Winshill: Economic history

A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 9, Burton-Upon-Trent. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2003.

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'Winshill: Economic history', in A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 9, Burton-Upon-Trent, ed. Nigel J Tringham( London, 2003), British History Online [accessed 23 July 2024].

'Winshill: Economic history', in A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 9, Burton-Upon-Trent. Edited by Nigel J Tringham( London, 2003), British History Online, accessed July 23, 2024,

"Winshill: Economic history". A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 9, Burton-Upon-Trent. Ed. Nigel J Tringham(London, 2003), , British History Online. Web. 23 July 2024.

In this section


In 1086 there was land at Winshill for 3 ploughteams but 4 1/2 teams were actually being worked, of which 2 were on the demesne and 1 1/2 was worked by 10 villani; the remaining ploughteam was worked by 6 sokemen who had been installed from Repton (Derb.) by William I. There was 8 a. of meadow and an unspecified area of underwood. Together with a mill, the total value of the manor had been 20s. before 1066, but was 60s. in 1086. (fn. 2) In the early 12th century there were two demesne ploughteams with oxen but no livestock. (fn. 3)

Medieval Tenants and Grange Over a third of Burton abbey's tenanted land was held in the early 12th century by 3 men styled sokemen or by 7 others who held sokemen's land; they were presumably the successors of the sokemen from Repton settled at Winshill after 1066. (fn. 4) The 12th-century sokemen owed moderate labour services and were able to pass on their land to their heirs on the payment of a heriot; one of the men who held sokemen's land was partly quit of rent because he did so as a riding man or radman (ratchenistus), the title given in the Anglo-Saxon period to a tenant who acted as a part-time estate official. By the later 1120s, however, the sokemen and those who held sokemen's land had been merged with the abbey's rentpaying tenants. The latter then held about 3/4 of the tenanted land in Winshill, the remaining 1/4 being held by tenants who owed fixed labour services.

A tenant named Beorhtwine who paid £4 14s. for a mill and other things at Winshill c. 1115 was possibly a monk who held a grange (or home farm) on behalf of his fellow monks; certainly a monk named Eadric paid a similar rent in the later 1120s. A granger was appointed for Winshill in the earlier 14th century, (fn. 5) and what was called 'the site of the manor' of Winshill in 1455 was described as a grange in 1536, when it was held by a lessee. (fn. 6) The grange house probably stood near the junction of Church Hill Street and Hawfield Lane, where Winshill Great Farm was rebuilt in the mid 1750s. (fn. 7)

Open Fields and Common Land There were three open fields at Winshill in the mid 13th century: one towards Burton on the west and south-west sides of the village, one towards Newton Solney on the north side, and one towards Bretby on the east side. (fn. 8) In 1597 they were called respectively Mill field, Bladon field, and Crakewell (later Crakehole) field. (fn. 9)

The main area of common meadow lay along the river Trent stretching north from Burton bridge. Pasture rights there were claimed by the inhabitants of Stapenhill in the early 1280s, but it was then agreed that Winshill inhabitants could inclose it after the hay had been cut, if they wished to. (fn. 10)

Tenants from both Winshill and Bretby shared pasture rights in a tract of waste on Winshill's southeastern boundary, known in the late 16th century as Little wood. (fn. 11)

Inclosure Mill field had been inclosed piecemeal by the later 18th century, but when inclosure took place in 1773 under an Act of 1771 there was still 50 a. of open land in Bladon field and 53 a. in Crakehole field. (fn. 12) The meadowland was still parcelled out in strips in the late 1750s, and it covered 18 a. when inclosed in 1773, being allotted entirely to Lord Paget. Other areas of pasture inclosed in 1773 were Mill Way and the Cliffs (jointly 23 a.) running along Newton Road, Dale pasture (13 a.) along Dale brook, and Astcliff slade (6 a.) along the brook running off the north side of Bearwood Hill Road.

The Winshill part of the common waste shared with Bretby was called Winshill common in the late 1750s when it covered 163 a. It too was inclosed in 1773 under the 1771 Act, Lord Paget being allotted the remaining 111 a. there.

Modern Farms As Winshill village expanded during the 19th century, agricultural land in the part of the township added to Burton was much reduced. The only farmhouse in 1861 was Bend Oak at the corner of Hawfield Lane and Borough Road, and most if its 204 a. lay in the area added to Newton Solney in 1894. (fn. 13)


The lessee of Winshill grange in the 1530s had a rabbit warren. (fn. 1) It probably stood on the edge of Winshill common, near the 19th-century house called Moat Bank: warrens were constructed in the form of an embankment with a protective ditch, and a ditch just over the township boundary in Bretby survived until houses were built in the grounds of Moat Bank in the 1990s. (fn. 2a)


The underwood (silva minuta) which covered 1 league in length and 1 furlong in breadth in Winshill in 1086 probably lay on Winshill's south-eastern boundary, where a common waste was later shared with Bretby. (fn. 3a) About 1295 Burton abbey inclosed 40 a. of woodland on the west side of the common, straddling the boundary with Stapenhill. (fn. 4a) Known as Winshill wood by 1349, it had had its own warden in 1397. (fn. 5a) The wood covered 80 a. in the 16th century, but 20 a. was converted to arable in the mid 1570s and it had been further reduced to 29 a. by the later 18th century. (fn. 6a)

When felling took place in 1771, Lord Paget instructed his agent not to spoil 'the beauty of the view' from Burton town. (fn. 7a) In fact, the wood was totally destroyed in the late 18th and early 19th century, and in the late 19th century the only trees were in a copse called Waterloo Clump which had planted to commemorate the 1st marquess of Anglesey's role at the battle of Waterloo in 1815. The 1/2-a. copse was given to Burton corporation by the 6th marquess in 1918. (fn. 8a)


A mill recorded on the Winshill side of the river Trent in 1086 became the principal corn mill for Burton manor and its history is treated in the Burton article. (fn. 9a)


A quarry mentioned in a tithe dispute of 1219 was possibly in Winshill, where there was land called Quarry meadow in the mid 13th century and where a quarry was mentioned in 1344, apparently in the angle of the present Newton Road and Bearwood Hill Road. (fn. 10a) Sandstone from Winshill quarry was used in building work at Tutbury castle in the earlier 14th century. (fn. 11a) In the late 1750s there was a quarry on the east side of Newton Road at its north end. (fn. 12a) It was probably still being worked in the 1790s, and may have been the quarry that was fenced around in 1800. (fn. 13a)

Bricks may have been made in Winshill in the mid 16th century: Edmund Dawken of 'the brick house' then owed money to a Winshill man. (fn. 14) A brick kiln being worked in the late 1680s may also have been at Winshill. It apparently ceased working in the late 1690s, but in the early 1700s a brickmaker named Thomas Knapper set up a kiln near Burton bridge, possibly in the same area as the earlier kiln. (fn. 15) By 1753 four men worked a total of 39 kilns, the largest number (six) by Valentine Ash, who in the early 1760s dug for clay in Winshill wood; his kilns were probably those in the angle of Newton Road and Bearwood Hill Road. (fn. 16) John Ash worked the kilns in earlier 19th century and Ann Ash (possibly his widow) in 1846. (fn. 17)

A brick yard worked by Thomas Lowe in 1846 probably stood on the south side of Ashby Road, its site by 1852. (fn. 18) It was run in 1880 by the Burton building firm of Lowe & Sons. (fn. 19) A brick yard at the top end of Bearwood Hill Road was probably that run in the early 1850s by William Bond. (fn. 20) A 'pipe works' on the south side of Ashby Road on the eastern boundary in 1882 probably manufactured drainage pipes. (fn. 21)

A tobacco-pipe maker lived near Burton bridge in 1834; his works was probably that run by Samuel Morris by 1841. Samuel's son William ran it in 1861, and continued to do so until his retirement in the early 1880s. (fn. 22) Another tobacco-pipe maker, Thomas Toone, worked nearer Winshill village in 1841 and 1861. (fn. 23)

In 1608 Lord Paget's servant Richard Almond was permitted to dig for coal on Winshill common and in the wood there for 21 years at the high rent of £40 a year. (fn. 1a) A coal seam was discovered beside Ashby Road in 1854. (fn. 2b) From 1855 it was worked by a partnership, which was dissolved in 1859, evidently because the seam was unprofitable. (fn. 3b)


  • 1. S.R.O., D. (W.) 1734/1/4/20; D. (W.) 1734/3/3/28, f. 2v.
  • 2. Ibid. D. (W.) 1734/2/2/18, plan accompanying memo. re common in Bretby; O.S. Map 6", Staffs. XLI. SW. (1884 edn.).
  • 3. V.C.H. Staffs. iv. 58; above (agric.).
  • 4. S.H.C. 1937, pp. 89-90, 92-3, 114, 117; Dugdale, Mon. iii. 49.
  • 5. S.R.O., D. (W.) 1734/2/1/103 [vi], m. 51; D. (W.) 1734/2/ 3/112a, f. 26v.
  • 6. Ibid. D. (W.) 1734/2/3/139; P.R.O., E 164/41, f. 21v.
  • 7. S.R.O., D. 603/N/14/5, Wm. Wyatt to Ld. Paget, 7 May 1771.
  • 8. Burton Libr., D. 23/1/6/3, pp. 438-9; Burton Daily Mail, 14 June 1918, p. 1; O.S. Map 6", Staffs. XLI. SW. (1884 edn.).
  • 9. Above, Burton, econ. hist. (mills).
  • 10. S.R.O., D. 603/A/ADD/135 (ref. to meadow 'de quarere') and 1035; D. (W.) 1734/2/3/139, nos. 20-22; above, Burton, manor (tithes).
  • 11. P.R.O., DL 29/1/3, m. 12.
  • 12. S.R.O., D. (W.) 1734/2/3/139, no. 95
  • 13. Ibid. D. 603/F/2/20/30, bill of 5 Feb. 1800; Shaw, Staffs. i. 16.
  • 14. L.R.O., B/C/11/Wm. Hampe (1556).
  • 15. S.R.O., D. 603/F/3/1/15, acct. for 1706-7; D. 603/N/3/2, memo. of 23 Aug. 1709; D. (W.) 1734/3/2/32, nos. 15, 135, and 191.
  • 16. Ibid. D. 603/F/3/11/11 and 21; D. (W.) 1734/2/3/139.
  • 17. Ibid. D. 603/K/17/76, Winshill survey, 1839; D. 877/221/ 6, f. 1; Pigot, New Com. Dir. [1829], 708.
  • 18. S.R.O., D. 603/N/3/15; D. 877/221/6, f. 2.
  • 19. Kelly's Dir. Staffs. (1880); O.S. Map 6", Staffs. XLI. SW. (1882 edn.). For a hist. of the firm see Thomas Lowe & Sons Ltd. 1825-1975 (copy in Burton Libr.).
  • 20. S.R.O., D. 603/N/3/15.
  • 21. O.S. Map 6", Staffs. XLI. SW. (1884 edn.).
  • 22. White, Dir. Staffs. (1834), 329; Kelly's Dir. Staffs. (1880; 1884); P.R.O., HO 107/191/2; RG 9/1967.
  • 23. P.R.O., HO 107/191/2; RG 9/1967.
  • 1a. S.R.O., D. 603/E/1/771.
  • 2a. Ibid. D. 603/K/17/85, Thos. Landor to Thos. Beer, 7 July and 13 Sept. 1854; D. 603/M/5/1, J. Woodhouse's rep. on coal seam, 25 Sept. 1854.
  • 3a. Burton Libr., D. 110/Winshill docs., deeds of 10 Oct. 1859 and 23 Jan. 1863.
  • 2b. V.C.H. Staffs. iv. 58.
  • 3b. S.H.C. 1916, 240-3.
  • 4a. This and the next para. based on ibid. (giving Beorhtwine's name as Bristwi).
  • 5a. S.R.O., D. (W.) 1734/2/1/101a, mm. 1 and 11; D. (W.) 1734/2/1/101b, mm. 6 and 12.
  • 6a. P.R.O., SC 6/1107/14, m. 3; S.R.O., D. (W.) 1734/1/4/20.
  • 7a. S.R.O., D. 603/F/3/11/16.
  • 8a. Ibid. D. 603/A/ADD/135 and 1028. Arable stretching from Burton bridge end in Winshill belonged to Burton township in the Middle Ages: above, Burton, econ. hist. (agric.).
  • 9a. S.R.O., D. (W.) 1734/2/1/104.
  • 10a. Ibid. D. 603/A/ADD/1030.
  • 11a. Ibid. D. (W.) 1734/2/2/18, memo. re common in Bretby; D. (W.) 1734/2/3/112d, f. [29v.]; S.H.C. 1937, p. 92.
  • 12a. Subsection based on 11 Geo. III, c. 46 (Priv. Act); S.R.O., D. 5646/Stapenhill and Winshill inclosure award, 1773; D. (W.) 1734/2/3/139.
  • 13a. P.R.O., RG 9/1967; Burton-upon-Trent Estate sale partics., 12-14 June 1918, lot 116.