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Tamworth

"Tamworth is an ancient borough, and well built market town, pleasantly situated seven miles ESE of Lichfield, at the confluence and on the north banks of the rivers Tame and Anker, which here wind in circuitous routes through a highly cultivated and fertile district. The western half of the town, with the parish church, is in Staffordshire, and the eastern part, with the castle and market place, is in Warwickshire. The parish is also nearly equally divided between the two counties, and contains 9847 acres of land, and 8,671 inhabitants in eight townships: Tamworth Borough, Fazeley, Sierscote and Wiggington in Staffordshire, and Castle Liberty, Amington & Stonedelph, Bolehall & Glascote, and Wilnecote in Warwickshire.
Tamworth Borough township comprises the town and all the rest of the old municipal borough, and rather more than half its population is in Warwickshire. The town of Tamworth has a very clean and respectable appearance, surrounded by an extensive tract of rich meadows, through which the Tame and Anker glide in the most picturesque manner. Lady Bridge, or St Mary's Bridge, crosses the Tame here and Bole Bridge crosses the Anker. The Anker Viaduct, by which the Birmingham & Derby Junction Railway crosses the Anker valley, near Bole Bridge, has 18 arches, rising 23 feet above the bed of the river. In various parts of the parish are several corn mills and two paper mills, but the calico print works and the woollen manufacture which formerly existed here, were discontinued many years ago.
Sierscote, or Syerscote, two and a half miles NNE of Tamworth, is a township of 480 acres and 48 souls. This estate was anciently a prebend of Tamworth, but now belongs to Joseph Earp, Esq, who has a pleasant mansion here. The other dwellings are merely a few cottages.
Wiggington is a village one and a half miles N of Tamworth, comprising within its township 3700 acres and 860 inhabitants, and the hamlets of Comberford, two miles NNW, and Coton and Hopwas, from one to two miles W of Tamworth. The Hon Mrs Howard is lady of the manor of Hopwas, and owner of the large mills at Comberford, but the greater part of the township belongs to Thomas Ashworth, Esq, and several other proprietors. Wiggington Lodge, a neat mansion, is the seat of Sir Charles Mansfield Clarke, MD, who was created a baronet in 1831, and lived in Norfolk till 1845. Comberford Hall is the pleasant seat of William Tongue, Esq. Alder Mills, on the Tame, half a mile W of Tamworth, are now occupied by C Fisher & Co, paper manufacturers and stainers.
Fazeley was a chapelry to Tamworth and details can be found on the Fazeley page.
The townships in Warwickshire belonging to Tamworth parish are as follows:
Amington & Stonedelph, the former one and a half miles E, and the latter two miles SE of Tamworth, have in their township many scattered houses, 2167 acres of land and 383 inhabitants. Amington Hall is the seat of Rear-Admiral Edward Henry Court Repington, the lord of the manor.
Bolehall & Glascote are two villages, the former on the River Tame, opposite Tamworth, and the latter one mile further to the east. They give name to a township of about 900 acres, and 718 inhabitants, increased recently owing to the establishment of a large colliery, and a manufactory of glazed stoneware sewerage pipes, vitrified bricks, etc, which now employs about 350 hands. Lord Charles Townsend is lord of the manor, but the Peel, Bamford, and Smith families have estates here.
Wilnecote, a large village, two miles SSE of Tamworth, has a small railway station, and its township comprises about 1000 acres, and 824 souls, including Dosthill House, now unoccupied, and many scattered dwellings. Wilnecote Hall is the pleasant seat of Major Bamford. Sir Robert Peel, Bart, is lord of the manor, and owner of a great part of the soil.
Tamworth Castle liberty is a narrow township, extending about two miles south from the Castle, between Fazeley and Wilnecote townships, and including Park Colliery, Two-Gates, Thistley-Field, a stone quarry, 78 inhabitants, and about 300 acres of land."
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]

Bibliography

'Borough by Prescription - A History of the Municipality of Tamworth'
by Henry Wood
Published 1958, by Tamworth Corporation.

'Medieval Tamworth'
by Henry Wood
Published 1972, by Tamworth Borough Council.

'Tamworth Borough Records'
by Henry Wood
Published 1952, by Tamworth Corporation.

'Tamworth Parish Church'
by HC Mitchell
Published 1935, by Alcuin Press, Welwyn.

'Tamworth Tower and Town'
by HC Mitchell
Published 1936, by WF Woodcock & Sons, Tamworth.

'A Short History of Tamworth Castle'
by HC Mitchell
Published 1937, by WF Woodcock & Sons, Tamworth.

'History of the Town and Castle of Tamworth'
by Charles Ferrers Raymund Palmer
Published 1875, by J Thompson, Tamworth.

'The History & Antiquities of the Collegiate Church of Tamworth'
by Charles Ferrers Raymund Palmer
Published 1871, Tamworth.

' A Handbook of Tamworth...'
by Thomas Cooke
Published 1876, by J Thompson, Tamworth.

'Tamworth Castle...'
by Rev Henry Norris
Published 1899, by D Smith, Tamworth.

'The Story of Tamworth Church'
by William Morton
Published 1924, by Tamworth Herald Co.

'St Editha and Tamworth Church'
by John Ralph Willington
Published 1896, by D Smith, Tamworth & Art & Book Co, London.

'The Tamworth Herald Co's Presentation Almanac for 1880'
Published 1879, by Tamworth Herald Co.

'The Families of Early Tamworth'
by Christine Smith
Published 1994, by C Smith, Tamworth.

'The Early Families of Tamworth, Capital of Mercia'
by Christine Smith
Published 1982, by C Smith, Tamworth.

'History of the Baronial Family of Marmion, Lords of the Castle of Tamworth'
by Charles Ferrers Raymund Palmer
Published 1875, by Thompson, Tamworth.

'The History of the Borough and Parish of Tamworth in the Counties of Warwick and Stafford'
by John & Henry Wood Roby
Published 1826, by J Nichols & Son, London.

'Around Tamworth in Old Photographs'
by Richard Sulima
Published 1994, by Alan Sutton, Stroud, Gloucestershire.

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Cemeteries

A transcript of the monumental inscriptions of the parish church of St Editha, Tamworth, has been published by the Birmingham & Midland SGH.

A transcript of the monumental inscriptions of St Leonard, Wiggington, has been published by the Birmingham & Midland SGH.

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Census

The population of Tamworth parish (including Fazeley chapelry) was as follows:
1801 -- 3870
1831 -- 7182
1851 -- 8671

A surname index of the 1851 census of Tamworth parish is included in the Staffordshire 1851 Census Surname index, Volume 8 & 10, Uttoxeter & Tamworth Districts, published by the Birmingham & Midland SGH.

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Church History

"Tamworth parish church, St Editha's date of erection is unknown, though it is believed to be the work of one of the Marmions, soon after the Norman Conquest. Some person of that family consituted it a collegiate church, and placed in it a dean and six prebendaries. The seven incumbents enjoyed pensions until 1553. In the reign of Elizabeth, the college and all its prebends were granted to Edward Downing and Peter Ashton. For many years afterwards, the church was only considered a curacy, but towards the close of the last century, a decision of the House of Lords declared it to be a vicarage. In 1809 the church was repewed and the whole edifice completely repaired. It is now undergoing many repairs, and is in the decorated and later styles of English architecture. The tower, which has a peal of six bells, and a double spiral staircase, is very massive, and is surmounted by lofty pinnacles. The nave, chancel, and aisles, are very spacious, and contain many monuments, some of which have effigies of the Ferrers and Frevilles. Amongst the modern mural tablets is one erected in memory of six servants who were burned to death when the Castle Inn was destroyed by fire, on November 2nd, 1838. The vicarage is in the patronage of Rear-Admiral Court Repington, and the Rev Edward Harston, MA, is the incumbent, and also rural dean.

Fazeley formed a chapelry to Tamworth parish and details of the church can be found on the Fazeley page.

Other chapels of ease, or district churches later built in the parish were:

Wigginton chapel was rebuilt in 1777, and enlarged in 1830. It is now a district church (St Leonard) and the perpetual curacy is in the patronage of the Vicar of Tamworth, and incumbency of the Rev Rt W Lloyd, MA, of Wilnecote.

Hopwas chapel (St John), stands near the canal and the River Tame, a little SE of Hopwas Hay. It was built in 1836, and a chancel added in 1839. The curacy is annexed to the vicarage of Tamworth.

Wilnecote church, Holy Trinity, was rebuilt in 1821. It is a small building, with a low tower, and the living is a perpetual curacy in the patronage of the Vicar of Tamworth, and incumbency of the Rev Rt W Lloyd, MA.

The ancient and ruinous chapel at Amington was rebuilt about 15 years ago, and a chancel was added about 8 years ago. It is a curacy annexed to Tamworth vicarage.

The Roman Catholic Chapel, near Aldergate Street, is dedicated to St John, and was erected in 1829. It is a handsome brick edifice, cemented in imitation of stone. The Rev James Kelly is the present pastor.

Here are also five dissenting chapels. The Presbyterian Chapel, at Colehill, belongs to the Unitarians, and was built in 1724. The Rev William Parkinson is its fourth and present minister. The Wesleyan Chapel, in Bolebridge Street, was built in 1816, and the Independent Chapel, in Aldergate Street, in 1827. The Rev Robert Johnson is minister of the latter.
In Lichfield Street is an old Friends Meeting House, and in Peel Street is a Baptist Chapel, of which the Rev Joseph Massey is pastor."

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

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Church Records

Church of England Registers
The register of the parish church of St Editha commences in 1558. The original registers for the period 1558-1943 (Bapts), 1558-1949 (Mar) & 1558-1919 (Bur) are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office.
Bishops Transcripts, 1664-1868 (with many gaps) are deposited at Lichfield Record Office.

A transcript of the registers of St Editha, 1558-1614 was published by the Staffordshire Parish Register Society in 1917 and has been reprinted by the Birmingham & Midland SGH.

The register of the church of St Leonard, Wigginton commences in 1837. The original registers for the period 1837-1962 (Bapts), 1851-1965 (Mar) & 1837-1944 (Bur) are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office.

The register of the church of Holy Trinity, Wilnecote commences in 1763. The original registers for the period 1763-1783 & 1837-1861 (Bapts) & 1851-1899 (Mar) are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office. Holy Trinity baptisms 1784-1837 are included in the St Editha registers.

Nonconformist Registers

The following nonconformist registers are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office (SRO), Lichfield Joint Record Office (LJRO) or the Public Record Office (PRO):
Tamworth & Lichfield Wesleyan Methodist Circuit, 1869-1913 (Bapts) (LJRO)
Tamworth, Methodist, 1800-1825 (Births & Bapts) (PRO)
Tamworth, Methodist, 1800-1869 (Bapts) (SRO)
Tamworth, Aldergate Street Congregational, 1827-1836 (Births & Bapts) (PRO)
Tamworth, Aldergate United Methodist, 1929-73 (Bapts) (LJRO)
Tamworth, Bole Street Wesleyan Methodist, 1800-1836 (Births & Bapts) (PRO)
Tamworth, Victoria Road Wesleyan Methodist, 1914-72 (Bapts), 1925-71 (Mar) (LJRO)

The original registers of St John the Baptist Catholic Church, Tamworth for the period 1826-1907 (Bapts) & 1838-1907 (Mar) are deposited at Birmingham Diocesan Archives. Registers for 1901-date remain with the parish priest.

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Description and Travel

Chris Gibson's Tamworth Past and Present pages with descriptions of the present day town and its history.

A transcription of the section on Tamworth from A Topographical History of Staffordshire by William Pitt (1817)

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Historical Geography

From the time of the original formation of counties in England, Tamworth was situated in the two counties of Staffordshire and Warwickshire, the county boundary running through the middle of the town along Holloway, Silver Street, Church Street and Lower and Upper Gungate.
When the 1888 Local Government Act created the administrative County Councils it decreed that any urban area, such as Tamworth, which was situated in more than one county, should transfer wholly into the county containing the greater portion of the population at the 1881 census.
In 1881 the Staffordshire part of Tamworth Borough contained 2,589 people and the Warwickshire part, 2,032. Tamworth thus became a wholly Staffordshire borough from the 1st April 1889.
The Parliamentary constituency boundaries, however, were not transferred wholly into Staffordshire until 1918.

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Poorhouses, Poor Law etc

The parish gave name to, and became part of Tamworth Union following the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834.

Tamworth Union comprised the 24 parishes and townships of Amington & Stonedelph, Austrey, Bolehall & Glascote, Chilcote, Clifton-Campville, Croxall, Canwell, Drayton-Bassett, Edingale, Fazeley, Harlaston, Hints, Kingsbury, Middleton, Newton Regis, Statfold, Sierscote, Shuttington, Seckington, Tamworth, Tamworth-Castle, Thorpe-Constantine, Wigginton, and Wilnecote. The Union comprised an area of 29 square miles, and had 12,904 inhabitants in 1841, of whom 5924 were in Staffordshire, 6638 in Warwickshire, and 342 in Derbyshire.

The Union Workhouse, situated at Ladybridge Bank, comprised two buildings, one built in 1837-8, and the other was the old parish workhouse, which was built in 1750, by Thomas, Lord Viscount Weymouth, and Francis, Lord Middleton. The two buildings accomodated about 120 people.

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Voting Registers

William Salt Library holds the poll book for Tamworth for 1841.

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