"Leek, the largest market town in the hundred of Totmonslow, and one of the handsomest in the county, has long been extensively engaged in the silk manufacture. It covers the summit and declivities of a pleasant eminence, above the River Churnet, and nearly in the centre of a spacious valley, the acclivities of which rise rapidly on every side to the distance of six or seven miles, and form one of nature's proudest and most stupendous amphitheatres, the foreground of which consists chiefly of fertile pastures, while the more distant hills, are crowned on the north east side by a long range of lofty perpendicular rocks and crags, called the Leek Roaches. Leek has a station on the Churnet Valley Branch of the North Staffordshire Railway, and is the head of a large parish and union, a polling and County Court district, a rural deanery, and a petty sessional division. It is distant ten miles NE by E of Burslem, ten miles SW of Longnor and ten miles N of Cheadle.
Leek parish comprises no less than 34,300 acres of land, extending six miles west and north of the town, and about four miles eastward. It comprises many small villages and hamlets, and is divided into ten townships of Bradnop, Endon with Longsdon & Stanley, Heaton, Leekfrith, Leek & Lowe, Onecote, Rudyard, Rushton James, Rushton Spencer, and Tittisworth.
The town of Leek has several spacious and well built streets, and is nearly all comprised in the township of Leek and Lowe. The Earl of Macclesfield is lord of the manor of Leek, which includes the townships of Leek & Lowe and Leekfrith, and owner of most of the soil. In the town are many well-stocked shops, several good inns, and upwards of 40 public houses. The Caldon Canal approaches within half a mile SW of the town, and opens a communication with the Trent & Mersey navigation, and with the coal and limestone districts.
Bradnop, two miles SE of Leek, is a hamlet and township of 447 souls and about 3000 acres of land, including Cawdry, and belonging to a number of landowners, but John Sneyd, Esq, is lord of the manor. Ashenhurst is the pleasant seat of S & W Phillips, Esqrs.
Rudyard is a small township of six farms, two and a half miles NW of Leek. The Earl of Macclesfield is owner of most of the land and lord of the manor. Rudyard Lake is an extensive reservoir, which was formed many years ago for the purposes of feeding the Caldon Canal, which joins the Uttoxeter Canal, and extends from the neighbourhood of Leek to the Potteries, where it terminates in the Trent & Mersey Canal.
Tittisworth township has about 1000 acres of land, and 606 inhabitants, and adjoins the north-eastern suburbs of Leek, and includes part of the modern village of Ballhaye-Green, the rest of which is in Leek township, and the hamlet of Thorncliff, two miles NE of Leek. Edward Chorley, Esq, is the principal landowner and has a seat here called Haregate.
Endon, Longsdon & Stanley township formed a chapelry to Leek & Lowe parish and details can be found on the Endon, Longsdon and Stanley
Meerbrook formed a chapelry to Leek & Lowe parish which included most of the township of Leekfrith and details can be found on the Meerbrook
Rushton Spencer township formed a chapelry to Leek & Lowe parish which included the townships of Rushton James and Heaton and details can be found on the Rushton Spencer
Onecote township formed a chapelry to Leek & Lowe parish and details can be found on the Onecote
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]