A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 9, Burton-Upon-Trent. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2003.
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An estate which Wulfric Spot, a Mercian nobleman, bequeathed by his will of 1002 x 1004 to his newly- founded monastery at Burton probably covered the area of the later townships of Burton and Burton Extra. (fn. 7) In 1086 the abbey had land assessed for tax on 1 1/2 hides at Burton, together with similarly assessed estates at Branston, Stretton, and Wetmore (including Hornin- glow); it also had 4 carucates and 2 bovates at Stapenhill and 2 carucates at Winshill. (fn. 8) The same assessments were recorded in the early 12th century for 'the land of the men' held 'in defence', meaning land which was taxable by the Crown. (fn. 9) Although all six places remained separate economic units, by the late 13th century they were administered through a single manor court and were treated as tithings. The borough of Burton, established in the 12th century, had its own court and was distinct from the manor. (fn. 10) Burton was one of the few monastic houses in England not to hold by military service in 1086, (fn. 11) and the abbot still held the manor of the king in free alms in the later 1270s. (fn. 12)
The abbey was dissolved in 1539 and its estates at Burton were transferred by the Crown in 1541 to the newly-constituted Burton college, (fn. 13) the grant referring to Burton, Branston, Horninglow, Stapenhill, Stretton, Wetmore, and Winshill. (fn. 14) The college was dissolved in 1545, and in 1546 the Crown granted Burton manor to Sir William Paget at a rent which he redeemed later the same year. (fn. 15)
Sir William (from 1549 Baron Paget) died in 1563 and was succeeded in turn by his sons Henry (d. 1568) and Thomas (d. 1590), a Papist who fled to France in 1583 and was convicted of treason in 1587, thereby forfeiting his estates. His son William regained most of them, including Burton manor, in 1597 and was restored to the peerage as Baron Paget in 1604. The manor descended in his family, earls of Uxbridge, 1714-69 and from 1784, and marquesses of Anglesey from 1815. (fn. 1) Residual manorial rights were presumably allowed to lapse after the sale of the Burton estate in 1918, the property then extending to 5,091 a. (fn. 2)
A large house set in its own grounds on the east side of Anderstaff Lane was built in the 15th century for the Blounts, a leading Burton family. John Blount, a butcher, took a lease of the abbey's grange at Branston in 1431 and was a burgess of Burton borough by 1441. He was probably still alive in 1466. (fn. 3) Nether Hall, however, was probably built by a later John Blount, who was evidently the abbot's principal legal adviser in 1493. (fn. 4) He was succeeded apparently in 1524 by his son Thomas, and Thomas at an unknown date by his son John, sheriff of Staffordshire in 1526. (fn. 5) John, who in 1544 was being paid a retainer by Burton college and held leases of Shobnall and Sinai park, was dead by the later 1550s, leaving a son Edward. (fn. 6) Edward was still alive and living in Burton in 1595, but had moved by 1617 to Arleston, in Barrow-upon-Trent (Derb.). (fn. 7a)
Nether Hall was later acquired by Daniel Watson, a barrister and the son of a Burton tanner. (fn. 8a) He was living in Burton in 1649, when appointed a J.P. for the county, and he was probably living at Nether Hall by at least 1656: (fn. 9a) the house he occupied in 1666 (pre- sumably Nether Hall) was one of the largest in Burton, being assessed for tax on eight hearths. (fn. 10a) An active parliamentarian, M.P. for Lichfield in 1659-60, and recorder of Newcastle-under-Lyme from 1660, Watson died in 1683 and was succeeded by his son Daniel. (fn. 11a) The younger Daniel died childless in 1702, and Nether Hall passed to his nephew, Thomas Burslem, the son of Daniel's sister Dorothy and William Burslem, M.P. for Newcastle-under-Lyme. (fn. 12a) In 1716 Thomas, and his father, sold Nether Hall to John, Lord Gower, from whom it passed through intermediaries in 1721 to a Burton maltster, William Wilders. (fn. 13a) Wilders died later the same year, leaving the property in trust to his widow Anne and their son John. (fn. 14a) In 1739 Anne and John sold it to Daniel Pycroft of Burton, who died between 1754 and 1758 leaving the house to his grandson William Pycroft, a Burton apothecary. (fn. 15a) The house then comprised a central range with north and south wings facing Anderstaff Lane. (fn. 16) In 1763 William Pycroft let the house to William Bass, a carrier, and moved to Overseal (Leics.), where he died unmarried in or shortly before 1797. He was succeeded by his brother Joseph, still the owner of Nether Hall in 1830. (fn. 17) By 1835, and still in 1852, the owner was William Daniel, (fn. 18) the house having been divided into six tenements occupied by poor families. (fn. 19) The house was demolished some time between 1870 and 1879, and a cooperage was built on the site. (fn. 20)
The tithes of Burton parish were owned by the abbey and were valued at £33 in 1535. (fn. 21) The payment of small tithes had been disputed in 1219, when the abbey came to an agreement with all its parishioners, both freemen and villeins. The controversy had arisen because the custom by which boys and girls from each household went three times a year to work in a quarry (possibly in Winshill) had been neglected, and the abbey had thereby lost 1/2d. on each occasion. It was agreed that in future for the tithes of apples, hay, and milk each person holding a virgate or more should pay 3d. a year, each holding a bovate or less 2d., and each cottager 1 1/2d. (fn. 22)
Some great tithes are known to have been let immediately before the Dissolution, and in 1541 the Crown let both the great and small tithes in Stretton and Winshill. (fn. 23) Ownership passed to Burton college in 1541 and then in 1546 to Sir William Paget. (fn. 24) By 1546 apparently all tithes in the parish had been let, usually to tenants holding the land from which they arose. In 1585 they were worth just under £80, including those from the parts of Burton parish in Stapenhill township. (fn. 25)
In 1846 the tithes owed to the marquess of Anglesey as freeholder of 337 a. in Burton township, 894 a. in Burton Extra, 2,326 a. in Branston, 1,227 a. in Horninglow, 718 a. in Stapenhill, 1,094 a. in Stretton, and 930 a. in Winshill were merged with the land from which they arose. (fn. 1a) Tithes from the remaining titheable land were commuted in 1848, the principal beneficiary being the marquess as impropriator: £37 a year from 167 a. in Burton, £6 6s. from 131 a. in Burton Extra, £16 1s. from 67 a. in Branston, and £56 1s. from 586 a. in Horninglow. The chief impropriator of the 95 a. of titheable land in Stretton was Edward Thornewill of Dove Cliff, who was awarded £21 a year. (fn. 2a) The rent charges payable to the marquess of Anglesey were redeemed in the 1920s. (fn. 3a)
There were three tithe barns in 1559. (fn. 4a) One may have stood at Shobnall, where 'a great barn' built by Abbot Robert de Brykhull (1340-47) was possibly the barn of seven bays recorded there c. 1600. (fn. 5a) The other two were probably those recorded at Stapenhill and Winshill in 1574. (fn. 6a)
The endowment of the borough's medieval religious guild became part of the town lands after the Reformation. (fn. 7b)