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Penkridge's rich and varied History
by Robert Maddocks

Bob whets your appetite with these words which paint a wonderful picture of Penkridge in the past.  Will we ever be able to nip back and see it, I wonder.  The noise (different road sounds from today's A449), the smells (not fumes but more earthy smells), the poverty (of the majority) compared with today.  What I would really like to know is "Were they happy then?".  I bet they didn't think much about their past as we do now.  They didn't have the time!  So Bob - paint away......   

And if you want to take a look at your community even further back, then click here for Bob Maddock's Brief History of Penkridge in Anglo-Saxon times 
and his new Fragments from the History of Penkridge.   Also Lord Hatherton, Penkridge and the Railways (Part 1).     Mrs. Gaskell and the Penkridge connection

History of Penkridge MILL      BRITISH HISTORY ONLINE - PENKRIDGE     History of Penkridge Reading Room

Read some of the publications that are available about Penkridge detailed below
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Chose one place to stand and consider the history of Penkridge. Take for instance (if you dare) the middle of the A449. There can be few places in the land that so retain the monuments to a rich and distinguished history.

One can see St. Michael's Church, with its stone put in place in 1180 on land that had been holy since 850. The Church is built of Penkridge Stone. Looking back to the Chapel opened in 1934 one can see the same stone. A reminder of the days of great religious fervour and rivalries, the Methodists had decided to display their equality with the Church and build with the medieval material.

Dominating the scene is the Littleton Arms. Dating from the 18th century it stands on land once belonging to the church. A successful enterprise in the modern world, it is also a survival from the days when one family, the Littletons, dominated the village for nearly 400 years. Built after the style of Teddesley Hall it became the hub of the village. It hosted great balls for the local aristocracy and entertained the humblest tenants on the estate rent days. The law abiding went there to pay their taxes and the law defying to stand before the magistrates.

The Littleton Arms and the George and Fox are evidence of the days when Penkridge was a bustling centre of the golden age of coaching before the road was widened to accommodate the internal combustion engine. The Littleton survived physically, the George only in name. The traffic island on Crown Bridge, lacking the courage to edge out into the main road, is the forlorn ghost of a busy triangle of shops and houses that were at the heart of Penkridge before demolition in 1931. The antiquity of Penkridge is shown by the Railway Tavern. Named after the railway which came in 1837, for many years it was the newest pub in Penkridge despite displaying the wattle and daub of its Tudor origins.

The huge crowds and traffic congestion attracted by Penkridge's market are a continuation of the village's role in history. The site was and remains the area's cattle auction. Farming was central to the village's life and there was another, competing auction by the Railway Tavern. Above all, the village was famous for racehorses. Just around the corner from the A449 are the Horse and Jockey and the Horsefair but in the 18th century the narrow streets of the village were swamped, once a year, by horses, horsedealers, jockeys and gentlemen for the horse fair. Daniel Defoe said, in 1724, "In a word I believe I may mark it the greatest horsefair in the world for horses of value".

The true history of a place lies in the lives of its people. Many famous people knew and visited Penkridge, if only from the vantage point of Teddesley Hall. They included the Duke of Wellington, Sir Robert Peel, Handel, John Wesley, Alexis de Tocqueville, Daniel Defoe and George Orwell. The essence of the history of Penkridge, lies with its people. Protected from the noise and bustle of the main road by the churchyard wall lie the remains of the people of Penkridge, the 18th century names and epitaphs gradually fading as the result of 20th century pollution. In front of the wall, probably obscured by parked cars, the memorial to the dead of the two world wars. So, in one spot, in the midst of the noise and congestion of the busiest part of Penkridge one can see the outline of its history.  It is worth knowing and worth preserving.                                                                                 

Robert Maddocks 2012 (Penkridge History Contacts)

482Bull Bridge South.jpg (13509 bytes)

littleton2.jpg (8913 bytes)

A449 looking south from Bull Bridge Year 2000

Littleton Arms in the year 2000

Clicking on Pennocrucium will take you to a site all about the Romano-British Fortified Town west of Gailey

And clicking on GENUKI will take you to the Penkridge Genealogical Site for those interested in Family History

A Vision of Penkridge through Time  - 1801 to 2001 including maps, statistical trends and historical descriptions

Penkridge in Times Past - "Fragments from the History of Penkridge" - Website of Local Historian Robert Maddocks, author of several books on the history of our community

 

Some of the People who helped write Penkridge's latest Local History Publication which is named
"OUR NOBLE SELVES - PICTURES OF PENKRIDGE PEOPLE 1860 TO 1980"

Below is a list of publications which relate in part or whole to the history of the Parish and Community of Penkridge:

Title

Author

Publisher

 
"Always on My Mind" - Pictures of Penkridge People II Robert Maddocks - with the help of about 100 "Penkridge People". Great Marsh Publications - March 2012
  Printed by The Russell Press
Softback - 194 pp obtainable from Sally's Hardware Shop and Hawkins Electrical, Penkridge, or from the Town Crier.
10 post and packing extra
The History of St. Michael's School, Penkridge, 1536 - 1926 Philip Gollings  Great Marsh Publications - June 2011
 
Printed by The Russell Press
Softback - 230 pp obtainable from Sally's Hardware Shop and Hawkins Electrical, Penkridge, or from the Town Crier
10 post and packing extra
"Our Noble Selves - Pictures of the People of Old Penkridge I Robert Maddocks - with the help of about 90 "Penkridge People".  Great Marsh Publications - Oct 2010
 
Printed by The Russell Press
Softback - 168 pp obtainable from Hawkins Electrical, Sally's Hardware Shop, Penkridge.  or from the Town Crier.  10 post and packing extra.
"Looking for an Angel" - Searching for the origins of the "The White Hart" in Penkridge.  Photos, maps. Written by Mike Dawson and Published in the Staffordshire History Journal Vol.49. Published in Vol. 49 (Spring 2009) of the Journal "Staffordshire History" Softback A5 size.  21pp obtainable from Bevan Craddock, (Hon. Treasurer, Staffs. History Journal).  5
Email:  publications at staffshistory dot org dot uk    or via the Town Crier
The Shops, Businesses and Trades of Old Penkridge - information retrieved from newspapers, old maps, and the memories of today's citizens of Penkridge.  Lots of photos. Robert Maddocks - with the help of over 40 elderly residents of Penkridge  Great Marsh Publications 2009
  Printed by The Russell Press
 
Softback A5 size.  159pp obtainable from Hawkins Electrical, Sally's Hardware Shop, Penkridge.  8 postage extra
Out of Print
The Shops, Businesses and Trades of Old Penkridge - A list of businesses retrieved from 49 Trade Directories covering over 150 years 1793 - 1947 Robert Maddocks  Great Marsh Publications 2009
 
Printed by The Russell Press
Softback A5 size.  24pp obtainable from Hawkins Electrical, Sally's Hardware Shop, Penkridge.  2 postage extra

The Swan-Ingram Connection in Penkridge
- an insight into an old Penkridge family and an extinct Alehouse - now a well known site in the centre of the town.
 
Written by Mike Dawson, retired Headmaster of Marshbrook School.  Published in Vol. 48 (Autumn 2008) of the Journal "Staffordshire History" Softback A5 size.   25pp obtainable from Bevan Craddock, (Hon. Treasurer, Staffs. History Journal).  5 
Email: publications at staffshistory dot org dot uk   or  via the Town Crier
Who Lived in Penkridge in 1901?
based on the 1901 Census
Robert Maddocks Great Marsh Publications 2008
 
Softback booklet A5 - 85pp including households, 1901 maps,  and some new photographs and biographical details.
Out of Print.
 
The Open Fields in the Cuttlestone Hundred - an insight into early farming in this area - a Gazetteer of Staffordshire Open Fields Written by Fred J Johnson who spent over 30 years and made it his mission in life to identify and map the open fields in every Staffordshire settlement.  A monumental task and at the time of his death in 2003 the work was not completed.  Published in the Staffordshire History Journal. What was completed was his work on Cuttlestone Hundred and as a celebration of Fred's life and work this is published as a special edition of Staffordshire History Volume 44 Autumn 2006. 
In Penkridge it includes the settlements of: Bickford, Congreve, Coppenhall, Dunston, Levedale, Otherton, Pillaton, Preston, Rodbaston, Stretton, Water Eaton. Neighbouring Parishes are also included.
Softback A4 size 100 pp including maps.  Obtainable from Bevan Craddock (Hon. Treasurer, Staffs. History Journal).  5  via the Town Crier
The Diaries of The First Lord Hatherton - Extracts from the personal diary, between the years 1817-1862 Transcribed by Mark Southall.  Foreword by Anthony Littleton and Introduction by Robert Maddocks

Printed and bound by The Cromwell Press, 2003

Hardback -  (out of print)
Penkridge in the late seventeenth century By Rose Wheat Penkridge Civic Society 2009 Hardback 9.95  Softback 6.95
Hawkins Electrical, Hardware Shop, Old Gaol.
Penkridge: A Capital Village
(old photographs of Penkridge)
Collated by David Calcroft

Penkridge Civic Society 2003

Hardback - from The Old Gaol (Wednesday & Saturday).
Wartime Childhood in the Country - Memories of Penkridge and Coven from 1939 to 1946 Byron Gollings Byron Gollings, 2003 By post (3.50) from B Gollings, 88 Wealdstone, Telford,  TF7 5PU.
Penkridge: 1930 to 1970
The Day Before Yesterday

The memories of today's citizens of Penkridge
Robert Maddocks Penkridge Parish Council, 2002 Softback Book in Print - 5
available from Hawkins Electrical and Sally's Harware Shop, Penkridge, or the Town Crier, 222 pages.  5 plus postage & packing
The Good Old Grit - A History of the People of Penkridge 1270 - 1939 Robert Maddocks Penkridge Parish Council, 1994 Hardback Book In Print - available from Sally's Harware, Hawkins Electrical, Penkridge, or the Town Crier, 242 pages  5 plus postage & packing
The Story of Penkridge - A History of Penkridge up to 1936 Robert Charles Wilkes Penkridge Parish Council, 1985 Hardback Book In Print - 1.50 available from Penkridge Parish Council. 190 pages
A Short History of the Parish
Church, Penkridge
compiled by O. Law Re-issued by
the Parochial Church Council, 1962
Out of Print, rare, 10 pages, 10 photos
A History of Penkridge, in the county of Stafford James Carpenter Tildesley John Steen & Co., 1886 Hardback Book Out of Print - secondhand copies scarce, 88 pages
Some notes on the history of Brewood in Staffordshire David Horovitz the author, Kiddemore Cottage, Brewood, Stafford ST19 9BH, 1988 Hardback Book In Print - available from the author or local shops. 416 pages
Penkridge Street Names and their origins Robert Charles Wilkes Penkridge Parish Council, 1986 Softback Booklet
Brewood and Penkridge in old Photographs collected by Adrienne S Whitehouse Alan Sutton, 1988 Softback Booklet In Print, 143 pages
Penkridge - A brief village history and a selection of local walks Parish Council Working Group Penkridge Parish Council, 1976, 1978, 1992 Softback Booklet In Print - 1.50 available from Penkridge Parish Council, 61 pages
An Historic Walk through Penkridge Stephen Bate Penkridge Civic Society, 1990 Illustrated leaflet
Penkridge Parish Map Penkridge Civic Society Penkridge Civic Society Out of Print A3 folded map
Canal Heritage Trail Penkridge Civic Society Penkridge Civic Society A4 folded illustrated leaflet
Penkridge Schools Heritage Trail Penkridge Civic Society Penkridge Civic Society A4 folded illustrated leaflet
Old Map of Penkridge dated 1889-1890 Click on the link to the left and it will take you to the OS Web Site and the map Ordnance Survey First Edition  
South Staffordshire "Reviewed"   South Staffs. DC Softback book. 4.99 from Penkridge Parish Council
Shotton, F. W. & Strachan, I. (1959) The investigation of a peat moor at Rodbaston, Penkridge, Staffordshire. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 115, 115.

If you are interested in the wider history of Staffordshire, then visit the County History web site at:  http://www.staffshistory.org.uk

Penkridge Tokens (coinage) in 1665!

Did you know Penkridge had its own currency many years ago?  Ion Phillipes, Mercer (Textile and Silk trader) of Penkridge, had a Token issued in his name.  On the heads side it was inscribed "Iohn Phillipes - his half peny" and on the tails side "IN Pancridge 1665" and The Mercers' Arms.  It was made in both copper and brass.   It is not known how many were made.  Has anyone in Penkridge got one of these today?  In the seventeenth century, only 31 towns in Staffordshire had their own tokens.  For Penkridge to have one, showed how important the town was then for trade in textiles.  Every person who issued these tokens was obliged to take them again when brought to him.    Tradesmen who accepted them would then take them to Mr Phillipes and he would change them into silver.

penkridgecoin.jpg (50095 bytes)
Taken from "Staffordshire Tokens and their place in the coinage of England" by E A Watkin - North Staffordshire Journal of Field Studies, Volume 1 1961. 

Pennocrucium

Below are two old Photographs of Penkridge and some of its people in the 1920's?   Can anyone help with identifying places and people and anything else the photographs can tell you?   They were unearthed by a lady researching the Lyon's Family History and the one photograph shows the Lyons Hardware Shop where Jaspers is now on Crown Bridge.   The other photograph is of a ceremony containing Cubs and Scouts and the band of the Boys Brigade??   But where is it in Penkridge and is that a schoolteacher wearing his mortarboard on the left.  And what is the boy in the centre of the picture presenting I wonder?
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