Ingestre in 1817


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


Ingestre is a parish and manor about two miles north-west of Tixall, and four mile^s from Stafford. About the reign of Henry II. this manor was held by the Mittons, but in the reign of Edward III. issue male failing, it came by marriage into the family of the Chetwynds. 

In the year 1673, Walter Chetwynd, lord of the manor, and patron of the parish church of Ingestre, obtained a faculty of the Archbishop of Canterbury to build a new church in a more commodious place, and to pull down the old ruinous edifice, and convert the materials to that use. " In 1676 it was fully finished, being built in the form of our parish-churches, not very large, but elegant and uniform. The walls were all squared freestone, the chancel paved with black and white marble, the windows adorned with the arms of the Chetwynds, in painted glass, the ceilings with the same in fret-work, and the side walls beautified with the funeral monuments of the family, curiously carved in white marble. The bones he caused to be brought from the old church, and deposited them in a vault made under the church. The body of the church he caused to be separated from the chancel by a screen of Flanders oak curiously carved, the pulpit and seats being made of the same wood, and all of equal height ; and a curious font of white marble standing in the entrance. Over the portal at the west end, on a small white marble table, is this modest inscription : 

DEO OPT. MAX. Templum hoc A fundamentis extructum 

WALTERUS CHETWIND, (Walt.fil. Walt. Equit. aurat. Nepos.) L. M. D. D. D. Anno Aerae Christianae 1676. 

" The church being thus finished at Mr. Chetwynd's charge only, was consecrated anno 1677, by Thomas Wood, Lord Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, by performing all the sacred offices of the day ; which done, the pious and generous founder and patron, Mr. Chetwynd, offered upon the altar the tithes of Hopton, a village hard by, of the value of £50. per annum, as an addition to the rectory for ever ; presenting the bishop and dean, who preached at the same time, each of them with a piece of plate, double gilt, as a grateful acknowledgment of their service, and entertaining the nobility and gentry, who came to see the solemnity, with a splendid dinner at his house, together with many of the common people."

Ingestre Hall is a stately ancient edifice, situated on the declivity of a gentle eminence. Behind the mansion the hill is covered with a profusion of trees, among which are many full-grown oaks of a great size. This wood is a part of the pleasure-ground, through which there are several extensive walks in various directions. The mansion, which is built in the style of Queen Elizabeth's reign, is high, with an arched projection at each side, with our windows in each in the second story. Above the entrance a handsome tower projects from the main body of the building, and is adorned by an elegant balustrade, similar to that which extends along the whole front. A high turret rises in the centre, and has the appearance of an observatory. The body of the whole fabric is of brick, but the bows or projections are of stone, adorned with pilasters, which give the whole a most singular appearance. Large sums of money have been from time to time expended in the alterations and repairs of Ingestre Hall. The old front of brick has been decorated with ornaments of stone, so that it is composed in distinct parts of these two materials. 

The pleasure-grounds are laid out with great taste ; they are very beautiful, exhibiting the varieties of full-grown trees, flowering shrubs, clean well-rolled walks, lawns, groves, the river Trent and the village of Weston in the valley, and a distant view of the ruins of Chartley Castle. 

The interior of Ingestre Hall is magnificent, and the apartments furnished in a high style of elegance. Over the fire-place in the great hall, there is a portrait of Walter Chetwynd, Esq. the venerable ancestor of the family. 

The Church, which stands near the Hall, is a small fabric of stone, with a square tower. It contains several mural monuments of the Chetwynds and the Bagots. It is dedicated to St. Mary, and is a rectory in the patronage of Earl Talbot. The Hon. and Rev, John Talbot is the present incumbent. 

The manor of Ingestre came into the family of Chetwynd, by the marriage of Sir John Chetwynd with the heiress of the estate, in the reign, of Edward the Third. His descendants were created Barons of Ingestre and Talbot ; and in the year 1784, John Chetwynd Talbot, who had previously succeeded his uncle William in the barony, was raised to the dignity of an Earl of the United Kingdom by the title of Earl Talbot of Ingestre. 

All the lands in the manor and parish of Ingestre, are now in the sole possession of Earl Talbot, who, on the expiration of the leases of his former tenants, took their farms into his own hands. 

The population of this parish is very small, the number of houses being 18, of families 21, consisting of 67 males and 65 females: total inhabitants 122. 

Two farm-houses, which stood in the valley below the Hall, where the annual country wake was formerly celebrated, were pulled down on the expiration of the leases, the fences levelled, and the fields incorporated with the park. 

The estate of Ingestre extends to Weston, and into St. Mary's parish, Stafford, including Hopton-heath, and the ancient farm of the Beacon. It also contains the site of the Priory of St. Thomas, which is now occupied by a corn-mill, the hills near it being adorned with groves and plantations, which form a conspicuous ornament to the country.