steel, all of which are now in a flourishing state, and give employment to a considerable number of workmen. About one mile to the W is Wedges Mills, a hamlet in Cannock township, where Gilpin & Co have another edge-tool manufactory, on the Hedgford rivulet.
Landy Wood is a hamlet in Great Wyrley township, five miles N by W of Walsall."
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]

Bibliography

'A History of Cannock and Neighbourhood'
by MW Greenslade
Published 1982, by Staffordshire County Libraries, Stafford.

'The Picture Houses of Cannock and Hednesford District'
by Leon Bucknall
Published 1993, by Leon Bucknall, Cannock.

'Cannock Chase, Past & Present, in Old Photographs'
by Heritage Independent Photographers
Published 1996, by Sutton, Stroud, Gloucestershire.

'A History of Cannock Chase Colliery Company'
by J Roger Francis
Published 1980, by Staffordshire Industrial Archaeology Society, Rugeley.

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Census

The population of Cannock parish was as follows:
1801 -- 2149
1831 -- 3116
1841 -- 3627

A surname index of the 1851 census of Cannock parish is included in the Staffordshire 1851 Census Surname index, Volume 12, Penkridge, published by the Birmingham & Midland SGH.

A complete transcript, including surname index, of the 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1891 & 1901 censuses of Cheslyn Hay and Great Wyrley has been produced on CD by Sue Challenger and is available from the Birmingham & Midland SGH.

A transcript of the 1841 census of Hednesford transcribed by Glyn Haynes.

A transcript of the 1851 census of Hednesford transcribed by Glyn Haynes.

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Church History

"Cannock church, St Luke, is an ancient structure, which has undergone many repairs. The south side was rebuilt in 1753, and in 1849 the north side was restored, and the body of the church repewed. Among its monuments are several memorials of the Walhouse family of Hatherton, the inhabitants of which used this church, though they are in Wolverhampton parish.
The benefice is a perpetual curacy in the patronage of the Dean & Chapter of Lichfield, and the Rev FT Blackburne, MA, is the incumbent.
In Cannock village is an Independent Chapel, built by subscription in 1824, and a Wesleyan Chapel, built in 1842. The Plymouth Brethren have a preaching room here.
Great Wyrley church, St Mark, is a handsome stone building which was erected in 1845-6, in the early English style. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the incumbent of Cannock, and now held by the Rev John Compson.
Huntington has a small Wesleyan Chapel, built in 1847."

[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851)

A view of St Mark's Church, Great Wyrley (1).
A view of St Mark's Church, Great Wyrley (2).
Postcard of St Peter's Church, Hednesford c1903.

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Church Records

Church of England Registers
The surviving parish register of the parish church of St Luke, Cannock commences in 1744. Earlier registers were destroyed by fire in 1858. The original registers for the period 1744-1947 (Bapts), 1744-1949 (Mar) & 1744-1929 (Bur) and Banns for the period 1809-1914 are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office.
Bishops Transcripts for the period 1659-1867 (with gaps 1672-83, 1686-90 & 1858-65) are deposited at Lichfield Record Office.

The original registers of St Mark, Great Wyrley for the period 1845-1979 (Bapts), 1846-1998 (Mar) & 1846-1887 (Bur) are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office.
Bishops Transcripts of St Mark for the period 1848-1857 (Bapts & Bur) are deposited at Lichfield Record Office.

Nonconformist Registers
The following nonconformist registers of Cannock parish are deposited at
Staffordshire Record Office:
Cannock Independent, Births & Bapts 1816-37.
Cannock Wesleyan Methodist, Bapts 1813-15.
Cannock Bridgetown Carmel Methodist
(formerly Bridge Street Primitive Methodist), Marr 1912-41.
Cannock Bridgetown, Park Street, Methodist New Connection / United Methodist,
Bapts 1863-1964, Marr 1958-62.
Cannock Hightown Methodist, Bapts 1873-1972.
Cannock Mill Street Primitive Methodist, Marr 1913-86.
Cannock Trinity Wesleyan Methodist, Bapts 1857-1958.
Cannock Wimblebury Wesleyan Methodist, Bapts 1857-1977.
Cannock Wimblebury Five Ways United Methodist, Bapts 1877-1960.
Cannock Wimblebury John Street Methodist, Marr 1948-82.
Hednesford Bethesda Primitive Methodist, Bapts 1909-63.
Hednesford Bradbury Lane Methodist, Bapts 1913-75.
Hednesford High Town Methodist, Marr 1956-71.
Hednesford Old Mission Wesleyan Methodist, Bapts 1857-79 & 1942-65.
Hednesford Station Road Primitive Methodist, Marr 1925-59.
Hednesford Trinity United Methodist, Bapts 1872-1909.
Hednesford Wesleyan Methodist, Bapts 1942-65.
Huntington Primitive Methodist, Bapts 1925-94, Marr 1984-93.

Registers of the Roman Catholic Church of St Mary, Cannock, which commence in 1873 and include Hatherton Hall (a domestic chapel of the Clifford family) remain with the parish priest. Earlier Cannock entries may be found in Bloxwich or Rugeley registers.

A transcript of Cheslyn Hay Methodist Churches Baptismal records has been produced on CD by Cheslyn Hay Local History Society and is available from the Birmingham & Midland SGH. This includes records for Great Wyrley Jacob's Hall Lane, 1897-1982 and Upper Landywood, 1861-2000, and three Cheslyn Hay Chapels.

Description and Travel

A transcription of the section on Cannock from A Topographical History of Staffordshire by William Pitt (1817)

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Directories

'The Cannock Chase Blue Book and Directory' was published by EF Cope & Co, Walsall, in 1920 and 1922-1927.

A transcript of the Cannock section of White's 1834 directory of Staffordshire transcribed by Julie Reynolds.

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Poorhouses, Poor Law etc

The parish became part of Penkridge Union following the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834.

A CD Rom of the Great Wyrley (including Cheslyn Hay) Poor Law records 1810-1833 has been produced by Cheslyn Hay Local History Society and Sue Challenger and is available from the Birmingham & Midland SGH.

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