Book: The Royal Manor of Penkhull and the surrounding areas of Stoke and Newcastle.

Interested in history? Order now while stocks last!

Then this book on the ancient manor and village of Penkhull will be a must for your bookshelf. Written by local author Dr. Richard Talbot, MBE. M.Phil. F.R.Hist.S. is the sixth book he has written since his history of Stoke Ancient parish some forty years ago. But this book will surpass all other books written on the area as it will contain over 300,000 words, 496 pictures, maps and diagrams. It will be bigger than Wards history of Stoke, 1843 and larger than Warrillow’s Sociological History of Stoke-on-Trent, 1960.

Price now reduced to clear the remaining stock to £15.00 plus UK p.p. £5 total £20 (UK pp charge only)

To place your order use bank transfer to – R  Talbot sort 30-95-91 account 00540183

and send an email to the following with your name and address and it will be posted to you

Richard over the last thirty years has become one of the leading historians of the area. He lectures in adult education, regularly speaks on local radio, contributes to the local press and gives talks on a regular basis throughout North Staffordshire.

This is a book for reading, not a book just of pictures with a few captions. It is a book packed with information about the area commencing from the Ice Age, the Iron Age, the Roman occupation, the Bronze Age, the Middle Ages, the industrial revolution right up to the present day containing information researched over the last twenty years and two years in the making.

The early invaders into this area have left evidence dating from the middle Neolithic period in the form of a flint arrow head, bronze-age incense cup and a stone axe head.

It was from a period of nearly 5,000 years ago that the village of Penkhull was created, probable because of its elevated and defensive situation standing above the River Trent and the Lyme Brook. Penkhull was a Royal Manor from the time of William the Conqueror to at least 1308, the time of Edwards II before it became absorbed into the Royal Manor of Newcastle-under-Lyme. The men of Penkhull provided guard at the castle as a form of rental.

Following the demise of the castle, Penkhull became the seat for the Manorial Courts in what is now the Greyhound Inn. These Manor Court records dating from 1350 have survived and Mr. Talbot over the last 20 years has studied these and has the largest data-base of manor court records for the Manor of Newcastle-under-Lyme in the world. It is from these records that much of the history of the area has been obtained, material that has never been used by any previous historian which helps to paint a picture of life from the middle ages to the present day. The contents of this new book will re-write previously held thoughts on the history of the area.

The book consists of twenty-three chapters that cover every aspect the history of the ancient Royal Manor. Each has been meticulously researched by the author and the book represents an accurate record of events based entirely upon original research. It is not someone else’s work, which in many cases only perpetuates misconceptions of history based upon writings in some cases of five hundred years ago such as the origins of Newcastle written by Camden in the 16th century.

In fact, the origins of the Borough and the town are explored in the context of Domesday, which despite not being recorded in Domesday was in existence and was actually part of the Trentham entry. The site of the castle moat remained part of Stoke-upon-Trent until 1875.

The material for each subject has been placed into context with both national and local events and comparisons drawn from statistics from elsewhere to show how life in North Staffordshire compared from that in other areas.
Who were the first invaders and what would their settlement consist of? Pagan worship was part of life and the subject of human sacrifice will be covered and so will the origins of Stoke Church which in all probability replaced a druid circle as Christianity took hold.

The list is certainly wide-ranging: In the Beginning, Domesday Penkhull, The Royal Manor of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Land and Agriculture, Law and Order, Medieval Hospital, Changing Nature of Population, The Royal Manor of Penkhull, Land Occupation, The Kingdom of Spode, Concern of the Poor, Penkhull Cottage Homes, Pubs and Beerhouse, Road Network, Business and Trade, Church and Chapel, Education, Homes for the Working Classes, The War Years, The Destruction of old Penkhull, The Greyhound Inn, Court Rolls and The Urbanisation of Penkhull.

No matter what aspect of interest the reader of local history may have there is something to be found in this huge work for every taste and a serious interest to students and scholars throughout the country.

In the Beginning: Not only is this book describing Penkhull from the melting of the ice, the first invaders into the area but also a full explanation of the discoveries which prove that Penkhull was inhabited some 4,000 years ago. The movement to the Bronze Age, through the Iron Age, the Roman occupation nearby, the Anglo-Saxon settlement which brought stability and order make interesting reading.

For the first time the account of Domesday in 1086 will be explored with its implications. A full analogy of the wording is placed into context with other Domesday settlements and particular the boundaries to this royal manor stretching right to the centre of the town of Newcastle, to almost Hanley in the north and down to Hanford in the south. With the use of ancient records, a map is drawn of those seventeen original homesteads of Domesday, something very impressive. Then what does the name of Penkhull mean, what were the various spellings. How did the new Norman rulers treat the villagers with regards to punishments if caught hunting in the Royal forests? All will be revealed.

Penkhull was to become a part of the Royal Manor of Newcastle, but the records of when it was a manor in its own rite are recorded to show just how important the village was in those far off days when agriculture was the means by which the community earned its living. It draws conclusions between itself and the other manors surrounding Penkhull. Surveys and numerous documents the earliest of which dates from 1414 following a visit of the ‘Black Death’ to the 18th century show a changing community as its stands alongside the market town of Newcastle and not the town of Stoke.

The records for the manor courts held for around four hundred years in an old farmhouse in the centre of the village have survived. This is now ‘The Greyhound Inn’. One chapter is set aside for the purpose of explaining first the manorial legal system and the contents and purpose of the courts from 1350 onwards and how the law under the feudal system was administered. They tell a story all of their own of how all the land was owned by the Duchy of Lancaster as lord of the manor.

Despite the land being owned by the Duchy, the general administration of the area and not the land was carried out under the parochial system being a part of the ancient parish of Stoke-upon-Trent, which at one time alongside the parish of Stone, was the largest and certainly the wealthiest parish in England.

The history provides a full account of the rise of the Primitive Methodism and the early pioneers who built the chapel in 1836 and the beginning of the Sunday schools for both church and chapel attempting to out-do each other. It provides an illuminating history of the origins of the Parish Church on the former manor waste in the centre of the village.
A medieval hospital once stood of the site of the current University Hospital. Excavations some eight years ago exposed the few remains. For the first time the findings, with photographs and brief history of this hospital right on the door-step of Penkhull is included.
If the Greyhound Inn was searched on the web most of what is found, and there is a great deal on the subject, probably 90% is fantasy, or copied from previous articles without any original research being undertake. With the availability of the court records the history is given from the late 16th century to the present day, listing all the various owners over the centuries and their involvement with Penkhull.

The court records, all neatly transcribed give a wonderful overview of how Penkhull was run from the middle of the 14th century. During the Commonwealth period the manor was given over to a local butcher’s son from High Street, Newcastle who rose to 2nd in command under Cromwell, Maj. General Thomas Harrison. He is recorded as holding court at Penkhull and indicates if Penkhull remained loyal to the Crown or the Parliamentarians.
Agriculture was the main occupation of Penkhull folk supplying the needs of both Newcastle and Stoke until the years between the wars. There were three original ‘open fields’ and the workers not only cultivated their own sections, but also those belonging to the crown as a form of rental. Full accounts of who owned what, fields and the early road network are covered with an explanation of how names appeared such as Honeywall, Grindley Hill, Hunters Way, Brisley Hill and others.

Moving on to the early 19th century the chapter of ‘The Kingdom of Spode’ containing some 26,000 words covers all the aspects of the ownership or rental of the vast majority Penkhull during the reign of Spode II and III. Also, a full account of the building of Spode’s new home, The Mount, together with a history of other occupiers including that of a girl’s finishing school until the huge estate was split up and sold in the latter part of the 19th century.

Furthermore, the development from a mediaeval village which for hundreds of years remained in a time-warp to what we have today forms the basis of changing nature of population and land ownership until the concluding chapter of urbanisation. But not forgetting the massive demolition of 80% of the village in the 1960’s by the city council as an exercise in early social engineering despite universal opposition. The blame was placed firmly on the shoulders of the Vicar at the time.

Many will recall ‘Dads Army’ that series on the T.V. Well Penkhull has its own Dads Army, Penkhull Home Guard. Here actual recordings of those involved made some 38 years ago by the author have been transcribed. Together with the abundance of church magazines and the vicars war diary a history of life in the village has been accomplished, even down to food and petrol rationing. This chapter containing some 15,000 words is packed from beginning to end of events, many funny, as well as sad as the names of the boys going to war are recorded as lost, or their bodies are returned to Penkhull for burial.

On the happier side, during the 1930s the vicar Rev. V.G. Aston wrote and produced a series on annual Revue type shows under the title of Penkhull Belles. Pictures and reports have survived as have that series of over 20 annual Christmas Pantomimes presented by Penkhull Methodists Chapel. The pictures of these and the memories take pride of place.

On a much sadder note, the now North Staffs University Hospital is built on the same site as the once old Stoke-upon-Trent Parish Workhouse, the Spittals. A chapter entitled ‘Concern of the Poor’ covers the history of this and all the sadness of daily life never previously research and presented. It unfolds a story of sadness on how the poor were housed, segregated, almost starved to death, just because there were poor. The history covers the first parish workhouse which dates from the early 16th century in the village of Penkhull until 1832 and uses information never previously known of whereby the church thought of sending all the poor to a new workhouse to be built at Wetley Rocks.

In 1901 the Guardians of the Poor decided to segregate the children from adults giving them a better chance of life in a system of care. They were re-housed in Penkhull Cottage Homes, a group of houses, still standing. Here research has been done on the minute books of the home, even though they are not available to the general public and other research at Kew. These together with interviews of many of the children at the home brings such sadness to many as they record their lives in the home and the physical punishments dished out to some each day. Many from these homes were sent to training ships with harsh treatment, even the birch. Others were sent to Canada and Australia to work on the land from the ages of 9 years to 16 years. This chapter consists of over 19,000 words the saddest chapter the author has ever undertaken to write. These two chapters alone will significantly widen the knowledge of the poor and their children as never before. It is a record of social history not previously attempted in North Staffordshire and will contribute well for students of the subject.

The last chapter ‘Urbanisation of Penkhull’ covers the development of the village from the early 1800’s to that of today. Almost the story of every street in the village is told. Who were the important people? What shops, pubs and beer houses were there? What were the important properties? The collection of documents, photographs and deeds included in this chapter is phenomenal. Many will bring back such happy memories. During this period the ‘Grove’ was attacked during the Chartist Riots in 1842 and therefore an almost blow-to-blow account is written covering the issues both in Penkhull and other parts of the city.

These are just a fraction of the subjects covered and with twenty-three chapters to choose from there is something for everyone. Never has there before been such a wide-ranging study made of the area, the implications of which will transform the knowledge of this part of North Staffordshire.

How to purchase this book

This book may be obtained from Dr. Talbot, Meadow House, Meadow Lane, Fulford, Staffordshire ST11 9RZ. Hanley Museum also stock this book.
Original price – Hard Back £25.  now reduced to £15 plus £5 postage UK

Price now reduced to clear the remaining stock to £15.00 plus UK p.p. £5 total £20. (UK delivery charge only)

To place your order use bank transfer to
Dr R Talbot
sort 30-95-91 account 00540183
and send an email to the following with your name and address and it will be posted to you