Draycot-in-the-Moors (St. Margaret)

DRAYCOT-IN-THE-MOORS (St. Margaret), a parish, in the union of Cheadle, S. division of the hundred of Totmonslow, N. division of the county of Stafford, 7½ miles (N. E.) from Stone; containing 550 inhabitants. This parish is situated on the road from Uttoxeter to Newcastle-under-Lyme, and intersected by the river Blyth; and comprises 3880a. 3r. 17p., whereof 240 acres are wood, and 69 common or waste: the scenery is pleasing. Red sandstone is quarried for building; and the sinking of a shaft for coal was commenced, at Draycot Cross, in 1844. About half a mile to the east of the village is the hamlet of Totmonslow, which gives name to the hundred, and where the hundred court was formerly held; it is supposed to have been anciently a place of some importance. Sir Edward Vavasour, Bart., is lord of the manor. The late baronet introduced the allotment system, which greatly conduces to the comfort and prosperity of the poorer inhabitants: thirty-six allotments of land are at present let at a nominal rent; and further encouragement is afforded by a parochial agricultural society.

The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £9. 6. 8., and in the patronage of Sir E. Vavasour: the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £423. 5. 3.; and the glebe contains 48 acres, valued at £130 per annum, with a glebe-house, almost entirely rebuilt in 1840. The nave of the church and upper part of the tower were rebuilt in 1735; but the rector's chancel and the patron's chancel (a mortuary chapel on the north) are very ancient. In the south side of the former chancel are a piscina and three sedilia, and a fine altar-tomb of the 16th century, with recumbent effigies, and small sculptured statues on the sides; and in the other chancel or chantry, are five altar-tombs, the earliest that of a Knight Templar. The church also contains some fine old monuments of the Draycot family; and in the churchyard is a pyramidal stone, similar to those stones with which the Danes marked the depositories of their deceased heroes. In 1839 a neat and commodious school-house, close to the church, was built by the Rev. E. C. Sneyd Kynnersley, the then rector, aided by the principal Protestant farmers in the parish; and a school is supported by Sir E. Vavasour, who, among other annual charities, gives the rent of the manor-mill to be distributed in flour to the poor. Painsley Hall, in the parish, was a place of some note in the civil wars; it was the manor-house of the Draycot family, and parts of the old building are still remaining: the present occupant, a few years since, filled up the moat by which it was surrounded. This Hall seems to have been a refuge for Roman Catholics in times of religious peril, and one of its rooms was used by them for the celebration of mass, which was secretly performed with closed doors. Joseph Rees, a shepherd, of Totmonslow hamlet, lived to the age of 127 years; and Hannah Barnes, of Draycot village, who died in 1777, lived to 100 years.—See the article on Creswell.

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