Stoke on Trent

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

STOKE-upon-TRENT, a parish in the northern division of the hundred of PIREHILL, county of STAFFORD, 1 mile (E.) from Newcastle under Line, comprising the chapelries of Hanley, Lane-End, and Shelton, with part of Cobridge and Etruria, the townships of Bagnall, Botteslaw, Bucknall, Eaves, Fenton-Calvert, Fenton-Vivian, Longton, Penkhul with Boothen, and part of that of Seabridge, and the liberty of Clayton, and containing 29,233 inhabitants. This extensive parish, in common with others in this part of the county, owes its increase to the establishment of numerous potteries, for which its situation on the Trent renders it favourable, and for which it has been for many years particularly distinguished.

The streets are paved with brick, and the town is lighted with gas from works established at Shelton, and amply supplied with water. The principal articles of manufacture are china and earthenware in all their various branches, of which there are many extensive factories, employing more than one thousand eight hundred men; of these, the principal is that of Messrs. Spode. On the banks of the Trent and Mersey canal, which passes through the parish, and is carried over the river Trent by an aqueduct near the village, are numerous wharfs and warehouses, from which great quantities of the manufactures are sent by boats daily to all parts of the kingdom. Connected with the works are several mills for the preparation of flint, of which a considerable quantity is used in the manufacture of the finer articles of china, material improvement having been effected by its introduction.

The market is on Saturday, and is well supplied with provisions of every kind. The parish is within the jurisdiction of the county magistrates, and the police is under the superintendence of commissioners appointed by act of parliament in 1825, and amended in 1828, under the provisions of which also a chief bailiff is elected, who convenes and presides at all public meetings of the inhabitants.

This parish, at present including a district of more than seventeen square miles, was originally much more extensive, having at different times been subdivided and parts of it formed into independent parishes. In 1807, an act of parliament was obtained for separating from it the chapelries of Newcastle under Line, Burslem Whitmore, Bucknall with Bagnall, and Norton on the Moors, and erecting them into distinct parishes. In 1818, the perpetual advowson of the remaining parish of Stoke upon Trent, comprising Botteslaw, Clayton, part of Cobridge, Etruria, Fenton-Calvert, Fenton-Vivian, Hanley, Longton with Lane-End, Penkhul with Boothen, Seabridge, and Shelton, was purchased from the trustees under the will of the late Rev. William Robinson, by the present patron, John Tomlinson, of Cliff Ville, Esq., who in 1827 obtained an act of parliament authorising the sale, to the respective landowners, of all the tithes and rectorial dues belonging to the present rectory, and for endowing two new churches, which the parliamentary commissioners had agreed to build, one at Longton, and the other at Shelton, the livings to be distinct rectories; the same act contains also a provision for converting the chapelries of Lane-End and Hanley into distinct rectories.

The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry of Stafford, and diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, rated in the king's books, for the original parish, at £41. 0. 10., and in the patronage of J. Tomlinson, Esq. The old church, dedicated to St. Peter, a very ancient structure, having probably been built at the time of the Conquest, is mentioned in the taxation of Pope Nicholas, in 1291, at which time it was, with its several dependent chapels, valued at sixty marks.

Being not only too small but also in a state of decay, a new church was erected in 1826, near the site of the former, which is intended to be pulled down, partly by subscription among the inhabitants (towards which £3000 was given by the Rev. John C. Woodhouse, Dean of Lichfield, and rector, of the parish, and £500 by Josiah Spode, Esq.), by a parochial rate, and by contributions (spontaneously bestowed) arising from the extra labours of the workmen employed in the potteries: it is a handsome edifice in the later style of English architecture, containing one thousand six hundred sittings. In the chancel of the old church is a mural tablet and bust of the late Josiah Wedgwood, of Etruria, Esq. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, Wesleyan Methodists, and Methodists of the New Connexion.

A National school, in which seven hundred children of both sexes are instructed, is supported by subscription, and there are also similar schools in the various hamlets. Dr. John Lightfoot, an eminent Hebrew scholar, and one of the principal persons employed in finally arranging the liturgy of the church of England, was born at Stoke, in 1602.

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