A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 7, Leek and the Moorlands. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1996.
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Longnor was formerly a township in Alstonefield parish and later a civil parish 813 a. (329 ha.) in area. (fn. 1) Longnor village, which has the appearance of a small market town, stands on a saddle in the ridge which dominates the area and gives the township its Old English name langen ofer, long slope. (fn. 2) The river Dove forms the western boundary, which is also the boundary with Derbyshire, except at the northwest end where by the later 1820s some land south of the river was in Derbyshire. (fn. 3) The old course of the river Manifold and a tributary brook formed the south-western boundary with Heathylee and Hollinsclough. The old course, still in existence in the earlier 1770s, had been replaced by a canalized stretch by 1820. (fn. 4) The new course was taken as the boundary of the civil parish in 1934, when 18 a. south of the river east of Longnor bridge were transferred to Heathylee civil parish and 1 a. north of the river was transferred from Heathylee to Longnor. As a result the area of Longnor civil parish was reduced to 796 a. (322 ha.). (fn. 5) In 1991 the 34 a. (14 ha.) on the south side of the Dove which belonged to Hartington (Derb.) were transferred to Longnor. (fn. 6)
The land rises to 1,182 ft. (360 m.) near Nab End in the north-west corner of the township. Longnor village stands at 956 ft. (291 m.), the land to the south-east rising to 1,016 ft. (310 m.) near Edgetop Farm. The land is at its lowest, 800 ft. (244 m.), where the road east from Longnor village crosses the Dove. The underlying rock is sandstone of the Millstone Grit series. The soil is mostly clay but south of the village it is loam and clay. (fn. 7)
Twenty-five people in Longnor were assessed for hearth tax in 1666, and the number of people owing suit at the manor court in 1769 was 58. (fn. 8) The township's population in 1801 was 391, rising to 467 in 1811. It was 460 in 1821 and 429 in 1831 but had risen to 485 by 1841 and 561 by 1851. By 1861 it had fallen to 514. It was 520 in 1871 and 534 in 1881, after which it fell to 509 in 1891 and 480 in 1901. The population was 517 in 1911, 444 in 1921, 466 in 1931, 443 in 1951, 381 in 1961, 352 in 1971, 381 in 1981, and 380 in 1991. (fn. 9)
There was a church at Longnor apparently by the 12th century and certainly by the earlier 15th century. It presumably stood in the present churchyard, in the centre of what was formerly a large open space used for a market and fairs. (fn. 10) About 1600 Longnor village, the most important settlement in Alstonefield parish, was described as 'now something spoken of', and it had nine or ten licensed alehouse keepers in 1604. (fn. 11) The market place was by then already being encroached upon: the present Horse Shoe inn retains a stone dated 1609, probably from an earlier house on the site, and by the later 18th century there were houses on both the east and west sides of the market place, the west side being known by the mid 19th century as Carder Green. (fn. 12) The principal houses surviving from the 18th century are one in Chapel Street which is dated 1774 and has an ashlar front with rusticated quoins and door surround, (fn. 13) and one on the south side of the market place which has a western block of red brick with ashlar quoins. The latter is an inn called the Harpur Arms in 1781 and the Crewe and Harpur Arms by 1818. There was formerly an inn, called the White Horse by 1794, at Townend on the west side of the market place. (fn. 14)
Longnor remained important as a market centre in the 19th century, and several shops were opened in the village. (fn. 15) In addition to the Crewe and Harpur Arms, which was a coaching inn on a route between London and Buxton in 1803, and the White Horse there were a further five inns in 1818, the Bell, Red Bull, Cheshire Cheese, Horse Shoe, and Swan. (fn. 16) An inn on the north side of the market place called the Board in 1850 and the Butcher's Arms in 1860 became the Grapes c. 1866. (fn. 17) A horse post which operated between Longnor, Hartington (Derb.), and Leek three days a week in 1829 (fn. 18) may have been based in Longnor. Joseph Wain of Longnor was described as a postman that year, and by 1834 letters were sent to Leek three days a week by horse post from a post office in Longnor run by Isaac Wain. By 1851 letters were sent daily to Buxton. (fn. 19) The economy, however, was insufficient to support a sub-branch of the District Bank which was opened from Leek in 1864; it was closed in 1866. (fn. 20) Longnor in the 19th century was also a centre for professional people. Two surgeons, George Fynney and Frederick Wyatt, lived in Longnor in 1813, but apparently only Wyatt in 1818. (fn. 21) Other surgeons included William Flint, who lived in Longnor at least between 1834 and 1851, (fn. 22) and Joseph Poole, who practised in the 1870s and 1880s. (fn. 23) There were boys' and girls' boarding schools by the 1840's and a solicitor lived in the village in 1864. (fn. 24) Longnor's attraction derived partly from its situation, described in 1865 as 'quite as beautiful as that of Buxton'; its air was invigorating, and the scenery striking and romantic. (fn. 25) New houses were built especially on the east side of the village, where there is a row of four cottages dated 1837 opposite Townhead Farm. A row of six cottages in Queen Street between the market place and Church Street is dated 1897.
Several council houses were built from the 1930s. Two pairs on the east side of the village beyond the lane leading to Folds End Farm are dated 1933. A row of six called River View was built east of the Crewe and Harpur Arms in the early 1950s, (fn. 26) and three pairs called Dove Ridge were built in the late 1960s on the road to Top o' th' Edge on the north-east side of the village. (fn. 27) Three houses and four old people's bungalows were built at Lanehead on the north side of the village in the mid 1970s. (fn. 28)
One effect in Longnor of the economic decline experienced by rural communities in the later 20th century was the closure in 1978 of a branch of the National Westminster Bank, opened in 1932. (fn. 29) An attempt to arrest the decline was made in the 1980s by the Peak Park joint planning board, which included Longnor in its Integrated Rural Development project, started in 1983. Business ventures and tourism were encouraged, and in 1984 an estate of 14 houses was built at Windyridge, on the east side of the village. The project ended in 1990. (fn. 30) The main employer, Microplants, established in 1983, left Longnor in 1993. (fn. 31) In 1991 the former market house, used since 1984 as an artist's studio, was opened as a craft centre by George Fox, a furniture maker working in Fawfieldhead. It displays the work of artists and crafts people mostly living in the Peak District and also contains a café. (fn. 32)
The site of Folds End Farm on the east side of the village was occupied by 1505. (fn. 33) The earliest part of the present farmhouse is probably of the 18th century, and there is a barn dated 1829. Land called Gorlage in 1415 was probably the site of a house recorded in 1608 at Gauledge west of the village. (fn. 34) In the north-western part of the township there was a house at Tunstead by 1415 (fn. 35) and one at Nab End by 1613. (fn. 36) What was called Edge Houses in 1600 probably stood on the site of Edgetop Farm, so called in 1785, on the Sheen road south-east of Longnor village. (fn. 37)
The road from Leek crossed the Manifold by a bridge in existence by 1401 and called Longnor bridge in 1478. (fn. 38) The present bridge was built in 1822–3 after its predecessor had been washed away by a flood in 1821. (fn. 39) East of Longnor village the route into Derbyshire over the Dove was through Crowdecote, in Hartington (Derb.), where a foot bridge was stated in 1709 to be on 'a great road'. That year the county justices gave £20 towards rebuilding it in stone as a horse bridge. (fn. 40) The present bridge was built in 1809. (fn. 41) The road was turnpiked in 1765 as part of the route from Newcastle-under-Lyme to Hassop (Derb.). (fn. 42) A tollgate was erected north of Longnor bridge, and there was a house for the keeper by 1775. (fn. 43) The road was disturnpiked in 1875. (fn. 44)
The road from Warslow which formerly met the Leek road on the Heathylee side of Longnor bridge was realigned to cross the Manifold at Windy Arbour bridge after it had been turnpiked as part of the route from Cheadle to Buxton in 1770. (fn. 45) The line of the road on the north-west side of Longnor market place was probably laid out at the same time, replacing an earlier line which ran to the east through Lanehead. Windy Arbour bridge was rebuilt in the early 19th century, as was Glutton bridge, which takes the road over the Dove. The road was disturnpiked in 1878. (fn. 46)
An association for the prosecution of felons was formed in Longnor in the 1840s. (fn. 47) There was a resident policeman in 1847 and a sergeant and a constable in 1881. (fn. 48) A beehive shaped lock-up at Carder Green was demolished apparently in 1886. (fn. 49) A police station which occupied Vincent House in Church Street apparently from 1896 and certainly by 1918 was closed in 1962, but Longnor had a resident police officer until 1968. (fn. 50)
A mains water supply was provided from a waterworks built near Tunstead Farm in 1877 or 1878. (fn. 51) It was closed in the later 1950s and an alternative mains supply connected. (fn. 52) A sewage works was built north-east of the village in the early 1960s. (fn. 53) There was a mains electricity supply by 1940. (fn. 54)
A fire brigade was formed at Longnor during the Second World War. The fire station on the Buxton road dates from the earlier 1960s. (fn. 55)
Social and cultural activities.
In 1697 Longnor wakes were held in August, (fn. 56) probably on the feast of St. Bartholomew (24 August), the saint to whom the church is dedicated. By 1772 the wakes began on the first Sunday in September. They continued for the rest of the week and included what were probably foot races on the Monday and Tuesday. (fn. 57) In 1831 a bull was baited in the market place on the Tuesday in wakes week. (fn. 58) Horseracing was introduced at the beginning of the 20th century, (fn. 59) and trotting ponies were a feature of the sports held on the Thursday in wakes week in the early 1990s.
The town wells were dressed in 1950 in an unsuccessful attempt to revive earlier practice. Since 1983 well-dressing has taken place on wakes Sunday. (fn. 60)
There were four friendly societies in Longnor in 1803, with a total membership of 238. (fn. 61) A Freemasons' Lodge of Unity established in 1811 had 25 members in 1813, but only seven lived in Longnor itself; the rest came from neighbouring places, including Tissington (Derb.). The lodge was dissolved in 1829. (fn. 62) A later lodge was dissolved in 1866. (fn. 63) A Women's Institute was established in 1920. (fn. 64)
A clubroom attached to the White Horse inn was described in 1810 as newly erected, and the Grapes inn had an assembly room in 1867. (fn. 65) A parish library was opened in 1858, probably in the reading room mentioned in 1868. (fn. 66) That room had apparently been closed by 1872; another room was opened at Townend in 1890 and was closed in 1917. (fn. 67) In 1931 the former market house became a social hall for the parish. Known as Longnor village hall by 1940, it remained in use until the later 1970s. (fn. 68)
A brass band for Longnor and Sheen had been formed by 1867, and a band still played in Longnor in the early 20th century. (fn. 69) A choral society formed by 1920 survived until the late 1930s. (fn. 70)
MANOR AND OTHER ESTATES.
Longnor was part of Alstonefield manor until the 16th century, when it became part of the manor of Warslow and Longnor. From 1593 that manor was owned by the Harpur family, also lords of Alstonefield. (fn. 71) Longnor was styled a barony in 1592, a name still used in the late 18th century. (fn. 72)
In the earlier 1630s the lord owned under half the land in the township. (fn. 73) The rest belonged to freeholders, some possibly the successors of the owners of medieval ecclesiastical estates. Combermere abbey (Ches.) had land in Longnor in the mid 13th century, and at the Dissolution it owned at least two houses in the township. (fn. 74) Dieulacres abbey near Leek owned a house in Longnor by the 1530s. (fn. 75) A chantry at the altar of St. Oswald in Ashbourne church (Derb.) had land in Longnor before its dissolution. (fn. 76)
There was an open field in Longnor in 1500. Town field was mentioned in 1594, and again in 1597 together with what was called the corn field. (fn. 77) In the earlier 1630s Sir John Harpur's tenants in the township held 206 a. (of which 74 a. were arable) and the freeholders 283 a. (of which 92 a. were arable). There were 253 a. of common waste. (fn. 78) The manor court still regulated open fields in the 1770s. (fn. 79) Some consolidation of strips had taken place by then, especially on the south-east side of the township where narrow walled fields remain a feature of the landscape. The inclosure of 160 a. of open-field land, mostly on the north-west side of the township along the Dove, and 300 a. of common waste took place in 1785 under an Act of 1784. (fn. 80)
Dairy farming is suggested by meadow in Longnor called Cheseford in the mid 13th century. (fn. 81) In the early 16th century the stint on Longnor's open fields was one beast for each acre held, and besides pasture there and on the wastes in the township Longnor men had pasture on Fawfield Hill, in Fawfieldhead township. (fn. 82) Although cattle were probably the main item of stock, a tenant was presented in 1730 for overburdening the commons with sheep and horses. (fn. 83)
Of the 304 ha. of farmland returned for the civil parish in 1988, grassland covered 253 ha. and there were 50 ha. of rough grazing. The farming was dairy and sheep, with 518 head of cattle and 110 sheep and lambs. Of the 19 farms returned, 16 were under 20 ha. in size, 2 were between 30 and 49 ha., and one was between 50 and 99 ha. (fn. 84)
By the later 1820s there was a mill at Glutton bridge on the Dove. It ceased to operate in the earlier 1930s. (fn. 85)
Market and fairs.
The market and fair which the lords of Alstonefield manor claimed in 1293 (fn. 86) were almost certainly held at Longnor in the large open space which formerly surrounded the church. The remains of what may have been a market cross survive beside the Warslow road where it enters the market place. (fn. 87)
In 1595 the Crown granted John Harpur a Tuesday market at Longnor. (fn. 88) In the early 1770s there was a proposal, possibly connected with the recent turnpiking of the roads through the village, to build a market house. (fn. 89) It is not certain when it was in fact built: the contractor, Richard Gould, went bankrupt in 1773, and a contemporary plan of the village shows only the 'site of the market house'. (fn. 90) There was certainly a market house by 1817, evidently on the north side of the market place. Although the market was then held only between 4 and 6 p.m., it was well attended. (fn. 91) In 1836 Sir George Crewe noted that the market house needed to be rebuilt. It seems that nothing was done, as in 1839 he contemplated replacing it with a building on the site of the White Horse inn at Townend. The market house was eventually rebuilt in 1873 by Sir John Harpur Crewe. (fn. 92) The market was small in the early 20th century, much of its potential trade being drawn to towns with better communications, and the market house probably ceased to be used for commerce some years before its conversion to a parish hall in 1931. (fn. 93)
Longnor fair was mentioned in 1478. There were four fairs by 1549, each having on average between 12 and 24 booths. In 1555 one of the fairs was held on the Tuesday before Michaelmas. (fn. 94) Held by the Crown in 1594, they were acquired by John Harpur later in the 1590s, when their dates were St. George's day (23 April), Tuesday in Whitsun week, St. James's day (25 July), and Michaelmas. (fn. 95) One of them may have been a goose fair in the late 18th century: the manor court in 1778 complained about the number of geese in the town. (fn. 96) In 1817 there were eight fairs: on Candlemas Day, Easter Tuesday, 4 and 17 May, Whit Tuesday, 6 August, Tuesday before Old Michaelmas Day (10 October), and 12 November. In 1834 the Candlemas fair was stated to be held on Tuesday before 13 February (Old Candlemas Day), and there was no longer a fair in August. The November fair was then for the sale of cheese. (fn. 97) There were only four fairs in 1896, on Easter Tuesday, 4 and 17 May, and Whit Tuesday. Still held in 1928, there is no later record of the fairs. (fn. 98)
Longnor was one of the few places in Staffordshire which still had a hiring fair in the early 20th century. (fn. 99)
Trade and industry.
Richard Smyth of Longnor was described as a carrier and a salter in 1601. (fn. 100) Richard Charlesworth of Longnor was a carrier in 1763, as was his son Moses, a benefactor of Longnor's school and poor. (fn. 101) Carriers passed through the village in 1834, and in 1851 Joshua Knowles of New Lodge, in Quarnford, travelled to Leek and Sheffield from a base in Longnor. (fn. 102) There was a resident carrier in 1860, James Smedley, who by 1880 ran an omnibus service to Leek on Wednesdays and Buxton on Saturdays. (fn. 103)
About 1818 an anonymous correspondent complained to Sir George Crewe that his agent was ejecting old tenants in favour of people in trade. (fn. 104) In 1818 William Johnson, the landlord of the Crewe and Harpur Arms, also worked as an auctioneer, and there were two auctioneers in 1834, James Charlesworth and Thomas Needham, the latter also a shopkeeper. Besides Needham's shop there were four grocers in 1834, one also a druggist and another also a chandler. Besides bakers, butchers, shoemakers, and tailors, Longnor had at least 10 shopkeepers in 1851, including drapers and grocers. (fn. 105)
In the 19th century hawkers and itinerant workers stayed in lodging houses in and around Longnor village. Lodgers at Carder Green on Census Day 1851 included a linen weaver, a flax dresser, a clothespeg maker, and two hawkers, while a further three hawkers lodged in Church Street. On Census Day 1871 a lodging house at Carder Green included two hawkers, one selling cutlery and the other stockings; another hawker, Marcellin Macenski from Liverpool, lodged in a house at Islington on the Buxton road north of the village. The Islington house on Census Day 1881 had 12 lodgers, who included three hawkers, a cattle driver, an umbrella maker, and a pedlar. (fn. 106)
There was a limekiln 'in the lower end of the town' in 1682. (fn. 107) The wharf which Joseph Redfern had on the Manifold east of Longnor bridge in the 1770s was probably used for the transport of stone: in 1770 Redfern was one of five men who had stone quarries on Longnor Edge. (fn. 108) Stonemasons in 1851 included another Joseph Redfern and his sons George and Joseph, James Redfern, and Isaac Swindell. One or more of them presumably worked a quarry and limekiln near Edgetop Farm which were disused by the late 1870s. There were 3 stonemasons, 3 quarrymen, and a limeburner in Longnor in 1881. (fn. 109)
In 1818 there were two cheese factors in the township, Thomas Gilman and Samuel Sherwin. Peter Needham was recorded as a cheese factor in 1851, and Charles Charlesworth in 1872 and 1880. (fn. 110)
As part of the revitalization of the village in the early 1980s a firm called Microplants was established in 1983 on a site next to the fire station. It grew plants from tissue cultures by means of micropropagation, and by 1985 it employed 13 people. (fn. 111) The firm remained at Longnor until 1993.
Longnor formed a tithing in Alstonefield manor. (fn. 112) By the late 1390s it sent one frankpledge to the twice-yearly view. (fn. 113) In 1500 Longnor had its own six-man jury at the manor court, and by 1502 it had a 12-man jury. By April 1505 the jury met with its Warslow counterpart at a separate great court, held on the day after the Alstonefield view and possibly at Warslow. (fn. 114) At least between 1525 and 1535 there was a separate view of frankpledge for Warslow and Longnor, but only a great court once more c. 1550. From 1594 there was again a view of frankpledge for Warslow and Longnor, but Longnor had its own view from 1611. From 1675 there was once more a joint view with Warslow. In 1697, apparently for the first time, Longnor was the meeting place of the spring view and from 1775 that of the autumn view as well. The venue was specified in 1790 as the Harpur Arms. The court still met at Longnor when last recorded in 1853. (fn. 115)
Stocks were mentioned in 1601 and 1614, and a new pair was apparently made as late as 1861. (fn. 116) There was a pinfold in the township in 1546, and a pinner was mentioned in 1596. (fn. 117) In the later 1820s there was a pinfold on the east side of the village in the lane leading to Folds End Farm. It remained in use apparently until 1908. (fn. 118)
Two surveyors of the highways for Longnor were appointed at the manor court in 1601. By 1664 only one was appointed. (fn. 119)
The poor of Longnor were apparently relieved separately from the rest of Alstonefield parish by the later 17th century. (fn. 120) There may have been a workhouse in 1826, when a workhouse governor lived in Longnor. The township certainly had its own poorhouse in 1837, the year in which Longnor became part of Leek poor-law union. (fn. 121)
The survival of a Norman font in the present church may indicate the existence of a church at Longnor by the 12th century. A church was first mentioned, however, in 1448. (fn. 122) It had its own wardens in 1553. (fn. 123) In 1594 the inhabitants of Fawfieldhead were reminded of their duty to help maintain Longnor graveyard, a fact which suggests that Fawfieldhead was part of a chapelry served by Longnor church. The townships of Fawfieldhead, Heathylee, Hollinsclough, and Quarnford were certainly part of Longnor chapelry by the late 17th century. (fn. 124) A separate chapelry for Quarnford was established in 1744. (fn. 125) Longnor was a perpetual curacy from 1735, the patron being the vicar of Alstonefield, and the benefice was styled a vicarage from 1868. (fn. 126) A parish of Longnor, covering Longnor, most of Fawfieldhead, and the eastern halves of Heathylee and Hollinsclough, was created in 1902. (fn. 127) In 1985 the benefice was united with those of Quarnford and Sheen, although all three parishes remained separate, and the patronage was vested jointly in the bishop of Lichfield as patron of Sheen, the trustees of the HarpurCrewe estate as patrons of Quarnford, and the vicar of Alstonefield. Longnor was made the incumbent's place of residence. (fn. 128)
In 1549 the curate was stated to be entitled to a toll of 1d. for every covered booth and ½d. for every open stand at each of Longnor's four fairs. The value of the tolls was then 4s. a year. (fn. 129) In 1644 the parliamentary committee at Stafford awarded Anthony Gretton of Longnor, evidently the curate, a salary of £5 from the estate of Sir John Harpur, and the income survived the Restoration. (fn. 130) In 1661 Vincent Weston vested land at Sheen in trustees who were to use the income to pay a minister of their choice to preach a sermon at Longnor on the first Tuesday of every month. The land appears to have become part of the Longnor glebe by the early 19th century. (fn. 131) In 1733 the inhabitants of the chapelry agreed to make payments in order to secure the residence of Joseph Bradley, a curate recently chosen by them with the approval of the vicar of Alstonefield. The payments were for a period of seven years, or until the governors of Queen Anne's Bounty could be persuaded to make a grant. (fn. 132) Grants of £200 were made in 1737 and 1751, and by 1768 the living was worth £10 a year. (fn. 133) A further scheme to increase the curate's stipend, initiated by Bishop Egerton in 1769, involved Sir Henry Harpur's settling £10 a year, in addition to the £5 charged on his family's estate since 1644. In the event he agreed in 1775 to give £7 10s., in respect of which the Bounty governors gave another £200 in 1776. The money was evidently handed over to Sir Henry, who charged Potlock farm at Findern, in Mickleover (Derb.), with a rent of £15. The £5 annuity was also charged on the farm. (fn. 134) In 1824 the endowment consisted of £21 from glebe, which comprised 22 a. in Sheen and Fawfieldhead, the £20 charged on Potlock farm, and £6 from a farm near Barnsley (Yorks. W.R.). In 1825 Queen Anne's Bounty gave a further £1,200. Because of the curate's non-residence, the money had accumulated by 1836 to £1,600 and produced £48 a year. (fn. 135) There were 25 a. of glebe in 1887, with an estimated rental of £40 5s. (fn. 136)
In 1830 the newly appointed curate, William Buckwell, lived just outside the village, probably at Townend where in 1831 Sir George Crewe rebuilt a house for him. (fn. 137) The present vicarage was built to the west in 1986. (fn. 138)
Francis Paddy, the curate of Longnor in 1604, also officiated at Alstonefield. (fn. 139) The financial arrangements of 1733 were made to secure a resident curate, and Robert Robinson was appointed in 1735. By 1751 Robinson was also the incumbent of Sheen and lived on his estate at Waterfall. He had resigned Sheen by 1760 but continued as curate of Longnor until 1768. (fn. 140) When Luke Story became curate in 1769, he was already assistant curate at Alstonefield and also apparently served the chapels at Warslow and Elkstone. He was keen to move to Longnor, even though he considered that it lay 'in a disagreeable country'. (fn. 141) In the 1820s the cure was served for the absentee curate by James Roberts, the curate of Quarnford. He lived at Flash and was unable to visit Longnor as often as he would have liked. Pastoral care suffered, and in 1825 he complained that 'Longnor has been like a furnace of affliction to me', mainly because of the activities of Methodists. (fn. 142) The appointment of William Buckwell as resident curate in 1830 brought a change. Described by Sir George Crewe as pious and worthy, Buckwell put the church's fabric into good order and encouraged Sir George to establish dependent chapels in Fawfieldhead and Hollinsclough. (fn. 143)
Before the Reformation there was a light in the church, (fn. 144) perhaps indicating a fraternity for its maintenance. Psalm singers at Longnor were mentioned in the later 1760s and in the 1790s. (fn. 145) They may have survived until the mid 19th century: the church did not acquire an organ until 1852, although there was apparently a barrel organ from 1832. (fn. 146) There was only one Sunday service in 1830, and Communion was celebrated four times a year. (fn. 147) On Census Sunday 1851 there were two Sunday services, with attendances of 135 in the morning and 126 in the afternoon, besides Sunday school children. (fn. 148)
Two chapelwardens for Longnor were recorded in 1553. (fn. 149) One of the four churchwardens of Alstonefield parish recorded in 1569 may have been for Longnor, the arrangement in the early 18th century. (fn. 150) He presented accounts at the Easter vestry for Alstonefield parish until 1827. (fn. 151) Longnor chapelry, however, continued to contribute to the maintenance of Alstonefield church. (fn. 152) The warden was paid a salary of £4 a year in 1842, raised to £5 in 1844. (fn. 153) Longnor township was not obliged to provide candidates for the wardenship as were the other townships in the chapelry. The system was altered in 1854, when Longnor became liable in rotation with the others. (fn. 154) Longnor had a clerk by 1767. (fn. 155) There was a dog whipper by the earlier 1720s and still in 1827, (fn. 156) and a sexton by 1842. (fn. 157)
The present church of ST. BARTHOLOMEW, a dedication probably in use by 1631, (fn. 158) dates from the later 1770s. Only the plan of its predecessor is known. It was apparently a long, narrow building with a nave and a chancel, and in the later 18th century the pulpit and reading desk stood against the north wall of the nave. (fn. 159) Between 1774 and 1781 the church was demolished and a new one built on a site to the north. (fn. 160) Of coursed ashlar, it is a rectangular building of five bays with a west tower; there is a Venetian east window. An upper arcade of windows was added to light west and south galleries inserted in 1812, and it was probably then that the tower was heightened. (fn. 161) Formerly there was a door half way along the south side of the nave, but it was blocked up in 1897. (fn. 162) The west gallery is approached by an external staircase on the north side of the tower. In 1857 the pulpit and reading desk were separated, the pulpit being placed on the south side of the communion table and the desk on the north side. (fn. 163) The organ, installed in the south gallery in 1852, was moved in 1864 to the west gallery, possibly after the dismantling of the south gallery, which no longer exists. (fn. 164) The organ was later placed on the south side of the chancel. A false ceiling was inserted c. 1949, making the upper windows blind. (fn. 165)
The present Norman font was in the churchyard in 1830, when the archdeacon ordered it to be put back into the church; he had to repeat the order in 1837. In 1857 the font stood at the west end of the nave. (fn. 166) There was a single bell in 1553. A bell of 1745 was replaced by a new one in 1947. (fn. 167) The plate in 1553 comprised a silver gilt chalice with paten. There was also a wooden cross. (fn. 168) The present plate includes a silver chalice of c. 1675, a silver paten of 1715, and a flagon and plate bought in 1791–2. (fn. 169) Royal arms of the 18th century hang on the front of the west gallery. Boards of 1793 with the text of the Commandments and the Lord's Prayer hang at the west end of the nave, along with a benefaction board which dates probably from the 1790s.
Stone gateposts dated 1833 were part of a general improvement of the churchyard undertaken by the curate, William Buckwell. (fn. 172) It was closed for burials in 1888 and ½ a. north of the church was consecrated instead in 1891. (fn. 173) An extension of 2/5 a. was consecrated in 1934. (fn. 174)
Elihu Hall, a Longnor mercer recorded in 1685, was possibly the Elijah Hall who in 1723 registered his house in Longnor as a meeting place for Quakers. (fn. 175) In 1736 two Quakers, Joseph Hall and his son Elihu, were baptized by the curate. (fn. 176) In 1731 a Quaker named James Plant was Longnor's headborough. (fn. 177)
In 1769 a group of Methodists met at Stiff Close, the home of a Mr. Billing. (fn. 178) In 1772 John Wesley held a private prayer meeting at Longnor attended by 17 or 18 people. (fn. 179) In 1784 there was a society with 42 members, but by 1790 it had only 32, some presumably having transferred to other societies in the area. (fn. 180) Three members of the Billing family were among the petitioners in 1777 for the registration of a newly erected building for worship by protestant dissenters, presumably Methodists. (fn. 181) A Methodist chapel which stood north-east of the village at Top o' th' Edge was replaced in 1797 by one in a road leading off the north-west side of the market place. (fn. 182) Sunday services were held there every fortnight in 1798, with services at Hollinsclough on the alternate Sundays. A weekly Sunday service was held at Longnor by 1802. (fn. 183) The attendance on Census Sunday 1851 was 30 in the afternoon, besides Sunday school children, and 70 in the evening. (fn. 184) The chapel was enlarged in 1853 for the erection of galleries and was refronted at the same time. (fn. 185) It was closed in 1993.
In 1597 an agreement was made in Alstonefield manor court, possibly as a confirmation of existing practice, whereby a schoolmaster at Longnor was paid in corn by the inhabitants of the township. (fn. 186) Francis Paddy, the curate in 1604, was then also the schoolmaster at Longnor. (fn. 187) Masters were again recorded between 1662 and 1737. (fn. 188)
A school was built in the earlier 1750s northeast of the village in the road leading to Top o' th' Edge, and in 1799 it was moved further up the road to the former Methodist chapel. (fn. 189) The teaching of poor children was supported by charity money: half the interest on £196 9s. 6d. left by John Robinson of Fawside, in Heathylee, by will of 1793; the interest on £20 left by Moses Charlesworth of Tunstead by will of 1795; and the interest on £50 left by Ann Collier by will of 1834. (fn. 190) In the earlier 1830s the school's income was £5 18s. Six children were taught free and a further 24 paid fees. Most of the pupils were boys. There were two infant schools, at which 40 children, mostly girls, were taught at their parents' expense. There was also a Wesleyan Methodist Sunday school which took c. 100 children. (fn. 191) On Census Sunday 1851 there was an attendance of only 18 children at the Wesleyan Sunday school, but a Church of England Sunday school, established in the late 1840s, had attendances of 91 in the morning and 86 in the afternoon. (fn. 192)
The endowed school was moved to a site on the west side of the village in 1833, and the building was extended in 1853. (fn. 193) The move probably coincided with the reorganization of the school by the curate, William Buckwell, as a National school. (fn. 194) In 1854 Buckwell proposed that the proceeds from the sale of the schoolroom at Top o' th' Edge should be used to help defray the cost of completing the new one and of extending a house which the owner, Sir John Harpur Crewe, had agreed to let rent free for the master. (fn. 195) There were c. 100 children on the books in 1871, and in 1872 the school was rebuilt, the cost being met by Sir John; a classroom was added in 1895. (fn. 196)
In 1931 it was decided that what was then Longnor Church of England school, an all-age school with 125 children on its books, should become a junior school and that a senior school should be built at Longnor for children from Longnor, Fawfieldhead, Hollinsclough, and Quarnford. (fn. 197) Most of the funds needed to provide the necessary facilities for the senior school had been raised by 1939, but the outbreak of war caused the plan to be abandoned. From the later 1940s senior children from Longnor were sent to secondary schools in Leek. (fn. 198) Longnor school had taken controlled status by 1959 and was given its present name, St. Bartholomew's Church of England (Controlled) primary school, in 1961. The building was extended in 1964. (fn. 199) The master's house was sold in 1985. (fn. 200)
By 1835 a boarding school for boys was run by Henry Field at Townend. It had 21 pupils in 1841 and 36 in 1851 but no longer existed in 1861. (fn. 201) A girls' boarding school was run by the Misses Etches in 1849 in a house on the east side of the market place. (fn. 202) There was still a girls' boarding school in 1868, when it was run by the Misses Deakeyne. Two day schools were run by women teachers in 1884; both were closed c. 1890. (fn. 203)
CHARITIES FOR THE POOR.
By will of 1793 John Robinson of Fawside, in Heathylee, left half the interest on £196 9s. 6d. for the poor of Longnor and Heathylee. A distribution to poor widows of sums varying between 12s. and 4s. was made in the early 19th century. (fn. 204) By will proved 1795 Moses Charlesworth of Tunstead left the interest on £20 to be distributed to four poor widows of Longnor township on Christmas day. (fn. 205) By will proved 1834 Ann Collier left the interest on £30 for clothing poor widows in Longnor township. By will proved 1926 Henry Charlesworth left the interest on £250 to the poor of Longnor parish. By 1972 all four charities were administered jointly and £15 was distributed that year in 50p lots. (fn. 206)
By will proved 1863 Robert Oliver left the interest on £100 for the distribution of bread among poor widows of Longnor township and poor members of Longnor Wesleyan Methodist church. By will proved 1870 Peter Needham left the interest on £500 for a similar distribution, but in cash. A distribution of £2.50 was made in respect of Oliver's charity in 1972, when the income from Needham's charity was being allowed to accumulate. (fn. 207)