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Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire

Historical Description

Newcastle-under-Lyme, a market-town, a municipal and parliamentary borough, the head of a poor-law union and county court district, and a parish in Staffordshire. The town stands on the Lyme Brook, a headstream of the river Trent, and on a branch of the Grand Trunk Canal, 2 miles W of Stoke-upon-Trent, 2 SW of Burslem, 16 NNW of Stafford, and 147 by rail from London. It has a station on the Stoke, Newcastle, and Market Drayton, and the Stoke, Newcastle, and Harecastle branches of the North Staffordshire railway, and a post, money order, and telegraph office, called Newcastle. It dates from remote times, and was a place of some consequence before the Norman Conquest, but had then another name. It was given by King John to Ranulph, Earl of Chester, and it passed to the Audleys, the Legraves, Simon de Montfort, Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, and John of Gaunt. A new castle was built here in the 12th century, in place of a Saxon stronghold at Chesterton, 2 miles north, and gave rise to the name Newcastle. The origin of the suffix Lyme is supposed to have been a " lyme" or forest which anciently extended over the NW portions of Staffordshire to the borders of Cheshire. The town has undergone great improvement of recent years, and has now wide, well-paved streets, and numerous fine buildings. It is well drained, and has an abundant water supply. The town-hall stands in the centre of the High Street; is a large, oblong brick edifice, supported by pillars; and is surmounted by a cupola containing an illuminated clock with four dials; the county courts, quarter sessions, and petty sessions are held here. The municipal buildings in the Ironmarket, erected in 1890, in the Flemish style, comprise a council chamber, an assembly-room, a school of art, and a free library. A spacious covered market, built in 1854, is in Penkhull Street. The Smithfield Cattle Market, in Friars' Street, was laid out in 1871. There are also Conservative, Liberal, and social clubs, a theatre, a temperance hall, and barracks now occupied by volunteers. Three ancient churches and a Black friary have disappeared. The parish church of St Giles was rebuilt in 1876, with the exception of the tower, and is a large, handsome edifice in the Early English and Decorated styles. The tower, partly Norman and partly Decorated, is lofty and well proportioned. It was completely restored at the expense of Mr F. Stanier in 1894. St George's Church, in Queen Street, was built in 1828 and restored in 1883. There are three mission churches, and Roman Catholic, Baptist, Congregational, New Connexion and Primitive Methodist, Wesleyan, and Unitarian chapels. The cemetery is at Friars' Wood, comprises about 11 acres, and has two mortuary chapels. The workhouse is in Keela Road, a short distance from the town. A grammar school was founded in 1602. Its original endowment, together with subsequent bequests for educational purposes, are administered under a scheme of the Endowed School Commissioners, for the benefit of three schools-the High School and the Middle School for boys, and Orme's School for girls. The High School, situated on an eminence SE of the town, is a red brick edifice in the Elizabethan style, and was opened in 1876; it has three exhibitions to the universities, and school scholarships. Almshouses for twenty poor women were founded in 1687 by the second Duke of Albemarle, son of George Monk, the famous Duke of Albemarle, and have an endowed income of £160.

The town has three banks, is a seat of petty sessions anp county courts, and publishes two weekly newspapers. Markets are held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays; fairs are held on the second Monday in January, Monday before Shrove Tuesday, Easter-Monday, Whit-Monday, the Monday before 15 July, the Monday after 11 September, and the first Monday of November. Fairs for cattle and horses are held monthly. Newcastle was once regarded as the capital of the Potteries, and though now having no claim whatever to that character, still carries on considerable business in connection with the Pottery towns. The manufacture of hats was formerly carried on very extensively, but has been discontinued. Brewing, malting, papermaking, tanning, and the manufacture of fustian, are the chief industries. There is a large factory, the Enderley Mills, where an enormous quantity of army clothing is made, both for home and foreign countries. Some trade in corn and flour is done, and there is an extensive trade in connection with neighbouring collieries and ironworks. The waste lands around the town were enclosed in 1816, and a portion of them are laid out as public recreation grounds. The town, first chartered by Henry II. or Henry III., is governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 18 councillors. The municipal borough comprises the parish of Newcastle-under-Lyme and a small portion of the parishes of Stoke-upon-Trent and Trentham. Population, 18,452. It is divided into two wards, and has a separate commission of the peace and a separate court of quarter sessions. The borough sent two members to Parliament from the time of Edward III. till 1885, when its representation was reduced to one. The parliamentary borough includes Tunstall and part of Wolstanton. Acreage, 6955; population, 54,184. Sir Ralph Bagenal, a courtier and soldier of the Tudor sovereigns, and General Harrison, the regicide, were natives; and Sergeant Bradshaw, who presided at the trial of Charles I., was recorder of the town. The town gives the title of Duke to the Pelham-Clinton family. Keele Hall, the seat of the Sneyds; Butterton Hall, the seat of the Pilkingtons; Swynnerton Park, the seat of the Fitzherberts; and Trentham Hall, a seat of the Duke of Sutherland, are in the vicinity.

The parish comprises 621 acres; population, 18,425. The ecclesiastical parish of St Giles was formerly a chapelry in Stoke-upon-Trent parish; population, 7229. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Lichfield; net value, £220. Patrons, Simeon's Trustees. The ecclesiastical parish of St George's was constituted in 1844. Population, 11,196. The living is a vicarage; net value, £400 with residence. Patron, the Rector of St Giles.

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

Administration

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

Ancient CountyStaffordshire 
Ecclesiastical parishNewcastle-Under-Lyme St. Giles 
HundredPirehill 
Poor Law unionNewcastle-under-Lyme 

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 Newcastle under Lyme


Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Newcastle under Lyme from the following:


Land and Property

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


Newspapers and Periodicals

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