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Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire

(Byreton, Buryton)

Historical Description

Burton-upon-Trent, a township, a market-town, a municipal borough, and a parish on the E border of Staffordshire, and partly in Derbyshire. The township is included in the town. The town lies on the river Trent, and on the M.R., adjacent to the Grand Trunk Canal, 11 miles SW of Derby, 12 NE of Lichfield, and 127 by railway from London. There is good railway communication with all parts of the kingdom. The town was known to the Saxons as Byreton or Buryton. A religious establishment was founded in the 9th century by the Irish lady Modwena, who had the reputation of a saint and of a great mediciner. A Benedictine abbey succeeded this establishment in 1004, founded by Wulfric, Earl of Mercia; was changed by Henry VIII. into a collegiate church, and given soon afterwards to Sir William Paget, the ancestor of the present Marquis of Anglesey. Edward II. in 1321 obtained a decisive victory here over the Earl of Lancaster, and both parties in the Civil War, in the time of Charles I., were here at several periods both vanquished and victors. The town occupies low level ground, formerly liable to inundation by the Trent, and overlooked by the precipitous thickly wooded hill of Scalpley. It is substantially built. The old bridge across the Trent, which was pulled down in 1864, was said to have been erected about the time of the Conquest. A chapel stood at one end of it, built by Edward II, to commemorate his victory over Lancaster. The present bridge, built by the Midland Railway Company in 1864, is 469 yards long, and has 29 arches. Some remains of the ancient abbey exist in the churchyard, opposite the end of New Street. The present parish church of St Modven was built in 1720, stands on the east side of the market-place, is a fine large edifice in the Italian style, with western square tower, and contains a beautiful altar-piece of white marble, an ancient stone font, which probably belonged to the old church, and some monuments and stained windows. Christ Church, in Moor Street, was erected in 1845, and is a cruciform building with a tower and spire 150 feet high. Holy Trinity Church, in Horninglow Street, is a large edifice in the Early Decorated style, erected in 1882 on the site of an earlier church. St Paul's Church, in St Paul's Square, was built in 1874 at the cost of the late M. T. Bass, Esq., M.P., and is a fine cruciform building in the Early Decorated style, with a massive central tower. Holy Trinity, Christ Church, and St Paul are separate ecclesiastical parishes, constituted in 1825, 1845, and 1873 respectively. St Margaret's, in Shobnall Street, is a chapel of ease to St Paul's, and was built in 1881 by the late M. T. Bass, Esq. All Saints, in West Street, is a chapel of ease to Christ Church, and there is a mission room in Green Street in connection with the same church. The Roman Catholic chapel in Guild Street is a red brick edifice with stone dressings, and was erected in 1851 and rebuilt in 1879. The Congregational chapel in High Street occupies the site of a previous chapel of 1662. There are also Baptist, Wesleyan, Primitive Methodist, and Presbyterian chapels. The grammar school, in Lichfield Street, was founded in 1520 by Abbot Beane, and has a large endowed income. The market-hall is a commodious structure erected in 1883. There is also a cattle market, where sales are held every alternate Monday.

St Paul's Institute, near St Paul's Church, was erected by Mr. Bass in 1883 at a cost of £40,000, and contains a large and handsome hall, with organ, which is used for entertainments, class rooms, &c. St George's Hall in George Street is used for concerts, &c. There are municipal offices, an infirmary and dispensary, public baths, a mechanics' institute, with schools of art and science, a county police station, and a fire brigade station. There are numerous schools, both in the town itself and in the outlying portions of the district. Th& workhouse is in Horninglow township. The cemetery is to the east of the town, comprises 22 acres, and has cost over £20,000.

There are several recreation grounds. The county court house, in Station Street, was erected iu 1862. Sittings of the county court are held monthly. The town has a head post office, a railway station, and three banks; is a seat of petty sessions, and publishes an evening and two weekly newspapers. A weekly market is held on Thursday, and fairs on Candlemas Day, 5 April, Holy Thursday, 22 and 29 Oct., and on the Monday after Michaelmas Day for the hiring of servants. The chief employment, from remote times, has been the brewing of ale, and this is now carried on here to a greater extent than anywhere else in the kingdom. The superior excellence of the Burton ales is attributed to the presence of sulphate of lime in large quantities in the water used in their manufacture. There are 28 breweries, of which the most important are those connected with the names of Bass and Allsopp. The premises of the former brewery occupy over 140 acres. There are also iron, boiler, and copper works, and plaster and cement mills. The town was incorporated in 1878, and is governed by a mayor, 8 aldermen, and 24 councillors. The municipal borough is divided into the wards of Burton-Extra, Burton-on-Trent, Horninglow, and Stapenhill and Winshill. Area, 4207 acres; population, 46,047; area of the township of Burton-upon-Trent, 591 acres; population, 8245; area of Burton-Extra, 983 acres; population, 14,244.

The parish contains the townships of Burton-upon-Trent, Burton-Extra, Horninglow, Branstone, and Stretton, in Staffordshire, and the townships of Stapenhill and Winshill, in Derbyshire. Population of the ecclesiastical parish of St Modven, 2169; of Christ Church, 14,624; of Holy Trinity, 3191; and of St Paul, 8725. The manor belongs to the Marquis of Anglesey. The parochial living, and the livings of Christ Church, Holy Trinity, and St Paul, are vicarages in the diocese of Lichfield; gross value of St Modven, £112. Patron, the Bishop of Lichfield. Gross value of Christ Church, £338 with residence. Patron, the Vicar of Burton-upon-Trent. Net value of Holy Trinity, £250 with residence. Patron, the Marquis of Anglesey. Net value of St Paul, £400 with residence. Patron, Lord Burton. Horninglow, Branstone, Stretton, Stapenhill, and Winshill are separate benefices.

Burton Parliamentary Division of Staffordshire was formed under the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885, and BURTON-UPON-URE returns one member to the House of Commons. Population, 58,640. The division includes the following:-Burton-upon-Trent-Anslow, Barton-under-Needwood, Branstone, Burton (Extra), Burton-upon-Trent, Dunstall, Hanbury, Horainglow, Rolleston, Scropton (part of), Stretton, Tatenhill, Tutbury, Wichnor, Yoxhall; Uttoxeter (part of)-Abbots Bromley, Blithfield, Bramshall, Draycott-in-the-Clay, Field, Gratwich, Kingstone, Leigh, Marchington, Marchington Woodlands, Newborough, Prestwood, Uttoxeter.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyStaffordshire 
Ecclesiastical parishBurton-upon-Trent St. Mary and St. Modwena 
Poor Law unionBurton-upon-Trent 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

Findmypast, in association with the Staffordshire & Stoke on Trent Archive Service have the Baptisms, Banns, Marriages, and Burials online for Burton upon Trent

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Burton upon Trent from the following:

Land and Property

A full transcript of the Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Staffordshire is online.


Online maps of Burton upon Trent are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Staffordshire newspapers online:

Villages, Hamlets, &c

Burton Extra
Stretton (Burton upon Trent)
DistrictEast Staffordshire
RegionWest Midlands
Postal districtDE14
Post TownBurton-On-Trent