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Eccleshall

"Eccleshall parish is one of the largest and most fertile parochial districts in Staffordshire. It extends from five to eleven miles NW of Stafford, and comprises within its limits the seat of the Bishop of Lichfield, with many other handsome villas, the market town of Eccleshall, a considerable number of hamlets and scattered houses, and upwards of 20,000 acres of land, watered by the River Sow and its tributary streams, and swelling into bold undulations, highly cultivated and well clothed with wood. It is divided into 21 townships or liberties. The Bishop is lord of the manor, RH Hand, Esq, of Stafford, is the manor steward, and Mr Jas Wood is the manor bailiff. The Earl of Lichfield and many other owners have estates in this extensive parish, which contains 20,930 acres but only 4730 inhabitants.
Eccleshall is a small but ancient and well built market town, pleasantly situated in a picturesque valley, seven miles NW by W of Stafford, six miles SW of Stone, and three miles WSW of Norton Bridge Railway Station. It gives name to a deanery, and a petty sessional and polling district in the Northern Division of Staffordshire and Pirehill Hundred, and has been much improved during the present century, by the erection of new buildings on the sites of old ones. Its market is held every Friday, it has four annual cattle fairs and the feast or wake is on Trinity Sunday. Many of the inhabitants are shoemakers, employed by the manufacturers at Stone. Eccleshall township comprises 1850 acres and 1439 inhabitants.
Cotes, near Standon Bridge Railway Station, is a village and township, with 850 acres and 328 souls, four miles N by E of Eccleshall, and gives name to that quarter of the parish, which includes the small hamlets and townships of Aspley, on a lofty summit, three miles N by W; Chatcull, five miles N; Cold & Mill Meece, three miles NNE; and Slindon, two miles N of Eccleshall. The six townships of Cotes Quarter contain about 4570 acres and 722 inhabitants. John Cotes, Esq, is lord of the manor of Cotes, but Thomas Salt, Esq, Thomas Astbury, Esq, and many other proprietors have estates here. Cotes Hall is the seat of JJ Matthews, Esq, and Aspley belongs to James Deakin, Esq.
Horsley is an extensive township of scattered houses, giving name to the southern quarter of the parish, in which are the small hamlets and townships of Pershall, one mile W; Walton, one and a half miles ESE; and Wootton, one mile S of Eccleshall. Pershall was the ancient seat of Robert, son of Gilbert, younger son of R de Corbeiul, a Norman, who followed the fortune of the Conqueror, and held the manor of Pershall from Robert de Stafford, by the service of a knight's fee. Hence his descendants, laying aside their own names, assumed that of Pershall. One of them, John Pershall, was created a baronet by James I. In the last century, the manor of Pershall passed to Earl Breadalbane, in marriage with the daughter and heiress of the late Sir Thomas Pershall, but it now belongs to a number of proprietors. In Horsley is Johnson Hall, the handsome seat of Robert Hargreaves, Esq, but the property of HS Hartshorne, Esq. Within two miles further to the SW is the extensive tract of land called Offley Hay, which was not enclosed till 1841, and the hamlets of Garmelow and Copmere. The four townships of Horsley Quarter comprise 4730 acres and 863 souls. Walton Hall, erected about three years ago, is a large and handsome mansion in the Italian style and is the seat of Henry Killick, Esq. Walton Villa is the seat of Mrs Ripley. James Hadderton, Esq, has a neat residence at Acton Hall. Mrs Jane Buckley, of Garmelow, Mrs Mary Johnson, of Pershall, and many smaller owners have estates here.
Broughton, a small village and chapelry, five miles NW by W of Eccleshall, is in the western or Woodland Quarter of the parish, so called from its proximity to the Bishop's Woods, and the ancient forest of Blore. This quarter includes the hamlets of Gerard's Bromley, the property of HC Meynell Ingram, Esq, six miles NW; Charnes, four and a half miles NW; Croxton, a large village on a steep declivity, three and a half miles NW; Podmore, on an eminence, six miles NW; Sugnall Magna & Parva, two and a half miles NW; and Three Farms, from one to two miles N of Eccleshall. In the latter township are the farms of Ankerton, Badon Hall, Brockton, and Hill Farm, belonging to W Moore, Esq, Mr John Wood, and other proprietors. The eight townships of Woodland Quarter comprise 8120 acres and 1340 souls. Broughton Hall, a fine mansion of the Elizabethan age, is the seat of the Rev Sir Henry Delves Broughton, Bart, who is lord of the manor. In Croxton, the bishop has 500 acres of wood, and the Golden Hill Farm, but Blore Pike and the White Farms belong to Earl Cornwallis, son of a late bishop of Lichfield, and the Fair Oak Farms to Addison Deakin, Esq. Sugnall Hall, a neat stone mansion, is the seat of Richard Hodges, Esq, and was formerly the seat of the Pershall family.
The township of Chorlton formed a chapelry to Eccleshall parish and details can be found on the Chorlton parish page."
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]

Bibliography

'Eccleshall, the Story of a Staffordshire Market Town and its Dependent Villages'
by Joint Committee for Adult Education, University of Keele
Published 1964, by Dept of Extra Mural Studies, University of Keele.

'Victorian Eccleshall'
by David Vincent
Published 1982, by Dept of Adult Education, University of Keele.

'Eccleshall and District, A Portrait in Old Picture Postcards'
by Edward Watkin
Published 1989, by Loggerheads, Brampton.

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Census

The population of Eccleshall parish (including chapelries) was as follows:
1831 -- 4471
1841 -- 4730

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Church History

"Eccleshall parish church, Holy Trinity, is a large and handsome fabric, with a lofty tower, in which are six bells and a clock. The chancel and north side, being much decayed, were rebuilt in 1829. The church is remarkable as the place where Queen Margaret was concealed after the battle of Blore Heath, in 1459. It is neatly pewed with oak, and contains several monuments of the former bishops, and of the Bosville family, who resided in the ancient mansion of Biana, which has long been occupied as a farmhouse.
The church is a prepend, enjoyed by the Bishop, who is also patron of the discharged vicarage, with the curacy of Croxton annexed to it. The Rev Henry Moore, MA, is the vicar, and also rural dean of Eccleshall, prebend of Handsacre and vicar of Penn.
In the Horsefair is a neat Independent Chapel, built in 1840, in lieu of an old one.
Cotes Heath Church, St James, was erected for this quarter of the parish about eight years ago, and is a small plain structure, with a cupola and bell. The perpetual curacy, is in the gift of the vicar, and incumbency of the Rev ET Codd, MA.
Broughton Church has a low tower and six bells, and some handsome monuments belonging to the Broughton family. The Rev Sir Henry Delves Broughton, Bart, is patron and incumbent and the officiating curate is the Rev Vernon George Yonge, BA, of Charnes Hall.
Croxton Chapel is a neat brick edifice, erected in 1832, and its curacy is annexed to Eccleshall vicarage."

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

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Church Records

Church of England Registers
The parish register of the parish church of Holy Trinity, Eccleshall commences in 1573. The original registers for the period 1573-1927 (Bapts), 1573-1931 (Mar) & 1573-1944 (Bur) are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office.
Bishops Transcripts, 1659-1881 (with many gaps) are deposited at Lichfield Record Office.
Transcripts of the registers for the period 1573-1618 (Part 1) and 1760-1837 (Part 2) were published by the Staffordshire Parish Register Society in 1907 and 1910 and have been reprinted by the Birmingham & Midland SGH.
The original registers of Cotes Heath, St James, from 1844-date are held by the incumbent. Bishops Transcripts for the period 1844-1873 are deposited at Lichfield Record Office.
The original registers of Croxton, St Paul for the period 1857-1992 (Bur) are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office. The Baptism & Marriage registers are held by the incumbent.
The original registers of Broughton, St Peter for the period 1885-1993 (Bapts), 1838-1863 & 1907-1997 (Mar) & 1885-1993 (Bur) are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office.

Nonconformist Registers
The original registers of the Eccleshall Independent Chapel for the period 1822-1836 (Births & Baptisms) are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office.

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Directories

'Adie's Annual consisting of Almanac, Diary & Directory of Stone, Eccleshall & surrounding places' was published by TG Adie & Co, Stone, in 1902 and 1930.

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Poorhouses, Poor Law etc

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

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[Last updated: 29th January 2001, Mike Harbach.  © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001]