Towns & Parishes
"Gnosall is a large and ancient village, seven miles W by S of Stafford, and six miles E by N of Newport in Shropshire. It has a station on the Shropshire Union Railway. Its parish is very extensive, being about six miles in length, and comprising 2424 inhabitants, and about 8000 acres of land, divided into the four Quarters of Gnosall, Cowley, Knightley, and Moreton. The soil is various, but the uplands have generally a strong loam. Here are several valleys with rivulets, and the meadows on their banks are very productive. The Bishop of Lichfield is appropriator of the tithes and lord of the manor of Gnosall, but they are held on lease by Captain Tennant, of Needwood. Except three freeholds, the land in this manor (which comprises only one quarter of the parish), is copyhold, subject to small fines and heriots. Gnosall has two annual fairs for cattle, etc, on May 7th and Sept 23rd, and a feast, or wake, on the second Sunday in August.[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]
Apeton and Rule are small hamlets, two and a half miles SE of Gnosall, partly in Gnosall quarter and partly in Bradley parish.
Cowley quarter contains a number of scattered houses, and the hamlets of Coton, Befcott, and Plardiwick, extending from one to two miles SW of Gnosall. The principal freeholders are Sir TFF Boughey, John Morris, Esq, Mrs Buckley, and the Earl of Lichfield, the latter of whom is lord of Plardiwick.
Knightley, in the northern quarter of this parish, is a large estate, all belonging to the Earl of Lichfield, and containing 15 farmhouses, and several other scattered dwellings, from two to three miles N by W of Gnosall. The common was enclosed in 1806, and the old enclosures contain many excellent oaks.
Moreton, the southern and largest quarter of this parish, includes the scattered hamlets of Coley, Bromstead, Wilbrighton, Outwoods, and Chatwell, extending from two to four miles SW of Gnosall, and bordering on Shropshire. Chatwell, the most distant place, is said to derive its name from St Chad's Well, which was formerly of some repute. The principal landowners are Sir TFF Boughey and John Cotes, Esq. Mr Henry Green has a large farm at Moreton. At Chatwell is a valuable bed of clay, and a stratum of limestone, worked by Mr Thomas Boultbee. The Ducie family were formerly seated here, and one of them, Matthew Ducie Moreton, was created Lord Ducie, Baron of Moreton, in 1720, but on the death of his successor, without issue, the title became extinct, but his second title of Baron Ducie of Tortworth, descended to his sister's son, Thomas Reynolds, whose descendant, the present Lord Ducie, has assumed the name of Moreton, though the family has long been seated at Tortworth, in Gloucestershire "
A transcript of the Monumental Inscriptions of the parish church of St Lawrence by Brian & Ann Margetson.
A transcript of the Monumental Inscriptions of the parish church of St Lawrence has been published by the Birmingham & Midland SGH.
The population of Gnosall parish was as follows:
1831 -- 3358
1841 -- 2424
"Gnosall Church, St Lawrence, is a large edifice, in the form of a cross, with a tower rising from the centre, and containing a clock and six bells. With the exception of the west end, which has five lancet windows and perpendicular buttresses, the body of the church appears to be the latest style of English architecture, but the tower, to the height of the roof, is in the Saxon style. It was repewed and thoroughly repaired in 1820, and enlarged by the erection of galleries in 1826.
The living is a perpetual curacy in the incumbency of the Rev John Till, MA.
At Knightley is a neat chapel of ease, dedicated to Christ, built by the Earl of Lichfield in 1840, and the duty is performed by the incumbent of Gnosall and his curate.
Moreton Church, St Mary, is a neat structure, in the Norman style, erected in 1838. The benefice is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the incumbent of Gnosall, and incumbency of the Rev Thomas Burne, MA.
There are Independent Chapels at Coton and Bromstead. "
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851)
A view of St Lawrence Church (1).
A view of St Lawrence Church (2).
Church of England Registers
The registers of the parish church of St Lawrence commence in 1572. The original registers for the period 1572-1902 (Bapts), 1572-1950 (Mar) & 1572-1848 (Bur), and Banns for the period 1823-52 are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office.
Bishops Transcripts for the period 1687-1836 (with many gaps) are deposited at Lichfield Record Office.
A transcript of the parish register for the period 1572-1699 (Bapt & Bur) & 1572-1785 (Mar) was published by the Staffordshire Parish Register Society in 1922 and has been reprinted by the Birmingham & Midland SGH.
Gnosall parish became part of Newport Union following the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834. The old parish workhouse at Gnosall was used as one of the establishments of Newport Union.
A printed transcript of the Gnosall Poor Law Administration records, 1679-1837, has been published by the Staffordshire Record Society.
[Last updated: 29th September 2004, Mike Harbach. © 1998 - 2004]