Shelton with Etruria

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

SHELTON, a chapelry in the parish of STOKE-upon-TRENT, northern division of the hundred of PIREHILL, county of STAFFORD, 2 miles (E.N.E.) from Newcastle under Lyne, containing, with Etruria, and part of Cobridge, 7325 inhabitants. This, like many other places in this part of the county, has risen from the extensive potteries carried on in the vicinity, and consists chiefly of the houses of the proprietors, which are handsome buildings, and of the dwellings of the numerous workmen. The village is amply supplied with water, and is paved with brick, and lighted with gas, under the superintendence of commissioners appointed under an act of parliament obtained in 1815, and amended in 1828, for its regulation and improvement.

A mechanics' institution was established in 1826, under the patronage of the Marquis of Stafford, Josiah Wedgwood, Esq., and others; lectures are delivered in a spacious and commodious room over the British and Foreign school-rooms, in which also concerts, generally for the benefit of some charitable institution, take place occasionally, and the public meetings of the inhabitants are held. Races have been recently established in the neighbourhood, and are generally well attended. The principal articles of manufacture are, porcelain, china, and earthenware, for which there are thirty-four factories, affording employment to more than two thousand five hundred men, women, and children.

The works are on the bank of the Trent and Mersey canal, which passes through the village, and affords great facility for the transport of goods, which are sent in great quantities to the London market, and to the principal towns in England: there are also convenient wharfs on its banks, and extensive gas-works have been erected. The regulation of the police, like that of the adjoining township of Hanley, is under the superintendence of the commissioners appointed under the act, and all public meetings of the inhabitants are convened by the chief bailiff of that township, in which the public market for both townships is held. Shelton is in the honour of Tutbury, duchy of Lancaster, and within the jurisdiction of a court of pleas held at Tutbury every third Tuesday, for the recovery of debts under 40s.

This chapelry is, by act of parliament passed in 1827, for the further endowment of the living, about to be erected into a parish and district rectory, and a new church is at present being built by grant from the parliamentary commissioners. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, Wesleyan Methodists of the Old and New Connexions, and Unitarians. The British and Foreign school, in which more than six hundred children are instructed, was established in 1821, and is supported by subscription and there are also Sunday schools in connexion with the established church, and the various dissenting congregations, in which several thousand children are instructed. In the immediate vicinity is the North Staffordshire Infirmary, a noble institution, of extensive public utility, forming a valuable school of medicine, and a source of incalculable benefit to the population of this large manufacturing district.

Elijah Fenton, the poet, was born and resided in a house in the village, which is still existing; he was buried in the parish church of Stoke upon Trent, where a monument has been erected to his memory. In this township are the Potteries, and the beautiful villa of Etruria, erected by the late Josiah Wedgwood, Esq., the former a considerable hamlet, and the latter remarkable for the beauty of its situation and style of architecture, and for the many splendid Etruscan vases with which it is ornamented; these elegant specimens of art, produced under his own superintendence, are imitations of the original vases found in Italy, to the discovery of which that gentleman was chiefly indebted for the elegance of form, and purity of taste, which he has introduced into the manufacture of porcelain, china, and stone ware, for which this place is so deservedly celebrated, and which, by the use of flint in the composition of these articles, also introduced by Mr. Wedgwood, has been progressively brought to its present state of perfection.

ETRURIA, a hamlet formerly in the parish of STOKE upon TRENT, now in the parish of SHELTON, which has been recently separated from Stoke by act of parliament, northern division of the hundred of PIREHILL, county of STAFFORD, 1½ mile (N.E.) from Newcastle under Line. The population is returned with the parish. There is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists. Here are the celebrated potteries of Wedgewood and Co., where the ware, commonly called Wedgewood ware is manufactured.

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