A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 8. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1963.
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BOTTESLOW was a liberty of 593 acres in the ancient parish of Stoke-upon-Trent bounded on the west by the Trent and on the north and east by a small tributary of the Trent; to the south lay the township of Fenton Vivian. (fn. 1) It is an upland area lying between 400 and 500 ft. and devoted mainly to farming and coal mining.
Although the termination 'low' may indicate the site of an early burial (fn. 2) the first known mention of the area appears to be in 1236 when land at 'Bothes' was part of Fenton. (fn. 3) A John of Botteslow occurs in 1327. (fn. 4) In 1666 eight persons there were assessed for hearth tax. (fn. 5) William Bagnall had the largest assessment, six hearths, (fn. 6) and this may represent Berry Hill Farm, the lease of which had been granted to the Bagnalls in 1555. (fn. 7) By 1748 the farm was owned by Godfrey Clarke of Sutton (Derb.), and was then the scene of coal mining. It was 193 acres in extent in 1816 (fn. 8) and is still the largest of the remaining farms in Botteslow. (fn. 9) The farmhouse appears to have been rebuilt in the 19th century. The Machin family, assessed on two hearths in 1666, were evidently living at Lower Botteslow Farm by 1564 and were still there in 1742; in the early 19th century it was held by their descendant, William Tait, who had sold it to Philip Broade of Fenton Vivian by the early 1840's. (fn. 10) The farmhouse had disappeared by the late 1870's. (fn. 11) The house at Botteslow farm to the north, which still (1960) survives, may be partly of 17th-century date. Botteslow consisted of eight farms c. 1840 and was then 'purely agricultural or pasture but abounding with mines, at present little wrought'. (fn. 12) Mining began again about this time (see below), and in 1851 Botteslow had a population of 800. (fn. 13) A school-church was opened near Berry Hill Farm in 1878 (see below). The area is still open country, but the farms are disappearing, leaving the tips and winding-gear of the Berry Hill Colliery as the predominant feature of the landscape.
The area is crossed by tracks which presumably used to link the various farms. The road from Fenton Low to the Berry Hill Brickworks was originally part of the road between Fenton and Bucknall which lost what importance it had with the opening of Victoria Road from Fenton through the western end of Botteslow to Joiner's Square and Hanley in the early 1840's. (fn. 14) It was then noted that Botteslow's 'roads are neglected and founderous'. (fn. 15) The railway between Longton, Adderley Green, and Bucknall, a single-track mineral line opened by the North Staffordshire Railway Company in 1875, crosses the north-eastern corner of the area. (fn. 16)
Parochially Botteslow was part of the ancient parish of Stoke and manorially part of Fenton Vivian. (fn. 17) By 1679 it was represented at the Newcastle court leet by one frankpledge. Earlier it presented jointly with Fenton Vivian. (fn. 18) It lay within the constablewick which also included Fenton Vivian, Longton, Hanley, and other neighbouring places. (fn. 19) Botteslow became part of the new parish of Stoke Rural in 1894 and of the county borough of Stokeon-Trent in 1922. (fn. 20)
Mining on the Berry Hill estate was in progress before the mid-18th century. In 1748 Godfrey Clarke of Sutton (Derb.), the owner of the estate, leased all coal mines there to Jeremiah Smith of Great Fenton, and reference was made in the lease to existing workings. (fn. 21) There was evidently little or no mining in Botteslow in the 1830's, despite its known mineral wealth, (fn. 22) but by 1841 the Berry Hill Colliery south-west of Berry Hill Farm was in operation. The colliery was run by William Taylor Copeland who was at the time also an important member of the Fenton Park Company. (fn. 23) Some 20 years later the colliery passed from him to William Bowers who had been working the nearby Holly Bush Colliery south of Berry Hill Farm since at least 1852. (fn. 24) After Bowers' death in the late 1870's the Berry Hill and Holly Bush Collieries were taken over by Henry Warrington, (fn. 25) and in 1891 his firm was working four pits at Berry Hill and three (coal and ironstone) at Holly Bush. (fn. 26) By 1894 the two undertakings had evidently been amalgamated as the Berry Hill Collieries, (fn. 27) and the five pits in operation there in 1902 employed 660 men below ground and 232 above. (fn. 28) The firm of Henry Warrington and Son was still running the Berry Hill Collieries in 1916, (fn. 29) but by 1924 they were in the hands of Berry Hill Collieries Ltd. (fn. 30) The four pits in operation in 1957 employed 480 men below ground and 150 above. (fn. 31) There was an ironworks attached to the collieries from at least 1868 until the early 20th century. (fn. 32)
The Brookhouse Colliery south of Brookhouse Farm was being worked by Forrester and Read in 1841 (fn. 33) and by Smith and Forrester in 1854. (fn. 34) In the early 1860's it passed to Pratt, Crewe and Knox, who worked it with the Botteslow Colliery. (fn. 35) F. E. Pratt was in sole control by 1868 (fn. 36) and ran both collieries until they were closed in the early 1880's. (fn. 37) The Lawn Colliery lay to the south-east of the Brookhouse Colliery by the 1870's; (fn. 38) the centre of its operations had been moved north into Bucknall by the end of the century and the shafts in Botteslow abandoned. (fn. 39)
There was a brick-works on the site of the existing Berry Hill Brickworks by the early 1870's when it was in the hands of William Bowers. (fn. 40) It now (1960) belongs to the Berry Hill Brickworks Ltd. which has three other works in the county. (fn. 41)
Open-air services were held at Berry Hill Farm from June 1877, (fn. 42) and in the following year William Bowers, who was working the Berry Hill and Holly Bush Collieries (see above), opened a school-church to the north of the farm. (fn. 43) The mission remained within the parish of St. Peter, Stoke, until 1895 when it was included in the new parish of St. Jude, Shelton; (fn. 44) c. 1914 it was transferred to the parish of All Saints, Hanley. (fn. 45) It was closed in the late 1940's. (fn. 46)