Parishes: Acton Trussell and Bednall

A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 5, East Cuttlestone Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1959.

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, 'Parishes: Acton Trussell and Bednall', in A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 5, East Cuttlestone Hundred, (London, 1959) pp. 11-17. British History Online [accessed 28 May 2024].

. "Parishes: Acton Trussell and Bednall", in A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 5, East Cuttlestone Hundred, (London, 1959) 11-17. British History Online, accessed May 28, 2024,

. "Parishes: Acton Trussell and Bednall", A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 5, East Cuttlestone Hundred, (London, 1959). 11-17. British History Online. Web. 28 May 2024,

In this section


ACTION TRUSSELL and Bednall, formerly two joint townships and chapelries within the ancient parish of Baswich, (fn. 1) now form a single civil parish, (fn. 2) the area of which is 2,594 acres and the population of which was 432 in 1951. (fn. 3)

In shape a rough parallelogram, this parish is bounded on the west by the River Penk, and to the east it extends to the uncultivated upland of Cannock Chase. On the north lies Baswich, and the southern boundary abuts on the formerly extraparochial area of Teddesley Hay. The ground is very low lying but rises in the north-east at Acton Hill to 375 ft. and in the south-east to 600 ft.

The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal runs from south to north through the western edge of the parish. The parish is also crossed by the StaffordCannock road in the north-east on which there was formerly a toll-gate and toll-house, 600 yds. northeast of Acton Hill. (fn. 4)

Of the two villages Acton is situated 2½ miles north-east of Penkridge and three miles south-east of Stafford. Bednall lies due east of Acton. Both villages lie somewhat isolated from main roads, the shortest access being over the canal and then by way of a bridge at Acton Mill. John Linacres of Forebridge (in Castle Church parish) left a yearly rent in 1577 for the repair and maintenance of this bridge, (fn. 5) which was ruinous in 1609 (fn. 6) and was frequently the subject of indictments at Quarter Sessions for non-repair. (fn. 7) In 1648 liability for its repair was found to lie upon the inhabitants of Acton Trussell, Burton and Rickerscote (in Castle Church parish), and Dunston (in Penkridge parish), Acton being responsible for the maintenance of the first two arches, Burton and Rickerscote for the fifth, and Dunston for the sixth. As it was not known with whom liability for the third and fourth lay, responsibility for the maintenance of the bridge was then fixed on Acton, Bednall, Burton, Rickerscote, and Dunston. (fn. 8) It was rebuilt in 1726 in stone. (fn. 9) In 1830 it was said to be new, and liability for its maintenance then lay with the county. (fn. 10) These references to the upkeep of six arches suggest that there was formerly one long bridge, but the main bridge now has two semicircular and one segmental arch, while the smaller bridge over the relief stream to the west has a single segmental arch. Both structures appear to have been rebuilt in the early 19th century. The relief stream, which forms the parish boundary, may represent the original course of the River Penk.

By the mid-16th century some arable land in the parish had been inclosed by private agreement, (fn. 11) a process which was completed before 1827 when meadowland and commonland were inclosed under an Act of 1814. (fn. 12)

The Moat House, Acton, stands on the site of the former manor-house of the Trussells at the south end of Acton Trussell village on low ground in the river valley. In 1666 Mrs. Dickenson of the Moat House was charged for six hearths, the largest assessment in the parish. (fn. 13) The oldest part of the present house is on the east side and probably dates from the early 16th century. It consists of a twostory timber-framed wing of four bays. The upper story, originally open to the roof, has had a floor inserted to form attics. The roof has curved windbraces and three original trusses. Two large external chimneys with stone bases and later brick stacks may be contemporary or additions of the early 17th century. Much of the exterior has been faced with brickwork, and there are low brick additions to the south. A brick wing at right angles to the original block was added at the west side c. 1700. This has two stories, attics, and cellars. It may have replaced an early timbered hall. Internally it has a contemporary staircase and panelling. Some earlier panelling may have been removed from the 16th-century wing. The moat, originally large and curved, was probably of early medieval date. The west side was destroyed by the construction of the canal and a depression in the ground indicates the eastern arm. Only part of the north side, fed from the canal, is now wet. The moat was formerly supplied by a small stream from the east which entered the Penk at this point. In 1752 Edward Dickenson was the plaintiff in an action against his neighbour whom he accused of diverting the stream, thus causing his moat, in which he kept fish, to become stagnant. (fn. 14) A barn lying north-east of the house is partly of masonry of comparatively modern date.

Old Croft Cottage and The Old Homage are two thatched and timber-framed houses at the north end of Acton Trussell village. Both probably date from the 16th century but have been largely faced with later brickwork. The former has a timber-framed central bay in which the roof level has been raised and a ceiling inserted. The Old Homage consists of a central block of two bays with a cross wing at its north end and a later hipped bay to the south. Between the central bays is a large chimney with back-to-back fireplaces. These have moulded and embattled oak lintels. The ceiling of the north bay is clearly a later insertion.

The Old Schoolhouse lies 200 yds. north-east of Moat House Farm. It is a T-shaped timber-framed house of the late 16th or early 17th century with much brickwork facing of later dates. It has a central chimney with large back-to-back fireplaces, one retaining an original oak lintel with a chamfered three-centred arch. The cross wing was restored and reroofed in the mid-19th century. The original framing in a herringbone design and an early blocked window are visible in the gable-end of the back wing. On the west side the oversailing upper story formerly had decorative framing in a quadrant pattern. (fn. 15) Within living memory a Sunday school was held there, but it is not known whether it was ever in use as a day school. (fn. 16)

Many of the cottages in Acton Trussell village were built or restored in the middle of the 19th century by the 1st Lord Hatherton. Two pairs of council houses were built at the south end of the village c. 1950. Near this site several old cottages have been demolished. (fn. 17)

A village institute of corrugated iron was erected soon after the First World War. Previously a small reading-room, now a cottage, was used for a Sunday school and for parish activities. (fn. 18)

Bednall Hall dates from the first half of the 19th century. This and the vicarage are the only houses of any size in Bednall. The post office, Hollybush Farm, and Lower Farm are timber-framed houses of the late 16th or early 17th century, much altered. At Lower Farm there is a 17th-century timber-framed barn with brick panels. Three pairs of council houses opposite the church date from 1953. In a drawing of c. 1840 several old timber houses, now demolished, are shown east of the church. (fn. 19) The buildings at Gipsy Green in the extreme south of the parish are mostly Teddesley Estate cottages of the mid-19th century.


In 1086 ACTON (Actone) was held under the Bishop of Chester by one Robert, (fn. 20) and remained within the leet of the bishop's manor of Haywood until at least 1841. (fn. 21)

Robert the tenant of Acton in 1086 (fn. 22) was probably Robert de Stafford founder of the Stafford barony, since Robert de Stafford (II) held 1 fee under the bishop in 1166, (fn. 23) and in 1242 or 1243 Acton was held as 2/3 fee of the barony of Stafford. (fn. 24) The mesne lordship remained with the barony of Stafford until 1501. (fn. 25)

In 1206 John de Acton was defending his claim to 2/3 fee in Acton against Philip de Wastenys, (fn. 26) possibly the same John de Acton who held 2/3 fee in Acton in 1242 or 1243. (fn. 27) In 1342 John Trussell, described as of Acton, and Alice Trussell his wife settled the manor (with Bednall and Brocton) on themselves for life with remainder to William Trussell of Kibblestone in Stone (Pirehill hundred), (fn. 28) but Acton appears to have passed to another William, the son of John Trussell, (fn. 29) who in 1371 settled it on Margaret, daughter of Sir William Trussell of Kibblestone (d. 1363) (fn. 30) and her husband Fulke Pembrugge, (fn. 31) Margaret Pembrugge was dead before 17 February 1400 (fn. 32) leaving her husband with a life interest under the settlement of 1371 and also under a later one of 1383. (fn. 33) On his subsequent marriage Fulke appears to have secured another settlement (fn. 34) which, after providing for the joint life interests of himself and his wife Isabel, created a remainder in favour of William Trussell, son of a Lawrence Trussell and grandson of a Warin Trussell, who acquired Acton on the death of Isabel in 1446, he being then 60 years old. (fn. 35) Richard Vernon, a cousin on the Pembrugge side, successfully dispossessed him by an action of novel disseisin in 1448, but an appeal brought by William Trussell in 1450 (fn. 36) was apparently successful, for in 1464 on his death he held the manor. (fn. 37) It then passed to his son Thomas who had been succeeded, before 1480, by a William Trussell who died in that year. (fn. 38) Edward Trussell, his heir, died in 1499 being succeeded by his son John, (fn. 39) who died in infancy in 1500 and whose heir was his sister Elizabeth, (fn. 40) subsequently married to John de Vere, Earl of Oxford. (fn. 41) The manor descended with the Earldom of Oxford (fn. 42) until 1575 when Edward Earl of Oxford conveyed it to trustees, (fn. 43) probably for the purpose of sale. The manor was divided into three main estates at this date, all subsequently designated the manor of Acton Trussell and Bednall. The manorial rights and much of the land but not the capital messuage (see below) passed to Thomas Fowke and William Hankyn in whose names the court was held in 1575. (fn. 44) Thomas Fowke was holding what was described as half the manor at his death in 1586. (fn. 45) The other half, held by William Hankyn, (fn. 46) was acquired by Thomas Fowke's son and heir John who appears as sole lord in 1591. (fn. 47) By 1658 this manor was held by William Anson of Shugborough (fn. 48) and has descended in that family, (fn. 49) the Earl of Lichfield holding such manorial rights as still existed in 1956 as well as owning 659 acres within the parish. (fn. 50) A court was last held there in 1811. (fn. 51)

In 1086 BEDNALL was waste and formed part of the bishop's manor of Baswich. (fn. 52) The overlordship of the bishop continued until at least 1507, (fn. 53) Bednall being held of his manor of Haywood from at least 1295. (fn. 54)

By 1243 a mesne lordship lay with the barony of Stafford (fn. 55) with which it descended until at least 1523 (fn. 56) when on the attainder of Edward Duke of Buckingham the lordship escheated, and in 1604 John late Earl of Oxford was said to have held a ware of land in Bednall of the king as of his manor of Stafford. (fn. 57)

By 1243 Bednall was held with Brocton by John de Acton as ¼ fee of the barony of Stafford. (fn. 58) In 1297 or 1298 it was held with land in Brocton by John Trussell as ¼ fee owing suit twice a year at the bishop's court of Haywood. (fn. 59) It has since descended with Acton Trussell (see above), the courts of the two manors being held jointly from at least 1557. (fn. 60)

In 1574 this joint manor of Acton Trussell and Bednall was coextensive with the present civil parish of Acton Trussell and Bednall. In Acton Trussell there were 9 freeholds while the manorhouse was leased to Henry Webb with part of the demesne land. Of 22 other tenancies of demesne land within Acton Trussell, 17 were leaseholds and only 5 tenancies-at-will. In Bednall there were 6 freeholds and 8 tenancies of demesne land, 6 of which were leaseholds and 2 tenancies at will. A rent of 2s. was then said to be due from the lord of Acton Trussell to the queen as to her manor of Penkridge. At this date there were 4 common fields in Acton Trussell, namely Mylfield, Churchfield, Harpemore or Harpemyrefield and Highfield, and 5 common pastures, High Meadow, Mylholme, Boothmeadowe, Overmeadowe, and Churchmeadowe. There were three common fields in Bednall, namely Bednall (Beddingale) Field, Lower Field, and Ridgefield, and two common pastures, Stockinge Meadow and Harde Meadow. (fn. 61)

In 1569 the tenants of the Earl of Oxford in Acton Trussell were said to have rights of pasture in Teddesley Hay of which Sir Edward Littleton had inclosed the greater part and which he was then ordered to throw open. (fn. 62) These rights were still claimed in 1574, while the survey of the manor then made also set out the rights of the tenants of the manor in Deepmore and Sidnall Commons, both of which lay within the manor of Acton Trussell and Bednall. The maintenance of Deepmore Gate and the draining of Deepmore Ditch were a charge on the parish of Baswich at least by 1700, and in 1797 a meeting of parishioners of Baswich resolved to dispose of Deepmore Common with the concurrence of all landowners interested in it and to use the money to erect a house of industry. (fn. 63) This common was surveyed in 1798 and had been inclosed and sold by 1814, the house of industry having been opened in 1801, but in rented premises. (fn. 64) The four commons in Acton Trussell and Bednall, namely Shuthill Common, Lords Wood Common, Old Sydnall Common, and Bednall Head Common were inclosed in 1814. (fn. 65)

In 1575 the trustees of Edward Earl of Oxford conveyed to Matthew Moreton of Engleton (in Brewood parish) the capital messuage and manor of Acton Trussell with messuages and tenements there. (fn. 66) In 1593 Edward Moreton of Engleton sold to Lewis Dickenson the messuage and tenements then in his occupation. (fn. 67) In 1650 a Lewis Dickenson, Margaret his wife and Lewis Dickenson his son, a minor, settled what was described as a manor of ACTON TRUSSELL and BEDNALL, the capital messuage called the Moat and various lands. (fn. 68) On his marriage in 1655 the estate was settled on Lewis Dickenson the younger for life with remainder to Jane his wife for life. (fn. 69) Settlements were made in 1674 by Lewis and Jane on their son Lewis and Elizabeth his wife (fn. 70) and in 1718 on Lewis, son of Lewis and Elizabeth, on his marriage to Mary, daughter of Edward Ward of Stafford. (fn. 71) Edward, eldest son and heir of Lewis and Mary, (fn. 72) was dead by 1753 (fn. 73) when his sister Mary and her husband Thomas Spicer were in possession of the manor. (fn. 74) By his will, dated 1767, Thomas Spicer devised the manor to his wife Mary who, by her will of 1776, left it to her nephew Edward Dickenson, son of Lewis Dickenson, her younger brother, (fn. 75) but after her death it was sold by her trustees in 1778 to John Barlow. (fn. 76) John Barlow, by his will dated 1804, left the Moat House, the so-called manor and all his lands in trust to his grandson John Barlow, son of his son John, deceased, (fn. 77) who came of age in 1818 (fn. 78) and in 1819 sold them to Edward John Littleton of Teddesley, retaining, however, the rights of common. (fn. 79)

Members of the Littleton family had already acquired land in Acton Trussell in 1541, (fn. 80), 1547, (fn. 81) 1624, (fn. 82) and 1634, (fn. 83) and in 1635 William, son of a Sir Edward Littleton, made a settlement of what was called the manor or manors of Acton Trussell and Bednall (fn. 84) which he sold in 1637 to his brother, Sir Edward Littleton. (fn. 85) The Littleton family bought other land here in 1636, 1638, and 1668. (fn. 86) All of this then descended with Pillaton (in Penkridge parish) in the main line of the Littleton family, (fn. 87) who in 1819 also purchased the Moat House estate (see above). In 1947 the Littleton estates in Acton Trussell and Bednall were sold. They then consisted of the Moat House Farm (208 a.), Plashes Farm, Bednall (172 a.), Church Farm, Bednall (34 a.), Lower Farm, Bednall (41 a.), Holly Bush Farm, Bednall (68 a.), Belt Farm, Bednall (63 a.), with cottages and other small pieces of land in the parish. (fn. 88) Moat House Farm and Plashes Farm were bought by Lotus Ltd. of Stafford. (fn. 89)

A fishery in the River Penk was attached to Lord Oxford's manor of Acton Trussell and Bednall by at least 1574. (fn. 90) The fishing rights apparently passed to Lewis Dickenson with the Moat House (c. 1593), and in 1819 John Barlow sold them to Edward John Littleton of Teddesley. (fn. 91) They then extended from the Swan Inn to Radford Bridge. (fn. 92)


There was a mill in Acton in 1086. (fn. 93) In 1449 the lord of Acton was paying 5½d. rent to the free tenants of Dunston (in Penkridge parish) for a watercourse leading to his mill. (fn. 94) In 1533 one Fowke of Penkridge, said to be lord (but probably then lessee) of Acton, was paying a rent to Lord Stafford for leave to turn the Penk to his mill. (fn. 95) The rent was paid in 1574 by Richard Dickenson, then the lessee of the mill. (fn. 96) By 1645 the mill had been separated from the manor, and £12 rent was paid for it by Richard Thomason to Sir Edward Littleton. (fn. 97) In 1653 or 1654 the mill was regranted from his forfeited property to Sir Edward Littleton, (fn. 98) whose descendents paid suit silver for it to Lord Somers from 1713 to 1723, (fn. 99) to Sir Joseph Jekyll, husband of one of the coheirs of Lord Somers, (fn. 100) from 1724 to 1739, to Lady Jekyll in 1739, and to James Cocks from 1743 to 1755. (fn. 101) In 1775 Sir Edward Littleton bought the fee farm rent of Acton Mill from Sir Charles Cocks. (fn. 102) In 1827 the mill was owned by E. J. Littleton, (fn. 103) in whose possession it remained until at least 1845. (fn. 104)

Plan of St. James's Church

The site of the mill is about 100 yds. south of Actonmill Bridge. It was still in use in 1878 (fn. 105) but had been demolished by 1900. (fn. 106) The farmhouse of Actonmill Farm, formerly the mill-house, dates from the first half of the 19th century. The mill pool has been partly filled in and the river bank straightened.


The chapel of Acton Trussell was built in the 13th century, presumably as a dependent chapel of Baswich, and was consequently appropriated to the prebend of Whittington and Baswich in Lichfield Cathedral. (fn. 107) Although the church of Baswich was claiming 4s. in respect of corn tithe from Acton Trussell and Bednall between 1547 and 1551 (fn. 108) the chapel was still said to be appropriated to the prebend of Whittington and Baswich in 1563. (fn. 109) In 1604 Acton Trussell chapel was described as a chapel in Baswich and c. 1690 as a chapel annexed to Baswich, but Acton Trussell and Bednall formed a separate parish by at least 1671, (fn. 110) each chapel presumably having all rights of a parish church. The parish was described as a joint chapelry in 1834 (fn. 111) and 1851, (fn. 112) the benefice remaining a perpetual curacy until 1867 when it was declared a vicarage. (fn. 113)

The advowson of Acton Trussell was presumably included in the grant of the advowson of Baswichto the priory of St. Thomas (St. Mary's parish, Stafford) in 1407. (fn. 114) On the dissolution of St. Thomas's it was granted to Roland Lee, Bishop of Lichfield, in 1539 (fn. 115) and subsequently descended with the Fowler manor of Brocton until at least 1695. (fn. 116) By 1834 it had been transferred to the Revd. W. H. Molineux, who was himself the incumbent but served the church by a deputy. (fn. 117) The joint advowson was held in 1851, (fn. 118) and is still held, by the Hulme Trustees. (fn. 119)

The vicarage of Acton Trussell and Bednall was endowed out of the Common Fund in 1877 with £100 and with £120 a year for a curate. (fn. 120)

Miss L. E. Johnson, by will proved 1917, left £500, the income to be applied for general parochial purposes. In 1936 the yield from stock was £18 10s. 2d. The charity was still in being in 1954. (fn. 121)

The church of ST. JAMES, Acton Trussell, stands a quarter of a mile south of the village. Before the middle of the 19th century it was approached by a footpath only. (fn. 122) The original structure dates from the 13th and 14th centuries, but the church was enlarged and partly rebuilt in 1870 under the direction of G. E. Street. (fn. 123) It now consists of a structurally undivided nave and chancel, a south porch, and a combined vestry and organ chamber.

The base of the tower is of 13th-century masonry, and until the alterations of 1870 the west ends of both north and south nave walls were of the same date. There were formerly lancet windows and a north doorway in this part of the nave. (fn. 124) The east end of the church appears to have been remodelled and extended in the 14th century, probably by a member of the Trussell family. The walling is either of this period or is a 19th-century reconstruction in which much of the old material was reused. An external view of the north side of the church drawn before the vestry addition (fn. 125) shows a large blocked arch near the east end. Further east is a small recess, probably a piscina. (fn. 126) These features suggest that there was formerly a projecting chapel in this position. In the masonry which blocks the arch a two-light 14th-century window is shown. It seems probable that when the chapel was demolished, possibly in the 16th century, one of its windows was reused here to light the chancel. Both north and south nave walls have 14th-century buttresses. Other features of this date are the three-light east window and two windows in the south wall of the chancel. Near the middle of the south wall is a 'low side' window with an ogee head externally and a flat sill within. A small square recess, now blocked, lies a few inches to the west. East of the window is a priest's door with a simple pointed head. The position of these features indicates that the original division between nave and chancel was farther west than at present, giving a chancel rather longer than the nave. A piscina in the south wall of the sanctuary and an aumbry opposite have recut ogee heads and have been much restored.

Alterations to the tower took place in the 16th century when an embattled parapet with pinnacles, a string course with central gargoyles, and a short stone spire were added. This work and the tower windows, one square-headed, the others pointed with simple tracery, may all be of 1562, a date which appears above the lowest west window. Similar pointed windows appear in the body of the church, and the north doorway was also renewed in the 15th or 16th century.

Drawings and plans of the church made in the first half of the 19th century (fn. 127) show the lancet windows and north doorway near the west end of the nave. The tower arch had been partially blocked and there was a plain gabled porch outside the south door.

By 1867 there was considerable pressure to increase the seating in the church. A scheme for enlargement in that year included the addition of a north aisle as well as a north vestry. (fn. 128) In 1869 and 1870 the vestry, but not the aisle, was built and the whole church thoroughly restored. The cost was between £1,000 and £1,200. (fn. 129) The west end of the nave was entirely renewed, all its features disappearing in the process. The tower arch was opened up and probably raised in height, and the south porch was rebuilt. The 14thcentury window, formerly in the north wall of the chancel, was reset in the east vestry wall. The piscina was restored and left in position. The original jambs and four-centred head of the north doorway were utilized as a vestry door. In 1869 the Incorporated Church Building Society contributed £25 towards adding 58 seats to the church. (fn. 130) The opening-up of the base of the tower and the eastward extension of the nave were probably expedients for increasing the seating space. (fn. 131) In 1895 a new organ was dedicated and in 1937 electric heating and lighting were installed. (fn. 132)

The present stone font is of the 19th century, but an early tub-shaped bowl is preserved in the churchyard. In 1841 the church contained an 18th-century pedestal font. (fn. 133) An old bassoon is preserved below the tower. Three shields of arms of the Trussell family have been reset in the east window of the vestry as a memorial to John Higgot of the Moat House (d. 1862). These were formerly in the east window of the chancel (fn. 134) and may well be contemporary with the 14th-century rebuilding. Other windows contain 19th-century memorial glass to members of the Price, Alsop, and Locker families. The glass in the 'low side' window commemorates Lt. J. M. Lees (d. 1916).

A marble wall tablet with fluted pilasters and a segmental pediment commemorates Richard Nevil of Rickerscote (d. 1728). Other tablets commemorate Ann Richards (d. 1821), and Richard Locker (d. 1886) and Arthur Richard Alsop (d. 1928), vicars. There is also an undated 19th-century tablet to members of the Wright family.

The plate includes a silver chalice set with six amethysts and a paten on a foot.

In 1553 there were three bells and a sacring bell. (fn. 135) There are now three bells: (i) no date; (ii) 15th century, 'Sancta Maria Ora pro nobis'; (iii) 1630. (fn. 136)

The four volumes of registers for the joint parishes of Acton Trussell and Bednall cover the years 1571–1625, 1704–50, 1721–50, 1783–1813; from 1813 each church had its own register. (fn. 137)

There was a chapel at Bednall by the 12th century. (fn. 138) It was presumably included among the dependent chapels of Baswich in 1535 (fn. 139) and subsequently had the same institutional history as the chapel of Acton Trussell (see above).

Although included in Baswich in the Valor of 1535, Bednall church in 1549 and 1553 was described as immemorially in receipt of tithes, then worth 40s. a year. (fn. 140) The incumbent of Bednall benefits under the Alport Charity on condition of attending an annual service in Cannock parish church on the Feast of St. Barnabas (11 June), preaching a sermon at this in rotation with seven other beneficiaries, and residing in his benefice for at least ten months a year. (fn. 141)

The rents of three pieces of land applied for the repair of Bednall chapel amounted to £8 by 1823. The sum of £2 a year was added in 1827 from allotments awarded to the parishioners in respect of this land on the inclosure of Teddesley Hay and Bednall Field. (fn. 142) The rent paid in 1937 was £15 14s., and the charity was still in being in 1955. (fn. 143)

The present church of ALL SAINTS dates from 1846. (fn. 144) The former chapel, on or near the same site, appears to have been of 12th-century origin. It consisted of nave and chancel, the nave being slightly higher and wider than the chancel and having a wooden bell turret at its west end. The north doorway had an enriched 12th-century arch with heavy chamfered imposts. Small 12th-century windows survived in both nave and chancel. The remaining windows were insertions of the 17th or 18th century, and the south doorway was dated 1707. The chapel also retained angle buttresses, a 'low side' window, and a priest's door. (fn. 145)

The present stone church originally consisted of a nave, a chancel, and a south aisle of three bays. A late 13th-century style was adopted, and the cost was about £1,100. (fn. 146) A tower and spire in the same style, the base forming a north porch, was added in 1873 at the expense of Mrs. Heath of Bednall Hall. (fn. 147) The clock was presented by her sister, Miss Stokes, in 1874. (fn. 148) The organ dates from 1887. (fn. 149) Stained glass was inserted in the east and west windows c. 1862 and in 1894 in memory of Mrs. and Miss Stokes respectively. (fn. 150) The glass in the north windows, together with the desk and lectern, date from 1915. (fn. 151) Electric light was installed in 1937. (fn. 152)

Mural tablets include those to Arthur Richard Alsop, vicar (d. 1928), and to William Rogers (d. 1889), for 46 years forester on the Teddesley Estate.

A parsonage house was in existence at Bednall in the early part of the 19th century, but it was considered unfit for habitation by the incumbent. The licensed curate who performed the duty lived at Cannock. (fn. 153) A 'parsonage house and garden', let to a tenant, is shown on the tithe map near the site of the present school. (fn. 154) In 1842 a large red-brick vicarage was built half a mile south-east of the church at a cost of £1,600. (fn. 155)

The plate includes a silver chalice, 1946; a silver paten, 1946; a paten, no date; a flagon inscribed 'Acton Trussell cum Bednall', 1846; and an electroplated chalice and paten. In 1553 there were two bells and two sacring bells. (fn. 156) There are now one ringing bell, 1681, and one clock bell, 1874. (fn. 157)

The earlier registers are described under Acton Trussell. From 1813 Bednall has kept its own registers. (fn. 158)

Primary Schools

There was said to be a dayschool at Acton in 1818. (fn. 159) A day-school master, George Oldford, was among the Acton Trussell residents in 1834, (fn. 160) and in 1854 there were said to be two schools in Acton and Bednall, supported by annual subscriptions. (fn. 161) A National school for boys and girls at Bednall under a master and mistress was built by subscription in 1856 (fn. 162) and by 1884 had average attendances of 60 older children and 24 infants. (fn. 163) In 1894 the average attendance was 88, (fn. 164) in 1931 54, (fn. 165) and in 1937 44. (fn. 166) It became an aided school from November 1952 (fn. 167) and is now Acton Trussell and Bednall Church of England Voluntary Primary (Aided) School (Junior Mixed and Infants), under a mistress. (fn. 168) The average attendance in 1955 was 15. (fn. 169)

Charities for the Poor

By 1786 rent charges of 12s. and 6s. had been given by an unknown benefactor for bread for the poor of Acton Trussell and Bednall respectively. (fn. 170) The land on which the rents were charged was known in 1823 as White Bread Piece, and the owner was then sending 12 penny loaves to Acton Trussell Chapel and 6 to Bednall Chapel on the first Sunday of every month. (fn. 171)

By 1786 there were rents of 10s. and 4s. charged on land in Acton Trussell for the poor by an unknown benefactor and 5s. and 4s. on land in Bednall. (fn. 172) A benefaction, also of unknown origin, in aid of the poor rate in Acton Trussell and Bednall was yielding £3 a year by 1786, apparently from land, (fn. 173) but by 1823 the overseer and chapel wardens were paying 12s., for the poor of Acton only, as interest on a sum of £15. (fn. 174) In 1823 all this money was distributed on Good Friday at the two chapels after divine service to such poor as were not receiving parish relief, in sums of 3s. and under in Acton Trussell and 1s. 6d. and under in Bednall, according to size of family. (fn. 175)

All these charities have long since lapsed. (fn. 176)


  • 1. White, Dir. Staffs. (1834).
  • 2. In pursuance of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 Acton and Bednall were assigned to Penkridge Union whereas Baswich was placed in Stafford Union.
  • 3. Census, 1951, Staffs.
  • 4. Tithe Maps and Appt., Baswich (copy in W.S.L.).
  • 5. S.H.C. 1926, 33.
  • 6. Ibid. 1948–9, 81, 133.
  • 7. S.R.O., Q/SB, M. 1639, T. 1636, Ep. 1649, Ep. 1655, Ep. 1726, E. 1726, E. 1797, Ep. 1798, Ep. 1808.
  • 8. S.H.C. 1934, 43–44.
  • 9. Ibid. 81.
  • 10. Potter, List of Bridges, 3.
  • 11. As indicated in Littleton and Dickenson deeds: S.R.O., D. 260/M, box 20, bdles. a, b; box 3, bdle. d; box 4, bdle. a.
  • 12. S.R.O., Q/RDc, 22 a, b.
  • 13. S.H.C. 1927, 27.
  • 14. W.S.L., Hand Morgan Coll., Acton Trussell box, Dickenson v. Seavill.
  • 15. W.S.L., Staffs. Views, i, p. 16 (1841).
  • 16. Local inf.
  • 17. Local inf. Several are shown on the Tithe Map, c. 1850: Tithe Maps and Appt., Baswich (copy in W.S.L.).
  • 18. Local inf.
  • 19. W.S.L., Staffs. Views, i, p. 164, a.
  • 20. V.C.H. Staffs, iv. 41, no. 68.
  • 21. W.S.L., D. 1734, Minutes of Court Proceedings, Haywood manor, 1841–9.
  • 22. V.C.H. Staffs., iv. 41, no. 68.
  • 23. Red Bk. Exch. (Rolls Ser.), 263.
  • 24. Bk. of Fees, 967.
  • 25. Complete Peerage, xii. 168–201; C 137/73; C 140/9; C 140/78; Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen VII, ii, nos. 408, 415.
  • 26. S.H.C. iii (1), 135; [F. P. Parker], Some Account of Colton and of the de Wasteneys Family (1897), 27.
  • 27. Bk. of Fees, 967.
  • 28. S.H.C. xi. 151.
  • 29. Wrottesley, Pedigrees from the Plea Rolls, 384; Dugd. Warws. ii. 716.
  • 30. Cal. Inq. p.m. xi, no. 533.
  • 31. S.H.C. xi. 179.
  • 32. Cal. Fine R. 1399–1405, 52.
  • 33. S.H.C. xi. 206.
  • 34. C 139/125; Cal. Close, 1447–54, 12; S.H.C. n.s. iii. 189, where the date of the settlement is given as 1409.
  • 35. C 139/125.
  • 36. S.H.C. n.s. iii. 188–91.
  • 37. Cal. Fine R. 1461–71, 137.
  • 38. C 140/78.
  • 39. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, ii, nos. 408, 415; C 142/20, no. 47.
  • 40. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, iii, no. 233.
  • 41. Complete Peerage, x. 247.
  • 42. Ibid. 245–50. Courts of the manor of Acton Trussell were held regularly for the earls of Oxford between 1512 or 1513 and 1568: W.S.L., D. 1765/3–21. A survey of the manor was made for Edward Earl of Oxford in 1574: W.S.L., D. 1765. One Fowke of Penkridge paying rent to Lord Stafford in 1532 or 1533 for water for the mill at Acton was said to be lord of Acton: W.S.L., Stafford Barony, Mins. Accts. 1532–3, m. IId.
  • 43. S.H.C. xiv. 179.
  • 44. W.S.L., D. 1765/23, Acton Ct. R.
  • 45. C 142/213, no. 133.
  • 46. C 142/213, no. 116.
  • 47. W.S.L., D. 1765/23.
  • 48. C.P. 25(2)/597, 1658 Mich.
  • 49. Complete Peerage, i. 172–4; ibid. vii. 647, 649; C.P. 25(2)/724, 18 and 19 Chas. II Hil.; C.P. 43/838, rot. 147; C.P. 43/942, rot. 351.
  • 50. Ex inf. the Earl of Lichfield's Estate Office, Eccleshall (1956).
  • 51. W.S.L., Hand Morgan Coll., Anson Papers, Bill of Costs of Collins and Keen, 1811.
  • 52. V.C.H. Staffs., iv. 41, no. 69.
  • 53. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen VII, iii, no. 233.
  • 54. W.S.L., C.B. Baswich, copy of Bodl. MS. Ashmole 864, p. 15.
  • 55. Bk. of Fees, 967.
  • 56. Complete Peerage, xii. 168–201; S.C. 11/604, m. 2. In 1481, 1499, and 1507 Bednall was said to be held directly of the Bishop of Lichfield: Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, iii, nos. 233, 235.
  • 57. C 142/284, no. 30. Bednall remained, however, within the leet of Haywood: W.S.L., D. 1734, Haywood.
  • 58. Bk. of Fees, 967.
  • 59. W.S.L., C.B. Baswich, copy of Bodl. MS. Ashmole 864, p. 15.
  • 60. W.S.L., D. 1765/20.
  • 61. W.S.L., D. 1765, Survey of the manor of Acton Trussell and Bednall.
  • 62. W.S.L., C.B. Littleton transcripts.
  • 63. S.R.O., D. 114/A/PC, 1, Accts. of Churchwardens and of Overseers of the Poor for the liberty of Walton, 1701, 1797.
  • 64. Ibid. 1798, 1801.
  • 65. S.R.O., Q/RDc, 22 a, b.
  • 66. S.H.C. xiv. 179; S.R.O., D. 260/M, box 4, bdle a.
  • 67. S.R.O., D. 260/M, box 4, bdle. a.
  • 68. Ibid.
  • 69. Ibid.
  • 70. Ibid.
  • 71. Ibid.
  • 72. Ibid., box 20, bdle. b.
  • 73. Ibid.
  • 74. Ibid.
  • 75. Ibid.
  • 76. Ibid.
  • 77. Ibid.
  • 78. Ibid.
  • 79. Ibid.
  • 80. Ibid., box 3, bdle. d.
  • 81. Ibid.
  • 82. Ibid.
  • 83. Ibid.
  • 84. Ibid.
  • 85. Ibid.
  • 86. Ibid., box 4, bdle. d; box 3, bdle. d.
  • 87. See p. 119.
  • 88. W.S.L., Sale Cat. B/2/10.
  • 89. Ex inf. Teddesley and Hatherton Estate Office, Penkridge.
  • 90. W.S.L., D. 1765, Survey of the manor of Acton Trussell and Bednall.
  • 91. S.R.O., D. 260/M, box 20, bdle. a.
  • 92. Ibid.
  • 93. V.C.H. Staffs. iv. 41, no. 68.
  • 94. W.S.L., D. 1721/1/8.
  • 95. W.S.L., Stafford Barony, Mins. Accts. 1532–3, m. 11d.
  • 96. W.S.L., D. 1765, Survey of the manor of Acton Trussell and Bednall.
  • 97. S.R.O., D. 260/M, box 25, bdle. k, f. 116b.
  • 98. Ibid. box 3, bdle. e.
  • 99. Ibid. box 4, bdle. n.
  • 100. Complete Peerage, xii. 29–36.
  • 101. S.R.O., D. 260/M, box 3, bdle. d.
  • 102. Ibid. box 10, bdle. h.
  • 103. S.R.O., Q/RDc 22.
  • 104. Tithe Maps and Appt., Baswich (copy in W.S.L.).
  • 105. P.O. Dir. Staffs. (1876).
  • 106. Local inf.
  • 107. The original structure dates from the 13th and 14th cents.
  • 108. C 1/1219, nos. 20–23.
  • 109. S.H.C. 1915, 3.
  • 110. Ibid.; W.S.L. Hand Morgan Coll., (Shorthand) Diocesan Survey, c. 1690; see p. 1.
  • 111. White, Dir. Staffs. (1834).
  • 112. Ibid. (1851).
  • 113. Lond. Gaz. 1867, p. 4476.
  • 114. See p. 7.
  • 115. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xiv (2), g. 435(12); C 1/1219, nos. 20–23.
  • 116. See p. 5.
  • 117. White, Dir. Staffs. (1834), where the initials are given in error as G. F.
  • 118. Ibid. (1851).
  • 119. Lich. Dioc. Dir. (1955–6).
  • 120. Lond. Gaz. 1877, p. 2689.
  • 121. Charity Com. files.
  • 122. Tithe Maps and Appt., Baswich (copy in W.S.L.).
  • 123. Lich. Dioc. Ch. Cal. (1871), 73.
  • 124. S.R.O., D. 260/M/E 417 a, b; W.S.L., S. MS. 433, p. 315.
  • 125. W.S.L., S. MS. 433, p. 315.
  • 126. W.S.L., S. MS. 436, p. 170. William Salt assumed it to be a holy water stoup.
  • 127. S.R.O., D. 260/M/E 417 a, b; W.S.L., S. MS. 443, p. 315; W.S.L., Staffs. Views, i, pp. 13–15.
  • 128. S.R.O., D. 260/M/E 417 b.
  • 129. Lich. Dioc. Ch. Cal. (1871), 73.
  • 130. Inscription in church.
  • 131. Lich. Dioc. Mag. (1895), 122.
  • 132. Lich. Dioc. Regy., Consist. Ct. Act Bk. 1934–8, p. 382, faculty 30 July 1937.
  • 133. W.S.L., Staffs. Views, i, p. 15, b.
  • 134. S.H.C. 1919, 238.
  • 135. Ibid. 1915, 3.
  • 136. C. Lynam, Church Bells of Staffs., pp. ix-x, 1, and plates 19, 74; A. E. Garbett 'Church Bells of Staffs.' (Trans. Old Stafford Soc. 1953–4), 6.
  • 137. Ex inf. the Vicar of Acton and Bednall (1956).
  • 138. The former chapel appears to have incorporated 12thcentury features: see p. 17.
  • 139. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii. 112.
  • 140. W.S.L., Hand Morgan Coll., (Shorthand) Diocesan Survey, c. 1690.
  • 141. See pp. 64, 96.
  • 142. 11th Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 436, p. 510 (1824), xiv. The Inclosure Act was 1814 and the award 1827: S.R.O., Q/RDc 22a, pp. 63, 124 (allotment no. 375 was probably also no. 66).
  • 143. Charity Com. files.
  • 144. White, Dir. Staffs. (1851).
  • 145. W.S.L., S. MS. 433, p. 315, reproduced facing p. 25; W.S.L., Staffs. Views, i, p. 164, a, b (c. 1838 and 1841).
  • 146. White, Dir. Staffs. (1851).
  • 147. Lich. Dioc. Ch. Cal. (1875), 73.
  • 148. Ibid.
  • 149. Ibid. (1888), 149.
  • 150. Lich. Dioc. Regy., Consist. Ct. Act Bk. 1891–9, p. 173, 28 Aug. 1894.
  • 151. Ibid. 1914–20, p. 37, faculty 6 Apr. 1915.
  • 152. Ibid. 1934–8, p. 382, faculty 30 July 1937.
  • 153. Lich. Dioc. Regy., Non-Residence Licences, ii, iii, B and C (1808–21).
  • 154. Tithe Maps and Appt., Baswich (copy in W.S.L.).
  • 155. White, Dir. Staffs. (1851).
  • 156. S.H.C. 1915, 23.
  • 157. Lynam, Church Bells of Staffs. 3.
  • 158. Ex inf. the vicar (1956).
  • 159. Digest of Returns to Sel. Cttee. on Educ. of Poor, H.C. 224, p. 854 (1819), ix (2).
  • 160. White, Dir. Staffs. (1834).
  • 161. P.O. Dir. Staffs. (1854).
  • 162. Ibid. (1860); tablet in situ.
  • 163. Returns relating to Elem. Educ. H.C. 201, pp. 364–5 (1871), lv; Kelly's Dir. Staffs (1884).
  • 164. Returns of Schools, 1893 [C. 7529], pp. 538–9, H.C. (1894), lxv.
  • 165. Staffs. Educ. Cttee. Mins. 25 Apr. 1931.
  • 166. Ibid. 29 May 1937.
  • 167. Ibid. 7 Feb. 1953.
  • 168. Staffs. Educ. Cttee., List of Schools, 1951, corrected to 1955.
  • 169. Lich. Dioc. Dir. (1955–6).
  • 170. Abstract of Returns of Charitable Donations 1786–8, H.C. 511, pp. 1118–19 (1816), xvi (2).
  • 171. 11th Rep. Com. Char. 510. Nos. 1951 and 1952 on Baswich Tithe Map (copy in W.S.L.), are named White Bread Piece and lie east of Acton mill Bridge.
  • 172. Abstract, 1786–8, 1118–19.
  • 173. Ibid.
  • 174. 11th Rep. Com. Char. 510.
  • 175. Ibid.
  • 176. Ex inf. the vicar (1956).