Cannock (St. Luke)

CANNOCK (St. Luke), a parish, in the union of Penkridge, E. division of the hundred of Cuttlestone, S. division of the county of Stafford, 8 miles (N. by W.) from Walsall; containing, with the townships of Cannock-Wood, Hednesford cum Leacroft, Huntington, and Great Wyrley, 2852 inhabitants, of whom 1125 are in the township of Cannock. This place was a forest or chace belonging to the Mercian kings, and is supposed to have derived its name from Canute, the first Danish king of England. The parish is situated on the road between Walsall and Stafford, and comprises by computation 20,000 acres, about half of which is still uninclosed on Cannock Chace, a heath about 12 miles long, and from 3 to 5 wide. Of the tithable lands, 4497 acres are arable, 1830 meadow and pasture, 668 wood, and 2993 common: in Cannock township are 1510a. 3r. 26p. There are collieries at Wyrley, Church-Bridge, and other places, in some of which is found a peculiar description of ironstone, called Cannock stone, which oxygenates so rapidly as to be capable of much useful application; and a fine white gravel is found, excellently adapted to ornamental walks. The Liverpool and Birmingham railway passes through Penkridge, about four miles from the village of Cannock; and a canal has been cut at a great expense, by the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal Company, from Church-Bridge, to meet the canal at Galey, three miles off. The village is supplied with water by means of a conduit, and leaden pipes from Leacroft, about a mile distant, constructed by Bishop Hough. There is a manufactory for edge-tools at Wedges-Mill, which affords employment to about 100 persons; the coal used is from the immediate neighbourhood. A market was formerly held on Tuesday, but is discontinued; fairs, however, are held on May 8th, August 24th, and October 18th, principally for cattle and sheep.

The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield, and has a net income of £144: the tithes have been commuted for £1217. 6.; a good glebe-house was built in 1842, and attached to it is half an acre of glebe land. The church is a very ancient edifice of stone, in the early English style, with a square tower. The parish is remarkable as having been the first curacy held by the famous Dr. Sacheverell. At Wyrley is a living in the gift of the Incumbent of Cannock. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans. A school founded by John Wood was, in 1727, enfeoffed by Thos. Wood with land, the income of which is £8 per annum; and John Biddulph, Esq., gave a meadow for the use of the master. In 1725, Mrs. M. Chapman bequeathed a small sum for education; the endowment altogether produces about £20 per annum, with a house and two acres of land. A national school was endowed by Mrs. Walhouse (mother of Lord Hatherton), who died in 1843. Castle Ring, situated on the summit of Castle Hill, near Beaudesert Park, the seat of the Marquess of Anglesey, part of which is in the township of Cannock, is supposed to have been a British encampment: it is nearly a circular area of eight or ten acres, surrounded by a double trench occupying three or four acres more; and near it are the remains of a moat inclosing an oblong of about three acres, named the Old Nunnery, where a Cistercian abbey was founded in the reign of Stephen, which was shortly after removed to Stoneleigh, in Warwickshire. A similar inclosure at a small distance is called the Moat Bank. At Leacroft was formerly a mineral spring of great repute.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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