Longnor in 1817


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


Longnor is a township of the parish of Alstonefield, and the population is 467 persons, as has already been mentioned. The small market-town of Longnor is situated eight miles north-east from Leek, and contains 100 houses, including two large inns. The market-house, which stands on a gentle eminence, is very convenient: the market is held on Tuesday. There are eight annual fairs held in this town, namely, on Candlemas-day, Easter Tuesday, May the 4th and 17th, Whit Tuesday, August the 6th, the Tuesday before Old Michaelmas-day, and the 12th of November.

Longnor Church is a neat modern structure of stone, with a high square tower adorned with eight pinnacles. The interior is plain, and the pews of fir painted to resemble oak.

The church-yard contains several monuments, the most curious of which is the following biographical record of a veteran:
"In memory of William Billings, who was born in a corn-field at Fairfield-head, in this parish, in the year 1679. At the age of 23 years he enlisted into his Majesty's service under Sir George Rooke, and was at the taking of the fortress of Gibraltar in 1704. He afterwards served under the late Duke of Marlbro' at the ever-memorable battle of Ramillies, fought on the 23d of May, 1706, where he was wounded by a musket-shot in the thigh; afterwards returned to his native country, and with manly courage defended his Sovereign's rights, at the Rebellion in 1715, and 1745. He died within the space of 150 yards of the place where he was born, and was interred here the 30th of January, 1791, aged 112 years. Billeted by Death, I quarter'd here remain, When the trumpet sounds, I'll rise and march again!"

There are also some other instances of longevity recorded on the tomb-stones in this church-yard, namely, "To the memory of Sarah Wain, who died Jan. 28th, 1809, aged 91 years." Another, aged 90; and several between 80 and 90.