Britannia, by William Camden


Big T THE third part of that Country which was inhabited by the Cornavii, and is now called Staffordshire, in Saxon Saxon stafford-scyre (the people whereof, as living in the heart of England, are call’d in Bede Angli Mediterranei.Angli Mediterranei,) is bounded on the east by Warwickshire and Derbyshire, on the south by the County of Worcester, and on the west by Shropshire. It lies, from south to north, almost in the form of a Rhombus, being broad in the middle, but narrow and contracted toward the ends. The north part is mountainous, and less fertile; but the middle, which is water’d by the Trent, is fruitful, and woody; and is render’d pleasant, by an equal mixture of arable and meadow grounds: so is also the south, which has much pit-coal and Iron.mines of Iron; but whether to their loss or advantage, the natives themselves are the best Judges; and to them I refer it.

⌈As this County hath the advantage of two ancient ways running through it, which have secur’d to us considerable remains of Roman Antiquity; so is it remarkable for several engagements and revolutions relating to the Saxon and Danish times. For British Antiquities, it is not altogether so considerable; though there want not some small footsteps of that People too, whom the discoveries of such Weapons as we know they formerly us’d, have pointed out to us.⌉

Stafford Shire map, left
Stafford Shire map, right

Stafford Shire

In the south part next to Worcestershire, stands, first Dudley-Castle,Dudley-Castle. built by Dudo or Dodo, a Saxon, about the year 700, and so call’d from him. In William the first’s time (as it is in his Survey) it belong’d to William the son of Ausculphus; afterwards it came to ⌈the Paganels, of which Family Gervase Paganel founded a Priory here: then, by an heiress, to⌉ those of Somery; and at last to Sir Richard Sutton Kt, by marrying an heiress of the Someries; ⌈who was descended from the Suttons of Nottinghamshire, and⌉ whose posterity, call’d from that time Barons of Dudley, grew up to a very honourable family. ⌈Afterwards, the Dudleys were possessed of it, from whom it pass’d, by the daughter and heir of Sir Ferdinando Dudley (son and heir of the last Lord Dudley) to Humble Lord Ward of Birmicham.⌉

After this, the places memorable in this tract, are Chellington,Chellington. a very fine seat, and the manour of that ancient and famous family the Giffards. The Giffards. It was given to Peter Giffard, in the reign of Henry the second, by Peter Corbuchin, to whom also Richard Strongbow, who conquer’d Ireland, gave Tachmelin and other Lands in that Country. ⌈Pattingham,Pattingham. where, in the year 1700. was found a large and ponderousDr. Leigh, p.64. Of the Torques, see Wales in Merion. Torques of fine gold; the weight, three pounds and two ounces; the length, about two foot; curiously twisted and writhen, with two Hooks, at each end, cut eaven but not twisted. The metal fine and very bright; and so flexible, that it would wrap round the hat or arm, and easily extend again to its own shape, which resembled the bow of a Kettle.⌉ Vulfrunes-hampton, so call’d from Vulfruna, a very pious woman, who built a Monastery in the Town, which before had the name of Hampton; and hence, for Vulfrunes-hampton, it is corruptly call’d Wolver-hampton;Wolver-hampton. and is chiefly remarkable for the College there, annex’d to the Dean and Prebendaries of Windsor. ⌈The Town had, by King Henry the third, a Fair granted to it upon the eve and day of St. Peter and St. Paul ; and likewise a Market weekly on Wednesdays. Here is a Free-school, founded by Sir Stephen Jennings, sometime Lord Mayor of London.⌉ Theoten-hall,Theoten-hall. that is to say, a house of Pagans ⌈or, as others interpret it, the Hall or Palace of the Lord,⌉ now called Tetnall, where many of the Danes were cut off in the year 911. by Edward the Elder. ⌈Wrottesley, * * Hist. of Staff. p.394.
eminent for the remains of some British or other Antiquity, whether Fortification or City. My Author inclines to the latter, because of the several partitions, like Streets, running divers ways, which are within the limits of it; as also the large hinges which have been found here, and some of the Stones squar’d. The whole contains, in circuit, about three or four miles; and (a) Stones of a vast bigness have been found hereabouts. SeasdonSeasdon. is on the edge of Shropshire, ¦ ¦ Id. p.397.near which, at a place call’d Abbots, or Ape-wood-castle, is an ancient fortification, standing on a lofty round promontory, with a steep ridge for a mile together; having hollows cut in the ground, over which it is supposed that they anciently set their tents. The hills at each end, which seem to have been the bastions, make it probable, that the whole has been one continu’d fortification. Whether it be Roman or British, is not so easily determin’d; only, we know of no signal action hereabouts; which makes it more probable that it is British, because if it had been Roman, their Histories might perhaps have left us some account of it. And TacitusAnnal. l.12. c.31. makes it pretty plain, that the Britains fortified as well with earth cast up, as with stones, when he tells us, that the Iceni chose a place septum agresti aggere; which does most probably signifie a bank of earth.

(a) One of these made one hundred loads; another, after ten loads hew’n off, required thirty six yoke of Oxen to draw it, and made a great Cistern in a Mault-house here at Wrottesley, which, though left very thick both at bottom and sides, wets thirty seven strikes of Barley at a time.

Toward the south-east from hence, is Kings-Swinford;Kings-Swinford. in which parish, upon Ashwood-heath, is a large Entrenchment, measuring about 140 paces over, which, notwithstanding its distance from the Way, is in the opinion of Dr. Plot, really Roman, i.e. a tent or castrametation; made at that distance, on account of their being drawn off from their ways and ordinary quarters, to skirmish with the enemy as occasion might require. In this parish likewise, at Barrow-hill,Barrow-hill. are two uniform Barrows or Tumuli, all rock; which, notwithstanding, the same learned person thinks to have been earth at first, and turn’d into stone by subterraneal heats. At the utmost south-borders of this County, lies Clent,Clent. famous for the death of S. Kenelm, who was slain at seven years of age by the contrivance of his sister Quendred. Not far from whence, is Kinfare;Kinfare. where is an old fortification of an oblong square, about three hundred yards long, and two hundred over. The name will answer either a Danish or Saxon original; so that it will not be safe to conclude upon either, barely from that; and the signification does not imply, that any one was kill’d there. For Saxon fare, though it signifies a going (an expedition, or journey;) yet it never denotes passing into another world. I should rather believe, that some King in his march had stop’d there, or made that his head-quarters, and so deriv’d the name to it.⌉AEthelfleda caesar Weadesburg, now Weddsborrow,Weddesborrow. was heretofore fortified by Æthelfleda Governess of the Mercians; and WalsallWalsall. is none of the meanest Market-towns.

Near this, lies the course of the river Tame,Tame, riv. which rising not far off, runs for some miles on the east-side of this County toward the Trent, passing, at some small distance, by Draiton Basset,Basset. the seat of the Bassets, who are descended from one Turstin Lord of this place in the reign of Henry the first, and are grown up into a numerous and eminent Family. For this is the stock, from which the Bassets of Welleden, Wiccomb, Sapcott, Chedle, and others of them, were propagated. But of these Bassets of Draiton, Ralph was the last, a very eminent Baron, who marry’d the sister of John Montfort Duke of Bretagne, and died without issue in the reign of Richard the second.

⌈Going to Watlingstreet, we meet with Hynts;Hynts. near which place, is a large Roman Tumulus, now (like those at Barrow-hill) turn’d into a hard rock. There are also other Roman Barrows upon this Street; one at Catts-hill, and two on Calves-heath, and another near Great Sarden.⌉

From Draiton-Basset, the Tame passing thro’ the bridge at Falkesley,Falkesley. over which an ancient Roman-way lay, runs by Tamworth,Tamworth. in Saxon Saxon tamweorth, ⌈by the Saxon Annals Saxon tamanweorthige, and⌉ in Marianus, Tamawordina; so situated between the borders of the two Shires, that one part of it, which formerly belong’d to the Marmions, is in Warwickshire; the other, which belong’d to the Hastings, is in this County. It takes its name from the river Tame, (which runs by it) and the Saxon word Saxon weorth, which signifies a † Cortim.yard or farm, and also a river-island, or any place surrounded with water; as, Keysers-wert and Bomelsweort, in Germany, signifie Cæsar’s-Island and Bomelus’s-Island. In the time of the Mercian Kingdom, this was a Royal seat, and, as it is in * * Liber Wigorniensis.the Leiger-book of Worcester, a very eminent place. ⌈Particularly, in the year 781. it appears to have been the Palace of the Mercian Kings, by a Grant of Offa to the Monks of Worcester, which is dated from his Royal Palace there. A square trench is still remaining by the name of King’s-ditch, which is very large; and of late years,Aubr. MS. a great many bones of men, and horses, as also spears heads, have been found here, in digging.⌉ Afterwards, it was destroy’d in the Danish wars, but rebuilt by Æthelfleda the Mercian, and Editha the daughter of King Edgar, who declining marriage out of reverence to the Virgin-state, is kalender’d among the she-saints. She founded a little House for Nuns in this place; which was some few years after translated to Pollesworth by the Marmions of Normandy, when they built a Collegiate Church here, wherein some of their tombs are still to be seen: having had the Town given them by William the Conqueror. Here likewise they built a neat Castle, which from them went by the Frevils to the Ferrars, a family descended from a younger brother of the Barons Ferrars of Groby. These MarmionsThe King’s Champions. (as it is in History) were hereditary Champions to the Kings of England. See the County of Lincoln. For upon every Coronation of a new King of England, the heir of this family was bound to ride arm’d in compleat harness into the King’s Hall, and in a set form challenge any man to duel, that would dare to oppose the King’s Title. And this is certain from the Publick Records, that Alexander Frevill, in the reign of Edward the third,Inq. 2 Ed.3. held this same Castle by that kind of service. Yet the Frevills, at the Coronation of Richard the second, lost this honour, which went by marriage to the family of Dimock in Lincolnshire.

⌈A little farther towards the north, lies Elford,Elford. where is a Roman Tumulus, the description of which, after a curious examination, Dr. Plot has given us. Level with the surface of the ground about it, is a moist blackish sort of earth without any mixture of gravel or stones, about two yards diameter, and a foot and half deep in the middle, lying much in the same form with the Tumulus it self; on the edge whereof, the same Author observ’d ashes and charcoal in their true colours, and several pieces of bones in the middle of it, so friable, that they would crumble betwixt the fingers. Which plainly proves it to be Roman; unless (which does not appear) the Saxons also or Danes may be supposed to have burnt their dead bodies.⌉

But to return: At the bridge of Falkesley already mention’d, that military Roman-way,Watling-street. which I have often had, and hereafter shall have, occasion to take notice of, enters this County; and, crossing it almost in a streight line, runs westward into Shropshire. I survey’d it very accurately, in hopes of finding Etocetum,Etocetum. which Antoninus makes the next Station after Manvessedum: and by good luck I have at last found it; and must ingenuously own my self to have been in an error heretofore. For at that distance which Antoninus makes between Manvessedum and Etocetum, I happen’d to meet with the ruins of an old City near this Way, scarce a mile south from Litchfield (eminent for the Bishop’s See there.) The name of the place is at this day in English Wall,Wall. from the remains of the Walls there (which encompass about two acres of ground) call’d the Castle-croft,Castle-croft. as if one should say, the field of the Castle; ⌈and here have been found two ancient Pavements, wherein appeared Roman Bricks.⌉ Near this stood another ancient little City on the other side of the way, which was demolish’d before William the Conqueror’s time, as the Inhabitants, from an old tradition, tell us; and they shew the place where the Temple stood, guessing it to have been a Temple, from the largeness of the foundation; and they produce many Coyns of the Roman Emperors, which are the most infallible proofs of Antiquity. But that which mainly confirms this point, is, that the Military-way continues from hence, very fair, and plain, and almost without any breach, till it is cross’d and interrupted by the river Penck, and hath a stone-bridge built over it at Pennocrucium,Pennocrucium. so call’d from the river, and standing at the same distance which Antoninus has fix’d. Which Town has not quite lost the name at this day, being, for Pennocrucium, call’d Penckridge.Penckridge. ⌈But yet one Objection there is (it’s lying from the Great way at least two miles) which, considering the design of these Stations, is an objection of some weight, notwithstanding the affinity of the names. And Stretton (as Dr. Plot has settled it) which has the advantage of standing upon the Way, may seem to lay a juster claim to it. The name too favours the conjecture; for a little observation will teach any one, that where Street or Chester is part of the name, he shall seldom lose his labour in the search after Antiquities.⌉ At present Penckridge is only a small village, famous for a Horse-fair, which Hugh Blunt, or Flavus, the Lord of it, obtain’d of King Edward the second. ⌈A little below the Way southward, near Fetherstone, in the parish of Brewood, was found a brass-head of the bolt of a Catapulta; another was likewise discover’d at Bushbury; a third in the biggest of the Lows upon thePlot, Fig.5. Tab.33. Morridge; and a fourth at Hundsworth; all of brass, and much of the same form; which certainly show, that all these are Roman Tumuli, and probably places of some action.⌉ From hence there is nothing memorable in this County upon the old Way, unless it be that clear and broad lake near Weston, by which it continues in a direct line to Okenyate in Shropshire. And now, we pass to the middle part of the County, water’d by the Trent; in describing of which, my design is to trace that river from its first rise; following its course and windings.

The Trent,The River Trent. which is the third River in England, springs from two neighbouring fountains in the upper-part of this County to the west. Some ignorant and idle pretenders imagin the name to be derived from the French word Trente, and upon that account have feign’d thirty rivers running into it, and likewise so many kinds of Fish swimming in it; the names of which, the people thereabouts have compris’d in an English rhyme. Neither do they stick to ascribe to this river what the Hungarians attribute to their Tibiscus, namely, that it consists of two parts water, and the third fish. From the rise, it first runs southward, with many windings, not far from New-Castle under LimeNewcastle under Lime. (⌈built in Henry the third’s time by the Earl of Lancaster, and)⌉ so call’d on account of an older Castle which formerly stood not far from it at Chesterton under Lime, where I saw the ruinous and shatter’d walls of an old Castle, which first belong’d to Ranulph Earl of Chester by the gift of King John, and after, by the bounty of Henry the third, to the House of Lancaster; ⌈whereof, at this day, nothing but some very obscure Remains are to be seen.⌉ Then by Trentham,Trentham. heretofore Tricingham, ⌈the seat of the Lord Gower, who was advanced by Queen Anne to the dignity of Baron, by the title of Baron Gower of Sittenham in the County of York. Here was⌉ a little Monastery of the holy and royal Virgin Werburga. Then ⌈to Darlaston;Darlaston. where in a place call’d Berry-bank,Berry-bank. on the top of a hill, are the ruins of a large Castle fortify’d with a double vallum and entrenchments, about two hundred and fifty yards diameter. This, according to tradition,Plot, p.407. was the seat of Ulfere King of Mercia, who murther’d his two sons for embracing Christianity.⌉ From hence it hastens to StoneStone. a Market-town, which had its rise in the Saxon times, and its name from those Stones which our Ancestors were accustom’d yearly to heap together, to preserve the memory of the place, where ⌈as hath been said⌉ Wolphere, that most heathen King of the Mercians, barbarously slew his sons, Vulfald and Rufin, for turning Christians. At which place, when after-ages had consecrated a little Church to their memory, a Town presently grew up, which the History of PeterboroughHistoria Petroburgensis. tells us was call’d Stone, from these stones. From Stone the Trent flows with a smooth and easie course by Sandon,Sandon. formerly the seat of the Staffords, a knightly and very famous family, but † † Of late, C.Erdeswick.afterwards of Sampson Erdeswick by inheritance; a very eminent person, and a great proficient in the study of Antiquities; and no less memorable upon that account, than for being directly, in the male-line, descended from Hugh de Vernon,Names chang’d and alter’d, as the person shifted his habitation. Baron of Shipbroc; the name being varied, by change of habitation, first into Holgrave, and after that into Erdeswick.

Here the Trent turns to the East, with Canockwood on the South of it, commonly Cankwood,Cankwood. which is every way of great extent; and at last it receives the river Sow, on the left. This river rises near Healy-castle, built by the Barons of AldeleghBarons Audley. or Audley, to whom this place was given by Harvy de Stafford, as likewise Aldelegh it self by Theobald de Verdon: and from these, sprang the family of the Stanleys Earls of Derby, but the inheritance and name descended to the Touchetts, in whose posterity and name it still remains ⌈in the person of James Touchett, Lord Audley and Earl of Castlehaven in Ireland. About the head of this river, is Blore-heath,Blore-heath. where a Stone, set up in memory of James Lord Audley, deserves our notice. He was slain in that place, fighting against the Earl of Salisbury in the quarrel of Henry the sixth; in which battle no less than two thousand four hundred were slain upon the spot.⌉ I must not omit to take notice of the House call’d Gerards Bromley,Gerards-Bromley. both upon account of its magnificence, and also because it † † Is, C.was the chief seat of Thomas Gerard, whom King James ⌈the first,⌉ in the first year of his reign, created Baron Gerard of Gerards Bromley.

The Sow keeps in a parallel line, at equal distance from the Trent, and runs by Chebsey, which formerly belong’d to the Lords Hastings; and then, not far from Eccleshal,Eccleshall. the residence of the Bishop of Lichfield. ⌈This Castle was either built, or at least repair’d, by Walter de Longton Bishop of Lichfield and Lord Treasurer of England, in the reign of Edward the first. Not far from whence, is Wotton,Wotton. where is a high-pav’d way, which Dr. Plot believes to have been a Roman Via Vicinalis, or by-way, from one Town to another,⌉ and Ellenhall, which formerly was the seat of the Noels,Noel. a famous family, who founded a Monastery at Raunton hard by: from them, it descended hereditarily to the Harcourts, who are of an ancient and noble Norman race, and have flourish’d for a long time in great dignity. Of the male-line of these Noels, * * Is, C.was Andrew Noel of Dalby, an eminent Knight; as also the Noels of Wellesborow in the County of Leicester, ⌈and those of Hilcote-Hardby, with Baptist Earl of Gainsburrow,⌉ and others, remaining at this day. From hence the Sow runs by Stafford,Stafford. heretofore call’d Statford, and before that, Betheney, where Bertelin liv’d an Hermit, with the reputation of great sanctity. Edward the elder in the year 914. built a Tower upon the North-side of the river here. When William the first took his Survey of England, as it is said in Domesday-book, the King had only eighteen Burgesses here, belonging to him, and twenty mansions of the Honour of the Earl; it paid for all customs, nine pounds in deniers. In another place; The King commanded a Castle to be made there, which was lately demolish’d. But at that time (as at this day) Stafford was the chief Town of the County; ⌈in favour of which, a Law passed in the first year of Queen Elizabeth,Stat. 1 Eliz. n.37. for the Assizes and Sessions to be holden here.⌉ It owes its greatest glory to Stafford, a Castle adjoyning to it, built by the Barons of Stafford for a seat. ⌈It is certain, that Ethelfleda, the Mercian Queen, built a Castle at Stafford, whereof there is nothing remaining; this upon the hill, at a mile’s distance from the Town, being built by Ranulph or Ralph the first Earl of Stafford, a long time after. Tho’ Mr. ¦ ¦ View of Staffordshire.Erdeswick indeed concludes, that he only re-edify’d the Castle, and did not new build it; because he had seen a certain Deed dated from the Castle near Stafford long before the days of Earl Ralph. But Dr. Plot is of opinion, that the old Castle there mention’d, might rather stand within the entrenchment at Billington, which perhaps (says he) may be only the remains of this Castle; the lands, wherein these entrenchments are, being not far distant, and still remaining part of the demesne land of the Barony of Stafford.⌉ Below this, the Sow is joyn’d by a little river call’d Penke,Penke, riv. that gives name to Pennocrucium an ancient Town, of which we have already made mention. Near the confluence of the Sow and the Trent, stands Ticks-hall,Ticks-hall. where the family of the Astons dwell, which for Antiquity and Alliances, is one of the best families in these parts. ⌈Not far from whence, stands Ingestre,Ingestre. an ancient seat of the family of the Chetwinds; the last owner of which (who dy’d without issue A.D. 1693.) was Walter Chetwind Esq;, a Gentleman, eminent, as for his ancient family and great hospitality, so for his admirable skill in Antiquities;Dr. Plot. the History of Staffordshire receiving great encouragement from him. He was likewise a person of a charitable and publick spirit, as appear’d by new building the Parish-Church of Ingestre after a very beautiful manner, and also adding to the Vicarage such tythes as remain’d in his hands.⌉

With these waters the Trent glides gently, through the middle of the County, to the East; having Chartley-castleChartley-Castle. at two miles distance on the left of it, which from Ranulph Earl of Chester who built it, came to the Ferrars, by Agnes his sister, who was married to William de Ferrars Earl of Derby; from whom, descended the Lords FerrarsLords Ferrars of Chartley. of Chartley. Anne, daughter of the last of them, brought this Honour, as a portion, to Walter D’eureux her husband, from whom is descended Robert D’eureux Earl of Essex, and Lord Ferrars of Chartley. ⌈But Robert D’eureux (son of the said Robert,) who was the last Earl of Essex and Lord Ferrars of that name, dying without issue; King Charles the second created Sir Robert Shirley, Lord Ferrars of Chartley; who was also afterwards advanced by Queen Anne to the more honourable Titles of Viscount Tamworth and Earl of Ferrars.⌉

On the right side of the same river, almost at the same distance, stands Beaudesert,Beaudesert. most delicately seated among the Woods. It was formerly the House of the Bishops of Lichfield, but afterwards of the Barons Paget.Barons Paget. For William Paget (who for his approv’d Wisdom and Knowledge in matters both at home and abroad, was in great favour with King Henry the eighth and King Edward the sixth) having got a large estate, was created Baron Paget of Beaudesert by Edward the sixth. His grandson William, the fourth * * Who now flourishes, C.Baron, † † Is, C.was by his virtue, and great progress in learning, an ornament to his family, and in that respect is justly distinguish’d by an honourable mention in this Work; ⌈and another of the same name, the late Lord Paget, having been Ambassador Extraordinary to the Grand Seignior, gave great proofs of his Wisdom and Abilities in the progress of that famous Peace concluded at Carlowitz, in the year 1698. In the Park of Beaudesert, remains a large fortification, called the Castle-hill, encompassed with a double agger and trench, which are in a manner circular, except on the south-east-side. It is probable, this was cast up by Canutus, when he made that dismal waste of those parts, which our Historians speak of.⌉

From hence the Trent sees Lichfield,Lichfield. scarce four miles distant from the right side of it. Bede calls it Licidfeld, which Rous of Warwick renders a Field of Carcasses, and tells us, that many Christians suffer’d martyrdom there, under Dioclesian. ⌈The Story is, that a thousand Christians (who had been instructed by St. Amphibalus in a place call’d Christian-field) were martyr’d, and their bodies left unburied, to be devour’d by birds and beasts; from whence the City bears for their Device, an Escocheon of Landskip with many Martyrs in it, in several manners massacred.⌉ The City stands low, and is pretty large, and neat, and is divided into two parts by a kind of lough or clear water which is but shallow: however, they have a communication by two causeys made over it, which have their * * Sua Emissaria.respective sluices. The South part, or the hithermost, is by much the greater, being divided into several Streets; and it has in it a School, and a pretty large Hospital dedicated to St. John, for relief of the Poor. The further is the less, yet adorned with a very beautiful Church; which, with the fine Walls that surround it like a Castle, and the fair Houses of the Prebendaries, and the Bishop’s Palace, all about it, makes a lovely show, with three lofty Pyramids of Stone rising from it. This was a Bishop’s See many ages since. For in the year 606. Oswy King of Northumberland, having conquer’d the Pagan Mercians, built a Church here for the propagation of the Christian Religion, and made Duina the first Bishop; whose Successors were so much in favour with their Princes, that they had not only the preheminence among all the Mercian Bishops, and were enrich’d with very large possessions (Cankwood or Canoc a very great Wood, and other large Estates, being given them:) but the See also has had an Arch-Bishop, namely Eadulph, to whom Pope Adrian gave the Pall, and made all the Bishops of the Mercians and East-Angles subject to him. This he was induced to, by the golden Arguments of Offa King of the Mercians, out of spight to Jeambert or Lambert Archbishop of Canterbury, whoAbout the year 779. offer’d his assistance to Charles the Great, if he would invade England. Hist. Roffens. But this Archiepiscopal Dignity expir’d with Offa and Eadulph. Among the Bishops, the most eminent is * * S. Ceada.Chad, who was canoniz’d for his sancity, and, as Bede expresses it, when the Prelacy was not yet tainted with excess and luxury, made himself a house to live in not far distant from the Church, wherein with a few others, that is, with seven or eight of his brethren, he was wont privately to read and pray as often as he had leisure from preaching the word of God. In that age, Lichfield was a small Village, and in populousness far short of a City. The Country about it is woody; and a little river runs near it. The Church was but of small compass, according to the mean and humble model of those ancient times. When in a Synod 1075. it was decreed, that the Sees of Bishops should not be in obscure Villages, Peter Bishop of Lichfield transfer’d his See to Chester. But Robert of Limsey his successor, remov’d it to Coventry. A little after, Roger Clinton brought it back again to Lichfield, and began a very beautiful Church Ann. 1148. in honour to the Virgin Mary and St. Ceada, and repair’d the Castle, which is quite destroy’d, without any remains to be seen at this day. The Town, within the memory of * * So said, ann. 1607.our Fathers, was first Incorporated under the name of Bailiffs and Burgesses, by King Edward the sixth; ⌈and hath given the title of Earl to Bernard Stewart, youngest son of Esme Duke of Lennox and Earl of March, created in the 21st year of K. Charles the first. Being slain at the battle of Rowton-heath in Cheshire, he was succeeded by Charles Stewart his nephew, who dy’d Ambassador in Denmark in 1672. About two years after, the title was confer’d upon Edward Henry Lee, created, June 5. 1674, Baron of Spellesbury, Viscount Quarendon, and Earl of Lichfield.⌉ It is fifty two degrees and forty two minutes in Latitude; and in Longitude twenty one degrees, twenty minutes.

⌈Not far from hence is Streethey,Streethey. the name whereof seems to be taken from its situation upon the old way, call’d Ikenild-street; * * Plot’s Staffordshire, p.402.and its distance from Streeton (another Town lying upon the same road, and claiming the same Antiquity, on account of its name) being about twelve miles, makes it reasonable to suppose that these two might be stations for the reception of the Armies in their march.viae Upon the east side of the road, between Streethey and Burton, stands Eddingal,Eddingal. where is a rais’d way, pointing towards Lullington in Derbyshire, which, Dr. Plot is of Opinion, might probably be one of the Roman Viæ vicinales, or by-roads; for such they had, besides their great highways, for the convenience of going between Town and Town.⌉

The Lake at Lichfield, is at first pen’d up into a narrow compass, and then grows wider again; but uniting at last into one chanel, it presently falls into the Trent, which continues its course Eastward till it meets the river Tame from the South; in conjunction with which, it runs through places abounding with Alabaster.Alabaster to the North, that it may sooner receive the river Dove; and almost encompasses Burton,Burton upon Trent. formerly a Town, remarkable for the Alabaster-works, for a Castle of the Ferrars, for an ancient Monastery founded by Ulfric Spot Earl of the Mercians, and for the Retirement of Modwena,She is also call’d Mowenna. an Irish woman.AEthelred Of the Abbey, the Book of Abingdon speaks thus; A certain servant of King Æthelred, call’d Ulfric Spot, built the Abbey of Burton, and endow’d it with all his paternal estate, to the value of seven hundred pounds; and, that this gift might stand good, he gave King Æthelred three hundred mancs of gold for his Confirmation, and to every Bishop five mancs; besides the Town of Dumbleton, over and above, to Alfrick Archbishop of Canterbury. So that we may see, that Gold was plentiful and predominant in those ages, and that it sway’d even in spiritual matters. In this Monastery, Modwena, eminent for her sanctity in these parts, lies buried, and on the Tomb were inscribed these Verses:

Ortum Modwennæ dat Hibernia, Scotia finem.
Anglia dat tumulum, dat Deus astra poli.
Prima dedit vitam, sed mortem terra secunda,
Et terram terræ tertia terra dedit:
Aufert Lanfortin quam
† Tir-Conel; but according to Archbishop Usher, Clanconal, in Down, Ant. Brit. p.369.terra Conallea profert,
Fœlix Burtonium virginis ossa tenet

By Ireland life, by Scotland death was given,
A Tomb by England, endless joys by Heaven.
One boasts her birth, one mourns her hopeless fate,
And one does Earth to Earth again commit.
Lanfortin ravish’d what Tirconnel gave,
And pious Burton keeps her sacred grave.

Near Burton, between the rivers Dove, Trent, and Blith (which last waters and gives name to Blithfield,Blithfield. the beautiful seat of an ancient and famous family, the Bagots) stands Needwood,Needwood-forest. a large Forest, with many Parks in it, where-in the Gentry hereabouts frequently exercise themselves with great application, in the agreeable toil of hunting. ⌈As to Blithfield, it came into the family of the Bagots, by the marriage of the daughter and heir of Blithfield, in the reign of Edward the second. Before which time, they were seated at the neighbouring Village of Bagotts-Bromley. From this family were also descended the ancient Barons of Stafford, afterwards Dukes of Buckingham.⌉ So much for the inner parts.

The North-part of the County rises gently into small hills; which begin here, and, like the Apennine in Italy, run through the middle of England in one continu’d ridge, rising higher and higher, as far as Scotland; under several names. For here they are call’d Mooreland,Mooreland. after that Peake, then Blackston-edge, anon Craven, next Stanmore, and last of all, when they branch out into horns, Cheviot. This Mooreland (so call’d because it rises into high hills and mountains, and is unfruitful; which sort of places we call in our language Moors,) is a tract so very rugged, foul, and cold, that the snows continue long undissolv’d; so that, concerning a Country-Village here, call’d Wotton, seated at the bottom of Wever-hill, the Neighbours have this Rhyme among them, intimating that God never was in that place:

Wotton under Wever,
Where God came never.

It is observ’d by the Inhabitants, that the West-wind always causes rain; but that the East and South-winds, which are wont to bring rain in other places, make fair weather here, unless the wind shift about from West to South; and this they ascribe to their nearness to the Irish-sea. From those Mountains spring many rivers, in this Shire; the chief are, the Dove, the Hanse, Churnet, Tein, and Blith; and Trent, which receives them all, and carries them into the Sea. The DoveDove. (the banks whereof are a hard Limestone which they burn to manure their fields,) runs swiftly, for a great way, along the East-part of this County; severing it from Derbyshire, by its white clayish chanel, without any shelves of mud: Which running thro’ a Lime-stone soil, sucks-in such richness from thence, that in the very middle of winter the Meadows on both sides look fresh and green; and if it overflows and lays the Meadows afloat in April, like another Nile it makes them so fruitful, that the neighbouring Inhabitants thereabouts joyfully apply to it the following Rhyme,

In April Dove’s flood
Is worth a King’s good.

This river will swell so much in twelve hours time, that, to the great terror of the Inhabitants thereabouts, it will wash off the Sheep and Cattel, and carry them down with it; yet it falls again within the same time, and returns to its old chanel: whereas the Trent, being once over the banks, keeps the Fields afloat four or five days together. But now, concerning those rivers which run into it: The first is, Hans,Hans. which falling under-ground, breaks out again three miles off. The next that joyns it, is the Churnet,Churnet. which runs by De-la-Cres-Abbey,De-la-Cres. built by Ranulph the third of that name, Earl of Chester: by Leike,Leike. noted for its Market; and then by Aulton,Aulton. formerly the Castle of the Barons de Verdon, from whom, by the Furnivals, it descended to the Talbots Earls of Shrewsbury. A little lower, the Tein,Tein. a small river, runs into the Dove; which rising not far from Cheddle,Cheddle. the ancient seat of the Bassets descended from the Bassets of Draiton, runs on in a course so winding, that in a mile’s riding I cross’d it four times. Near this, in CheckleyCheckley. Church-yard, stand three Stones raised Spire-wise, two of which have little images upon them; and that in the middle is the highest. The Inhabitants talk of an Engagement between two Armies there; one with weapons, the other without; and that three Bishops were slain in that battle, in memory of whom these Stones were erected. What historical truth may be couch’d under this Story, I am not yet able to say. ⌈Not far from Checkley, by a small brook call’d Peak, are the stately ruins of Croxden-Abbey,Croxden-Abbey. formerly a Monastery of Cistercian Monks, founded by Theobald de Verdon, a Norman Baron, about the time of Henry the second.⌉

Now the Dove runs under a firm Stone-bridge to Utcester,Utcester. in Saxon Saxon Uttok-cester, seated on a hill of easie ascent, and rather rich by means of its fine meadows and cattel, than neat and handsom in respect of buildings. Before I saw it, I took it for Etocetum, being induc’d to that Opinion by the affinity of the two names. But now time has undeceiv’d me. Afterwards, when the Dove draws toward the Trent, it sees Tutbury-castleTutbury-castle. (called also Stutes-bury,) formerly very large, and commanding the lower Country by its high situation on an Alabaster-hill. It was built (with the little Monastery) by Henry de Ferrars a noble Norman, to whom William the first gave large possessions in this County, which were all forfeited by Robert de Ferrariis Earl of Derby, upon his second revolt from Henry the third. For though after the many Disturbances which he had raised in the Barons war, he was received again into favour by the King, and then bound himself by a strict oath to be faithful to him for the future; yet the restless temper of this man (that he might make Fortune comply by force, since she would not by courtship) soon after hurry’d him a-new into arms, against his Soveraign; and being at last taken, that I may use the words of the Record, he was, pursuant to the tenor of his Obligation, wholly divested of his Honour and Estate.Divinae Sapientiae There is a lake somewhere in this Shire, if Necham deceive us not, into which no wild beast will go upon any account: but since the place is uncertain, and indeed the thing more; I will only subjoin theseIn lib. de laudibus Divinæ Sapientiæ. Verses of Necham about it, intitled by him

De Lacu in Staffordia.

Rugitu Lacus est eventus præco futuri,
Cujus aquis fera se credere nulla solet.
Instet odora canum virtus, mors instet acerba,
Non tamen intrabit exagitata lacum

Of a Lake in Staffordshire.

A Lake that with prophetick noise does roar,
Where beasts can ne’er be forc’d to venture o’er.
By hounds, or men, or fleeter death pursu’d,
They’ll not plunge in, but shun the hated flood.

Also, concerning another Lake in this County, Gervasius Tilburiensis,Gerv. Tilburiensis. in his Otia Imperialia to Otho the fourth, writes thus; In the Bishoprick of Coventry, and in the County of Stafford, at the foot of the mountain which the Inhabitants call Mahull, there is a water very broad like a Lake, in the out-grounds of a Village which they call Magdalea. There is great store of wood all along upon the lake, the water of which is very clear, and so effectual a refreshment, that when the hunters have given chace to a Stag or other wild beast, and their horses are spent and weary, if they do but drink of this water in the most scorching heat of the Sun, and water their horses with it, they recover their strength to run again, to that degree, that one would think they had not run at all.

As for the title of Stafford, it * * Hath continu’d, C.continued in the posterity of Robert of Stafford (whom William the Norman enrich’d with great possessions,) till † † So said, ann. 1607.our times. A family exceeding eminent as well as ancient; and which has experienc’d several turns of fortune. First they were Earls and Barons of Stafford.Barons of Stafford, then Earls, after that Dukes of Buckingham and Earls of Stafford. And † † Now, &c. last it was their fortune to be reduc’d to their old title of Baron only; and those great estates which they had gain’d by their honourable marriages, are all fled and scatter’d. In lieu whereof, they ¦ ¦ Enjoy, C.enjoy’d a happy security, which seldom cohabits with greatness and great Men. ⌈After Edward Stafford last Duke of Buckingham of that name, there were three of the family, who enjoy’d the title of Lords Stafford, Henry, Edward, and another Henry: the daughter of which last being marry’d to William Howard, son of Thomas Earl of Arundel and Surrey, King Charles the first created them jointly Baron and Baroness of Stafford, and did afterwards create her husband Viscount Stafford, in the year 1640. Which William was beheaded on Towerhill, in the year 1680, for the part which he had in the Popish Plot; but Henry his eldest son, was created Earl of Stafford, in the fourth year of King James the second.⌉

There are 130 Parishes in this County.

More rare Plants growing wild in Staffordshire.

The mountainous part of this Country, called the Moorelands, produceth the same plants with the Peak-Country of Derbyshire. The more depressed and level parts, with Warwickshire.

At a Village called Worton in this County, about two miles distant from Newport in Shropshire grow in plenty, thefaemina

Abies Ger. Park. fæmina, sive Greek text J. B. The female or Yew-leav’d Firr-tree: which, whether they were native of this place, or anciently planted here, is some question. That they were natives Dr. Plot gathers not only from their disorderly natural situation, and excessive height, to which planted trees seldom arrive, but chiefly from the stools or stumps of many trees which he suspects to have been Firrs found near them, in their natural position in the bottoms of Mosses and Pools (particularly of Shebben-pool) some of the bodies whereof are daily dug up at Laynton, and in the old Pewet-pool in the same parish where these now grow.

Sorbus Pyriformis D. Pitt. The Pear-like Service. I have already declared my opinion, that this is no other than the common Service-tree. Dr. Plot tells us that it grows in the Moorelands at many places.

Sambucus fructu albo Ger. Park. fructu in umbella viridi C. B. acinis albis J. B. White-berried Elder. In the hedges near the village of Combridge plentifully. Dr. Plot, hist. nat. Staff.

Tripolium minus vulgare. The lesser Sea-star-wort. Said to grow in the grounds of Mr Chetwynd of Ingstree, within two miles of Stafford, in a place call’d the Marsh, near the place where the brine of it self breaks out above ground, frets away the grass, and makes a plash of Salt-water. Dr. Plot, hist. nat. Staff.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52