VCH Staffordshire Publications

The Victoria County History of Staffordshire currently includes 14 volumes. A fifteenth, volume 12, describing the town of Tamworth, is currently in preparation.

Red Book Publications

Volume I

This introductory volume was published in 1908 and edited by William Page. It includes the following entries relating to the county:

  • Natural History
  • Early Man
  • Romano-British Staffordshire
  • Anglo-Saxon Remains
  • Political History
  • Social and Economic History
  • Ancient Earthworks

The full text is available at the Internet Archive.

Volume II

Published in 1967, this volume was edited by M.W. Greenslade and J.G. Jenkins.  It contains the following entries:

  • Industry
  • Transport
  • Forests – Brewood, Cannock, Kinver, The New Forest, and Needwood Forest
  • Sport

This volume is currently unavailable online.

Volume III

This volume was edited by M.W. Greenslade and was published in 1970. It contains a history of the medieval Religious Houses in the county, which are all available on British History Online.

The volume also contains the following entries:

  • The Medieval Church
  • The Church of England since the Reformation
  • Deaneries
  • Roman Catholicism
  • Protestant Nonconformity

Parts of the text are available at British History Online.

Volume IV - Cuttlestone Hundred (West) and Staffordshire Domesday

This volume was published in 1958 and edited by L. Margaret Midgley. It covers the ten parishes in the western part of Cuttlestone Hundred. It also contains the following entries:

  • Introduction to the Staffordshire Domesday
  • Translation of the Text of the Staffordshire Domesday
  • Index to the text of the Staffordshire Domesday

This volume is currently unavailable online.

Volume V - East Cuttlestone Hundred

This volume was edited by L. Margaret Midgley and published in 1959. Covers the hundred of East Cuttlestone in the south-west of the county, and includes the towns of Brewood, Cannock, Penkridge and Rugeley.

The full text is available at British History Online.

Volume VI

Published in 1979, this volume was edited by M.W. Greenslade and D.A. Johnson.

This volume completes the general articles planned for Staffordshire and also contains the history of the county town. Four articles on agriculture survey a thousand years of farming. Cultivation gradually reduced the extensive woodlands recorded in Domesday Book. The progress of arable farming in the south was paralleled by that of stock-rearing in the north, while from the 17th century dairying became increasingly important. The water meadows of the Dove were famous. By the 19th century Staffordshire was a county of great estates noted for improving landlords and agents who encouraged new crops and techniques. Today farming still occupies over two-thirds of the county. There are articles on the more important public schools and endowed grammar schools and on Keele University, the first of the new universities after the Second World War. The story of Stafford Borough, not told before on a comparable scale, begins with a settlement in a loop of the river Sow, existing perhaps by Roman times and later associated with the hermitage of the Saxon St. Bertelin. Stafford, first appearing in written records in 913, became the county town of the new shire which was laid out round it. William the Conqueror built a castle there in 1070; King John recognized the town's borough status with a charter in 1206. By then there were two parish churches, the collegiate church of St. Mary and the little St. Chad's, a gem of mid-12th-century architecture. Stafford's most famous son is Izaak Walton, born there in 1593. Richard Brinsley Sheridan, who was M.P. for over 20 years from 1780, proposed the toast 'May the manufactures of Stafford be trodden under foot by all the world', a reference to the footwear industry. Although only one shoe factory now remains, many other industries flourish, notably electrical engineering, introduced in 1903. By 1971 Stafford was a borough of over 5,000 acres and 55,000 inhabitants.

It contains the following entries:

  • Agriculture
  • Schools
  • The University of Keele
  • The Borough of Stafford

This volume is currently unavailable online.

Volume VII - Leek and the Moorlands

This volume was edited by M.W. Greenslade with contributions from A.P. Baggs, M.F. Cleverdon, D.A. Johnston and Nigel Tringham and was published in 1996. This volume tells the story of the town of Leek and the north-east corner of Staffordshire adjoining Cheshire and Derbyshire. Besides the large parish of Leek, it contains Alstonefield, another extensive parish, Horton, and Sheen.

The full text is available via British History Online.

Volume VIII - Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stoke-on-Trent

This volume was published in 1963 and edited by J.G. Jenkins. It covers the Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme and the city of Stoke-on-Trent.

The full text is available at British History Online.

Volume IX - Burton-Upon-Trent

Edited by Nigel J. Tringham, this volume was published in 2003.This volume covers the town of Burton-upon-Trent on the county's eastern boundary, along with its suburbs and satellite villages on either side of the river, including Stapenhill which was formerly in a separate parish in Derbyshire.

The full text is available at British History Online.

Volume X - Tutbury and Needwood Forest

This volume was published in 2007 and edited by Nigel J. Tringham.

Tutbury and Needwood forest have a rich history, fully explored here from the earliest times to the present day: the former with its great medieval castle, the heart of a major feudal honor held from the 13th century by the royal earls and dukes of Lancaster, and the latter with its medieval parks and hunting lodges. The volume also covers the important early Anglo-Saxon monastic and royal site of Hanbury, the burial place of St Werburh, a Mercian princess; and offers accounts of the mansion houses built in and around the ancient forest area by members of the Bass brewing family and others, and the magnificent late 19th-century church of Hoar Cross, one of Bodley's masterpieces.

This volume is currently unavailable online.

Volume XI - Audley, Keele and Trentham

This volume was edited by Nigel J. Tringham and published in 2013.

Covering the hilly north-west part of the county from the Cheshire border to the valley of the river Trent south of Newcastle-under-Lyme, this volume treats parishes that lie mostly on the North Staffordshire coalfield and where both coal and ironstone mining and iron-making became important, especially in the nineteenth century. A rich archive has been used to illustrate the origins of this industrial activity in the Middle Ages, when the area was characterised by scattered settlements, with an important manorial complex and a grand fourteenth-century church at Audley, a hunting lodge for the Stafford lords at Madeley, a small borough at Betley, and at Keele and Trentham religious houses which became landed estates with mansion houses after the Dissolution. In the nineteenth century Trentham gained fame for its spectacular gardens created by the immensely rich dukes of Sutherland, and Keele rose to prominence in 1950 as the site of Britain's first campus university. After coalmining ceased in the twentieth century several villages and mining hamlets acquired large housing estates, which in Trentham parish were absorbed into Stoke-on-Trent.

This volume is currently unavailable online.

Volume XII - Tamworth and Drayton Bassett

Edited by Nigel Tringham, this volume was published 2021.

The volume treats the historic parish of Tamworth with a town in the centre on the north bank of the river Tame at its confluence with the river Anker. Roughly circular in shape, some 4½ miles (7.25 km). in diameter and covering 11,230 a. (4,545 ha.), it was divided between Staffordshire and Warwickshire, until the Warwickshire townships were transferred to Staffordshire in stages between 1890 and 1965. The boundary, indeed, ran through the very centre of the town, up Holloway from Lady bridge, east along Church Street, and then north up Gungate. The first part of the volume relates to the town, followed by a second part on Outer Tamworth with the histories of the parochial townships: Amington with Stoneydelph, Bolehall and Glascote, Fazeley, Hopwas, Syerscote, Wigginton, and Wilnecote and Castle Liberty. This second part also deals with the extraction of coal and clay in the Warwickshire townships, and the volume ends with an article on the adjoining parish of Drayton Bassett.

More details of the volume.

Volume XIV - Lichfield

This volume was published in 1990 and was edited by M. W. Greenslade. 

The volume tells the story of Lichfield and its neighbourhood from Romano-British times to the late 20th century. Lichfield was first mentioned in the mid 7th century and was chosen as a see in 669 A.D. with St. Chad as its first bishop. A cathedral has stood there ever since, much rebuilt and restored over the centuries and noted for its three spires, 'the ladies of the vale'. Until the Reforma-tion St. Chad's shrine attracted a stream of pilgrims. The cathedral and its medieval fortified close were garrisoned by both sides during the Civil War and suffered great damage and losses. There are two other early churches, St. Chad's which is associated with the saint's dwelling place, and St. Michael's on the hilltop site where there may once have been a pagan sanctuary. The city itself originated as a new town planted by the bishop in the mid 12th century. In the mid 16th century it was granted city and county status by the Crown. A church dedicated to St. Mary was built in the market place, and other medieval institutions included a Franciscan friary, an almshouse for men and another for women which both survive, and an important religious and social guild. On the eve of the guild's suppression at the Reformation much of its landed property was conveyed in trust for the maintenance of the city's medieval water supply and for other needs. As a result Lichfield has for centuries enjoyed private-enterprise public services, and the Conduit Lands Trust is still active. In the 18th century Lichfield was a centre for polite society with its races attracting many visitors. In the 19th century there was industrial development, notably in the brewing industry. The later 20th century has seen the growth of light industry and also extensive residential development, with a nearly threefold increase in the city's population. Tourism too has been encouraged and is associated particularly with Samuel Johnson, born in the city in 1709. The volume also covers seven former townships lying outside the city but once part of the Lich-field parishes of St. Michael and St. Chad. They include Wall with its Romano-British remains, Fisherwick which once possessed a mansion and park by Capability Brown, and the urban parish of Burntwood containing the former mining village of Chasetown and Chase Terrace; the others are Curborough and Elmhurst, Freeford, Hammer-wich, and Streethay with Fulfen.

The full text is available via British History Online.

Volume XVII - Offlow Hundred (Part)

This volume was edited by M.W. Greenslade and published 1976.

Historical accounts of three important industrial towns of the Black Country fill the present volume. West Bromwich, Smethwick, and Walsall are all close neighbours and all former county boroughs. West Bromwich had a domes-tic nailing industry in the 16th century but remained a scattered settlement on the heathland of the coal measures until the development of its mining and iron industry in the mid 19th. Smethwick's growth began with the building of the Birmingham canal in the late 18th century and was particularly marked from the 1830s-. Walsall, an early medieval borough with its church standing on a limestone hill at the town's centre, underwent a rapid increase in population from the 1820s. Immigrants to man the indus-tries of the area have included French and Belgians in the early 19th century, and in the mid 20th people from the West Indies and the Indian subcontinent. The pattern of communications feeding the industries is a palimpsest of ancient roads bridging the small streams of the Mid-lands plateau, the successive networks of canals and railways, and the motorways of the 1960s. Household names like Mitchells & Butlers, Chances, G.K.N., and Tube Investments are reminders of the industrial strength and variety of the area, which has also included brick- making, brush-making, chemicals, cloth and clothing, coal-mining, engineering of many types, iron-smelting, ironstone mining, leather trades, limestone-mining, and organ-building. Along with the large factories and numerous small workshops are remarkable buildings of other kinds, such as West Bromwich manor-house, a classic medieval example, and the former Sand-well Hall, seat of the earls of Dartmouth. Apart from manufacturers many well known people have been connected with the area, including Joseph Chamberlain in politics, Madeleine Carroll and Sidney Barnes in entertainment and sport, and in literature Jerome K. Jerome and Sir Henry Newbolt.

The full text is available at British History Online.

Volume XX - Seisdon Hundred (Part)

Published in 1984, this volume was edited by M. W. Greenslade.

The volume covers the south-west corner of Staffordshire, bordering on Shropshire and Worcestershire and including the Tettenhall and Amblecote portions of the new county of West Midlands. The area was part of Seisdon hundred and includes the village of Seisdon in Trysull parish where the hundred met. Most of it lay in Kinver forest. Stourton Castle in Kinver parish was built in the 1190s as a royal hunting lodge and became the home of the keeper of the forest. The area, watered by the Stour and its tributary Smestow brook, remains largely agricultural, with mixed farming and also market gardening for the nearby Black Country towns. There are three great houses, Enville Hall, Patshull House, and the Wodehouse at Wombourne, all at one time having fine gardens. By the 19th century business men working in Wolverhampton were coming to live in Tettenhall and Codsall, and in the 20th century Kinver, Pattingham, and Wombourne too have rapidly expanded as residential areas. By the late 18th century Tettenhall was the goal of excursions from Wolverhampton, and Kinver Edge has at-tracted visitors from the neighbouring towns for the past century. Rock houses cut into the sandstone of the Edge remained occupied until the mid 20th century. There were several early industries, notably ironworking along the rivers. Kinver had a flourishing iron industry from the 17th to the 19th century, and clothworking too was important there in the 17th and 18th centuries. There was an iron industry in Wombourne from the 16th century until the closure of Richard Thomas & Baldwin Ltd.'s Swindon works in 1976. At Amblecote glassmaking has been important since the early 17th century when Lorrainer glassmakers were attracted there by cheap coal and excellent fireclay.

This volume is currently unavailable online.