Uttoxeter

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

UTTOXETER, a market-town and parish in-the southern division of the hundred of TOTMONSLOW, county of STAFFORD, 13 miles (N.E. by E.) from Stafford, and 135 (N.W. by N.) from London, containing, with the townships of Crakemarsh, Creighton; Stramshall, and Woodlands, and the liberty of Loxley, 4658 inhabitants. Uttoxeter, anciently called Uttokeshather, is a place of great antiquity, and is supposed to have derived its name from the Saxon words Uttoc, a mattock, and Hather, heath; it was afterwards called Utoc Cestre, and Utcester.

The town has been properly designated an ancient forest ville, from its situation on the borders of Needwood Forest; it constituted part of the possessions of the duchy of Lancaster, and formerly belonged to the Peverills of the Peak, Lords of Nottingham. Having come, by marriage, into the possession of William de Ferrars, Earl of Derby, it was forfeited to the crown, together with the other large possessions of that family, by Earl Robert, in the reign of Henry III., and given to Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, the king's second son.

In 1308, Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, son of Edmund, obtained for it the grant of a market, and a fair on the eve, day, and morrow of St. Mary Magdalene. The manor reverted to the crown, as parcel of the duchy of Lancaster, in the person of King Henry IV., son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, who obtained it by marriage with Blanche, daughter and co-heiress of Henry, Earl of Lancaster, nephew of Earl Thomas. Charles I., in the first year of his reign, sold it and the demesnes to William, Lord Craven, Sir George Whitmore, Sir William Whitmore, and Mr. Gibson, reserving a fee-farm rent, and it is now vested, in twelve shares, in Earl Talbot and other proprietors the market and fairs were sold at the same time, and are now the property of Earl Talbot.

During the civil war of the seventeenth century, from its proximity to Tutbury castle, it was alternately the head-quarters of the royalist and the parliamentary forces. In May, 1645, the king and Prince, Rupert passed through the town, the charges to which, in that year, as appears from the constables' accounts, amounted to £975. 7., and in the following year to nearly £800.

The town stands upon a pleasant eminence, rising from the western bank of the river Dove, across which is an ancient stone bridge of six arches, connecting the counties of Stafford and Derby; it consists of several spacious streets, and a good central market-place; the houses in general are well built, several of them being very genteel. There is no particular branch of manufacture: the local trade in cheese, corn, and other articles, is benefitted by the communication with the Potteries, by means of the Caldon branch of the Trent and Mersey canal, which comes up to a wharf at the northern end of the High-street. The land near the town, and in the vicinity of the Dove, is very fertile in pasturage, and the neighbouring rivers and brooks afford trout, grayling, and other kinds of fish. Near the town is found a pure red brick clay, from one to five yards below the surface, in irregular masses.

The market, which is well attended, is held on Wednesday, every alternate Wednesday being a large market for cattle, merchandise, &c.; fairs for. cattle are held on the Tuesday before Old Candlemas, May 6th, July 31st, September 1st and 19th, and November 11th and 27th; those on May 6th and September 19th are the principal. The first charter was granted, in the 36th of Henry III., by William de Ferrars, Earl of Derby, which conferred on the burgesses all the privileges of a free borough. Uttoxeter, though a manor, with power to hold a court, baron, was subject to the jurisdiction of the officers of the courts held for the honour of Tutbury; but, in 1636, an order of the court of the duchy chamber was made, discharging the inhabitants from further attendance at the courts for the honour. Petty sessions for the southern division of the hundred of Totmonslow are held here, every Wednesday, by the county magistrates, who appoint surveyors of the highways, and also constables, head-boroughs, &c., in cases where the lords of the different court leets in the neighbourhood neglect to hold their courts, and make the appointments.

The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Stafford, and diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, rated in the king's books at £27. 1. 8., endowed with £210 private benefaction, £200 royal bounty, and £,800 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Dean and Canons of Windsor, who hold courts, for the rectorial manor. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, has been rebuilt; with the exception of the ancient tower and beautiful and lofty spire, and has received an addition of seven hundred sittings, of which five hundred are free, the Incorporated Society for the building and enlargement of churches and chapels having contributed £500 towards defraying the expense: the spire was damaged by lightning in 1814. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, the Society of Friends, and Wesleyan Methodists.

A free grammar school, situated in Bridge-street, was founded by the Rev. Thomas Allen, a celebrated mathematician, in the sixteenth century; the management is vested in the Master, Fellows, and Scholars of Trinity College, Cambridge; fifteen scholars are instructed, and the master's salary is £13. 6. 8. per annum. A National school for an unlimited number of children of both sexes is supported by subscription. There are almshouses for twelve poor persons, with small endowments; and a fund, amounting to about £60 per annum, for apprenticing poor children. Thomas Allen, the mathematician Sir Simon Degge, the antiquary; and the distinguished Admiral Gardner, were natives of this place.

CRAKEMARSH, a township in the parish of UTTOXETER, southern division of the hundred of TOTMONSLOW, county of STAFFORD, 2 miles (N. by E.) from. Uttoxeter, with which the population is returned. Crakemarsh 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.

CREIGHTON, a township in the parish of UTTOXETER, southern division of the hundred of TOTMONSLOW, county of STAFFORD, 2 miles (N. by W.) from Uttoxeter, with which the population is returned.

LOXLEY, a liberty in the parish of UTTOXETER, southern division of the hundred of TOTMONSLOW, county of STAFFORD, 2 miles (S.W.) from Uttoxeter, with which the population is returned. It 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.

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