Burslem

Extract from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England, 1831.
Transcribed by Mel Lockie, © Copyright 2010
Lewis Topographical Dictionaries

BURSLEM, a market-town and parish in the northern division of the hundred of PIREHILL, county of STAFFORD, 3 miles (N.E.) from Newcastle, 19 (N.) from Stafford, and 151 (N.E.) from London, containing, with the townships of Abbey-Hulton and Sneyd, 10,176 inhabitants. This place in Domesday-book is named Barcardeslim, the derivation of which has not been distinctly ascertained. It appears, from the most authentic records, to have been distinguished at an early period for the excellence and variety of the clay in the vicinity, and to have been noted for its manufacture of pottery and earthenware, for which, in the seventeenth century, it became the principal place in England; but it was not till after the construction of the Grand Trunk canal, begun in the year 1766, a branch of which has been formed to this town, that it rose into celebrity, under the auspices of the enterprising Mr. Wedgwood, who was a native of the place, and the principal promoter of its present importance.

The town is pleasantly situated on rising ground, and contains, in addition to the dwellings of the workmen employed in the potteries, many good houses for the superintendents of the works, and some handsome edifices for the proprietors: it is lighted with gas, and supplied with water from the works of John Smith, Esq., of Hanley. Previously to the. year 1766, the native clay only was used in the manufacture of earthenware; but after a facility of conveyance by water was obtained, the Devonshire and Dorsetshire clay was introduced, and the manufacture of porcelain and china established, in which the Cornwall stone, or "growan", forms an essential ingredient. A most extensive manufacture of these articles is at present carried on throughout a wide district, abounding with coal and every other requisite, and presenting the greatest facility for conveying the goods to various parts of the kingdom.

The market, permanently established by act of parliament in 1825, and under the superintendence of trustees, is on Monday and Saturday; the fairs are on the Saturdays preceding Shrove-Sunday, Easter-day, and Whit-Sunday; on Midsummer-day, if Saturday, or if not, on the Saturday following; on the first Saturday after September 11th, and on the day after Christmas-day. The county magistrates hold a petty session for the whole district of the potteries once in six weeks; and a chief constable and subordinate officers are annually chosen, by resident commissioners appointed by act of parliament for managing the local affairs of the town. The town-hall is a neat building, with a cupola, in the centre of the market-place: it was erected by subscription in 1761, and has since been much improved.

Burslem, formerly a chapelry in the parish of Stoke upon Trent, was made a separate parish by act of parliament in 1807. The living is a rectory not in charge, in the archdeaconry of Stafford, and diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, and in the patronage of William Adams, Esq. The church, dedicated to St. Peter, is a small brick building, with an ancient stone steeple. The first stone of a new church, to be dedicated to St. Paul, was laid by the bishop of the diocese in 1828: the expense of its erection was estimated at £10,000, of which sum the parliamentary commissioners granted £8000, the remainder to be raised by subscription among the inhabitants.

There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists, besides those in the New Connexion, and a Roman Catholic chapel. The National school, erected in 1817 by subscription, aided by a grant from the parent society, has been incorporated with a charity school, founded in 1748, by John Bourne, Esq., and endowed with twenty-seven acres of land; the school-house belonging to the latter has been converted into a private dwelling: two hundred and fifty children are instructed. There are Sunday schools in connexion with the church and the several dissenting congregations. At Abbey-Hulton are some remains of a Cistercian abbey, founded in 1223, by Henry de Audley, consisting chiefly of the out-buildings, now converted into farm-offices: the revenue, at the dissolution, was £76. 14. 11.

COBRIDGE, a hamlet partly in the parish of BURSLEM, and partly in that of STOKE-upon-TRENT, northern division of the hundred of PIREHILL, county of STAFFORD, 2 miles (N.N.E.) from Newcastle under Line. The population is returned partly with the township of Shelton, and partly with the parish of Stoke upon Trent. The village contains several manufactories for china and earthenware, and there is an abundant supply of coal in the neighbourhood. Here are a chapel and a school belonging to Roman Catholics, and a meeting-house for the New Connexion of Methodists. School-rooms were erected by subscription in 1766, for children of both sexes, which are let at trifling rents to a master and a mistress, but there are no free pupils. The ancient vill of Rushton, which has been superseded by Cobridge, is described in Domesday-book under the name Risetone. It was given by Henry de Audley to Hulton abbey, to which it became the grange, and after the dissolution was a demesne; for which reason, and as having belonged to Cistercian monks, it is exempt from the payment of tithes, and has never been assessed to the church rate; for all other purposes (the repairing of highways excepted) it is considered a member of Burslem.

HULTON-ABBEY, a township in the parish of BURSLEM, northern division of the hundred of PIREHILL, county of STAFFORD, 1 mile (E. by N.) from Hanley, containing 477 inhabitants. There is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists at Sneyd Green. Coal is obtained in the neighbourhood. An abbey of Cistercian, monks, in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was founded in 1223, by Henry de Audley, the revenue of which, at the dissolution, was £76. 14. 11.: its remains have been converted into a farm-house.

LONGPORT, a district (manufacturing) within the parish and township of BURSLEM, northern division of the hundred of PIREHILL, county of STAFFORD, This place was formerly called Longbridge, from a number of stepping-stones, forming a causeway across the meadows; but after the construction of the Trent canal, a branch of which passes through the district, its name was changed to Longport. On the banks of the canal are several wharfs; there are likewise some very considerable manufactories for earthenware and china and a glass-house. The Wesleyan Methodists have a place of worship here.

SNEYD, a township in the parish of BURSLEM, northern division of the hundred of PIREHILL, county of STAFFORD, a mile (N.) from Hanley. The population is returned with the parish. There is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists. The manufacture of earthenware is carried on here, and there are extensive coal-works in the vicinity.

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