A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 5, East Cuttlestone Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1959.
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Huntington, a civil parish within Cannock Rural District and formerly a township and constablewick within the ancient parish of Cannock, lies on either side of the Stafford-Walsall road to the north of the town of Cannock. The ground slopes from over 700 ft. on Cannock Chase in the north-east to some 400 ft. in the south-west, while Shoal Hill in the south rises to 656 ft. Much of the land is now agricultural or held by the Forestry Commission, but the chief occupation is mining. There were 46 households within the constablewick in 1666, (fn. 1) and the population was 114 in 1801, 195 in 1891, 351 in 1901, (fn. 2) 922 in 1921, (fn. 3) and 1,816 in 1931, (fn. 4) the sharp increase being due to the development of the Littleton Colliery here after 1897. (fn. 5) By 1951 the population had fallen to 1,587. (fn. 6) The area is 1,303 acres. (fn. 7)
Huntington Farm dates from the 18th century, and a few cottages at the north end of Huntington were part of the original hamlet. Most of the terrace houses, in pairs and groups of four, date from the rapid expansion of the mining village in the early 20th century. The pumping station of the South Staffordshire Waterworks, dating from between 1876 (fn. 8) and 1880, (fn. 9) is an impressive tall red-brick building with detail similar to that used on the former Local Board Offices in Cannock. (fn. 10) At the north end of the built-up area there are two police-houses and a post-1945 council housing estate. The pit-head baths were built between 1939 and 1941. (fn. 11)
The 'Estendone' where Richard the forester held 1 hide of waste in 1086 (fn. 12) may possibly be identified with HUNTINGTON where by 1198 Henry de Brok, lord of Pillaton (in Penkridge), was holding a carucate of land of the king by some service in the forest of Cannock and a rent of 2 marks. (fn. 13) It is possible that Henry's predecessors in Huntington were Alfred de Huntedon and Alfred's brother Brun, father-in-law to Henry, both of whom had held Pillaton before Henry succeeded to it. (fn. 14) Henry was still living in 1205 (fn. 15) but seems to have been succeeded by his son Robert by 1214. (fn. 16) In 1236 Robert de Brok was holding the vill of Huntington of Bishop Alexander Stavensby, (fn. 17) but by 1250 the king had regained the overlordship since in that year Robert's son and heir Robert was fined for the alienation during his father's lifetime of part of the land in Huntington held by the service of keeping the hay of Teddesley. (fn. 18) The alienation was confirmed, Robert continuing to pay the fine annually and performing the service for the remaining land. (fn. 19) Robert de Brok was still living in 1254, (fn. 20) but was dead by 1264, (fn. 21) when his kinsman, Walter de Elmedon, did homage for the bailiwick of Teddesley. (fn. 22) In 1272 he was holding the vill of Huntington by the service of keeping this bailiwick. (fn. 23) In 1294 Walter's brother, (fn. 24) Stephen de Elmedon, successfully sued him for a messuage and a virgate of land in Huntington with other lands and rent there, (fn. 25) and in 1300 Stephen was holding the vill of the king. (fn. 26) At his death in 1302 his lands in Huntington passed with the serjeanty to his son William, (fn. 27) who died at some time after 1342 and was succeeded by his son William de 'Pylatenhale'. (fn. 28) This younger William died in 1349, (fn. 29) and the issues of Huntington and the bailiwick of Teddesley Hay were held until 1363 by Sir Hugh de Wrottesley, (fn. 30) to whom they had been granted during the minority of the heirs by the king in 1349. (fn. 31) One coheir, John, son of William's sister Margaret, of full age and more in 1363, then succeeded to a moiety of Huntington, but William, son of the other sister Joan, was then aged only fifteen, (fn. 32) and Hugh de Wrottesley still had an interest in Huntington in 1366. (fn. 33) William succeeded to his half share in 1370 (fn. 34) and held the whole from 1382 after the death of his cousin John. (fn. 35) Huntington then descended with Pillaton, (fn. 36) some 25 acres here being sold by the 3rd Lord Hatherton in 1920 and a further 152 acres by the 5th Lord Hatherton in 1947. (fn. 37)
The tenement was described as a messuage and a 'carucate' of land in 1363 (fn. 38) and 1370. (fn. 39) By 1502 the messuage was in ruins and worth nothing, while the 'virgate' was assessed at 6s. 8d., (fn. 40) a valuation which was given again in 1529 (fn. 41) and also in 1559 when the virgate was called 'Romeshurst'. (fn. 42) Huntington was described as a manor in 1573. (fn. 43)
Courts were held at Huntington by 1285. (fn. 44) Huntington was within the leet of Cannock by 1341, being represented by two frankpledges, (fn. 45) and it was paying 6d. in frithsilver to the lord of Cannock in at least 1740, 1762, and 1764. (fn. 46) It was still within the leet in 1805. (fn. 47) The free tenants of Sir Edward Littleton in Huntington were paying the lord of Cannock 6d. on each messuage for common in 'Cannock woods' by 1595. (fn. 48)
Attached to the vill of Huntington, itself still within the Teddesley Hay division of Cannock Forest in 1300, (fn. 49) was woodland which was formerly part of the royal forest of Cannock and for which Robert de Brok in 1262 paid a fine of ½ mark to the forest justices. (fn. 50) Robert's successor Walter de Elmedon paid a similar fine in 1271 (fn. 51) and 1286. (fn. 52) Four inclosures made by Walter's tenants at Huntington and presented by the reguardors of Cannock Forest in 1286 were of 2 acres, 1 acre, ½ acre, and 1 acre, each being surrounded by a ditch and a 'dead' hedge. (fn. 53)
There were two common fields in Huntington in 1654, Pitch Field and Lightwood Field, and possibly a third, Birchin Field. (fn. 54) These had been inclosed by 1754. (fn. 55)
The inhabitants of Huntington still enjoyed common rights in Teddesley Hay in 1718. (fn. 56) They paid 11s. rent for other common rights to the lord of Cannock in 1740 (fn. 57) and 10s. 6d. in 1778. (fn. 58) Huntington Common and Huntington Heath were inclosed in 1827 under an Act of 1814. (fn. 59)
The site of a former chapel exists west of Huntington Farm (fn. 60) but has been obliterated by colliery workings. The chapel may have been the chapel of St. Margaret within Cannock parish mentioned in 1548. (fn. 61)
Licence was given in 1871 for the holding of divine service in the schoolroom at Huntington. (fn. 62) The church of ST. THOMAS, built in 1872 and enlarged in 1879, (fn. 63) consists of an aisled nave, chancel, and transepts. The walls are of stone rubble with blue-brick dressings, and the windows of the transepts and chancel have plate tracery. It is within the parish of St. Luke, Cannock, and held by a curatein-charge. (fn. 64) In 1957 the plate consisted of a silver chalice and paten. (fn. 65)
In 1818 the house of Mrs. Wright in Huntington was registered as a meetinghouse for Protestant dissenters. (fn. 66) A small Wesleyan chapel was built there in 1847. (fn. 67) The building was not used exclusively as a chapel in 1851, (fn. 68) and the meetings probably lapsed soon afterwards. (fn. 69)
A Primitive Methodist chapel was erected at Huntington in 1925 and in 1940 seated 218. (fn. 70) It is built of red brick and lies in Stafford Road.
In 1871 a Church of England day school, founded at the expense of Lord Hatherton, was opened in the school-church erected by him at Huntington in that year and enlarged in 1879. (fn. 71) The attendance in 1874 had averaged 40 boys and girls (fn. 72) and c. 1892 was 60 children, under a mistress. (fn. 73) A separate school building opposite the church was erected by the 3rd Lord Hatherton in 1898. (fn. 74) By 1916 this building was overcrowded, with 96 children in the schoolroom, 33 in the classroom, and 40 in the infants' room, and Lord Hatherton agreed to extend it. (fn. 75) In 1919 he decided that he could not carry out the enlargement (fn. 76) but in 1925 and 1926 added two classrooms each for 40 children. (fn. 77) Meanwhile a public elementary school was opened in 1921 on a site north of the church bought from Lord Hatherton, (fn. 78) and this building also was enlarged in 1926. (fn. 79)
In 1928 because of overcrowding at both schools it was proposed to rent the Church Institute as a schoolroom. (fn. 80) By this date the public elementary school had been confined to infants. (fn. 81) In 1931 attendance at the church school was 260 and at the council infants' school, 188. (fn. 82) In 1934 the church school was transferred to the Local Education Authority and amalgamated with the Infants' school. (fn. 83) Under the 1944 Education Act the buildings of the former church school are used for a County Secondary Modern school, and the Junior and Infants' school, now known as Huntington County Primary School, Junior Mixed and Infants, is housed in the public elementary school buildings next to the church.
The 1898 block used by the present Secondary Modern school is a white stucco building with leaded windows and stone dressings and has flanking wings in the same style, added in 1925 and 1926.
Charities for the Poor
At some time before 1786 Hugh Gratley left £5, the interest whereon (5s.) was to be distributed to the poor of Huntington. By 1823 the 5s. was issuing from land in Huntington formerly belonging to Gratley. (fn. 84) John Staley by will dated 1690 gave £20, and his mother Ann Staley added another £10, the whole being laid out in that year in land in Huntington to produce a rent of 20s. which was to be distributed to the poor of the township. (fn. 85) Frances Stubbs by will of unknown date gave £10 which by 1786 was producing interest of 8s. but by 1824 seems to have been laid out in a meadow in Huntington called Widows Meadow charged with a rent of 8s. (fn. 86) An unknown donor at some time before 1786 gave a rent charge of 20s. from land in Hatherton. (fn. 87) By 1823 all these four charities were distributed at Christmas to poor widows of Huntington and other poor there with large families, in sums of 7s. or under, the largest doles going to those who tried to avoid becoming a charge on the parish. (fn. 88) The total income was still £2 13s. in 1949, (fn. 89) but the charities seem to have lapsed by 1956. (fn. 90)