The Bednall Archive
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]
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:
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.
information about the wills or inventories contact:
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.
|Part 1||Part 2||Part 3||Part 4||Part 5||Part 6|
|Part 7||Part 8||Part 9||Part 10||Part 11||Part 12|