1534 TO 1601 

The Bednall Archive

Last updated 05/07/2008

Stone, Staffordshire

A View of Stone From The Stafford Road.  Drawn by F. Calvert. Engraved by T. Radclyffe.  Badnall families are recorded in Stone, Staffordshire between 1460 and 1580. They were blacksmiths and in the 15th century were closely associated with the Prior of Stone.








St Michaels Church, Stone, Staffordshire built between 1753 and 1758 following the collapse of the old church.


Stone is an ancient market town on the banks of the River Trent in the Pirehill Hundred of Staffordshire and lies seven miles N by W of Stafford and nine miles SSE of Newcastle-under-Lyme. With its is associated a surrounding parish of townships, hamlets and villages extending to 22,000 acres. Formerly it derived much trade in coaches, carriers and travellers from its position on the great turnpike road from Liverpool, Manchester & the Potteries, to Birmingham and London.  Only 24 people were listed in the Lay Subsidy (tax assessment) for the town of Stone in 1327 but no doubt there were many who were either ineligible or who, by some means or other, escaped the assessment..  In 1563, the number of households recorded in the parish of  Stone was 159 but by 1665 this figure had risen to 478. Of the latter approximately 155 were in the town of Stone and this suggests a total population of 780 to 1000  in 1665. Thus over the period covered by the inventories and wills listed below, the population of Stone seems likely to have been between 300 and 1000. [To be checked]

When the  Domesday Book was drawn up in 1086 the site of  the town of Stone was occupied by only a hermitage or nunnery and a small church dedicated to St. Mary and St. Wulfad.   Many of the surrounding manors, and in particular that of Walton with which Stone was most closely associated, were held by  Robert de Stafford an ancestor of the Earls of Stafford.  Early in the 12th Century, Geoffrey de Clinton, Chamberlain to King Henry I,  bought the church of Stone and gave it to the Augustinian priory on his Kenilworth manor.  By the 1140s, however, the Stafford family had assumed the patronage of Stone Church and until the end of the 14th century, members of the  family were buried there. Gradually the Priory of Stone acquired more and more lands and rents and a small town began to grow outside the priory walls.  In 1251 the King granted the Prior of Stone a charter allowing them to hold a weekly market on Tuesdays and an annual, 3 day fair in July, thus establishing the town of Stone. Between 1260 and 1339, Stone Priory became independent of the mother house of Kenilworth . For much of the period until its dissolution the priory dominated life in Stone. Not only did the canons look after the spiritual needs of the parishioners, they also controlled the operation of farms in the district, helped the poor and needy and provided hospitality to travellers. By the start of the 16th century, however, the growth in its market and in the benefits derived from the major national roads that passed through it had made the town had less dependant on the priory. 

In  1537,  despite the efforts of the Stafford family, the priory was dissolved, the prior and the canons pensioned off and its lands sold. In 1538,  William Crompton, a London merchant acquired the priory buildings and land. Other lands were bought by  James Collier of Darlaston and in 1546 Robert Collier,  Lord of the Manor of Stone, was granted the market rights formerly held by the Prior.   Subsequently, although an attempt to demolish the priory church (but not the adjacent chapel used by the parish) was resisted, many of the other priory buildings were eventually demolished leaving (after 1572) only the chapel on the North side.   When this became so ruinous that it had to be pulled down, the present parish church of St Michaelís, was built on the old priory grounds.  Trade grew following the dissolution of the priory. A post office was established there in the reign of Elizabeth I and in 1573 the postmaster of Stone was the only Staffordshire postmaster mentioned in a national list and in 1601 the town was said to lie on  "one of the six prime post ways and readiest for Ireland and one of the most frequented  roads in the kingdom". The effect on the people of Stone of  the loss of the priory, the disappearance of the canons and the consequent changes in local government, religious practice, land ownership and trade, are reflected in the wills and inventories of the period 1534 to 1601 indexed below.

Wills & Inventories.

The following list of 216 wills and inventories relating to the Parish of Stone, Staffordshire, covers  the period from 1534 to 1601 and presents the following  information:






Other Names

Document Type

Total Value of Inventory








Will only









Inventory only



The "ID" numbers refer to the writer's database and are provided for identification purposes only. The "Inventory Values" quoted have been derived by the writer and should be considered approximate only.    The lists are in date order. 

For further information about the wills or inventories contact:
Lichfield Diocesan Record Office

The Friary, Lichfield
WS13 6QG 
     By telephone: (+44) 01543-510720. 
   By fax: (+44) 01543-510715    or    
                                     By email:

While every effort has been made to ensure that the list encompasses all such wills in the Lichfield Diocesan Record Office and is accurate, this cannot be guaranteed.  


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