Leek: Rushton Spencer

A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 7, Leek and the Moorlands. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1996.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


A P Baggs, M F Cleverdon, D A Johnson, N J Tringham, 'Leek: Rushton Spencer', in A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 7, Leek and the Moorlands, ed. C R J Currie, M W Greenslade( London, 1996), British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/staffs/vol7/pp223-229 [accessed 22 July 2024].

A P Baggs, M F Cleverdon, D A Johnson, N J Tringham, 'Leek: Rushton Spencer', in A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 7, Leek and the Moorlands. Edited by C R J Currie, M W Greenslade( London, 1996), British History Online, accessed July 22, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/staffs/vol7/pp223-229.

A P Baggs, M F Cleverdon, D A Johnson, N J Tringham. "Leek: Rushton Spencer". A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 7, Leek and the Moorlands. Ed. C R J Currie, M W Greenslade(London, 1996), , British History Online. Web. 22 July 2024. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/staffs/vol7/pp223-229.

In this section


Rushton Spencer was formerly a township in Leek parish and later a civil parish 1,860 a. (753 ha.) in area. (fn. 1) It is pasture, with a village on the east side spread out along the Leek- Macclesfield road. The northern boundary with Cheshire is formed by the river Dane. Most of the western boundary, also with Cheshire, runs along the top of the Cloud, an outcrop of rock. The boundary on the Cloud was marked in the early 17th century by a monolith called the Stepmother Stone and by a mound called Mystylowe, possibly the name then used for the Neolithic chambered tomb now called the Bridestones and lying on the Cheshire side of the boundary. (fn. 2) The southern boundary with Rushton James followed streams, called Cress brook and Rad brook in the early 14th century. (fn. 3) In 1934 the civil parish was amalgamated with Rushton James to form Rushton civil parish, 3,250 a. (1,315 ha.) in area. (fn. 4) This article deals with the former township.

The highest point in the township is the Cloud, which rises to 1,126 ft. (343 m.). The name is derived from the Old English clud, meaning a rock. (fn. 5) From the Cloud the land falls sharply on the north into the valley of the Dane, where it lies at 390 ft. (119 m.) on the west side of the township at Lymford bridge and 472 ft. (144 m.) to the east at Hug bridge. A church stands on a bluff on the south-east side of the township at 600 ft. (183 m.), and beneath the bluff the land drops to 515 ft. (157 m.) in the valley of a brook which flows north to the Dane. Wall Hill Farm on a bluff on the east side of the valley also stands at 600 ft. The underlying rock is sandstone of the Millstone Grit series with an area of Bunter Pebble in the east. There is Boulder Clay over much of the rock, and the soil is mostly fine loam. (fn. 6) In 1962 the National Trust acquired 135 a. on the Cloud, of which 26 a. lie in Staffordshire. (fn. 7)

Twenty-seven people in Rushton Spencer were assessed for hearth tax in 1666. (fn. 8) In 1751 there were 132 people aged over 16 in the township. (fn. 9) The population in 1801 was 294, rising to 362 by 1811. It was 359 in 1821 and 358 in 1861. It then fluctuated and was 315 in 1901, rising to 333 by 1911 and 360 by 1921. It was 375 in 1931, the last time that Rushton Spencer's population was separately recorded. (fn. 10)

The name Rushton is Old English and means a settlement by rushes, (fn. 11) a reference to marsh land in the valley on the east side of the township. The suffix Spencer, recorded in the early 14th century, (fn. 12) is taken from the Despensers, lords of the manor. What was called Rushton Marsh in the mid 17th century (fn. 13) was probably a hamlet on the Leek-Macclesfield road in the area of the present village, where the oldest house is Hammerton House, of the late 17th or early 18th century. In the later 18th century a school was built in a side road to Heaton, (fn. 14) and the Royal Oak inn at the road junction existed by 1818. (fn. 15) There was a village post office by 1872. (fn. 16) Lane End Farm on the main road ¼ mile north of Hammerton House was so called in 1707. (fn. 17) By 1818 there was another inn, the Golden Lion, ¼ mile further north still. (fn. 18)

The medieval church was known in 1673 as 'the chapel in the wilderness', probably a reference to its solitary position. (fn. 19) Hall House Farm to the north was so called in 1600. (fn. 20) Wall Hill Farm in the north-east part of the township retains a timber-framed core of two bays of c. 1600, to which a wing was added in 1621 (fn. 21) to provide a parlour.

There may have been a settlement in the Middle Ages in the south part of the township at Oulton Farm. Although the name has been found only from 1651 for a close, it is probably derived from words meaning an old farmstead (ald tun). (fn. 22) The nearby hamlet of Woodhouse Green probably existed by 1413, when there was mention of tenements at Wodehouse. (fn. 23) Two farmhouses there are each called Woodhouse Green Farm. That on the east side of the hamlet is partly of the early 17th century. The other, to the west, includes an early 18th-century wing added to an earlier house.

The site of Cloud House north-west of Woodhouse Green was probably occupied in 1451 by William Sutton of the Cloud; the Sutton family certainly owned the house in 1596. (fn. 24) The present house is dated 1612 and has a small 18th-century extension on the north. Raven's Clough to the east was so called by 1596. (fn. 25) North of Cloud House there was evidently a settlement at Lymford in 1333, when there was mention of Henry of Lymford. (fn. 26) Lymford House, recorded in 1596, (fn. 27) possibly stood on the site of the present Lymford Farm, which is of the 18th century. By the later 18th century there were houses at Toft green at the road junction north-west of Cloud House, and also a settlement called Cloud Side on the east side of the Cloud. (fn. 28)


Peck's House on the road descending into Rushton Marsh from Woodhouse Green was so called in 1662. (fn. 29) Lee Farm further down the road is of the early 18th century. An adjoining house called the Lee was built in 1793, and its south front was remodelled in 1852. (fn. 30) In 1848 there was an inn called the Hope and Anchor in the valley bottom. It was replaced in 1853 by the Railway inn, built near the station opened in 1849. (fn. 31) It was known in 1991 as the Knot inn.

The Leek-Macclesfield road through the east side of the township crosses the Dane over Hug bridge, so called in the early 13th century and then giving its name to the manor. (fn. 32) Repaired c. 1550, the wooden bridge was destroyed by flood c. 1620 and replaced by a stone one. (fn. 33) The present bridge is of the 18th and early 19th century. The road was turnpiked in 1762. (fn. 34) In 1769 an order was made for tolls to be taken at the bridge, and there was probably a tollhouse nearby. A tollhouse was built ¼ mile south of the bridge in 1826. (fn. 35) The road formerly entered Rushton Spencer from Rudyard in the southeast. It was realigned in 1808 (fn. 36) and thereafter entered the township in the south, crossing Rad brook and rejoining the former line at the Royal Oak. The road was disturnpiked in 1878 and the tollhouse near Hug bridge was demolished. (fn. 37)

The Dane was also crossed at Lymford, where there was a bridge by the later 18th century. (fn. 38) The road there was turnpiked in 1770 as part of the route from Tunstall to Bosley, in Prestbury (Ches.). By 1861 there was a tollgate apparently between Toftgreen Farm and Lymford Farm. (fn. 39)

The North Staffordshire Railway Co.'s Churnet Valley line between Leek and Macclesfield, opened in 1849, ran through the east side of the township. From its opening there was a station in Rushton Spencer, enlarged in the mid 1890s. Closed for passengers in 1960 and for freight in 1961, the station later became a house. (fn. 40)

Rushton association for the prosecution of felons existed in 1813, (fn. 41) possibly serving both Rushton Spencer and Rushton James. A police officer lived near the railway station in 1851 and at Rushton Marsh from at least 1871 until the mid 1920s. (fn. 42) A police station was opened north of Hammerton House c. 1960, but it was no longer occupied by an officer in 1991. (fn. 43)

A wake was mentioned in the later 1760s. Before the change in the calendar in 1752 it was held probably on or near the feast of St. Lawrence (10 August), the patron saint of the church. In the later 19th century it was held on the Sunday nearest Old St. Lawrence's Day. (fn. 44) The custom of begging for soul cakes on All Souls' Day, noted in 1856, survived in 1914. (fn. 45) By 1867 well-dressing took place at a spring known variously as St. Helen's or St. Daniel's well, south of the vicarage house at Rushton Marsh. From 1897 the ceremony involved a May Queen. The well was last dressed in 1933. (fn. 46)

Rushton Friendly Society was established in 1859; by 1876, and probably earlier, it met at the Royal Oak. (fn. 47) Nothing further is known about it. A lodge of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows was established in 1897 and dissolved in 1953. (fn. 48) A Women's Institute was formed in 1937. (fn. 49)


Originally the northern part of a manor called Rushton, (fn. 50) Rushton Spencer had emerged by the early 13th century as a separate manor called HUGBRIDGE. It was then held by Sir Hugh le Despenser of the earl of Chester for a chief rent of 1 lb. of pepper. (fn. 51) By 1251 the same rent was paid to Dieulacres abbey, (fn. 52) which probably acquired the overlordship when Earl Ranulph granted Leek manor to the abbey in 1232. Dieulacres still demanded the rent for Rushton Spencer manor at the Dissolution. (fn. 53)

Sir Hugh le Despenser was succeeded in 1238 by his son Sir Hugh (d. 1265). The latter's son Hugh, created earl of Winchester in 1322, was executed in 1326, and in 1327 the king granted RUSHTON SPENCER to Sir Roger Swynnerton. (fn. 54) Swynnerton also acquired the Despensers' share of Alstonefield manor. (fn. 55) Rushton Spencer descended with that share until 1446, when Richard Peshall lost it to his half-brother John Savage. (fn. 56) John was succeded in 1463 by his son John, knighted in 1471. Sir John was succeeded in 1495 by his grandson John Savage, knighted in 1497. That Sir John died in 1528 and was succeeded by his son, another Sir John, who died later the same year. The younger Sir John's heir was his son John, knighted in 1547. (fn. 57) Sir John died in 1596, (fn. 58) soon after he had conveyed Rushton Spencer to trustees in order to convert the manor's copyhold estates into freehold, and in 1599 the freeholders acknowledged his son, also Sir John, as lord. (fn. 59) By 1620, however, five of the freeholders had become joint lords of the manor. (fn. 60) There were still five joint lords in 1841, Francis Johnson of Cloud House, John Lockett of Hall House Farm, Thomas Yardley of Wall Hill Farm, Charles Harwar of Congleton (Ches.), and the devisees of John Webb of Cowley, in Gnosall. (fn. 61)



In 1086 Rushton, including what was later Rushton James, had land for two ploughteams. (fn. 62) In 1329 there were 4 freeholders in Rushton Spencer, together with 6 villeins, each holding a house and a bovate of land, and 13 tenants-at-will, each holding a house and 16 a. (fn. 63) There were 319 a. of common waste in the township in 1777, when it was inclosed under an Act of 1776. Most of the waste lay in the Rushton Marsh area. (fn. 64)

Of the 1,131 ha. of farmland returned for Rushton civil parish in 1988, grassland covered 1,036.3 ha. and there were 29 ha. of rough grazing. The farming was dairy and sheep, with 2,034 head of cattle and 1,443 sheep and lambs. There were 770 hens. Of the 51 farms returned, 47 were under 50 ha. in size and 4 between 50 and 99 ha. Woodland covered 61.4 ha. (fn. 65)


A mill was recorded in Rushton Spencer from 1329. (fn. 66) It probably stood on the site of the water mill which in 1775 stood on the east side of the township. (fn. 67) A mill there has been powered by electricity since the late 1950s, when the mill pond was filled in. (fn. 68)

Trade and Industry.

In 1791 a pool on the west side of the Leek-Macclesfield road south of Lane End Farm was let to two Cheshire men, John Burgess of Wilmslow and Thomas Percival of Bosley, with licence to use the water to power a cotton mill, which they built the same year. It was run evidently by William Maskrey, a cotton manufacturer, dealer, and chapman in the later 1790s and certainly by Peter Goostry in 1805. (fn. 69) Goostry, who used the mill to supply cotton weft for the Manchester market, still worked it in 1818. (fn. 70) In 1821 the pool was acquired by a Leek silk manufacturer, Richard Gaunt. (fn. 71) He may also have acquired the mill, which was worked in 1831 by John Wild, a silk spinner. The mill was offered for sale that year. (fn. 72) Nothing further is known about it.

By 1827 there was a silk mill on a site downstream from the corn mill. (fn. 73) In 1851 it was run by a dyer, James Cook, who in 1861 employed 30 people and was assisted by a relative, William Cook. William ran the mill in 1881, when he was described as a 'manufacturing chemist'. (fn. 74) The manufactory was run by James Cook & Co. in 1940 but was closed soon afterwards. (fn. 75)

Cotton spinners living near Lymford Farm in 1841, 1851, and 1861 presumably worked at the cotton mill in Bosley on the Cheshire side of the Dane. (fn. 76)

A nailer, Richard Mitchell, recorded in Rushton Spencer in 1834, was living at Cloud Side in 1841. (fn. 77) James Mitchell, a nail manufacturer, lived at Cloud Side in 1871, (fn. 78) and Stephen Mitchell of Cloud Side was recorded as a nail maker between 1884 and 1908. (fn. 79)

There was a quarry at the southern end of Cloud Side in 1777. (fn. 80) Two stonemasons lived in that area in 1851, one of whom was still working as a mason in 1861. (fn. 81) In the mid 1870s there was a disused quarry at Cloud Side, one east of Peck's House, and one south of Rushton Marsh. (fn. 82)


By the earlier 14th century Rushton Spencer was a tithing of Leek manor and sent a frankpledge to the twice-yearly view. It was still part of the manor in 1820, when the court appointed a headborough and a pinner for the township. (fn. 83) The lords of Rushton Spencer held their own court by 1772. Recorded until 1841, the court was by then chiefly a social event. (fn. 84)

There was a pinfold near Hall House Farm in the late 1870s. It had apparently been removed by the late 1890s. (fn. 85)

The township was part of the Leekfrith quarter of Leek parish, and in the 1660s its poor were relieved by the quarter's overseer. The township had its own overseer from 1713. (fn. 86) It became part of Leek poor-law union in 1837. (fn. 87)


There was a church at Rushton Spencer in 1368, when the bishop licensed the inhabitants to have services in their chapel. (fn. 88) It had a silver-gilt chalice and a paten in 1553; another chalice, along with a bell, had been sold a few years earlier to raise money to repair Hug bridge. (fn. 89)

The chapel was dependent on the parish church at Leek until the 19th century, despite having developed claims to parochial status by the late 17th century. The curate then remitted to the vicar fees for burials and marriages but retained those for baptisms and churchings of women. Moreover, the inhabitants of Rushton chapelry did not pay Easter offerings to the vicar. (fn. 90) In 1742 the curate alleged that he was not required to assist the vicar and that when he had refused to do any parish duty the vicar had not pressed the matter. (fn. 91) In the early 19th century the inhabitants attempted to have the chapel declared independent and so to free themselves from paying fees and from contributing to the repair of Leek parish church. (fn. 92) It was probably as a result of the inhabitants' need to prepare their case that records were apparently removed from the chapel: at a visitation of 1841 the archdeacon of Stafford ordered Mr. Yardley, probably Thomas Yardley of Wall Hill Farm, 'to surrender the old parish chest'. (fn. 93) The chapelry, which by the 18th century included the townships of Heaton, Rushton James, and Rushton Spencer, became a parish in 1865, and the perpetual curacy was styled a vicarage from 1868. (fn. 94) The church retained its own vicar until 1970. Since then it has been served by a priest-in-charge. (fn. 95)

The right to nominate a curate was claimed in 1673 by James Rode, the lord of Rushton James, who had endowed the living that year. The curate in 1718, Thomas Meakin, stated that he had been nominated by the vicar of Leek, but in 1742 his son and successor, William Meakin, claimed that both of them had been nominated by the trustees of land given to the chapel in 1660. (fn. 96) The vicar of Leek presented in 1750 and 1790, and in 1804 his nominee was appointed rather than a man nominated by the trustees. Thereafter the vicar's right to present went unchallenged. (fn. 97)

In 1604 the church was evidently served by a reader, who was paid only what the inhabitants gave him. (fn. 98) In 1660 Thomas Turnock, formerly of Heaton, vested a house and 10¼ a. in Heaton (later known as Toothill farm) in trustees 'for the encouragement of a preaching minister'. The estate was worth £9 10s. a year in 1698. (fn. 99) In 1673 James Rode, lord of Rushton James, gave the trustees 6 a. in Rushton James, in fulfilment of his father's wish, to provide an income for a resident preaching minister at Rushton; when there was no resident minister, the income was to remain with the Rode family. The land was worth £4 a year in 1698. (fn. 100) In 1725 Queen Anne's Bounty gave £200 to meet benefactions of £110 given by John Ward and £90 left by a Mrs. Baron. The money was used to buy the 22½-a. Flashcroft farm in Heaton; the income in the mid 1730s was £17 a year. (fn. 101) In 1810 the Bounty gave another £200 and in 1816 £1,000. The money was used in 1826 to buy 24 a. at Wormhill, in Tideswell (Derb.). (fn. 102) The living was worth £91 a year c. 1830, and the assistant who served the cure for the non-resident curate received a salary of £46 in 1835. (fn. 103) The Bounty gave £200 in 1854 to meet benefactions of £400 raised by subscription and £200 given by the Lichfield Diocesan Church Extension Society. (fn. 104) There was glebe of 82 a. in 1887, with an estimated rental of £109. (fn. 105) Grants of £100, £450, and £100 were made respectively in 1896, 1907, and 1912 by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to meet benefactions. (fn. 106) A house for the curate was built at Rushton Marsh in 1854-5. It was sold in 1973. (fn. 107)

The perpetual curate appointed in 1750, Daniel Turner, was also curate at Meerbrook, in Leekfrith, and at Flash in Quarnford, in Alstonefield. He lived at Meerbrook, where he died in 1789. (fn. 108) In the early 19th century Rushton chapel was served for the absentee curate, George Mounsey, by Turner's son James and later by James's son Daniel. Both were based at Meerbrook. (fn. 109) Mounsey died in 1852 and was succeeded as curate in 1853 by William Melland, the first curate to reside for over 100 years. (fn. 110) In 1830 there was one Sunday service, and Communion was celebrated four times a year. (fn. 111) In 1851 the average Sunday attendance was 50 when the service was held in the morning and 150 when held in the afternoon, besides Sunday school children. (fn. 112)

In the 18th and earlier 19th century the church had a society of psalm singers, who occupied a west gallery. They were accompanied, at least from the later 18th century, by a church band. The gallery's 18th-century benches bear the carved initials of members of the society. One set, with the date 1719, belong to Uriah Davenport (d. 1784), the compiler of a text book on the teaching of metrical psalms, The Psalm-Singer's Pocket Companion (1755). Davenport evidently had considerable influence in the chapelry: its financial support of both singers and instrumentalists was exceptional in Staffordshire. (fn. 113)

By will of 1764 John Thornely, curate of Bosley, in Prestbury (Ches.), arranged for the distribution of a bible every year in Rushton Spencer, evidently to a poor household. The gift was possibly still being made in 1850. (fn. 114) A distribution of bibles and prayer books was instituted in 1854 by the curate of Meerbrook, James Turner. The gift, presumably for the poor, was still recorded in 1940. (fn. 115)

There was a chapelwarden by 1597. (fn. 116) In 1757 a clerk for Rushton chapel was chosen jointly by the curate and the vestry. He had a salary of 10s. and was provided with clothes. In 1778 the vestry raised his salary to 30s. but withdrew the supply of clothes. Furthermore, he was forbidden to go 'begging' at Christmas or at any other time to increase his salary. It seems, however, that he continued to do so, causing the vestry from 1801 to allow him an extra £1 11s. 6d. a year in lieu of his 'Christmas box'. (fn. 117)

The church of ST. LAWRENCE, which is built of sandstone but retains medieval timber framing, has a chancel with a north chapel, a nave of three bays, undivided from the chancel, with a north aisle and a west gallery, a south porch, and a west vestry surmounted by a timber bell turret. The low nave has a partly renewed late-medieval crown-post roof, and the principal posts survive on its north side. The original walls may have been plank-filled. The frame of the south doorway is of timber and has a flat ogee head. (fn. 118) The church was rebuilt in stone in the 17th century, and extended on the north side. The east wall of the chancel is dated 1690. The north chapel contains a 17th-century pew for the Trafford family of Swythamley, in Heaton. The chapel was formerly entered through a doorway, now blocked, in the east wall. The vestry doorway is dated 1748, (fn. 119) when it and the turret may have been added or rebuilt. The oak pulpit dates from the later 17th century, and a 17th-century communion table in the nave has the initials GS above the letter w, which possibly stands for 'warden'.

In 1830 the archdeacon of Stafford recommended that the church should be demolished and a new one built at Rushton Marsh. He was supported by 'some of the more respectable parishioners', and he repeated the recommendation in 1841. (fn. 120) It was decided, however, to repair the building. In 1842 dormer windows were set in the south roof and buttresses placed against the east wall, and in 1848 the south wall of the nave was rebuilt. In 1898 the box pews were replaced by open seats and the stone flagged floor by wooden blocks, while the pulpit was moved from the south-east to the north-east corner of the nave and the organ from the chancel to the place vacated by the pulpit. (fn. 121) An altar of carved oak was installed in 1923. (fn. 122)

The large stone font at the west end of the nave dates probably from the 13th century. (fn. 123) In 1991 the plate included a silver-gilt paten of 1706 given by Thomas Higginbotham in 1709 and a silver chalice bought, apparently by subscription, in 1727. (fn. 124) There is a bell dated 1686. (fn. 125) Royal arms of Queen Anne's reign hang on the north wall of the nave.

The registers date from 1700. (fn. 126)

The churchyard was extended in 1872, 1913, and 1942. (fn. 127)


Two popish recusants were returned in 1607, Anne, wife of Edward Sutton of Hall House, and their daughter Alice Eardley. Alice was returned with her husband John in 1616, when three other women, all labourers' wives, were also returned. Anne Sutton was again returned in 1635, along with another woman, and Alice Eardley in 1641. (fn. 128)

Two Anabaptists, Thomas and William Goodfellow, who were recorded in Leek parish in 1665, were members of the Goodfellow family of Wall Hill Farm. (fn. 129) In 1699 the same or another Thomas Goodfellow registered a meeting place in Leek parish for protestant worship. (fn. 130) The place was probably the farmhouse on the east side of Woodhouse Green hamlet where Baptists held services from the later 17th century. By 1688 there was a Baptist burial ground north-east of Woodhouse Green; it was last used in 1780. Baptists continued to hold occasional services at Woodhouse Green Farm until 1828. (fn. 131)

Methodist services were held fortnightly on Sundays at Rushton in 1798, and in 1816 a Wesleyan Methodist chapel was opened in Alley Lane, just over the Heaton boundary. (fn. 132) By 1829 services were held there every Sunday. (fn. 133) In 1851 there was an afternoon attendance of 86, besides Sunday school children, and an evening attendance of 70. (fn. 134) The chapel was replaced in 1899 by a larger one, built of brick, on a site to the west in Rushton Spencer. (fn. 135) It was known in 1991 as Rushton Methodist church.

From 1821 another Wesleyan Methodist congregation met at what in 1851 was called Diglake Sunday school, near the Leek-Macclesfield road at Rushton Marsh. Services held there on Census Sunday 1851 were attended by 50 adults in the afternoon and 80 in the evening; a Sunday school had met in the morning. (fn. 136) Nothing further is known about the congregation.

Hugh Bourne, the founder of Primitive Methodism, preached at Cloud Side in 1811, and a Primitive Methodist chapel was opened there in 1815. Only the attendance of Sunday school children was recorded on Census Sunday 1851. The stone building was extended in brick in 1958 and was known as Cloud Methodist church in 1991. (fn. 137)


There was a schoolmaster in the chapelry in 1631. (fn. 138) Seats at the west end of Rushton chapel were fitted for a school in 1770-1. (fn. 139)

A school was built by subscription at Rushton Marsh in 1772. (fn. 140) The first teacher may have been Uriah Davenport, who in 1773 lived at School House in Alley Lane, just over the Heaton boundary. (fn. 141) The master in 1794 was also the chapel clerk. (fn. 142) Between 40 and 50 children were taught at the school in 1818 and 35 in the earlier 1830s. (fn. 143) In 1834 the school received £3 from the rent of land adjoining the building; reduced to £2 by 1871, the rent ceased when the land was made into a school playground in the earlier 1890s. (fn. 144) The building was enlarged several times in the later 19th century. (fn. 145) An all-age school with 104 children on its books in 1930, it became a junior school c. 1940, senior children being transferred to Leek. (fn. 146) The school, which had taken controlled status by 1958, (fn. 147) was known as Rushton Church of England (Controlled) primary school in 1991.

By 1851 there were Sunday schools for the Anglicans, the two Wesleyan Methodist congregations, and the Primitive Methodists. The attendances on Census Sunday that year were 40 at the Church of England school, 36 at the Wesleyan Methodist school in Alley Lane, 46 at the Wesleyan Methodist school at Diglake, and 40 at the Primitive Methodist school at Cloud Side. (fn. 148)


By will of 1744 Mary Sydebotham left the interest on £11 for distribution to poor widows in Rushton Spencer. At an unknown date Alice Yardley gave £12, the interest to be distributed in bread to the poor on the first Sunday of each month. In 1753 the combined capital of the two charities was laid out in the purchase of a cottage and 1½ a. in the township, which were let for 23s. a year. Out of that income 11s. was paid to the chapelwarden and the overseer of the poor a week before St. Thomas's day (21 December), presumably for distribution as a dole on that day; the remaining 12s. was paid to the same officers to buy a dozen loaves to be distributed once a month on a Sunday to poor churchgoers. In the later 1780s the income was £3. It had increased to £6 5s. by 1823. A third of the money was then given to poor widows, there being 8 recipients that year; the remainder was spent on the monthly distribution of loaves, for which there were usually 8 or 9 recipients. (fn. 149) Bread continued to be distributed until 1972. The property was sold in 1983, and the capital invested in the name of the Rushton Relief in Need charity, established by a Scheme of 1984. In 1993 £992 was spent on grants to needy people and on treats for the elderly. (fn. 150)


  • 1. V.C.H. Staffs. i. 328. This article was written in 1991.
  • 2. P.R.O., E 134/9 Jas. I Hil./5, m. 4; V.C.H. Ches. i. 43.
  • 3. Above, Rushton James, intro.
  • 4. Staffs. Review Order, 1934, p. 67 and map 1 (copy in S.R.O.).
  • 5. Eng. P.N. Elements, i. 101.
  • 6. Geol. Surv. Map 1", drift, sheet 110 (1968 edn.); Soil Surv. of Eng. and Wales, sheet 3 (1983).
  • 7. Inf. from National Trust, Mercia Regional Office.
  • 8. S.H.C. 1925, 168-9.
  • 9. S.R.O., D. 1109/1, p. 87.
  • 10. V.C.H. Staffs. i. 328; Census, 1911-31.
  • 11. Eng. P.N. Elements, ii. 85.
  • 12. S.R.O., D. (W.) 1761/A/4/19.
  • 13. Leek Par. Reg. 127.
  • 14. Below, educ.
  • 15. Parson and Bradshaw, Staffs. Dir. (1818), villages section, p. 17.
  • 16. P.O. Dir. Staffs. (1872).
  • 17. W.S.L. 25/3/46, deed of 17 July 1707.
  • 18. Parson and Bradshaw, Staffs. Dir. (1818), villages section, p. 17.
  • 19. L.J.R.O., B/V/6/Rushton, copy deed of 1 Dec. 1673.
  • 20. W.S.L. 25/1/46, copy deed of 21 Jan. 1599/1600.
  • 21. T.N.S.F.C. lxxxvi. 112.
  • 22. S.R.O., D. (W.) 1761/A/4/151; Eng. P.N. Elements, i. 8; ii. 188.
  • 23. S.R.O., D. (W.) 1761/A/4/24.
  • 24. Ibid. D. (W.) 1761/A/4/29 and 149.
  • 25. Ibid. D. (W.) 1761/A/4/149.
  • 26. S.H.C. x (1), 115.
  • 27. S.R.O., D. (W.) 1761/A/4/149.
  • 28. Above, fig. 2.
  • 29. Leek Par. Reg. 147.
  • 30. Deeds in possession of the owners, Mr. and Mrs. W. Oliver.
  • 31. Staffs. Advertiser, 26 Feb. 1848, p. 4; 30 Apr. 1853, p. 1; below, this section [railway].
  • 32. Below, manor.
  • 33. V.C.H. Staffs. ii. 280; S.H.C. 1915, 147.
  • 34. Above, Leek and Lowe, communications.
  • 35. S.R.O., D. 706/1, 7 Apr. 1769; Sandon Rd. acct. bk. 1821-69, acct. 1826-7 (in possession of Mr. R. Stones of Malpas, Ches., 1994); J. Phillips and W. F. Hutchings, Map of County of Stafford (1832).
  • 36. Above, Rudyard, intro.
  • 37. Staffs. Advertiser, 26 Oct. 1878, p. 8; above, Leek and Lowe, communications.
  • 38. Above, fig. 2.
  • 39. S.H.C. 4th ser. xiii. 109-10; P.R.O., RG 9/1948.
  • 40. R. Keys, Churnet Valley Railway (Hartington, 1974), 9, 36; White, Dir. Staffs. (1851), 730; S.R.O., C/Rd/5/3.
  • 41. Macclesfield Courier, 11 Sept. 1813, p. 1 (ref. supplied by Mr. A. W. Bednall of Macclesfield).
  • 42. P.R.O., HO 107/2008; ibid. RG 10/2884; RG 11/2741 (s.v. Heaton); Kelly's Dir. Staffs. (1892; 1924).
  • 43. Local inf.
  • 44. S.R.O., D. 3566/3/1, chapelwarden's acct. 1766-7; S. W. Hutchinson, Archdeaconry of Stoke-on-Trent (1893), 98.
  • 45. T. W. Norwood, Acct. of the Ancient Chapel of Rushton (Leek, 1856), 16; T.N.S.F.C. xlix. 117.
  • 46. Plot, Staffs. 49; A. N. Bebington, St. Lawrence Parish Church (Rushton P.C.C., n.d. but 1988), 43.
  • 47. Rep. Chief Registrar of Friendly Socs. 1876, App. P, H.C. 429-I, p. 406 (1877), lxxvii.
  • 48. Inf. from the Order's head office, Manchester.
  • 49. Inf. from Staffs. Federation of Women's Institutes.
  • 50. Above, Rushton James, manor.
  • 51. Staffs. Studies, v. 5.
  • 52. S.H.C. iv (1), 244-5.
  • 53. Sleigh, Leek, 18.
  • 54. Complete Peerage, iv. 259-66; S.H.C. 1913, 22; Cal. Pat. 1327-30, 33.
  • 55. Above, Alstonefield: Alstonefield, manors (Philippa Malbank's share).
  • 56. S.H.C. N.S. iii. 171, 174-5, 177.
  • 57. G. Ormerod, Hist. of County Palatine and City of Chester (1882), i. 712-16; W. A. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 29, 60.
  • 58. Ormerod, Hist. Ches. i. 716.
  • 59. S.R.O., D. (W.) 1761/A/4/149; D. 3359/Condlyffe, abstract of title of Thos. Armett to one-fifth of Rushton Spencer manor, and draft appt. to stewardship 1828.
  • 60. S.H.C. N.S. vii. 212; N.S. x (1), 66.
  • 61. S.R.O., D. 3359/Condlyffe, Rushton Spencer cts. 19 Oct. 1841.
  • 62. V.C.H. Staffs. iv. 41.
  • 63. S.H.C. 1913, 22.
  • 64. S.R.O., Q/RDc 39; 16 Geo. III, c. 24 (Priv. Act).
  • 65. P.R.O., MAF 68/6128/81.
  • 66. S.H.C. 1913, 22; S.R.O., D. (W.) 1761/A/4/149; W.S.L. 25/3/46, deed of 6 Apr. 1711.
  • 67. Above, fig. 2.
  • 68. Inf. from the owner, Mr. J. Cook.
  • 69. S.R.O., Q/RDc 39; S.R.O., D. 3359/Cruso, deed of 11 Feb. 1797 (re Maskrey); D. 3359/Phillips, abstract of title to silk dyehouse.
  • 70. J. Nightingale, Staffs. (Beauties of Eng. and Wales, xiii), 1051; Parson and Bradshaw, Staffs. Dir. (1818), p. cxxiii.
  • 71. W.S.L. 25/6/46, deed of 26 Mar. 1821.
  • 72. Macclesfield Courier & Herald, 19 Feb. 1831, p. 1 (ref. supplied by Mr. A. W. Bednall of Macclesfield).
  • 73. S.R.O., D. 706/4, p. 17.
  • 74. P.R.O., HO 107/2008; ibid. RG 9/1948; RG 11/2741; O.S. Map 6", Staffs. III. SE. (1888 edn.).
  • 75. Kelly's Dir. Staffs. (1940); inf. from Mr. J. Cook of Rushton corn mill.
  • 76. P.R.O., HO 107/1005; HO 107/2008; ibid. RG 9/1948; J. Phillips and W. F. Hutchings, Map of County of Stafford (1832); S. Bagshaw, Hist. of County of Chester (Sheffield, 1850), 195.
  • 77. White, Dir. Staffs. (1834), 715; P.R.O., HO 107/1005.
  • 78. P.R.O., HO 107/2008; ibid. RG 10/2884.
  • 79. Kelly's Dir. Staffs. (1884; 1908).
  • 80. S.R.O., Q/RDc 39.
  • 81. P.R.O., HO 107/2008; ibid. RG 9/1948.
  • 82. O.S. Map 6", Staffs. III. NE., SW., and SE. (1888 edns.).
  • 83. Above, Leek and Lowe, local govt.
  • 84. W.S.L. 490/34, pp. 6-12, 24; S.R.O., D. 3359/Condlyffe, Rushton Spencer cts.
  • 85. O.S. Map 6", Staffs. III. SE. (1888, 1900 edns.).
  • 86. Above, Leek, par. intro. (par. govt.).
  • 87. S.R.O., D. 699/1/1/1, p. 4.
  • 88. S.H.C. N.S. viii. 42-3.
  • 89. S.H.C. 1915, 147.
  • 90. L.J.R.O., B/V/6/Leek, terriers of 1698, 1705, 1735, 1744; B/V/6/Rushton, terrier of 1698.
  • 91. S.R.O., D. (W.) 1761/B/3/110.
  • 92. Ibid. D. 3566/3/1, acct. for 1806-7; White, Dir. Staffs. (1834), 713.
  • 93. S.H.C. 4th ser. x. 98.
  • 94. S.R.O., D. 1109/1; Lond. Gaz. 19 May 1865, p. 2634; Lich. Dioc. Ch. Cal. (1869).
  • 95. Lich. Dioc. Dir. (1970-1 and later edns.).
  • 96. S.R.O., D. (W.) 1761/B/3/110 and 112; L.J.R.O., B/V/5/1718, Rushton. For the trustees see next para.
  • 97. L.J.R.O., B/V/3/Rushton.
  • 98. S.H.C. 1915, 149.
  • 99. L.J.R.O., B/V/6/Rushton, undated memo. and terriers of 1698, 1705; S.R.O., D. 3566/2/2.
  • 100. L.J.R.O., B/V/6/Rushton, copy deed of 1 Dec. 1673 and terrier of 1698.
  • 101. Hodgson, Bounty of Queen Anne, pp. cxli, ccxcviii; L.J.R.O., B/V/6/Rushton, terriers of 1730, 1735, 1744.
  • 102. Hodgson, Bounty of Queen Anne, p. ccxcviii; Sleigh, Leek, 138.
  • 103. Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues, 496-7.
  • 104. Hodgson, Bounty of Queen Anne, suppl. p. lxviii.
  • 105. Return of Glebe Lands, 66.
  • 106. Lich. Dioc. Regy., Bp.'s Reg. U, p. 118; V, pp. 109, 349.
  • 107. S.R.O., D. 3566/1/2, front endpaper; inf. from Lich. Dioc. Regy.
  • 108. S.R.O., D. 1109/2, memo. of 8 June 1750; above, Leekfrith, church.
  • 109. S.R.O., D. 3566/1/1 and 3; S.H.C. 4th ser. x. 97; above, Leekfrith, church.
  • 110. S.R.O., D. 1109/4, front endpaper; Lich. Dioc. Regy., Bp.'s Reg. 31, p. 312.
  • 111. S.H.C. 4th ser. x. 97.
  • 112. P.R.O., HO 129/372/3/4.
  • 113. West Gallery (Newsletter of West Gallery Music Assoc.), v (summer 1993), 7-13 (where the date 1758 on p. 7 should read 1755).
  • 114. Bagshaw, County of Chester, 195-6.
  • 115. Kelly's Dir. Staffs. (1884; 1940).
  • 116. L.J.R.O., B/V/1/23.
  • 117. S.R.O., D. 3566/3/1.
  • 118. Above, plates 15 and 19. For plans of the church see Vernacular Architecture, xiv. 31-4.
  • 119. T.N.S.F.C. xvi. 19.
  • 120. S.H.C. 4th ser. x. 97-8.
  • 121. Staffs. Advertiser, 27 Aug. 1898, p. 7. A photograph of the church interior before 1898 is reproduced in Bebington, St. Lawrence Parish Church, 24.
  • 122. L.J.R.O., B/C/12, Rushton Spencer.
  • 123. T.B.A.S. lxviii. 17.
  • 124. Ibid. lxxvii. 68-9, 71; S.R.O., D. 1109/1, p. 24.
  • 125. C. Lynam, Ch. Bells of County of Stafford (1889), 56.
  • 126. All but the most recent are in S.R.O., D. 1109.
  • 127. Lich. Dioc. Regy., Bp.'s Reg. R, pp. 619, 653; V, pp. 428, 435-6; X, pp. 34, 67; inf. from Lich. Dioc. Regy.
  • 128. Staffs. Cath. Hist. iv. 13; v. 14; xxii. 23; L.J.R.O., B/V/1/33. For the family relationship see S.R.O., D. 3359/Condlyffe, abstract of title of Thos. Armett to one-fifth of Rushton Spencer manor, and deeds of 21 Jan. 1599/1600 and 8 Jan. 1601/2.
  • 129. L.J.R.O., B/C/11, Thos. Goodfellow (1662), mentioning his sons Thos. and Wm.; B/V/1/72, p. 17.
  • 130. S.H.C. 4th ser. iii. 112.
  • 131. Trans. Congregational Hist. Soc. iii. 6; A. G. Matthews, Congregational Churches of Staffs. (preface dated 1924), 82-3; J. M. Gwynne Owen, Records of an Old Association (Birmingham, 1905), 164-6.
  • 132. Dyson, Wesleyan Methodism, 40; S.H.C. 4th ser. iii. 39; P.R.O., HO 129/372/3/2 (s.v. Heaton).
  • 133. Leek Libr., Johnson scrapbk. i (2), D/13/15.
  • 134. P.R.O., HO 129/372/3/2 (s.v. Heaton).
  • 135. Leek Wesleyan Methodist Circuit Yr. Bk. 1899, 8-16.
  • 136. P.R.O., HO 129/372/3/2 (s.v. Heaton). For Diglake see ibid. HO 107/2008; ibid. RG 9/1948.
  • 137. H. B. Kendall, Origin and Hist. of Primitive Methodist Church (1905), i. 114, 123, 126, 172; Hist. of Congleton, ed. W. B. Stephens (Manchester, 1970), 252; P.R.O., HO 129/372/3/4.
  • 138. L.J.R.O., B/V/1/51, f. 127.
  • 139. S.R.O., D. 3566/3/1.
  • 140. Plaque on school. A contemporary tablet has a Latin text, adapted from Ovid, Ars Amatoria, ii. 269-70, which may be translated as: 'Work at your books while you are young and strong/My children; time like water slips along.'
  • 141. S.R.O., D. 1109/3, baptism of 13 May 1773. Davenport is to be distinguished from his namesake the psalm singer.
  • 142. Ibid. D. 1109/4, burial of 4 May 1794.
  • 143. Educ. of Poor Digest, 862; Educ. Enq. Abstract, 880.
  • 144. White, Dir. Staffs. (1834), 713; Kelly's Dir. Staffs. (1896); P.R.O., ED 7/109/261.
  • 145. Lich. Dioc. Ch. Cal. (1860), 122; Kelly's Dir. Staffs. (1884; 1896; 1908).
  • 146. S.R.O., CEQ/2/200/1.
  • 147. Lich. Dioc. Dir. (1959).
  • 148. P.R.O., HO 129/372/3/2 (s.v. Heaton) and 4.
  • 149. 13th Rep. Com. Char. 389-90; Char. Dons. 1152-3.
  • 150. Char. Com. file 515569.