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Shenstone

"Shenstone, anciently called Senestown, is a large and pleasant village, with many neat houses and gardens, on a gentle acclivity west of the Birmingham road, three miles S of Lichfield. Its parish is extensive and comprises several villages and hamlets, and about 8000 acres of light, but fertile land, well watered with trout streams, and now divided into two ecclesiastical districts, Shenstone and Stonnall. Shenstone district includes the villages and hamlets of Shenstone, Shenstone-Woodend, Littlehay, Footherley, Chesterfield, and Hilton. Stonnall district comprises Upper and Lower Stonnall, Shircoak, Sandhills, Cranebrook, Thorne, Lynn, and Little Aston.
The Hon ES Jervis is lord of the manor, and owns about 3000 acres of the parish, in which he has a handsome seat at Little Aston. The Hon F Gough, of Perry Barr, owns Shenstone Hall, now occupied, with the farm, by Mr William Harding. In 1851, JS Manley, Esq, purchased the estate and mansion of Shenstone Park, which is still occupied by the widow of the late proprietor, E Grove, Esq, and occupies an eminence overlooking the Black Brook. Thomas Bagnall, Esq, the great ironmaster, owns Shenstone Moss Park and Footherley Hall estates. Admiral Sir William Parker owns a great part of Footherley, and also Shenstone Lodge, where he resided when he was in England, but it is now occupied by EL Maw, Esq. Sir Robert Peel, Bart, and J Neville, Esq, have estates at Woodend, the Rev Chancellor Law and Mr Yardley own most of Chesterfield, and JS Manley, Esq, owns most of Woodend.
Little Aston is a picturesque hamlet, three and a half miles S of Shenstone, and six miles S by W of Lichfield, on the borders of Warwickshire. The Hall, a large and handsome mansion, is the seat of the Hon Edward Swynfen Jervis, a relative of Viscount St Vincent, and lord of the manor of Shenstone, which was purchased by the late William Leigh, of William Tennant, Esq. The latter erected the Hall, but it has been much enlarged and improved by the late and present owners.
Cat's Hill, or Canute's Hill, on the western side of Cannock Chase, five miles NE by N of Walsall, is a district which was not enclosed untill 1812.
Chesterfield, a hamlet on the Watling Street, three miles S of Lichfield, formed the southern part of the Roman station at Wall.
Footherley is a district of scattered houses extending from one to two miles SW of Shenstone, and adjoining Radley Moor.
Hilton and Littlehay are hamlets within one and a half miles NW of Shenstone.
Lynn is a pleasant hamlet, two miles W of Shenstone, near the south-eastern verge of Cannock Chase. The ancient hall is now occupied by a farmer.
Shenstone Wood End is mostly a newly enclosed district, on the Birmingham road, two miles S of Shenstone.
Stonnall was a chapelry to Shenstone and details can be found on the Stonnall page.
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]

Census

The population of Shenstone parish (including Stonnall chapelry) was as follows:
1801 -- 1339
1831 -- 1827
1851 -- 2043

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Church History

"Shenstone Church, St John the Baptist, is an ancient cruciform structure, presenting various styles of architecture. The tower is in the transition style, and the nave was probably of the same date, but has been remodelled in the debased style of the present century. The north transcept, which has two good windows, bears the date 1647, when it was partly rebuilt. The south transcept is of brick, and was built to accomodate the people of Stonnall when their old chapel was pulled down. The chancel is also of brick, and in the Italian style. It was built in 1740, by a Mr Hill, who had resided for some time in Italy, and built the house at Shenstone Park. The church has a peal of six bells and is about to undergo a complete restoration. The churchyard commands extensive views, and has a beautiful dial shaft, with a long inscription, erected by Rowland Fryth, and now surmounted by a cross.
The vicarage is in the patronage of the Very Rev John Peel, DD, dean of Worcester, and incumbency of the Rev Robert William Essington, MA"

There is a Wesleyan Chapel at Littlehay, Mr Joseph Ellis is the minister."

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

Postcard of St John the Baptist, Shenstone c1905.

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Church Records

Church of England Registers
The register of the parish church of St John the Baptist commences in 1579. The original registers for the period 1579-1975 (Bapts), 1579-1972 (Mar) & 1579-1943 (Bur) and Banns for the period 1754-1806 are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office. Note there is a gap in the registers from 1611-1654.
Bishops Transcripts, 1653-1910 (with gaps 1674, 1679 (Bapts), 1679-81 (Mar) & 1759-61) are deposited at Lichfield Record Office.

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Poorhouses, Poor Law etc

Shenstone parish became part of Lichfield Union following the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834.

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[Last updated: 29th April 2011, Mike Harbach.  © 1998 - 2011]