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Penkridge (St. Michael)

PENKRIDGE (St. Michael), a parish, and the head of a union, partly in the W., but chiefly in the E., division of the hundred of Cuttlestone, S. division of the county of Stafford, 6 miles (S.) from Stafford, and 128 (N. W.) from London; containing, with the chapelries of Coppenhall, Dunston, and Stretton, 3129 inhabitants, of whom 2488 are in the township of Penkridge. This place is of great antiquity, and is supposed by Camden to have been the Roman Pennocrucium. Part of its modern name is evidently deduced from the river Penk, on which it stands; but whether the remainder denotes the bank of this stream, or is a corruption of bridge, is a matter of conjecture. The town consists chiefly of two streets. The Bull bridge, which here crosses the Penk by several small arches, was erected a few years ago; and about half a mile higher up the river is the ancient Cuttlestone bridge, which gives name to the hundred. There are some iron-works. The Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal passes to the east; and here is a station of the Liverpool and Birmingham railway, which crosses the Penk by a noble viaduct of six arches. The market, held on Tuesday, is now disused; but fairs take place on April 30th, Sept. 2nd, and Oct. 10th, the first of which is said to be one of the greatest marts for cattle in the kingdom, and the second is a noted horsefair. Races are held in September, upon a course on the north side of the town. The petty-sessions for the east and west divisions of the hundred are occasionally held here. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £189; patron and impropriator, Lord Hatherton, whose tithes in Penkridge township have been commuted for £532: the incumbent has a glebe of one acre, and a new house in the cottage style. The church is principally in the later English style, with an east window of decorated character; it was made collegiate by King John, and given by him to the see of Dublin, the archbishop being dean, with thirteen prebendaries, whose revenues, at the Reformation, were valued at £106. 15. 1. In each of the three chapelries is a separate incumbency. Here is a place of worship for Methodists. In 1731, Francis Sherratt gave land for the education of boys, producing, with other bequests, £36 per annum; and in 1819, schoolrooms were built by Lord Hatherton, in which children are instructed at his expense on the national system, aided by the endowment. The poorlaw union of Penkridge comprises 21 parishes or places, and contains a population of 16,074. Congreve, a hamlet in the parish, long the seat of an ancient family of the same name, is the birthplace of the learned divine and critic, Dr. Richard Hurd, Bishop of Worcester, who died in the year 1808.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.

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