Friends of Penkhull from around the world

This page has been added as the hits onto this site come from most countries of the world. In fact there are in excess of 8,000 in the first year and growing. Must be the most popular local history site  in the world. 

This pages gives the opportunity for those ex-pats to link up again with friends of the past. So all you need to do is to post your name, contact details and your memories of Penkhull

This email arrived yesterday 15th March 2019 all the way from New Mexico. Delighted that she wrote to me and I have just responded in return. If you have a contribution or just a message and want to say Hi please reply on the contact email address.

Jennifer Huntsberger wrote:

By chance I have just found your web page. I am thrilled to find myself, and some childhood friends, in the school photographs within your article on Boothen.
I have vague memories of old terraced houses on Boothen Green but I’m too young to remember the canal. As a child we walked, and played, along the new Coronation Gardens that replaced the canal. The Timothy Trout memorial , at the bottom of James Street, was a reminder for the dangers of canal waters. All Saints church, across the road from the school, featured greatly in our lives.
 The area from The Villas to Regents Street has seen many changes over my 70 years. When I return to Stoke from my home in the US I always hope that it is on an upswing and back to the nurturing place of my childhood.

Jennifer,  Las Cruces, New Mexico

Interesting that hits are received from Kyiv in the Ukrane, Oregon in the USA, Canada, India, New Zealand and loads of other countries. Would be great to hear from those logging on if they have connections with Penkhull or just enjoy this site for its contents.

A letter received from Nick Jay regarding information requested if anyone knows of a lady who may have worked at the Mount Blind and Deaf school in the 50s or 60s. If you recall this person, please write to contact at email address.

Hello Richard, Just been looking through your website – with particular regard to the Cottage Homes and the forum, both of which I found interesting.

Obviously a *LOT* of hard work and time has gone into it! So maybe you or one of your readers could help me – I am researching the family tree of a friend of mine who is trying to learn more about his mother – Frances May Whipp (b Dec 1932 in Uttoxeter; d February 1989 in

Blackpool) she was 59. My friend believes she worked (may have? at the Mount School for deaf and blind (it seems to have many different names which is confusing as I don’t know the area myself, living in Manchester as I do) and whilst today I’ve learned that the Stoke on Trent Archives Service hold records for the school (SD 1224) I have no idea which records these may hold and whether or not all records were handed over.

So he seems to think she may have worked at the school in the 50s until some time in the 60s. I don’t suppose during your research for your books and/or website you’d have any notes/records about this do you? Yes it’s a long shot but thinking in terms of say staff pension records, employment records, reports which may have been written and so on.

A letter from down-under referring to my book and a set of three history DVDs that were all sent.

The book and DVDs arrived yesterday. Such a wonderful book – a huge undertaking by you! I have read some pages of the book, and was impressed that so much history is included as well as the many photos.

Although The Bagnalls were not from Penkhull as such, I appreciate the information given of the surrounding area.I will enjoy reading the full book asap.Trentham is also a Bagnall area for my history, as William Bagnall was a tenant of Trent Hay farm, before he died in 1815. My g. grandfather, Thomas left from there for his marriage in 1816. His bride Ann Heath left from Mill Cottage, Hanley.

I might learn some background to their story somewhere in your book, perhaps.

Congratulations to you for the publishing of your wonderful book!

Now that I have mastered to art (?) of international Transfer of funds, I will look for other publications to help me in my research.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Sincerely, Alison Milani

connection to Penkhull to out contact address and we will post it onto this site.

Publications and Videos


         The Royal Manor of Penkhull

and the surrounding areas of Stoke and Newcastle.

Interested in history? Then this new 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.

Richard over the last twenty 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.


Flint Arrow head             Incense Cup c2000 BC

Domesday Settlements in North Staffordshire

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 Greyhound Inn c1940

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.

The Mount – built by Josiah Spode II


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.

   Demolition of old Penkhull 1960s

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.

    The old school block built 1866

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.

      Penkhull Cottages Homes – V.E. Day Celebration 1945

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 punishment’s 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.

    View of Penkhull Church 1950s

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.

This book may be obtained from Dr. Talbot, 88 Newcastle Lane, Penkhull,               Stoke-on-Trent. ST4 5DR

Price now reduced to clear the remaining stock to £15.00 or if posted plus p.p. £10

More information e.mail:

Open Forum

A letter from a researcher into his family

Rope, Crewe, Cheshire

In the last few days I opened a message in my inbox from Ian Bell. It was with regards to tracing his family tree. Just by change I am running a 10 week course on that very subject.

From the information given I was able to locate the person names on the 1861/1871/1881 census within a few minutes and also explained a few historical terms that were leading him to the wrong assumptions.

The is was his reply:

Rope, Crewe, Cheshire. 12 February 2019

Dear Dr Talbot,

I would like to express my appreciation for the information and assistance you have provided me with in my endeavours to explore further the background to my family history and its connections with Penkhull and the surrounding areas.

As I mentioned in my email I am very much an armchair, or perhaps I should say, computer chair, researcher at the moment, and to start my investigations I am using My Heritage to find past family members.

This is fine for identifying names, dates and such like, but my interest also lies in understanding the historical background to my ancestors’ lives. This is a lot more involved and time consuming and something that will require considerably more effort. So finding someone who has in depth knowledge of the history of the area is a major benefit.

Never having been in contact before with anything like a historical society I had no idea what kind of response to expect to my email enquiry. I have to say that your reply was a pleasant surprise, not least to hear that there is a specific interest in the family from which I am directly descended.

Thank you again and I do hope that should I require further help in the future it will be OK to communicate with you again.

Yours sincerely

Ian Bell

Updated the Poor Law page on vagrancy in the city by four articles.

Updated the Poor Law section with four new articles that I have recently published in the Sentinel on the subject of Vagrancy during the 19th century in the city and how it was treated.

A message re Boothen Farm all the way from down-under 

Thank you so much for passing on this photo, Richard. A very interesting view of maybe the Michelin Tyre Factory across the laneway! The house looks a bit sad, but interesting to me.

My Great Grandfather, Richard Bagnall emigrated to Australia around the 1860s, and he was the eldest son of Thomas and Ann Bagnall, the lessees of Boothen Farm. The remaining sons of Thomas, were William, Thomas and Robert, together with sisters Mary, Ann, Sarah. Young Thomas was a Shire Clerk for Stoke Council, William I think, a solicitor, and Robert carried on the farm til he died. Mary and sisters lived later in Summer Row, but I think the houses are now gone. Family history is so engrossing, I find! For my part I have come to a dead end with Thomas Snr. There were so many Thomas’ and Williams’. Bagnalls In Staffordshire, it has been difficult to find parents for him…… but that is the nature of the family history!

If you could give me you Bank details, I will deposit the £75, and you can post. I am happy to have the DVDs as well as the book.

Sincerely, Alison. Australia

Just wanted to say hi and pass on my compliments for your work. My fathers family moved to Stoke at the turn of the last century (Wood Street).   My father married and set up home in Hill Street were I was born in 1947.   Many of my early friends coming from Penkull.

Moved to Canada back in ‘71.

From Steve Blakeman

Many thanks Steve, comments valued as a great deal of work has gone into building this site. R

Susan Turner has been in contact regarding the one Royal Oak Beerhouse which stood on the corner of Manor Court Street and Newcastle Lane.  She has kindly sent me the will on an ancestor who once owned this beerhouse named Thomas Starkey. I was not previously aware of this name so quite interesting.

If anyone is having difficulty in reading these – please send message on contact and I will send direct j.peg by return

I have received the following from Ron Tarling who now lives in the USA.

He recalls his time at what was Penkhull Senior School form 1963-1967 and would live to have any photographs of the time from any viewer of this site.

So, if anyone out there has any or remembers Ron why not send him a message direct or via the contact address on this site and we will publish both the message and any photographs sent in.

Would be great so share memories.

Ron Tarling  e.mail address:>

Items found on this page are from the general public. We welcome both memories and questions together with photographs you may wish to share with other interested members of the public.

Appears to have been a great deal of discussion regarding the future of the former Senior School in Princes road which includes talks between our Tutor Dr Talbot and council officers.

Delighted that its been announced that the school has been saved from demolition and currently the council are in positive discussion with a local organisation regarding its future use. Watch this apace. Or, if you have a contribution to make why not send it in via the contact mail address for publication.

Pre-historic Penkhull – the evidence

Some two thousand years B.C., farmers of the Neolithic period entered North Staffordshire from the south via the only access, the river valley. Invading Britain from Europe via the Humber Estuary they would follow the River Trent to the point known as Hanford. It is from here that the land rises up sharply almost in a triangular shape to provide a natural defensive location. Penkhull, with its extensive views surrounded by dense forests would provide ideal hunting grounds for food while grassland on its western slopes was a perfect location for the early tribes to settle.

Penkhull was probably the first inhabited settlement within the city and three prehistoric finds in the area confirm its early occupation. The first is an early Bronze Age cup dating c2000-1500 B.C. found by Mr R. Scrivener, a local architect, during the excavations for Penkhull Garden Village in 1911. This type of cup is known as a Pygmy Cup. The discovery of this cup strongly suggests a burial mound as other pygmy cups found in the county were all discovered in burial mounds, but extensive developments of the surrounding area over the following fifty years have probably destroyed all other physical evidence.

The significance of this important find should not be under estimated. From around 2,500 BC, we see a new type of monument on the landscape. This is an individual burial under a round barrow and it signals a departure from the common older Neolithic custom of deposing the remains of the ancestors in repositories like earthen and megalithic barrows. A round barrow is essentially a single grave albeit a rather grand one that could only have been afforded by the better-off. This fact can either suggest that wealth was being accumulated in individual hands, or even more likely in the case for Penkhull, that it was built for the use of a local chieftain.

The cup is handmade from clay, pinched and decorated with regular impressions, probably done by a stick end. The top rim decorated with a criss-cross pattern has a similarity to other pygmy cups found elsewhere in the country. Around the rim of the base there is a thin line around the circumference probably made by the pressure of a thread of hemp being pressed into the clay. The cup measures 32mm high, 75mm in diameter at its rim and 59mm at its base. There are no signs inside of any heated material which rules out the burning of incense. Nor could it have been made to contain any liquid because there are two small neat holes found half way down the vessel on one side. Although the exact purpose of these holes has not been confirmed, they could suggest that they were placed in that position to enable the vessel to be hung in some way on an upright support and not hung from a roof support otherwise the holes would have been spaced out equally for balance.

The cup was presented by the son of Mr Scrivener to Hanley Museum in 1931. Based upon the evidence available, archaeologist Dr. Barker suggests that it may have been used to contain something such as pot-pours, giving off a sweet-scented smell within the burial mound.

Technically, this cannot be called a ‘cup’ since two deliberate holes in the body would have precluded its holding liquid; holes are common, but by no means universal in these vessels. The term ‘incense cup’ has been used in the past, assuming that such vessels were used to burn incense, or to hold pot-pours. No explanation is really satisfactory. Whether this vessel found at Penkhull was primarily domestic, adopted for a funerary use, or primarily funerary, is not known, but certainly their presence in graves is well-known and frequently they accompany cinerary urns. The discovery of this cup at Penkhull strongly suggests that an Early Bronze Age burial was disturbed during the ground works for the Garden Village.

It should be remembered that a British Barrow was found in 1858 at Northwood, Trentham in which were found male and female human remains, probably those of a chieftain. Here would be placed alive his wife and his dog to provide for the chief’s future life.

The second pre-historic find is a fine flint leaf-shaped arrow head of Neolithic period 2500-2000 B.C. This fine example of workmanship was found in the garden of a house in Chamberlain Avenue near to its junction with Hunters Way. Its length measures 30mm and its width 25mm. Although now over 4,000 years old the workmanship is still clearly visible. It was chipped into its leaf shape, the point of which remains sharp enough to penetrate if used as a head to an arrow. Also associated with the same period, is a stone axe head, fashioned from a basic ingenious rock. Although found in Penkhull, probably by a pupil of Penkhull Senior School, no exact location is recorded.

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