A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 7, Leek and the Moorlands. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1996.
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The ancient parish of Sheen lies in the north-east of the county on the boundary with Derbyshire. It was originally 2,893 a. in area, but an adjustment of its western boundary with Fawfieldhead civil parish in 1934 reduced it to 2,875 a. (1,164 ha.). (fn. 1) Three and a half miles from north to south and at its widest 2 miles from east to west, the parish is bounded on the east by the river Dove, which forms the county boundary, and on the west by the river Manifold. The shorter northern and southern boundaries run along minor valleys.
Sheen, which remains rural in character, has been described as 'one immense hill'. (fn. 2) The land rises from 711 ft. (271 m.) at Hulme End in the south-west corner to 1,116 ft. (340 m.) at Knowsley in the north on the ridge forming Sheen moor. The ridge has a steep escarpment to the Dove on the east, but the land falls less steeply to the Manifold on the west. Sheen Hill at the south end of the ridge rises to 1,247 ft. (380 m.). It is the uppermost of a series of hard bands of sandstone, known as the Sheen Beds, in the Millstone Grit which underlies the parish. (fn. 3)
The land continues to slope steeply to the Dove in the southern part of the parish, with a spur projecting south-westward and providing the site of Sheen village. The soil is loam over clay, and there is alluvium along the Manifold. (fn. 4) In 1611 it was stated at the manor court that Sheen was mostly 'cold, stony, barren ground' and during the winter was 'commonly so troubled with winds, frosts, and snow as cattle cannot endure to stay thereupon'. (fn. 5) Stone is the usual local building material.
Eight people were assessed for tax in 1327. (fn. 6) In 1666 thirty-three were assessed for hearth tax, (fn. 7) and in 1751 there were 58 families in the parish. (fn. 8) The population was 362 in 1801 and had risen to 429 by 1821, with a drop to 366 by 1831. It had reached 458 by 1871 but thereafter declined, falling to 321 in 1911 and 304 in 1921. It had risen to 331 by 1931 but was down to 279 in 1951, 260 in 1961, 238 in 1971, and 220 in 1981. It had risen to 225 by 1991. (fn. 9)
There are two Bronze Age barrows near Brund on the west side of the parish, another south of Townend, and possibly one west of Sheen village. (fn. 10) There was evidently a settlement at Sheen by the early 11th century. (fn. 11) The name probably derives from the Old English sceon, meaning shelters, perhaps a reference to shelters for herdsmen pasturing animals there. (fn. 12) An alternative suggestion derives the name from the Old English sceone, meaning beautiful and possibly referring to one of the rivers. (fn. 13)
The present village, which lies along the road running north-south through the parish, probably existed by 1175 when there was mention of a chapel at Sheen, (fn. 14) presumably on the site of the present church. The farms in the village, though rebuilt entirely or in part in the 19th century, are on the sites of earlier buildings. Lower House has an outbuilding with a doorhead inscribed TW 1621. The Palace has a date stone inscribed WM 1673 on the lintel of the main doorway. By 1699 there was a house on the site of Cross Farm, (fn. 15) which takes its name from the cross, probably of medieval origin, on the opposite side of the road. Manor Farm has a doorway which may date from c. 1700, and there was a house on the site of Fold Farm by 1716. (fn. 16) Four of the farms on the outskirts of the village can be traced from the 17th century. Two stand beneath Sheen Hill north of the village, Slate House, mentioned in 1611, (fn. 17) and High Sheen, which was the home of the Mort family by 1620. (fn. 18) High Sheen was evidently rebuilt by Thomas Mort in 1663: a stone bearing his name and the date has been reset by the present entrance. His widow Mary was assessed for tax on three hearths in 1666. (fn. 19) The hall and parlour end survive from a three-roomed house of coursed rubble stone with ashlar dressings; there is a richly ornamented entrance doorway inside the present entrance, and the hall has moulded ceiling beams and a broad segmental arch over the fireplace. Lowend to the south of the village beyond Townend has a barn with a date stone inscribed is 1666, and there was a house at Newfield east of Townend by 1677 and probably by 1615. (fn. 20) There was settlement at Drumbus north-west of Townend by 1785, (fn. 21) and Harris Close by the roadside north-east of the village is dated 1842.
By 1834 there was a beerhouse in the village run by Edward Woolley, a blacksmith. (fn. 22) It was probably the inn there which by 1850 was called the Horse Shoe and was run by John Woolley, also a blacksmith. (fn. 23) In 1851 it was run by Elizabeth Woolley, who was still there in 1868. (fn. 24) By 1872 it had been renamed the Staffordshire Knot. (fn. 25) Known as Ye Olde Spinning Wheel in the 1970s, (fn. 26) it was the Staffordshire Knot in 1994. It forms part of a building of various dates; much is 19th-century, but there is a lintel dated 1666 on a part occupied as a cottage.
In the 1850s A. J. B. Hope, the heir to the Beresford estate in Alstonefield and Sheen, set about making Sheen into an 'Athens of the Moorlands'. Having acquired the patronage of the church, he rebuilt it and provided a new house for the incumbent, a new school, and a reading room. He also restored the village cross. (fn. 27) He had plans for letting some of the land as building plots for villas to someone 'of means and religion' and thus bringing Sheen 'into the market as a religious watering place', but the scheme was not carried out. (fn. 28)
There is scattered settlement throughout the parish. Whitle at the north end of the eastern escarpment was a settled area by the early 15th century; by 1711 there was a house at Under Whitle, and the name suggests another by then on the site of Upper Whitle. (fn. 29) The present houses date from the 19th century. There was a house on the site of the 17th-century Broadmeadow Hall by the Dove to the south-east by the later 16th century, (fn. 30) and one at Sprink further south by 1755. (fn. 31) Nether Boothlow at the north end of the western escarpment existed by 1573; that name too suggests the existence by then of Upper Boothlow, recorded in 1611. (fn. 32) The houses now called Lower Boothlow and Over Boothlow date from the 19th century. There was a farm at Ridge End to the south by 1648; (fn. 33) the house was rebuilt in coursed stone by William Edensor in 1744. (fn. 34) Most of the other farms on the western escarpment and below it existed by 1716, although all have been rebuilt. In 1716 there was also a house on the site of Top Farm on Sheen moor. (fn. 35) There was another at Knowsley further north by 1733, (fn. 36) and nearby are the remains of a cross, re-erected near its former site in 1897. It was a tradition in the 1830s that the cross had formerly had 'a dial for the country people to mark the hour'. (fn. 37)
At Brund on the west side of the parish the Riley family had a house in the early 16th century. (fn. 38) A mill on the Manifold nearby, described as new in 1602, may have been on the site of a mill in existence c. 1250. (fn. 39) Brund hamlet consists of three houses and a huddle of cottages and outbuildings, the earliest features of which date from the 17th century. New House Farm was built in 1645-6 and rebuilt in coursed stone in 1830, in each instance by a George Critchlow. (fn. 40)
There was settlement in the south-east of the parish by the 17th century. Beresford Manor, formerly Bank Top House, dates from then; built of coursed stone with ashlar dressings and extended in the 19th century, it was originally a three-bayed house and seems to have had an end lobby entrance. For a few years after 1917 it was the home of Prince Serge Obolensky and his family. (fn. 41) By 1651 there was a farm at Raikes, then also known as Bartine Edge; (fn. 42) the present Raikes Farm dates from c. 1800. Scaldersitch is a 19th-century building but incorporates a date stone inscribed 10M 1661. There was a house at Bridge-end on the escarpment south-west of Pool Hall bridge by 1772; (fn. 43) the present house dates from c. 1800.
At Hulme End in the south-west corner of the parish there was a house by 1775 on the north side of the road between Warslow, in Alstonefield, and Hartington (Derb.). (fn. 44) The three-storeyed Hulme End Farm on the site was bought in the late 1880s by A. T. Hulme, a medical practitioner, who moved there from Bank Top. He enlarged the house and renamed it Bank House. In 1967 his grandson, Robert Bury, rebuilt the older part, which was suffering from subsidence. (fn. 45) A building on the south side of the road by 1775 at the junction with the Alstonefield road (fn. 46) had become the Jolly Carter inn by 1834. (fn. 47) Renamed the Waggon and Horses by 1850, the inn was the Jolly Carter again by 1860 and Hulme End inn by 1879. (fn. 48) By 1912 it had been renamed the Light Railway hotel, the Leek & Manifold Valley light railway having been opened in 1904 to a terminus on the other side of the Manifold in Fawfieldhead. (fn. 49) It became the Manifold Valley hotel in the earlier 1980s. (fn. 50) The central section of the building may be the building which was there by 1775.
The Warslow-Hartington road was turnpiked in 1770. (fn. 51) It had until then crossed the Manifold at Archford bridge and continued to Hulme End through the northern end of Alstonefield township. With its turnpiking it was realigned to cross the river further upstream by a new bridge at Hulme End. (fn. 52) By 1795 there was a tollgate at Hulme End, probably the building which stands at the north-east corner of the bridge. (fn. 53) A second gate, Titterton gate, was erected between 1841 and 1851 at the junction with the more easterly of the two roads to Alstonefield. (fn. 54) The Warslow- Hartington road originally passed north of Raikes Farm, but it was diverted to run south of the farm c. 1840. (fn. 55) It was disturnpiked in 1878. (fn. 56) The road crosses the Dove at Hartington bridge, which was the joint responsibility of Sheen and Hartington in 1620 and was still such in the late 1720s. (fn. 57) By 1758 it had become the responsibility of Staffordshire and Derbyshire, and it was rebuilt as a cart bridge shortly afterwards. (fn. 58) The present single-arch stone bridge dates from c. 1819. (fn. 59)
The present footpath running south-east from Sheen village was evidently once the route from the village to Hartington, crossing the Dove at Pool Hall bridge, so named by the early 17th century. (fn. 60) There was evidently a bridge there by 1506 when there was mention of pasture in the area called the Bregende. (fn. 61) In the 1770s Sheen paid half the cost of repairing Pool Hall bridge, (fn. 62) the other half presumably being the responsibility of Hartington parish. Another footpath running west from Sheen village suggests a road to Brund and the bridge over the Manifold at Brund mill.
In the 18th century a packhorse way entered Sheen from Warslow, presumably following the Hartington road. (fn. 63) Another packhorse route evidently branched from the first to enter Sheen by Brund mill bridge and continued north-east to cross the Dove by Pilsbury bridge south-east of Broadmeadow Hall, a joint responsibility of Sheen and Hartington. (fn. 64) It was stated in 1859 that old people in Sheen could remember mule stables attached to certain farms with doorways large enough to admit salt-laden animals. (fn. 65)
Brund mill bridge and Ludford bridge, probably further up the Manifold near Ludburn in Fawfieldhead, were maintained by Sheen and Alstonefield jointly until the 18th century. In 1735 or 1736 Sheen took over Ludford bridge, rebuilding it in 1837; Alstonefield took over Brund mill bridge, which was rebuilt in 1890-1. (fn. 66)
There was a post office in Sheen village by 1868, run by George Harrison, a grocer; his wife Elizabeth was the postmistress at least between 1871 and the early 1900s. (fn. 67) By the early 1930s there was a bus service between Ashbourne and Buxton via Hulme End; in 1991 there was also a twice-weekly service between Sheen village and Longnor, in Alstonefield. (fn. 68) Electricity was available in the parish by 1940. (fn. 69) A waterworks was built at Hulme End on the road to Sheen village in 1961, and a piped supply became available in the 1960s. (fn. 70) There is also a reservoir on the high ground at Knowsley.
Social And Cultural Activities.
Before the change in the calendar in 1752 the wakes were held on the Sunday before 18 October, the feast of the patronal saint of the parish, St. Luke. Thereafter they were held on 29 October. (fn. 71) By the early 20th century they lasted for a week at the end of October. (fn. 72) By 1994 a social gathering was held during the week following Wakes Sunday. (fn. 73)
In 1856 A. J. B. Hope opened a parochial lending library and reading room at Sheen with a paid librarian in order to 'provide intellectual occupation, including chess, for a population that has hitherto boozed at the public house'. In 1859 it was open two evenings a week, had c. 50 subscribers from the parish and its neighbourhood, and contained 555 volumes. It was run by the schoolmaster in 1867, when it was still open two evenings a week. It was closed in 1889 for lack of support. (fn. 74) In 1905 the vicar, E. E. Ward, opened a reading room in the vicarage three nights a week for reading and games. (fn. 75) By 1918 the county council had established a centre at Sheen school for its circulating library service. (fn. 76) A reading room was erected south of the village centre in 1912. The corrugated iron building was repaired by volunteers in 1959 but was sold in the earlier 1980s. (fn. 77)
A festival of vocal and instrumental music by Handel in Sheen church was advertised for Monday 27 October 1794, perhaps in connexion with the wakes. The orchestra was to be 'a numerous company, selected from the best country choirs', and a newly installed organ was to be inaugurated by a Mr. Slater of Ashbourne. (fn. 78) There was a Sheen band in 1860 and a Sheen and Longnor brass band in 1867. (fn. 79) A Sheen band was mentioned in 1871, and it played at the Sheen celebrations for Queen Victoria's jubilee of 1887. (fn. 80)
A Women's Institute was formed in 1967. (fn. 83)
MANOR AND OTHER ESTATES.
Wulfric Spot's endowment of Burton abbey c. 1003 included 1 hide at SHEEN. (fn. 84) In 1066, however, Sheen was held by Alward and in 1086 by the king. (fn. 85) By the later 12th century the manor had passed to Bertram de Verdun (d. 1192). (fn. 86) The overlordship then descended in the Verdun family, passing later to the Furnivalle family and finally to the Talbots, earls of Shrewsbury. Lord Shrewsbury was still described as lord of the manor in 1892. (fn. 87)
Bertram de Verdun granted the manor to Hugh of Okeover at a rent of 36s. 8d. Bertram's younger son Nicholas, who had succeeded his elder brother by 1200, confirmed the grant and added exemption from payment of scutage. (fn. 88) By 1220 Hugh of Okeover had been succeeded by his son Robert, who was followed by his son Hugh in 1235 or 1236. Hugh's son Robert had succeeded by 1269. (fn. 89) By 1272 Robert had granted half the manor to his brother, Richard, though retaining the mesne lordship. (fn. 90)
By 1315 that half had evidently passed to Richard's son Robert, who by 1327 had been succeeded by another Richard of Okeover, still alive in 1345. (fn. 91) By a settlement of 1335 the reversion after his death was granted to his grandson John de la Pole, son of Richard's daughter Joan and Richard de la Pole of Hartington (Derb.). (fn. 92) The half of the manor which had remained with Robert of Okeover had passed out of the Okeover family by 1316. That year Hugh de Prestwold was found to have been unjustly disseised of half of Sheen by Richard, son of William of Bentley, and others. (fn. 93) It was probably the same Richard of Bentley, however, who held the half in 1327, while the Richard of Bentley who held it in 1351 was probably his younger son. That year Richard and his wife Gillian conveyed the reversion after their deaths to John de la Pole. (fn. 94) In 1357 John's son John, in whose possession the two parts of the manor were reunited, sued Gillian and her second husband, Robert de Hyde, for causing waste in the estate. (fn. 95)
The younger John was dead by 1397 with his son, another John and a minor, as his heir. That John was of age by 1406. (fn. 96) A John Pole was living at Sheen in 1450. (fn. 97) In 1476 Sir John Pole and his wife Alice sold the manor to the king. (fn. 98) By 1506 it was administered as part of the duchy of Lancaster, (fn. 99) and it was still held by the duchy in 1698. (fn. 100) It had passed to the Sleighs of Broadmeadow Hall by 1709, when Gervase Sleigh sold it to John Hayne of Ashbourne. John's son and heir Henry conveyed it to Hugh Bateman of Derby in 1724. (fn. 101) Hugh was succeeded in 1731 by his son Hugh and he in 1777 by his grandson Hugh Bateman, who was created a baronet in 1806 and died in 1824. Sheen passed to his nephew Richard Thomas Bateman. (fn. 102) In 1825 the manor was offered for sale with Broadmeadow Hall. (fn. 103) By the later 1890s the resident farmers claimed the lordship of the manor. (fn. 104)
The seat of the Pole family was at Pool Hall (later Moat Hall) on the Derbyshire side of the Dove in Hartington, and that was still the manor house of Sheen in the early 17th century. (fn. 105) Broadmeadow Hall became the manor house when the Sleigh family secured the manor. The family, formerly of Pilsbury Grange in Hartington, had acquired a house at Broadmeadow by 1573 by marriage into the Riley family. (fn. 106) Ralph Sleigh was assessed for tax on six hearths there in 1666. (fn. 107) The present Broadmeadow Hall, of coursed rubble stone with ashlar dressings, dates from about that time and is an L-shaped two-storeyed building with attics. It was restored in the 19th century, and a central doorway on the entrance front then replaced the original doorway on the extreme left. There was further restoration in the earlier 1990s after the house had stood empty for some years. (fn. 108)
The BERESFORD estate, which lay mainly in Alstonefield, extended into Sheen, where Lord Beresford owned 94 a. in 1845. (fn. 109)
The TITHES of Sheen were confirmed to Burton abbey with Sheen chapel in 1185 and descended with the ownership of the chapel until the 18th century. (fn. 110) By 1830 the tithes from all but three farms had been sold, evidently to the owners of the property from which they were due. (fn. 111) In 1849 an award assigned tithe-rent charges totalling £83 1s. 4d. to 85 tithe owners. (fn. 112)
In the early 1480s the Crown as lord of the manor paid a rent of 22s. to the Knights Hospitallers from a tenement called Whitlehege. (fn. 113)
In 1086 Sheen, described as waste, had land for 1 ploughteam. (fn. 114) In 1677 there was an open field north of the village called Sheen field and in 1682 one called the Mean field. (fn. 115) Exchange of pieces of common waste on Sheen moor took place in 1669, (fn. 116) and two closes at Newfield east of Townend were described in 1677 as lately inclosed from the waste. (fn. 117) In 1681 Upper Boothlow farm included 38 a. of common on Sheen moor. (fn. 118) Much of the waste, however, appears to have been inclosed by then, since responsibility for the churchyard fence was divided that year according to 'the number of acres of common which everyone had in the division thereof'. (fn. 119) The main crop in 1801 was oats, which accounted for 286 a. of the 291 a. recorded. (fn. 120) By 1849 there were 2,562 a. of meadow and pasture as against 256 a. of arable. (fn. 121) The main areas of cultivation were then along the Manifold and the Dove, where there was also good pasture. Scarcity of timber, a source of complaint in 1611, was still a problem in the mid 19th century. By then most of the land had long been in the hands of resident freeholders, but estates had become heavily mortgaged and changed hands frequently. (fn. 122) Of the 1,036.5 ha. returned for the civil parish in 1988, grassland covered 873.2 ha. and there were 134.8 ha. of rough grazing. The farming was dairy and sheep, with 1,944 head of cattle and 1,732 sheep and lambs. There were also 725 pigs and 807 hens, with one farm devoted to pigs and poultry. Of the 33 farms returned, 23 were under 40 ha. in size, 7 were between 40 and 49 ha., and 3 were between 50 and 99 ha. Woodland covered 22.9 ha. (fn. 123)
The Okeovers had a mill at Sheen by the later 13th century, (fn. 124) and Sheen mill was mentioned in 1735. (fn. 125) By then at least it may be identifiable with Brund mill on the Manifold, which was described as a new mill in 1602. (fn. 126) Still a corn mill in 1748, (fn. 127) Brund mill was used as spinning mill from 1790 when three members of the Cantrell family began a calico business there. They were declared bankrupt in 1793. (fn. 128) Around 1800 the mill was worked by a partnership of cotton manufacturers. (fn. 129) John Beardmore worked it as a flax mill in 1834 and 1844 and as a rope mill in 1851. (fn. 130) It was advertised for letting as a flax mill in 1859 and as a corn mill in 1861. (fn. 131) It was not in use in 1871, and although it appears to have been operating as a corn mill in 1878, it was again out of use by 1881. (fn. 132) Part of the three-storeyed stone building had collapsed by the later 1960s, but work began on its conversion into a house in 1975 and was complete by 1984. (fn. 133)
A mill in Sheen manor described in 1625 as recently built may have been on the Dove in the south-east of the parish. (fn. 134)
A fair was held at Sheen in 1771. (fn. 135)
Trade And Industry.
It was stated in the 1850s that building stone had been quarried on the summit of Sheen Hill and its southern slope for centuries. (fn. 136) Stone from Sheen Hill was used for rebuilding the parish church in the late 1820s. (fn. 137) In addition Stonepit Hill west of Sheen Hill and Pitts Top west of the main road at Townend, both so named by the 1730s, were presumably then areas of quarrying, as they were in the 19th century. (fn. 138) There were quarries and masons throughout the parish in the mid and late 19th century, the number of masons having risen to 14 by 1891. (fn. 139) The Pitts Top quarry was owned by John Lomas by 1834, and under his ownership in the 1850s John Mason was producing quantities of scythe stones, which had a wide sale nationally. (fn. 140) In the mid 1860s the quarry passed to Edward Wilson, who employed nine men and two boys there in 1871; three of his four sons were then stonemasons. (fn. 141) Two of the sons, Thomas and John Edward, took over the business in the earlier 1880s, and the latter ran it on his own in the early 20th century. (fn. 142)
About 1950 the disused quarry became the headquarters of a bus company run by Douglas Blackhurst. In 1958 he began making machine tools there, and in 1960 he switched to concrete mixers. He formed Belle Engineering (Sheen) Ltd. in 1961. The factory was extended in 1989, and in 1990 the production of loaders was added to mixers, with generators also from 1992. The number of employees in 1993 was 120. (fn. 143)
There was a furnace in Sheen parish in 1722, evidently at Brund. (fn. 144) By 1834 John Kidd was producing tinplate in Sheen village. He was described as a tin man and brazier in 1841 and was still working as such in 1876. (fn. 145) By 1880 the business had been taken over by his wife. (fn. 146) The corn mill at Brund was used as a textile mill from 1790 but was converted back into a corn mill c. 1860. Wooden button moulds were produced by John Berrisford of Brund in 1834. (fn. 147) Thomas Gilman was working as a cheese factor in the parish in 1818. William Gilman of Newfield was a farmer and cheese factor at least between 1851 and the mid 1870s. (fn. 148)
Sheen was subject to its overlord's court at Alton and still owed suit and service there in 1823. (fn. 149) In 1859 it was stated that suit and service had been discontinued a few years before, although a chief rent was still paid. (fn. 150) Sheen had two headboroughs in 1600. (fn. 151) By 1725 there was only one, normally styled a constable from 1817, and he was still sworn at the Alton court in 1837. He paid head silver at Alton each year, 1s. 7d. for most of the 18th century and sums varying normally from 2s. 1d. to 2s. 6d. between 1797 and 1837. (fn. 152) When Bertram de Verdun granted Sheen to Hugh of Okeover in the late 12th century, he reserved 'wart penny' and 'Peter's penny' besides a chief rent. (fn. 153) The Okeovers had their own court at Sheen in the later 13th century. (fn. 154) By 1506 Sheen, having passed to the Crown in 1476, was administered as part of the duchy of Lancaster. (fn. 155) By 1509 and until 1525 or later a Sheen jury presented at the twice-yearly view of frankpledge and great court of the duchy manor of Hartington (Derb.). Matters relating to Sheen were also included in the proceedings of the Hartington small court. Two reeves were appointed for Sheen by 1515, and two were still appointed in 1521. (fn. 156) By 1529 a separate great court for Sheen was held at Hartington on the same day as the Hartington court; there was a separate small court by 1532, also on the same day as the Hartington small court. (fn. 157) A single reeve was appointed by 1542. (fn. 158) In 1571 Sheen manor was farmed to the earl of Shrewsbury, and the courts were transferred to Sheen; they continued there when Henry Cavendish became farmer in 1574. (fn. 159) When the duchy resumed control in the later 1580s, the courts remained at Sheen and were still held there in 1625. (fn. 160) In 1600 the earl of Shrewsbury was high steward of the manor. (fn. 161)
By the early 15th century the Whitle area of Sheen lay within Alstonefield manor, and it was still part of that manor in 1680. (fn. 162)
There were two churchwardens in 1553 and 1625 but only one by 1635. (fn. 163) By 1683 the office was served on a 32-year cycle. (fn. 164) The parish clerk was paid 10s. a year by 1742, £1 1s. from 1763, £1 11s. 6d. from 1815, and £2 12s. from 1820. He was appointed by the curate in the earlier 19th century. The office was often combined with that of sexton, who was paid 5s. a year by 1767 and 7s. 6d. from 1786. (fn. 165)
There was a single overseer of the poor by 1683, with that office too served on a 32-year cycle. (fn. 166) The overseer's expenditure increased sharply in the late 18th century, from just under £50 in 1781-2 to over £96 in 1782-3. Though it fell after that, it rose steadily in the 1790s to a peak of £190 in 1794-5 and reached a new peak of over £266 in 1819-20. (fn. 167) There were evidently two poorhouses by the later 18th century. Four Lane Ends House north of Brund seems to have been in use as such by 1751, (fn. 168) and in 1769-70 the parish bought property at Stonepit Hill to the south for the overseer's use. (fn. 169) Poorhouses outside the parish were also used. Payments were made for Hurdlow poorhouse in Hartington monthly between May 1765 and January 1766, Ipstones poorhouse in the earlier 1780s, and the poorhouse at Earl Sterndale in Hartington in 1791. (fn. 170) Four Lane Ends House remained parish property until 1879 and was probably one of the two poorhouses in use in 1837. (fn. 171)
By the earlier 18th century there were four surveyors of the highways, supervised by the headborough. Their areas of responsibility were named in 1735 as Upper Quarter, Town Quarter, Water Quarter, and Lower Quarter, still the highway divisions in the late 19th century. (fn. 172)
The headborough was responsible for the pinfold in the 18th and early 19th century. It was a stone structure and was rebuilt in 1815. A pinner was sworn at the Alton court in the earlier 1820s, and the headborough accounted for his expenses. The headborough also maintained the stocks in the earlier 18th century. (fn. 173)
In the 1790s a molecatcher was paid £1 11s. 6d. a year by the overseer of the poor. Small payments were also made to a Henry Fogg 'upon the account of the moles'. (fn. 174)
Sheen was included in Leek poor-law union on its formation in 1837. (fn. 175) With the rest of Leek rural district it became part of the new Staffordshire Moorlands district in 1974.
There was a chapel at Sheen by 1185 when it was among the possessions of Burton abbey confirmed by the pope. In 1255 it was described as a dependent chapel of Ilam church, itself a possession of Burton abbey by 1185. (fn. 176) Sheen continued as a chapel of Ilam until the 16th century. Meanwhile in 1529 the abbey leased it with its glebe, tithes, and offerings to the curate of Sheen, Henry Longworth, and his brother Thomas for their lives. (fn. 177) Henry was granted a 30-year lease in 1536 with responsibility for repairs and providing a priest; he was dead by 1541. (fn. 178) Burton abbey was dissolved in 1539, but in 1541 it was reconstituted as a college, which was itself dissolved in 1545. (fn. 179) In 1546 the Crown granted most of its possessions, including Sheen chapel, to Sir William Paget. (fn. 180)
Later in 1546 Paget was licensed to sell the chapel and its property to Ralph Crane of Middleton, in Wirksworth (Derb.). (fn. 181) It was probably then that the chapel ceased to be part of Ilam parish. (fn. 182) Crane was succeeded by his daughter Elizabeth and her husband John Wigley evidently in or shortly before 1567. (fn. 183) John continued to hold the chapel after Elizabeth's death, and he was succeeded by their son Henry in 1579. (fn. 184) On Henry's death in 1610 the chapel and its property passed to his son Thomas, who in 1612 granted what was described as the free chapel of Sheen and the tithes belonging to it to Thomas Hall for 80 years. In 1618 Hall was succeeded by his son Charles, aged 14, who secured possession of the chapel and its property in 1626. (fn. 185) By 1638 what was described as the rectory of Sheen was held by Gabriel Armstrong, who was succeeded that year by his son Gilbert. (fn. 186) In 1658 another Gabriel Armstrong and his wife Margaret conveyed the chapel and its tithes to Gilbert's daughter, Elizabeth Armstrong. (fn. 187) By 1671 she had sold them to Ralph Sleigh of Broadmeadow Hall and Thomas Ward, also of Sheen. (fn. 188) Ralph died in 1687, and in 1693 his widow Elizabeth and Thomas Ward were described as the impropriators. (fn. 189) By 1705 they had been succeeded by Ralph's son Gervase and John Ward. (fn. 190) Gervase sold his share to John Hayne, evidently with the manor in 1709: in 1711 Hayne and Ward were the impropriators. (fn. 191)
As a result of a grant from Queen Anne's Bounty in 1743 the curacy became a perpetual curacy. The presentation of the next incumbent in 1749 was exercised by the Crown through lapse, but the patronage was held in 1760 by Hugh Bateman, the lord of the manor, and Thomas Ward, who exercised it jointly that year. In 1785 the patrons were Hugh's grandson Hugh Bateman (later Sir Hugh Bateman, Bt.) and Thomas Gould of Sheen, who again nominated jointly. The right was later exercised alternately, Sir Hugh nominating in 1816 and John Gould of Scaldersitch in 1848. (fn. 192) Soon afterwards A. J. B. Hope bought Gould's share and by 1850 had secured the other. (fn. 193) The patronage then descended with the Beresford estate, in Alstonefield and Sheen, until 1928, when F. W. Green transferred it to the bishop of Lichfield. (fn. 194) The benefice, which was styled a vicarage from 1868, (fn. 195) was held by the vicar of Alstonefield from 1976 and by the vicar of Longnor from 1980, each as priest-in-charge. (fn. 196) It was united in 1985 with the benefices of Longnor and Quarnford, although the parishes remain distinct. The bishop became a joint patron with the vicar of Alstonefield and the trustees of the Harpur-Crewe estate. Longnor was made the incumbent's place of residence. (fn. 197)
The curate was paid £5 in 1635. (fn. 198) By 1679 he had £1 a year for preaching four sermons, an endowment given by Gervase Hall of Wolverhampton. (fn. 199) By 1693 he also received a stipend of £4 13s. 4d. which was originally intended for the support of a reader and was charged on a house in Sheen called the Mease Place. (fn. 200) The house had been part of the property let by Burton abbey to the Longworths in 1529 and was probably then the curate's house; it remained part of the rectorial estate until the early 18th century. (fn. 201) By will of 1711 John Hayne, one of the two lay rectors, left his share of the Mease Place, of land called the Parsonage Piece, and of the tithes of Under Whitle farm to his son Henry in trust in order to augment the minister's income; if a Presbyterian 'or other sectary' ever became minister, the proceeds were to be paid to the poor until an Anglican minister was appointed. (fn. 202) By 1722 John Ward, the other lay rector, had left his share of the Mease Place to the curate, who by 1726 received £7 rent from the whole instead of the earlier payments; he also had rent of £2 10s. from the Parsonage Piece, out of which he had to repair the chancel. By 1744 he received 2s. 2½d. as his half share of the Under Whitle tithes. (fn. 203) Four grants of £200 were made from Queen Anne's Bounty in 1743, 1765, 1786, and 1802, three of which were used to buy land. (fn. 204) In 1836 the curate's income was £68 5s., consisting of £66 8s. rent from glebe, 2s. 6d. tithe modus from Under Whitle, and fees of £1 14s. 6d.; responsibility for the repair of the chancel had passed to the parish by 1830. (fn. 205) The curate was assigned a rent charge of £7 9s. 6d. in respect of tithes from three farms under an award of 1849. (fn. 206) A. J. B. Hope's mother, Lady Beresford (d. 1851), left £5,000 to augment the curacy, (fn. 207) and by will proved 1887 her son left a further augmentation of £255 a year. (fn. 208) There was glebe of 66 a. in 1887, with an estimated rental of £94 0s. 7d. (fn. 209)
When John Malbon came to Sheen as curate in 1683, he was allowed to live in the Mease Place. (fn. 210) In the mid 18th century the incumbent, Robert Robinson, lived on his estate in Waterfall. (fn. 211) Matthew Beetham, incumbent 1816-48, had by 1830 rebuilt an existing house on a larger scale. (fn. 212) Although about then the house was described as a glebe house, (fn. 213) Beetham's successor was living at Bank Top in 1850 and the next incumbent lived in rented premises pending the completion of a new house. (fn. 214) That house, which was still unfinished in July 1853, was built by A. J. B. Hope to the design of William Butterfield. (fn. 215) About 1970 the stable block was converted into a vicarage house, and the earlier house was sold. The new house was sold in 1982. (fn. 216) Butterfield's house was the last building visited by Sir Nikolaus Pevsner during his final tour in 1970 to complete his Buildings of England. (fn. 217)
The stipend of £4 13s. 4d. paid to the curate by 1693 was originally intended for the maintenance of a reader. (fn. 218) James Hambleton, who received the stipend c. 1603, may have been the curate: he was then described as being no preacher and not having a degree. (fn. 219) Gervase Mort was reader in 1607. (fn. 220) In 1635 the reader was Thomas Birch, but in 1636 he became curate. (fn. 221) John Bonsall was admitted to read prayers in Sheen church in 1663 but was described as curate at his death in 1683. (fn. 222)
In 1751 Robert Robinson also served Longnor chapel in Alstonefield, officiating at one place at 10 a.m. and the other at 1.30 p.m. He left catechizing to the schoolmaster except in preparation for confirmation. At certain times he preached on catechismal subjects, a practice which 'in a country congregation I take to be the best way of instructing young and old'. Communion was celebrated four times a year, but only c. 20 people attended on each occasion. (fn. 223) In 1830 there was one service on Sunday, in the afternoon, and none on any other day. Communion was celebrated four times a year, and there were six communicants. There was no catechism. (fn. 224) There were nine celebrations a year by 1849 but only 15 communicants in all. (fn. 225) On Census Sunday 1851 there was a service in the morning and another in the afternoon, with attendances respectively of 30 and 65 besides Sunday school children. It was then stated that there were no pew rents, although many of the pews were appropriated to particular houses. (fn. 226)
A. J. B. Hope, having secured the patronage by 1850, set about reorganizing the life of the parish on Tractarian lines. Henry Pritchard, incumbent from 1849, was not in sympathy with Hope's ideas and resigned in 1851. (fn. 227) Hope then presented his friend Benjamin Webb, secretary of the Cambridge Camden Society and of its successor the Ecclesiological Society and joint editor with Hope of the Ecclesiologist. (fn. 228) After Hope's rebuilding of the church, school, and incumbent's house in the earlier 1850s, the Ecclesiologist claimed that 'the general effect is that of an ecclesiastical colony in the wilds of Australia'. (fn. 229) Weekly celebrations of communion and daily matins and evensong were introduced. (fn. 230) A weekly offertory was established in 1852, replacing church rates and also providing payments to the poor of Sheen and to causes outside the parish. (fn. 231) Not all Hope's plans were fulfilled, but in 1856 he challenged Webb's view that Sheen was then 'inferior to the dreams of Sheen we had in 1851. It has taken a different line.' (fn. 232) Although a plan for a choir school was not carried out, a choir was established whose success, according to the Ecclesiologist, proved 'the suitability of Gregorian tones or melodies for an uneducated congregation and to a choir of mere rude country boys'. (fn. 233) In 1856 a parish library and reading room was opened. (fn. 234) Webb, who had been reluctant to accept the living because of the remoteness of the area, resigned in 1862. He was succeeded by T. E. Heygate, his assistant curate since 1852. (fn. 235)
The present church of ST. LUKE, a dedication in use by the 18th century, (fn. 236) dates from 1852. Its predecessor was built between 1828 and 1832 and itself replaced a church dating from the Middle Ages or the 16th century. In the 18th century that church consisted of a chancel, a nave with a south porch, and a west tower; there was also a 'quire', perhaps an aisle. (fn. 237) The tower at least appears to have been built or rebuilt in the 16th century: the curate Henry Longworth (d. 1540 or 1541) left money for building a tower, to be spent within three years of his death, and in 1559 Ralph Gylmen left money for the same purpose. (fn. 238) The church was in a poor condition c. 1570, and the chancel was in need of repair in 1584. (fn. 239) By 1720 there was a singers' gallery at the west end. (fn. 240) There was a sundial by 1789. (fn. 241)
The church was rebuilt apart from much of the north wall between 1828 and 1832. For over a year during the early stages of the work no services were held, but the new building was in use by 1830. It was in 'no regular style of architecture' and consisted of an aisleless nave with a communion table at the east end, a south door, and a west tower. There was a west gallery, and a vestry was formed in the base of the tower. A new pulpit and desk were placed at the east end of the central block of pews. The font stood towards the west end and was apparently new: in 1830 the only font mentioned was an old one in the churchyard. (fn. 242)
The church was later described by Benjamin Webb as 'a well meant but wholly unecclesiastical structure', (fn. 243) and in 1850 A. J. B. Hope offered to rebuild it at his own expense. He countered local opposition by asserting that, as the church was unconsecrated and unlicensed, all rites, including marriages, were of doubtful validity. (fn. 244) The new church was consecrated in 1852. Built of rough ashlar gritstone, it consists of a chancel with a north vestry, an aisleless nave of nearly the same size as its predecessor, a south porch, and a west tower, all in a 14th-century syle. (fn. 245) It was designed, like the school, by C. W. Burleigh of Leeds. Hope became dissatisfied with him and on his resignation replaced him with William Butterfield, who designed the vestry, the reredos, and the font. (fn. 246) The north wall was again retained. The tower of the former church was remodelled, buttressed, and raised by a belfry stage. A spire was planned, but its building was deferred because the foundations of the tower were feared to be inadequate. A temporary pyramidal cap was replaced in 1864 by a short wooden spire, now covered with copper. (fn. 247) Most of the fittings were brought from the chapel in Margaret Street, London, which Hope and Butterfield were also rebuilding. (fn. 248) A new chancel screen was given in 1902 by Professor J. P. Sheldon of Brund. (fn. 249)
In 1553 the church had a silver chalice with a paten, two great bells, and a handbell; other bells and a chalice had evidently been sold. (fn. 250) Bells from Sheen were recast at Rotherham (Yorks. W.R.) in 1740, evidently as a peal of three. (fn. 251) In 1830 the rebuilt church had three bells. (fn. 252) A peal of six cast by C. and G. Mears at Whitechapel in 1851 was given by Hope to his new church. (fn. 253)
Besides the singers for whom a gallery had been built by 1720, there was a salaried viol player in 1780 and another from 1786 to 1803. (fn. 254) An organ was installed in 1794. (fn. 255) There was no organ in the rebuilt church in 1830, (fn. 256) but the previous year there was a society of singers with 10 members and a cello, violin, and clarinet belonging to the church. (fn. 257) An organ was one of the fittings brought from the Margaret Street chapel for the new church of 1852 and was placed in the south-east corner of the nave. (fn. 258)
The registers date from 1595. (fn. 259)
By the late 17th century the parishioners were responsible for the repair of what was described as the churchyard fence. In 1716 individual sections were made the responsibility of holders of particular estates. Mention was then made of the lychgate. (fn. 260) Twenty lime trees were planted in the early 1760s, 19 of which still stood south and west of the church in the late 1850s. (fn. 261) New lychgates were given by Professor Sheldon in 1905. (fn. 262) The churchyard was extended in 1932. (fn. 263)
In 1585 and 1586 Joan Johnson of Sheen was presented for not attending the parish church, and she was recorded as a recusant for the same reason in 1595 and 1596. (fn. 264) Otherwise there is no evidence of nonconformity in Sheen before the early 19th century. There was a Wesleyan Methodist class of eight in 1808, and membership had risen to 10 by 1819. (fn. 265) Wesleyan services were held fortnightly in 1829 but had ceased by 1832. (fn. 266) About 1815 there was Primitive Methodist preaching at Stonepit Hill north of Brund. (fn. 267) The Wesleyan cause revived in 1838, (fn. 268) and a chapel designed by a Mr. Wilson of Wetton was opened north of Townend in 1878. (fn. 269) A Sunday school extension was opened in 1912. (fn. 270) The chapel was closed in 1968, (fn. 271) and the building was used as a workshop in 1994.
John Bonsall, appointed reader in 1663, also had the duty of teaching boys in the parish. (fn. 272) By will proved 1682 Richard Ward of Sand Hutton (Yorks. N.R.), a native of Sheen, gave £50 to the parish to produce an income for teaching some of the poorest children to read the Bible. (fn. 273) By 1705 a rent of £2 10s. charged on land in Sheen was paid in respect of the bequest and six poor children were taught English. (fn. 274) The school was at first held in the church, but a parish meeting resolved that a schoolhouse should be built, the church being 'profaned by the rudeness of the scholars'. (fn. 275) One was built in 1721. (fn. 276) In 1775 there was a move to build a new schoolhouse, (fn. 277) but it is not clear that the scheme was carried out. In the early 19th century the building was probably at Townend, the site of the school in 1845. (fn. 278)
In 1779 the rent charge was increased to £4 by Thomas Gould, the owner of the land on which it was charged. In 1816 the rent charge and the proceeds of a subscription launched a few years before were vested in trustees. The rent was be paid to a master to teach poor children chosen by the trustees; the proceeds of the subscription were to be invested and the income used to repair the school, any residue being paid to the master. The curriculum was enlarged to include writing and arithmetic as well as reading. Fourteen children were taught c. 1820 and 16 in 1830. (fn. 279) The school apparently became a National school in 1824 or 1825. (fn. 280)
In 1851 A. J. B. Hope built a school with a house attached on glebe land south of the church. (fn. 281) He and other benefactors provided an additional endowment of £45 a year, and by will proved 1887 he left a capital sum of £1,200. (fn. 282) With a capacity for 120 children, the school was run by a master and a mistress. (fn. 283) A County Court order of 1859 fixed the number of poor children to be taught free at 12, although the trustees could reduce it to 10 if they saw fit. (fn. 284) The number on the roll reached a peak of 75 in 1909. (fn. 285) In 1948 the eight senior pupils were transferred to Leek and the school became a primary school with 21 on the roll. (fn. 286) In 1980 St. Luke's Church of England (Controlled) primary school had 11 on the roll, and it was closed that year, most of the children going to Warslow first school. (fn. 287) The school building and site and the endowments were amalgamated in 1990 to form the Sheen Educational Charity, the income to be used to promote the education of children and young persons in Sheen parish who needed financial help. (fn. 288) In 1994 the school building was used as a community centre and the house was a private residence.
CHARITIES FOR THE POOR.
By will of 1722 John Ashton gave the poor of Sheen a rent of £1 charged on his estate at Calton Green in Croxden along with payments to other places. The residue of the income from the estate was to be spent on copies of the Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, or the Church Catechism for the poor, and 12 copies of each were distributed in Sheen in 1751. In the earlier 1820s the rent charge was distributed at Christmas in sums of up to 5s. to poor people of Sheen not in receipt of parish relief. Every three or four years a parcel of bibles, testaments, prayer books, spelling books, and catechisms was sent to Sheen. (fn. 291)
By will proved 1750 Elizabeth Unett gave a rent charge of 10s. to be distributed to the poor of Sheen on St. Thomas's day (21 December). (fn. 292) By will of 1780 William Unett, probably her son, gave 20s. to be distributed in the same way, but the gift appears not to have been effective. (fn. 293)
Before the later 1780s Ellen Birch gave £10, the income to be distributed to the poor of Sheen on St. Thomas's day. By 1786 and in the earlier 1820s interest of 8s. was being distributed. (fn. 294)
Jane Prince of Brund (d. 1823) left £5, the income to be distributed to five poor widows of Sheen. (fn. 295)
By will proved 1861 a Mrs. Wood gave money, the income to be distributed to poor widows of Sheen. (fn. 296)
In 1994 the Ashton and Unett charities could not be traced. The income from the Birch, Prince, and Wood charities was being allowed to accumulate. (fn. 297)