Towns & Parishes
"Meerbrook is a hamlet three miles N of Leek. Its chapelry (to Leek & Lowe parish) includes most of Leekfrith township, which also includes the hamlets of Pool End, one mile NW; Abbey Green, half a mile N; Blackshaw Moor, three miles NNW; and Upper Hulme, four miles NNW of Leek. Leekfrith township comprises 877 souls and 7500 acres, between two branches of the River Churnet. The principal landowners are William Brocklehurst, Esq and John Davenport, Esq, and there are many smaller freeholders.[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]
Upper or Over Hulme gave birth to Richard Caldwell, an eminent physician, who died in 1515. It has a silk mill in the dale, below the lofty mountain rocks called Leek Roaches.
At Abbey Green are the remains of an ancient abbey, and a bowling green. The Abbey Farm is the property of John Davenport, Esq. At the north end of the township are the moorland farms of Gunside, Rocheside, and Hazlewood. "
A transcript of the Monumental Inscriptions of St Matthews Church, Meerbrook, was published by EW Bass, Bucknall, in 1983.
The population of Leekfrith township was as follows:
1831 -- 873
1841 -- 877
"The church, or parochial chapel, (St Matthew), was built and endowed by Sir Ralph Bagnall, who vested it with seven trustees, by deed, dated 2nd February, 1564.
The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Vicar of Leek, and incumbency of the Rev. James Turner, MA."
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851)
The church of St Matthew, Meerbrook, was a chapelry of Leek & Lowe parish, details of which can be found on the Leek and Lowe parish page.
Meerbrook was formed into a new ecclesiastical parish in 1859.
Postcard of St Matthew's Church c1905.
Church of England Registers
The register of St Matthew, Meerbrook, commences in 1738. The original registers for the period 1738-1925 (Bapts), 1738-1766 (Mar) & 1738-1812 (Bur) are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office.
Bishops Transcripts, 1791-1863 (with gap 1854) are deposited at Lichfield Record Office.
The chapelry became part of Leek Union following the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834.
[Last updated: 3rd May 2010, Mike Harbach. © 1998 - 2010]