NEEDWOOD-FOREST, a district, in the N. division of the hundred of Offlow and of the county of Stafford, formerly extra-parochial, but now included in the parishes of Hanbury, Tatenhill, Tutbury, and Yoxhall, to which it was allotted for inclosure. The forest, in its ancient state, was divided into five wards, called Barton, Marchington, Tutbury, Yoxhall, and Uttoxeter; and included thirteen parks, which were given to the earls of Mercia. The kings of England often enjoyed the diversion of hunting here, down to the time of Charles I., whose sales and gifts of various parts of the tract caused a great portion to be disafforested. In 1797 the forest consisted of the four first-named wards only, each having its separate lodge and keeper, and then comprised nearly 10,000 acres; it was wholly inclosed by act of parliament in 1801, up to which period no fewer than twenty-two neighbouring townships had right of pasturage upon it, independently of a numerous herd of deer belonging to the king. The district is still under the superintendence of a lieutenant, chief ranger, surveyor or axe-bearer, four keepers, &c.; and the queen's steward of the honour of Tutbury holds an annual court for the forest, called the Woodmote. It now contains many elegant mansions, with extensive parks. A church, called Christ-Church in Needwood, was erected from funds left by Isaac Hawkins, Esq., and consecrated in 1809: it is a handsome structure, situated at an equal distance from each of the parochial churches, and the living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Crown; net income, £150. Certain portions of the tithes were commuted for land and a money payment under the act of inclosure.
Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.