Staffordshire or Stafford, an inland county, bounded on the NW by Cheshire, on the NE by Derbyshire, and on the E by Derbyshire and Leicestershire, on the SE by Warwickshire, on the S by Worcestershire, on the W by Salop. Its outline is somewhat ellipsoidal, with the longer axis extending N and S. Its boundary line, along part of the NW, is the river Dane, along the NE is the river Dove, along most of the E is the rivers Dove, Trent, and Tame, along small part of the W is the river Tern, and along most other parts is entirely artificial. Its greatest length is 54 miles, its greatest breadth is 35 miles, its circuit is about 210 miles, and its area is 749,601 acres. The NE section, to the extent of about one-sixth of the entire area, is upland, variously moorland, pastoral, and picturesque; rises to an average altitude of from 300 to 600 feet above the general level of the rest of the county, and has summits 1200 and 1500 feet high. The NW section, nearly identical with Pirehill hundred, is prevailingly level. The central sections include the large and elevated tract of Cannock Chase, and all excepting that tract are either undulated or level ground. The S section includes the hills and cliffs of Dudley and Sedgeley, and the isolated mountain of Rowley Regis, but elsewhere is, generally level. The chief streams are the Trent, the Sowe, the Tame, the Blythe, the Dove, the Manifold, the Hamps, the Churnet, the Penk, the Stour, and the Tern. Silurian rocks form two small tracts in the S, lower carboniferous rocks form considerable tracts in the NE; upper carboniferous rocks, mainly of the coal measures, form large tracts in the S and in the N; permian rocks form a tract around most of the S coal measures, and another tract to the S of the N coal measures; and triassic rocks form nearly all the rest of the county, chiefly across its central parts, and amounting to about one-half of the entire area.
The Dudley or South Staffordshire coal-field extends from Cannock Chase to the Worcestershire border near Stourbridge, about 20 miles in length N by E to S by W; and from Kingswinford to Soho, near Birmingham, 10 miles W to E. These dimensions indeed include not only the coal-field itself, but the Rowley Hills, composed of transition and other rocks, by which it is intersected. The coal measures rest immediately on a transition stratum. The hills SE of Dudley consist of one mass of basalt and amygdaloid, round which the coal measures do not crop out, but preserve their usual level in approaching it. The basalt, which is very pure, is locally termed Rowley Rag. It has been quarried for mending the roads and paving the streets of Birmingham. Trap rock is found in that district of the coal-field lying near Walsall; it is apparently part of a thick vertical greenstone dyke. The coal of the southern portions of the Dudley field is distinguished by the occurrence of an extensive bed, called the Main-coal, 30 feet thick. It really consists of thirteen distinct seams, but they are so close together as to form almost a single stratum. In the northern part of the field seams of coal are found 4, 6, and 8 feet thick, which appear to be subjacent to the main coal. In the north of the shire occurs another coal-field ("the Pottery") of triangular form. It extends from Longton in the Potteries to Congleton in Cheshire, where is the apex of the triangle, and is 13 miles in length from S by E to N by W. Its greatest breadth, which is in the southern part, forming the base of the triangle, is 8 or 10 miles. A short distance to the E of this lies the Cheadle coal-field, the town of Cheadle being situated near its SW border. It appears to be an isolated basin, the strata dipping towards Cheadle as a centre, and resting upon millstone grit. A prolongation of the South Lancashire coal-field extends into the northern part of the county about Flash, where several mines are worked. The Warwickshire coal-field just touches the border near Tamworth. The county also possesses rich and abundant iron ores. In addition to the immense quantities of coal and iron obtained in various parts, copper, lead, sandstone, marble, alabaster, and the best pottery clay are important mineral products. As the result of borings in 1874-75 it was discovered that coal was obtainable at workable depths from districts previously considered beyond the boundaries of the Staffordshire coal basins.
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Archives and Libraries
Directories & Gazetteers
The Historical Directories web site have a number of directories relating to Staffordshire online, including:
Kelly's, Pigot, Slater, etc.
Old map of Staffordshire circa 1848 (Samuel Lewis)
Old map of Staffordshire circa 1895 (Gazetteer of England and Wales)
Parishes and places
The towns and parishes have now been moved to a separate page.