Wolstanton in 1817


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


Wolstanton  is an extensive and populous parish of Pirehill North, about six miles in length, and nearly two miles in breadth. 
It contains ten townships, an hamlet, and one liberty ; namely, the townships of Chatterley, Chell, Chesterton, Knutton, Oldcott, Rainscliffe, Stadmoreslow, Thursfield, Wedgwood, Wolstanton, the hamlet of Brieryhurst, and the liberty of Tunstall Court, 
It was originally a member of the manor of Newcastle. Clay, ironstone, and coal abound in this parish, and afford employment to a very considerable part of the inhabitants. Several potteries are established in the northern part of it, particularly at Tunstall, and a Cotton manufactory was established between Chesterton and Newcastle in the year 1797. 

This parish contains 1,279 houses, 1,338 families ; 3,470 male, 3,520 females : total, 6,990 persons, of whom above one-half are employed in manufactures and handicraft. 

The village of Wolstanton is situated on an eminence about a mile and a half to the north of Newcastle. Several of the houses are small, old, and thatched, but there are some elegant mansions of opulent potters in its vicinity. 

The Church is an ancient fabric of stone, with a high spire, which is seen at the distance of several miles around. The tower contains a clock and six bells. It is dedicated to St. Margaret, and is a vicarage, endowed with small tithes, surplice-fees, and fifty acres of glebe land. Walter Sneyd, Esq. of Keel, is patron and impropriator ; the Rev. Lewis Sneyd, is vicar ; and the Rev. Edward Carless, curate. 

The funerals from 1706 to 1805, were in the twelve calendar months at this place in 105 years in number 4,062, as follows ; 
January, 391 ; February, 360 ; March, 423; April, 399 ; May, 380; June, 284 ; July, 325 ; August, 274 ; September, 282; October, 247; November, 312; and December 385: total, 4,062. 
New-chapel had besides about 30 annual funerals. The Parish Register contains the entries of several marriages, which took place in the time of Cromwell; when the clergy were, not allowed to solemnize matrimony. That Usurper, probably to degrade the clergy, caused all marriages to take place before a 
magistrate. The following extracts shew the manner in which they were recorded : 

" Mr. John Milward, sonne of the Worfull John Millward, of Sintterton, in the countie of Darbie, esq and Mrs - Jane Sneyd, daughter of the Worfull Mrs Jane Sneyd, of Broadwall, within the county of Stafford, widdowe, were published three severall Lords dayes, in the parish church of Wolstanton, in the countie of Stafford ; and likewaise in the parish church of Darley, in the county of Darbie, aforesaid ; viz. the 21 st and 28 th dayes of December, and the 4 th day of Januarie, 1656 ; according to an act of Parliament in that case made and provided; (and noe exception made by any p'son) as by the certificates, under the hands of the Regesters of Wolstanton and Darley, was made playnly to appear unto me; and the said Mr - John Milward and Mrs - Jane Sneyd weare married the 27 th day of Januarie, 1656, before me Edward Brett, esqr - one of the Justices of the Peace for the countie of Stafford; wittness my hand the day and year last above written. 

Again : " Richard Marsh, son of Thomas Marsh, late of Wolstanton, deceased, and Ann Rowley, daughter of William Rowley, of Broadwall, weare published three severall markett dayes at the Markett Crosse in Newcastle-under-Lyme; viz. the first, the 8 th , and the 15 th dayes of December, 1656, (and noe exception made by any p'son.) And the said Richard Marsh and Ann Rowley weare married the 23 rd day of December, 1656, before Edward Eardley, esqr one of the Justices of the Peace for the countie of Stafford." 

The Coal in this district differs in quality, thickness, and inclination ; some strata burn dull, and leave a considerable residue of ashes, others clear, with a quick consumption : the thickness is from two to ten feet ; and the inclination varies from a perpendicular descent to an almost horizontal flatness, but the most usual dip is about one foot in a yard. It is gotten at different depths. In some places pits are sunk upwards of 130 yards, and in others coal is gotten within 20 yards from the surface. At Kidcrew, in the north side of the parish, is to be seen some of the most improved kind of machinery for raising coal. The price is according to quality and situation. About one-sixth part of what coal produces at the pit-head, is in some places judged a fair mine-rent to the proprietor of the land. 

The water, which drains from the coal-mines, is, in this country, of considerable value to those through whose lands it chances to pass, as it is impregnated with a yellow substance termed Carwhich is used by the potters, and is a necessary ingredient in making that kind of ware called Egyptian black. The mode of procuring the car is as follows : Being of a specific gravity greater than that of water, it forms a sediment at the bottom of the channel of the stream that conveys it from the mine : when a considerable quantity is thus lodged in a certain space, the stream, to that extent, is diverted from its usual course ; and the car is thrown out of the channel, from whence the water has been turned off, upon the adjoining banks ; where it remains till dry. Sometimes small pits or ponds are made on the adjoining banks, and the car is scooped from the bottom of the channel, and thrown into them, without diverting the course of the water. When it is sufficiently dry, it is sold at the rate of one guinea per cart-load. 

A great number of bricks, tiles, and quarries are made for sale in this parish. The price of common bricks is about 28s. per thousand ; dressed bricks,  £1.15s and floor bricks, £2. 15s. per thousand. Three cubic yards of clay make 1000 bricks; mine-rent, 2s. 6d. per thousand.

Golden Hill is within the liberty of Oldcott, parish of Wolstanton, and is chiefly remarkable for its valuable mines of coal, and the fine and extensive prospects which it commands : these include nearly the whole of the county of Chester, with the Welsh mountains in the back-ground ; and the best general view of the Potteries, with the surrounding country. 

Tunstall, a liberty in the parish of Wolstanton, is pleasantly situated on an eminence about four miles from Newcastle, and on the turnpike-road from Lawton to that town. It has a neat chapel belonging to the Methodists. There " formerly was a church here, and various human bones have been dug up ; but such is the effect of time, that not the least trace of it now remains."* There are several considerable manufactories at Tunstall, particularly of a superior kind of blue tile, the clay found here being favourable for the purpose : it is little inferior, in appearance, to common slate. A turnpike-road runs hence to Bosley, in Cheshire. 

The following are copies of two ancient and curious deeds connected with this place : 

" TUNSTALL. At the Court there holden on Tuesday in the week of Pentecost in the 10th Year of the Reign of King Edd. the 4th came William Badyley Son and Heir of Margery Handeson and took Seisin of the Lord of Audley of one Messuage and 20 Acres of customary Land in Tunstall of which the said Margery died seized To hold to the said William and his Heirs according to the custom of the Manor : and he gives to the said Lord at his entry 20d- In testimony whereof John Harryson Deputy Steward to this Copy hath affixed his Seal. Given as above." 

" Be yt knowne to all true me In chryste In the wey of truthe yt I Phythyon of Tunstall dyd purchys a garden place yt lyythe in Tunstal at Hary of Tunstall my broders ye w ch garden place I do set at my dysseasse to Margerye my wyffe and to Margyt my doughttd ye wyffe of John Banchcrofte & aftd ye dyseace of my wyffe hytt to remeyne to Margytt my doughtld & to hyr eyres the recorder of this Rychard of rydgwaye & to thys  set to my seale Gyvyn ye last daye of Julye in ye yere & reyne of Kynge Harrye ye Syxt after ye conquest of England xxx. & vij."