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Stoke-upon-Trent (St. Peter ad Vincula)

STOKE-UPON-TRENT (St. Peter ad Vincula), a newly-enfranchised borough, market-town, and parish, forming a union of itself, in the N. division of the hundred of Pirehill and of the county of Stafford, 1¾ mile (E.) from Newcastle-under-Lyme, and 150 miles (N. W. by N.) from London; the parish containing 48,055 inhabitants. This important parish includes the district parishes of Bucknall, Longton, and Shelton, the town of Hanley, the chapelry of Lane-End, and the townships of Boothen, Botteslow, Clayton, Fenton-Culvert, Fenton-Vivian, Penkhull, and Seabridge. It comprises about two-thirds of the populous district called the Potteries, and the town, in common with various others in the parish and in this part of the county, is indebted for its increase and importance to the numerous potteries established in the neighbourhood. Stoke is situated on the river Trent, is amply supplied with water, and, with the adjoining townships of Fenton and Longton, is lighted with gas from works erected by subscription on the bank of the Trent and Mersey canal. Very considerable improvements have taken place within the last few years; many good houses have been built, and new streets formed opening into the glebe and other lands. A spacious and elegant stone building, also, has been erected for a town-hall, of which the first stone was laid in September 1834, by the late John Tomlinson, Esq., of Cliff Ville, chairman of the subscribers to the undertaking. An act for establishing a market was passed in 1845. The principal manufactures are of china and earthenware in all their various branches, for which there are several very extensive establishments; the largest are those of Messrs. Copeland and Garrett, Messrs. Minton and Hollins, and Messrs. William Adams and Sons. The Trent and Mersey canal, and a branch from it to Newcastle, pass through the town, affording great facility of communication; and on their banks are numerous wharfs, warehouses, mills, and other buildings. In connexion with the canal is a tramroad to Longton, for the conveyance of goods. An act was passed in 1846 for a railway from Macclesfield, through the district of the Potteries, to Colwich, on the Trent-Valley line. By the act 2nd of William IV., cap. 45, this town, with others in the Potteries, was constituted a borough, with the privilege of sending two members to parliament: the right of election is vested in the £10 householders of a district comprising 7084 acres: the returning officer is appointed by the sheriff. In 1839, an act was obtained for establishing an effective police in Stoke, Fenton, Longton, and Trentham, and for improving and cleansing the streets; commissioners with certain qualifications are appointed for carrying the act into operation, and out of their body a chief bailiff is appointed.

The rectory of Stoke was originally much more extensive; it has at different times been subdivided, and parts of it formed into distinct parishes and rectories. In the year 1807 an act was passed for separating from it the chapelries of Newcastle, Burslem, Whitmore, Bucknall with Bagnall, and Norton-on-the-Moors, which are now distinct rectories, though Bucknall and Bagnall still form part of this parish for civil purposes. In 1827, the late Mr. Tomlinson, the patron, procured an act of parliament authorising the sale, to the respective landowners, of all tithes and dues belonging to the rectory, and for the endowment of two new churches, at Shelton and Longton. The living of Stoke is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £41. 0. 10.; net. income, £2717. The old church is supposed to have been built before the Conquest, and is mentioned in the Taxation of Pope Nicholas in 1291, with its chapels annexed, and valued at 60 marks. Being not only too small for the increased population, but also in a state of decay, it was taken down, and in 1826 a new church was erected near its site, at an expense of more than £14,000, of which the greater part was raised by subscription, £3300 were given by Dr. Woodhouse, the rector, and the remainder was obtained by the sale of pews, and by parochial rates. It is a handsome structure in the later English style: the east window, presented by Dr. Woodhouse, is a fine specimen of stained glass, after the antique, containing fifteen well-executed figures of the Apostles and Evangelists; and in four side windows are the arms of the bishop, archdeacon, rector, and patron, and of some of the principal contributors. In the chancel are several monuments of statuary marble by eminent sculptors; those of the late Josiah Wedgwood, Esq., of Etruria, and Mrs. Wedgwood, were removed from the old church. The churchyard contains nearly five acres, and is fenced with a stone-wall and iron-railing. The parsonagehouse, at a small distance from the church, has been enlarged and modernised from the funds of the rectory. The other incumbencies in the parish are those at Bucknall, Edensor, Etruria, Fenton, Hanley, Hartshill, Hope, Lane-End, Longton, Northwood, Penkhull, Shelton, Trent-Vale, and Wellington. In the town are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Wesleyans, Primitive Methodists, and Methodists of the New Connexion; and a national school supported by subscription, and by an allotment of one-third of the proceeds arising from Dr. Woodhouse's permanent endowment. Dr. John Lightfoot, the eminent Hebrew scholar, was born in the rectory-house, in 1602.

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