Alstonfield in 1817


Description from A Topographical History of Staffordshire by William Pitt (1817)


Alstonefield is a parish on the banks of the Dove, situated about two miles to the east of Wetton. This parish partakes of the general appearance of the Moorlands, abounding with hills and dales, and interspersed with several fertile spots in a high state of cultivation. It extends to the length of fifteen miles, including the townships of Fairfield-Head, Heathy-Lee, Hollinsclough, Longnor, Quarnford, and Warnslow with Elkstones, and containing 855 houses, 872 families; 2,073 males, 2,143 females: total of inhabitants 4,216.

The village of Alstonefield consists of several good substantial farm-houses of stone. The Church is a neat structure, in the Gothic style of architecture, with a large east window partly blocked up, and a strong tower adorned with four pinnacles, battlements, and a vane. It contains three bells and a clock. Near the east window, on the outside of the church, the date 1590 is engraved on a stone, but the edifice seems of greater antiquity. The architectural ornaments of the east window are beautiful.

The interior is worthy of observation. It consists of a nave, chancel, and two small aisles. The roof is supported by six large Gothic arches. The pulpit and reading-desk are curious; they are painted blue, with gilded cornices, and remarkable as being the gift of the celebrated Charles Cotton the poet, who resided many years at Beresford-Hall, on the banks of the Dove. The date carved in the wood is 1637. Opposite the pulpit is a pew which belonged to the Cotton family; it is also painted blue.

The church is dedicated to St. Peter, and is a vicarage in the patronage of Sir Harry Harper, Bart. The Rev. James Whitaker, who resides in the vicarage-house, near the church, is the present vicar.

Among the monuments in the chancel, there is one to the memory of the Rev. Roger Farmer, vicar, who died in the year 1682; and another of the Rev. Peter Parr, who was instituted vicar of this church in 1713, and died in 1764, aged 74.