Towns & Parishes
"Penkridge, a small but ancient town, nearly in the centre of the Cuttlestone Hundred, has a station on the London and North Western Railway, and is pleasantly situated six miles S of Stafford, and ten miles N of Wolverhampton. It gives name to a large union, a polling district, and a rural deanery, and derives its name from the River Penk, which passes it on the west, as the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal does on the east. Bull Bridge, which here crosses the Penk by several small arches, was erected about 25 years ago, and about half a mile higher up the river is the ancient Cuttlestone Bridge, which gives name to this Hundred. Penkridge is undoubtedly a place of great antiquity. The town consists of several short streets and a spacious market place, but the market which was held every Tuesday, has been obsolete for years. Penkridge parish is very extensive, comprising about 16000 acres, but only 3129 inhabitants, residing in its four townships of Penkridge, Coppenhall, Dunston and Stretton. The three latter are also chapelries to Penkridge parish and there is a new church at Gailey.[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]
Penkridge township comprises more than 12000 acres and is divided into four constablewicks; Penkridge Quarter; Levedale Quarter, which includes the hamlets of Drayton, Longridge & Preston; Pillaton Quarter, which comprises Line Hill, Otherton, Rodbaston, Water-Eaton, Gailey & Wolgarstone; and Whiston Quarter, which comprises Bickford, Congreve & Mitton.
Bickford is a hamlet and liberty, two and a half miles W of Penkridge, belonging to TW Gifford, Esq.
Congreve is a small village and estate, of 400 acres, one and a quarter miles SW of Penkridge, celebrated as the birthplace of the late Bishop Hurd. Richard Congreve, Esq, and Lord Hatherton are proprietors of this liberty, and the former is lord of the manor. The Congreves were seated here at an early period, and afterwards at Stretton. Of this ancient family was the poet Congreve and the late Sir William Congreve, created a baronet in 1812.
Drayton is a hamlet and manor, of 700 acres, one mile N of Penkridge, belonging to Lord Hatherton.
Gailey, or Gayley, is a hamlet and manor, three miles SSE of Penkridge, mostly the property of Lord Hatherton.
Levedale is a hamlet and constablewick, two miles NW of Penkridge. Lord Hatherton is owner of the soil and lord of the manor.
Line-Hill is a farm one mile S of Penkridge.
Longridge is a hamlet one and a half miles NW of Penkridge.
Mitton is a liberty of 600 acres, with 3 farmhouses and 2 cottages, two and a half miles W by N of Penkridge. The trustees of the late Samuel Addison, Esq, own nearly all the soil, but Lord Stafford is lord of the manor.
Otherton, one and a half miles SE of Penkridge, is another of Lord Hatherton's manors, and forms a constablewick, containing 3 farms and a few cottages.
Pillaton, or Pileton, one and a quarter miles SE of Penkridge, is another ancient manor with only 2 farms. It gives name to one Quarter of Penkridge township, and has been possessed for centuries by the Littleton family, who resided here till the late Sir Edward Littleton deserted the old hall, and erected a new one at Teddesley Hay.
Preston, one and a quarter miles W by N of Penkridge, is a liberty of 600 acres, belonging to Lord Hatherton.
Rodbaston is a hamlet, with 600 acres of land, two miles S of Penkridge. Lord Willoughby de Broke is lord of the manor, but Dr Charles Holland owns the hall estate. Water Eaton is a large hamlet and liberty of scattered houses, on the Watling Street, near Spread Eagle Railway Station, two and a half miles S of Penkridge, comprising about 2000 acres of land, mostly belonging to George Monckton, Esq, of Somerford, and Mr James Smith. It includes part of Calf Heath, which was enclosed about 40 years ago.
Whiston is a hamlet and liberty, two miles W of Penkridge, and gives name to one of the Quarters of that township. TW Gifford, Esq owns all the land and is lord of the manor.
Wolgarstone, half a mile E of Penkridge, is another hamlet and manor, belonging to Lord Hatherton.
The township of Coppenhall formed a chapelry to Penkridge parish and details can be found on the Coppenhall parish page.
The township of Dunston formed a chapelry to Penkridge parish and details can be found on the Dunston parish page.
The township of Stretton formed a chapelry to Penkridge parish and details can be found on the Stretton parish page. "
'A History of Penkridge in the County of Stafford'
by James Carpenter Tildesley
Published 1886, by J Steen & Co, Wolverhampton.
'The Story of Penkridge. A History of Penkridge up to 1936'
by Robert Charles Wilkes
Published 1985, by Penkridge Parish Council, Penkridge.
'Brewood & Penkridge in Old Photographs'
by Adrienne Whitehouse
Published 1988, by Alan Sutton, Stroud, Gloucestershire.
'The Good Old Grit. A History of the People of Penkridge 1270-1939'
by Robert Maddocks
Published 1994, by Penkridge Parish Council, Penkridge.
The population of Penkridge parish (including chapelries) was as follows:
1831 -- 2991
1841 -- 3129
A surname index of the 1851 census of Penkridge parish is included in the Staffordshire 1851 Census Surname index, Volume 12, Penkridge, published by the Birmingham & Midland SGH.
"The parish church, St Michael, is supposed to have been founded by King Edgar, in the year 964, and is a large and handsome Gothic building, which was thoroughly repaired and beautified in 1831. At this time all the ancient monuments of the Littleton family were re-chiselled and polished, so that they now wear a modern aspect.
The benefice is a perpetual curacy and Lord Hatherton is patron, and the Rev Edward Hall, MA, the incumbent.
The only dissenting place of worship in the town is a Wesleyan Chapel, built in 1828.
Gailey church, St John, was built in 1850 on land given by Lord Hatherton. It is a neat structure of early English architecture, and will be consecrated in 1851, for the use of the hamlets in this part of the parish.
Whiston has a small Primitive Methodist Chapel."
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851)
A view of St Michael's Church (1).
A view of St Michael's Church (2).
A view of St Michael's Church (3).
A view of St Michael's Church (4).
Postcard of St Michael's Church c1905.
Postcard of St Michael's Church (interior) c1905.
Church of England Registers
The parish register of the parish church of St Michael, Penkridge commences in 1575. The original registers for the period 1575-1951 (Bapts), 1575-1949 (Mar) & 1575-1938 (Bur) are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office.
Bishops Transcripts, 1673-1869 (with many gaps) are deposited at Lichfield Record Office.
A transcript of the registers (Part 1) for the period 1575-1735, was published by the Staffordshire Parish Register Society in 1946 and has been reprinted by the Birmingham & Midland SGH.
A transcript of the registers (Part 2) for the period 1735-1837 Marriages, and 1790-1837 Baptisms & Burials, has been published jointly by the Staffordshire Parish Register Society and the Birmingham & Midland SGH.
The parish gave name to, and became part of Penkridge Union following the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834.
Penkridge Union comprised the 21 parishes and townships of Acton-with-Bednall, Brewood, Bushbury, Cannock, Cheslyn-Hay, Church-Eaton, Coppenhall, Dunston, Essington, Featherstone, Hatherton, Hilton, Huntington, Kinvaston, Lapley, Norton-Canes, Penkridge, Saredon, Shareshill, Stretton and Great Wyrley.
The Union Workhouse was an old building at Brewood, which was enlarged between 1838 and 1842 to accomodate 200 people.
[Last updated: 29th April 2011, Mike Harbach. © 1998 - 2011]