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A Short History of South
Staffordshire compiled from extracts by William Pitt &
of the many stories behind the Staffordshire Knot is
that a hangman designed it, as he had 3 criminals to
dispatch and only a short piece of rope.We need to
page is still evolving visit frequently for updates
Watling Street or The Street-way (straight line) enters
Staffordshire in the west at Crackley-bank then through Weston,
by Stretton (Pennocrucium), and crosses the River Penk near the
Spread Eagle PH at Gailey (written as Gragelie in the Domesday
book). It crosses the Wolverhampton to Stafford Road, over Calf
Heath to the Four Crosses Inn, then continues to Norton and
Wyrley and onwards to Wall (Etocetum).
There were two Roman Stations on this road; one placed at Wall
(Etocetum) and one near either Penkridge or Stretton called
Pennocrucium) - unestablished.
Possibilities are at Horsebrook near Roley-hill.
The Saxons arrived in AD449 during the reign of Valentinian and
the Romans left the country from 459.
Fighting between Britons, Angles, Saxons and Danes occurred in
the years up to AD700. Eventually 7 Saxon Kingdoms were
established. (Staffordshire was part of Mercia). Wulferus
governed Mercia 657 to 676
The Saxon Heptarchy was divided into hides of land (relating to
the cultivated parts). A hide being as much land as one team of
oxen could manage in a year (about a hundred acres). Hyde Farm
Brewood is an example. Mercia
contained 30 000 hides.
Egbert of West Saxony conquered the other 6 kingdoms and became
the first Saxon Monarch.
This heralded the era of castle building - and centuries of
warring between Danes and Anglo Saxons.
King Alfred the Great battled the Danish Vikings in many places,
eventually setting up a Burghal (or Borough) system of fortified
towns. He finally defeated the Danes at Bridgnorth in 895. He
proceeded to divide his kingdom into Shires or Counties and into
Hundreds and Tythings. This was specified in the Roll of
Staffordshire gained its name from Stafford town - adjacent to
shallows on the river Sow which could be forded by the help of a
Staffordshire was divided into five divisions known as Hundreds:
Offlow, Totmanslow, Pirehill, Seisdon and Cuddleston. The latter
is where we reside and nothing but a bridge over the river Penk
remains with this name. The Hundreds are thought to relate to a
hundred acres or a hide.
Following the Norman conquest (1066) many of the ancient
families lost their lands to Norman favourites such as Robert de
Stafford. The great barons battled for land and favours. The
centuries of Baron's wars, led into the civil wars of Charles
the First and the Royalists. Earls and Barons fought according
to their loyalties. Stafford castle was ordered to be demolished
Charles II escaped from Oliver Cromwell by hiding around
Staffordshire - Moseley Old Hall and Boscobel House before
escaping to Wales then Normandy. Upon his return in 1669,
certain families were rewarded and strengthened.
The division of land into Hundreds was then subdivided into
Parishes. Each Parish being a tract of land having a place of
worship and united by common interest.
Cuddleston comprised 23
parishes including Brewood, Cannock, Dunston, Lapley, Penkridge,
Stretton and Shareshill.
.............to be continued. Return soon to learn about the
Littletons, the Legges, the Smythes, the Congreaves and the
Moncktons. The spoils of the East Indies and the coming of the
canals and railways.
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