Towns & Parishes
"Longdon, three and a half miles NNW of Lichfield, and SE of Rugeley, is a long straggling village on the Rugeley road, including within its parish 1183 inhabitants, 4452 acres of land, a number of small hamlets, and several gentlemen's seats, the largest of which is Beaudesert, on the eastern side of Cannock Chase, the residence of the Marquis of Anglesey, who is lord of the manor, and owner of most of the soil. From the time of the Saxons till the reign of Henry VIII, the Bishops of Lichfield held the manor of Longdon, and had here a free court. In 1546, the bishop surrendered the manors of Longdon and Haywood, to the King, and in the same year, his Majesty granted them to Sir William Paget, an ancestor of the Marquis of Anglesey.[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]
Beaudesert, anciently a palace of the bishops of the diocese, and now the residence of the Marquis of Anglesey, is two miles WSW of Longdon church, and five miles NW of Lichfield. The greater part of the mansion was rebuilt by Thomas Lord Paget, in the reign of Elizabeth, and many improvements have been made by the late and present owners. The principal entrance is under a light Gothic portico, and leads into a spacious and handsome hall. The apartments are large and elegantly furnished, and the library contains a valuable collection of books and manuscripts. Part of the house is said to have been erected in the time of William Rufus.
Among the other seats in the parish are Lyswayes Hall, near Longdon Green, the seat of Mrs Elizabeth Forster, relict of the late Charles Smith Forster, who was MP for Walsall from 1832-1837, which formerly belonged to the ancient family of Lyswayes. It afterwards passed to the Legydd, Arblaster, Cobb, and Austin families, the latter of whom sold it to the Forsters.
Chestall, to the south of Beaudesert, was formerly the seat of the Rugeleys, but is now a farmhouse. Stonywell, one mile SE of the church, was anciently the residence of a family of its own name, but is now divided into two farms. Hanch Hall, one mile E of the church, is the seat of John Forster, Esq, and was built in the reign of Edward I, by one of the Astons of Haywood. It passed from the Astons to the Orme family and was afterwards the seat of the Parkhurst family.
Longdon House, the pleasant seat of Lady Chetwynd, is a handsome structure in the Tudor style, erected in 1839-40, on an eminence two miles from Beaudesert, commanding fine views of Cannock Chase."
'The Story of Congregationalism in and about Longdon and Lichfield
from its commencement down to the year 1906'
by Alfred James Stevens
Published 1907, by Meacham, Lichfield
'Beaudesert and the Pagets'
by John Godwin
Published 1982, by Staffordshire County Library, Stafford.
'A Beaudesert Legacy. History of Coalmining in Brereton, Rugeley & Longdon'
by Ken Edwards
Published 1994, by Landor Society, Rugeley.
The population of Longdon parish was as follows:
1801 -- 909
1831 -- 1147
1841 -- 1183
A full transcript and surname index of the 1851 census of Longdon parish is included in the Staffordshire 1851 Census Transcript and Surname Index, Volume 11, Part 2, Lichfield, published by the Birmingham & Midland SGH.
"Longdon parish church, St James, stands about half a mile north of Longdon Green, upon a fine eminence, and is a large ancient edifice. It was thoroughly repaired about 40 years ago, and enlarged in 1829, by the erection of a new gallery. A remarkably fine Norman arch divides the nave and chancel. Among the monuments is one to John de Stoneywell. who died in 1553, one to William Orme, Esq, who suffered much for his loyalty to the Stuarts, and one in memory of the late Bishop Majendie, of Bangor. The Hanch Chapel, which contains the tomb of William Orme, has just been restored by J Forster, Esq.
The living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the Bishop of Lichfield, and incumbency of the Rev Stuart Majendie, who has held the living since 1824.
Gentleshaw Church, in this parish, near Beaudesert, is a neat brick structure, which was built in 1845. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the alternate patronage of the Bishop and Dean and Chapter of Lichfield, and incumbency of the Rev E Carte, BA.
At Longdon Green is an old chapel, belonging to the Independents."
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851)
Church of England Registers
The surviving registers of St James, Longdon, commence in 1687. The original registers for the period 1687-1965 (Bapts), 1687-1980 (Mar), & 1687-1908 (Bur), are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office.
Bishops Transcripts for the period 1663-1868 (with gaps 1666-70, 1672-73, 1680-84, 1689-92, 1717-21 & 1730-32) are deposited at Lichfield Record Office.
Christ Church, Gentleshaw was a chapelry to Longdon until 1840, when it became a parish in its own right. The register of Christ Church commence in 1837. The original registers for the period 1837-1921 (Bapts), 1840-1949 (Mar), & 1838-1979 (Bur), are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office.
Bishops Transcripts for the period 1837-1874 (with gaps 1845, 1853 & 1855) are deposited at Lichfield Record Office.
A transcript of the registers of Christ Church, Gentleshaw has been published by Burntwood Family History Group.
Nonconformist Church Registers
The original registers are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office (SRO) or the Public Record Office (PRO) as indicated below:
Longdon, Presbyterian, Births & Baptisms 1695-1736 (SRO)
Longdon, Wesleyan Methodist, Baptisms 1813, 1821-1826 (PRO)
Longdon, Wesleyan Methodist, Baptisms 1857-1879 (SRO)
Longdon parish became part of Lichfield Union following the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834.
[Last updated: 17th August 2002, Mike Harbach. © 1999, 2000, 2002