Tag Archives: Paynsley

The Warrilows of Paynsley

There are many long-established family-names in this district, whose members have formed the warp & weft of the history of Draycott-in-the-Moors – the Vavasours, the Shelleys, the Perrys, the Bostocks and so on.
Another one of these is the Warrilow family, and there has been some recent research on them – which we have now pulled together here.

Though the Warrilows were not rich, they are very old, were rebels of a sort, …and they stored hidden treasure…!
But they are also rooted here. In the 1891 census, Staffordshire had the highest population of Warrilow families of any county.

Disappeared hamlet

The Warrilows have a long history round here (perhaps as long as the Draycott family, which itself goes back to Norman times).
In fact, in his book on the history of Draycott, Matthew Pointon reminds us that in medieval times, there was a hamlet called Warelow here, part of the manor of Paynsley (i.e. in southern Cresswell).  We don’t know where it was though, and whatever settlement that was there is now gone of course.

We also know there were Warrilows round here then because another of our local historians Lev Wood found one in an old tax record. He tells us: “Adam Warrilow was living in the vicinity of Draycott in 1327, where he paid 2 shillings in tax for the Scottish War Levy.  And Adam is still there in 1332 paying the same in the Subsidy Roll.” (See these rolls at the bottom of this page).

But in the 16th century, misfortune hit this family.
Basically, King Henry VIII decided Catholicism was no longer to be the state religion, and anybody who decided to keep the ‘old faith’ would suffer.
As we know, the lords of the manor here, the Draycotts, were fiercely Catholic, and indeed, they did suffer, mostly through large taxation and ‘exclusion’ from public life. (See: the story of Anthony Draycott).
The Warrilows however, it seems, decided to stick with their lords; and they did not convert to the new Anglican religion, but stayed with the old Catholic faith.

The seventeenth century

The local Warrilows pop up again with mention of a John Warrilow in Draycott, dated 1607. And also, in the 1666 Hearth Tax, several families by the name of ‘Worriloe’ are recorded as living in the parish. (Spelling was often erratic up until modern times!)

The word ‘Warelow’ also gets a mention in a brass plate which can be seen in St Margaret’s Church to this day.

Tickeridge inscription at St Margaret's Church

Tickeridge inscription – as recorded by NADFAS historians

The old plate remembers Thomas Tickeridge who “departed this life at Warelow House in ye parish of Draycott” in 1658.
Warelow House no longer exists, but we do know that Thomas also lived at Paynsley Hall (in southern Cresswell) for a time, so, presumably, this house was one of the smaller houses on the Paynsley manor… and had clearly got its name from the Warrilows.

More ominously, Warrilows figure in 1641, when an official count of recusants (old Catholics) was made (with Philip Draycott at the top of the list).
This was not a list you wanted to be on.  By this time, most people had converted to Anglicanism and Catholics were regarded very suspiciously – almost as potential terrorists – so the list of recusants was small, only twenty-six long for the whole parish. But among these names was… John Warrilow.

Catholic centre

By the seventeenth century, the connection between the Warrilows and Cresswell gets even stronger.

We know there was a Joseph Warrilow (died 1764) who lived at ‘Leeshouses’ in Cresswell. (Leese House Farm still exists today – and has an interesting story of its own – see article).
It is this Joseph who is one of the characters in a story of treasure – see this story further down this page!

Paynsley 1880 survey map

The 1880 map of southern Cresswell. In the top left is Rookery Farm (mistakenly called Leese House Farm), just down from that is Leesehouses,  and in the bottom right is Paynsley Hall & Farm. The thick grey line is the main railway. (Double-click this image to enlarge it)

Remember that the land in Cresswell round Paynsley was all part of the estate of the aristocratic Langdales (and then the Stourtons), who had succeeded to it when the Draycotts had died out – so the Warrilows would have been tenant farmers to them. And the Stourtons were also Catholic.
So, interestingly, Leese House becomes a sort of semi-secret centre for Roman Catholics. By this time (the mid eighteenth century) Catholics are just about tolerated, though still not allowed to practise openly or hold public office.

Hidden treasure

By the early nineteenth century the Warrilows are also farming from a site 100 yards from Leese House – at Rookery Farm. (There is nothing left of this today except a cattle-shed behind Rookery Crescent in Cresswell). However, in 1846 a startling discovery is made at Rookery Farm: hidden treasure!

During repairs to the farm, a recess inside the chimney is uncovered and in it is an oak chest. This chest contains valuable church silver and some ancient priestly vestments.
It turns out that, back during the Reformation of the sixteenth century, royal officers were ransacking churches for anything valuable, so the Draycott Catholic faithful at St Margaret’s had secretly taken away such things and hidden them – probably in a chest at Paynsley Hall to start with.
However, when Paynsley Hall is sold in 1751, the local Catholic priest takes the chest with him to Rookery Farm; and asks Joseph Warrilow, a good Catholic, to hide it.

After the chest is found, the silver and vestments are given to the Catholic community at Leese House, but the chest itself is returned to St Margaret’s, where it can be seen to this day.

Old chest at St Margaret's

Old chest – now returned to St Margaret’s where it can be seen today

The farming Warrilows leave

The tenancy to Rookery Farm stays with the Warrilows; and another Joseph farms there until 1863, when his son John takes over – at which time Joseph and his wife retire to Eccleshall (near Stafford).  It’s possible too that the family then resided at Leeshouses which was on the farm estate.
But there, sadly, the story of the farming connection apparently ends. John and his wife Ann die young, in 1871, and their orphaned children go to Eccleshall to be with their grandparents.

Warrilow grave, CresswellHowever, other local Warrilows of course do go on.
Their steadfastness in the Catholic faith is seen in the Warrilow gravestones at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Cresswell (which was built in 1829, shortly after Catholics were granted freedom of worship in this country) – Elizabeth Warrilow’s gravestone (see right) is dated 1889, and William Warrilow, who died in 1901, is one of the last of the family-name to be buried there.

Further down this page, see lots of comments on this article. If you too have comments, please scroll down and use the message box at the bottom of the page.

++ References
If you want to walk to see the sites of Rookery Farm, Leese House and Paynsley Hall, a public footpath connects them all. See Cresswell Footpath.
You can see the 1880 map more clearly by clicking here.
The survey of St Margaret’s Church carried out by NADFAS is available to buy. See St Margaret’s publications
More Warrilows can be found in the ‘Draycott Parish Registers 1669-1900’ publication.
Fourteenth Century taxation rolls are pictured below –  thanks to Lev Wood for finding them.  (Adam Warrilow is listed here, but his name is spelt Warylowe) Draycott roll 1327

NEWS: shelter expense / Remembrance / speed madness / history at risk

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early November 2016
News of…:  An expensive bus-shelter / WW1 Draycott man remembered / speed demons back in the village / Paynsley remains “at risk” …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a decorated christmas tree festival. Check out the Events page)

For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Paying for a bus shelter with no buses

What do you do with a bus shelter when no buses come to it any more?  That is the dilemma that Draycott local council finds itself in.
The bus-shelter next to the Draycott Arms – which was built and is owned by Draycott Council – was crumbling and decaying, but then again, no buses have stopped there for two years (since the Uttoxeter express bus was cancelled) – and it’s pretty unlikely we’ll ever get a bus along that route again.
So – should anyone bother doing anything about it at all?

Well, Draycott Council felt they should repair it, and so they put £500 into renovating  the whole roof at the end of the summer, plus a further sum into repairing the perspex glazing for the noticeboard inside.  Now it turns out that they may well have to put in a further £100 in, because now the structure is swaying in high winds and needs bracing…
(To add insult to injury, someone has taken to dumping piles of old wood at the back of it as well).

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This is all taxpayers’ money of course, so all of us should be thinking about what the solution could be to this particular headache.
If you have a thought, why not present it at the next council meeting, on Monday November 21st?

– – –

We are almost exactly in the middle of the four years of the 100-year anniversary of World War One, which lasted from 1914 to 1918.

This year there is a special commemoration at Stoke Railway Station to remember the men of the North Staffordshire Railway who died in World War 1.  Of those who went to the battlefields, one in ten NSR men never came back. One of them was a Draycott man.

Stoke Railway Station war memorial

Stoke Railway Station war memorial

Sergeant Philip Hawley Bagnall, who joined up in 1914 and was killed just one year later, lived in Draycott before the war.  He is remembered on the Draycott Church war memorial, as well as on the Stoke Railway Station war memorial.
Lev Wood, of our local history society, researched his story, which you can read for yourself by clicking here.

On this year’s Armistice Day, Friday 11 November, the event at Stoke station will see the names of all those NSR men who died being read out to passengers and public on the platform. The reading will take five hours, with one name being announced every two minutes. A two-minute silence will follow at 11am.
If you can’t get to Stoke Railway Station, a parade & silence is being held in Blythe Bridge on Remembrance Sunday (the 13th).

– – –
Speedsters are back

The community speedwatch team in Cresswell has been hit by a couple of resignations, so it no longer has the personnel to get out regularly with a radar-gun and do the useful work they were doing.
The planned Draycott Level speed-watch project seemed never to have got off the ground.
The official speed-camera vans, which for a while were seen pretty regularly round here, also seem not to be putting in so many appearances.

And that is all a shame, because the threat of speed-cameras does deter offenders… and now the biggest idiots seem to be back, seen bombing up and down the local roads once again.  We observed one moron doing what must have been eighty, in a car with a souped-up engine, along Cresswell Lane one Saturday evening a couple of weeks ago; while the forty miles an hour limit on Draycott level is hardly ever kept to at all, is it?

Dead badger on Cheadle Road

Dead badger on Cheadle Road

The speed disease seems to be spreading to Cheadle Road (the really narrow, bending road up to Draycott Cross).  The road-kill there is not just badgers either.

By the way, if you see a dead badger, you are supposed to report the sighting – click here to check what to do.

– – –
Paynsley … continuing to decay

Once again the annual report from English Heritage about UK listed buildings has put the Paynsley Hall ruins on the ‘at-risk’ register.  Sadly, this notice about Paynsley seems to happen year after year: the remains of the medieval moat keep decaying, but no one seems to want to do that much about it.

Paynsley Hall was an ancient mansion on farmland in Cresswell (just behind what is now Blthe Park) .  It was even the site of a small skirmish in the English Civil War in the 1600s when the Parliamentarians ransacked the place.
It was substantially demolished in the 1960s, though very small bits of it remain.  The remains are, as we say, in very poor condition, though actually it is hard to know just how poor, as the remains can only be approached by permission of the land-owner, which is rarely given.

Two years ago, Draycott Council promised to make enquiries, but nothing seems to have transpired.

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

Cresswell’s hidden heritage

One of the highlights of the St Mary’s 200th History Exhibition earlier this year was the display at it of the church’s extraordinary 600 year old clerical vestments.
St Mary’s, the Catholic church in Cresswell, was celebrating the anniversary of the opening of the church back in 1816.

A strange history

Vestments such as the ones that displayed in the exhibition are worn by priests during church services.  They are different colours on different days to mark the significance of each day in the church calendar.
As such, they are very precious to church-goers, and can be highly decorated.

So …imagine the surprise when, back in 1846, the owner of Rookery Farm in Cresswell discovered a wooden chest, full of ancient vestments, bricked up behind his chimney!!
Local historians quickly concluded that the chest had been secreted away by local Catholics during the Reformation 500 years ago.  This was the period when the old Catholic religion was being replaced by the new Protestant religion; and many churches were very worried about having their property confiscated by King Henry VIII and sold off.

The chest was taken by the farmer to St Margaret’s Anglican Church, the rightful possessor in law.
Very generously, St Margaret’s decided that the vestments should be ‘returned’ to local Catholics, so they were passed to St Mary’s – although St Margaret’s decided they would keep the chest itself!! (You can see the old chest in St Margaret’s even now).

Old chest at St Margaret's

Old wooden chest at St Margaret’s – thirteenth century

Some local historians have surmised that it was the famous Anthony Draycott, the local priest of the time, and a member of the local gentry family, who was responsible for taking away these treasured items to his family home of nearby Paynsley Hall and hiding them there.  A hundred years later, during the Civil War, it is thought they were transferred again, this time to Rookery Farm.


Although we talk of “vestments” being found, actually what was found were ‘orphreys’ – as the cloths to which they were attached had virtually rotted away.  Orphreys are the thick (quite heavy), decorated panels attached to priestly vestments.  They can have beautiful needlework, full of gold thread and coloured silks, and often show scenes from the Bible.

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The most fascinating of the Cresswell orphreys (see examples, above) is the green one. Historians now believe this was probably brought over from Spain, as part of the baggage brought with her by Katharine of Aragon, a devout Catholic and the first wife of Henry VIII.  They believe this because it resembles so much one at Oscott.
The others are thought to be fourteenth-century.

Father Patrick MeagherAs you can imagine, the orphreys were not in a great state when they were found.   Father Meagher, Cresswell’s priest sixty years ago (see pic, right), decided they should be restored (with the encouragement of his curate Father Bailey, who was also one of this area’s great historians).
They were restored, and mounted on new cloth, by nuns at Oulton Abbey.
Unfortunately, one nun did decide to add a few embellishments, which historians are annoyed about (!), but nearly all of the orphreys are as-original, and now attached to modern cloths, making them better for display.

Following advice from the Victoria & Albert Museum, it was decided that one of them however was too frail to be repaired. This is in store in Leek; but the rest can still be seen at Cresswell.

Although Fr Meagher did wear them a few times during a Mass shortly after they were repaired, they are not used nowadays.


It is hoped that before this 200th anniversary year is over St Mary’s will have a second history exhibition. Unfortunately, the church is without a priest at the moment, so things are a bit in flux at the parish.
But, if the parishioners do have another exhibition this year, no doubt the orphreys will take pride of place!

‘Cresswell Church Vestments’ – article by Albert E Doran
‘A History of The Parish of Draycott-en-le-Moors’ (2006) by Matthew E Pointon
Painsley – A History of Cresswell’s Roman Catholic Community’ (1973, reprinted 2005) by Fr Philip Bailey SCJ.

NEWS: history damage? / bridge cracks / neighbourhood plan / police meetings

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid January 2016
News of…:  destruction of a listed structure? / cracks in A50 flyover / end to police liaison meetings / plans for a Neighbourhood Plan / snow comes and goes …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a Burns Night celebration! Check out the Events page)

– – –
Moat no more?

There are only a dozen or ‘Grade 2 listed’ structures in Draycott-in-the-Moors; and one of them appears to be just a grassy ditch & mound.  However, this ordinary-looking earthwork (in fields at the south-west end of Cresswell) is actually the remains of the medieval moat that once surrounded the ancient Paynsley Hall.
The Government holds it to be of ‘national archaeological importance’.

However, the English Heritage group is so worried that it could be damaged that it is one of only twelve structures in the Moorlands to appear on their latest annual ‘Endangered List’.  It has been on the endangered list every year for a number of years.

However, some older members of the local parish council say they believe that it has already been destroyed! They have said that they have seen no evidence recently that the ground has been preserved.

It’s impossible for us to confirm one way or the other, as the structure lies hidden on private property near Painsley Farm. Apparently, English Heritage is investigating the claims.

– – –
Cracks in bridge

Another damaged structure has come to light too – but it’s a little more modern.

Crack in A50 flyover

Myra Williams emailed us these photos of the A50 flyover bridge on Cresswell Lane, which clearly shows that a piece of concrete has simply cracked and dropped off it…
The second photo (below) is a long-shot.

Crack in A50 flyover

Myra says she doesn’t know when this happened, or whether it indicates a problem.
Can anyone tell us? Please email us if you know

– – –
Police meetings suspended

One other thing that is missing at the moment is any local police consultation meetings.
Up until the middle of last year, there were monthly (and sometimes fortnightly) public meetings organised by the Forsbrook Local Policing Unit (which also oversees Draycott).
However, they have been discontinued since August, despite the ongoing spate of burglaries locally (just last week, there was another burglary at an outbuilding, this time in Draycott Cross Road).

Constable Adam Charlesworth, our community support officer, told us that hardly anyone was attending the meetings, and there seemed no point in continuing with them.  Adam says he is now exploring other ways of creating public liaison.
Curiously, the two neighbourhood watch projects in Draycott also seem to have folded.

– – –
Plans for a plan

You may have noticed in the local paper that a lot of villages in Staffordshire are rushing to set up their ‘neighbourhood plans’.  Just last week, Brown Edge, Biddulph and next-door Checkley announced their intentions.

Longdon village leaflet

Longdon has started in already

The reason for the rush is, not only that the 2011 Localism Bill made it easier for villages to do this, but because many villagers now realise that having a neighbourhood-plan in place it is one way of helping to stop crazy development proposals being forced on a community that doesn’t want them.
(Some people say that if Draycott had had a neighbourhood plan in place already then it might perhaps have blocked the huge Blythe Park housing-estate project).

Well, a little slow off the mark, but no slower than some others to be fair, Draycott-in-the-Moors Parish Council is also joining the rush.  The council has set up its own sub-committee to see how feasible (and how expensive) the idea is.  It’s expected that leaflets explaining the matter will be pushed through local letter-boxes sometime in the next two months.

Incidentally, it’s easy to confuse a Neighbourhood Plan with a Parish Plan or even a Local Plan (!).
A neighbourhood plan sets out a community’s attitude to development in its locality, and has official status; the Draycott ‘parish plan’ is just a set of hopes and aspirations drawn up by a community;  and a Local Plan is a government-approved strategy for planning matters in a region (in our case, it’s the Staffordshire Moorlands Local Plan).

– – –
And finally… snow

Well, it’s been a funny old winter.  Despite a sprinkling of snowflakes back in November, it’s really been a story of rains and mild temperatures, hasn’t it?
And then suddenly, last week, in came the snow.

St Margaret's church in snow

St Margaret’s Church in snow

On Sunday, the snow was particularly thick, and some of us were battening down the hatches while also out taking some snow photographs… only to wake up on Monday and find it nearly all gone!

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

The ‘lost’ images of Draycott

Local history is endlessly fascinating, isn’t it?  Just when you think you know it all, something else turns up…
Just this month we have found new information on two local ‘lost’ paintings and one local ‘lost’ photograph.


A local collector got in touch to say that he had just successfully bid at auction for a photo of Paynsley Hall, which used to sit in the fields not far from the southern end of Blythe Business Park in Cresswell.  It was (rather ruthlessly!) demolished a few years ago, even though the main chimney (which you can see in the photo) was thought to be of medieval origin.

The hall had a wonderful history stretching even back beyond the English Civil War when it was the scene of a skirmish between the Roundheads and Cavaliers, after which it had to be rebuilt.

Unfortunately, even the seller knew nothing of the circumstances of the photo.  Between us, we have guessed that it is 1950s, or 1940s, era, but that’s it.  Would the people in it perhaps be members of the Bostock family, a family with a long history in this district?

Paynsley Hall farm circa 1950

Paynsley Hall farm – around 1950?

If you know anything which would help us, and the local collector, find out more about the circumstances of this photo… please let us know (use the comments box at the bottom of this page).


We’ve covered stories of lost paintings of Draycott on this website before – Mick Bettaney is still searching for one created by his grandfather.
But now we have a painting that has been found!

Mike Knowles wrote to tell us that he has a painting of the old Bird-in-Hand pub, which was at the southern end of Cresswell before being pulled down a few years ago.
He reckons it was painted at the end of the 1950s by Michael D Barnfather, a painter commissioned to create it by Mike’s uncle.  Why he commissioned it is not clear….
Mike tells us that he thinks the people relaxing outside the pub are his uncle and aunt – Kenneth George Saxton (known as George) and his wife Mabel Saxton (formerly a Kerry).   Mike thinks they may even  have owned the Bird In Hand at one stage in the 1950s, but he is not sure, as both have sadly passed away.   Can anyone help with more information?

Painting of Bird In Hand

Painting of the old Bird In Hand, around 1958.  (To enlarge this photo, click once on it; and, then, to return to this page, use the back-button)

Mike has had the work valued (he was told it was worth around £2000) but he is willing to sell it to anyone who collects local historic artefacts.
Again… If you know anything which would help us find out more about this work… please let us know, we will also be sure to pass your message on to Mike.


The most famous lost ‘local’ painting is of course the one mentioned in Father Bailey’s history of St Mary’s Church. Father Bailey writes:  “A Mr Walter Draycott, who came to Draycott from Canada in 1911, says he saw an ancient painting of the original Tudor Paynsley Hall, which was then in the possession of a local resident. He described the hall in the painting as having ‘two tall towers resembling keeps and a high wide doorway between the two towers with a gothic archway or entrance’.  The whereabouts of this painting is now unknown.”
Wouldn’t it be great if that turned up again?!

And finally, there is the painting that was given as a gift to the Reverend Doctor Healey when he retired as rector of St Margaret’s in the early 70s.

Rector & Mrs Healey retiring - with Painting presented by John & Mary Kellaway

Rector & Mrs Healey retiring – with painting – presented by John & Mary Kellaway  (Collection of Sara Gibson, ne Kellaway)

We know Doctor Healey retired to Harrogate and has since died… do his family still have the painting, we wonder…

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.            (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

Anthony Draycot – religious zealot

Over the last month, many of us have been watching the BBC period-drama ‘Wolf Hall’, which came to its end a few days ago.  Its theme has been the religious struggles during the time of Henry VIII, when Protestants and Catholics were at each other’s throats.

One story-line caused great controversy, that of the great Catholic martyr Sir (and Saint) Thomas More.  In the TV series, he was depicted as a ruthless and cruel persecutor of Protestants – before he fell foul of a change in the king’s religion, and he himself became one of the persecuted.

But, did you know that a similar ‘hunter of Protestants’ was based right here in Draycott-in-the-Moors?

Anthony Draycot

The local historian Bill Cawley calls Anthony Draycot a “villain” who was determined to root out Protestantism in Staffordshire, and who hunted down those he saw as  ‘heretics’, sometimes ensuring they were then burned at the stake.

Young Anthony, who was born some time in the early sixteenth century, was a son of the staunchly Catholic local aristocratic family, the Draycotts; and quickly became a great scholar at Oxford.  He was appointed Rector of Draycott in 1535 (not to mention of a few other places at the same time, including nearby Checkley) – but had to accept the fact that his king, Henry VIII, was turning away from Catholicism…

Checkley AD bench end

A medieval bench-end in Checkley Church, on which are carved Anthony Draycott’s initials, AD, presumably because he paid for or sponsored the gift of the benches

However, in 1553 came a new English monarch, Queen Mary, who was a Catholic – and Mary wanted to restore her religion as the state religion. So Anthony became Chancellor to the Bishop of Lichfield, and set about serving his queen zealously, by attacking Protestants… too zealously, we might say.

His reputation was tarnished, perhaps forever, by his depiction in the famous ‘Foxe’s Book of Martyrs’, where he is described as cruel and cold.


But no-one was ever safe for long in those times. As soon as Mary died, it was the turn of Protestantism again (under Queen Elizabeth); and soon his beliefs caught up with Anthony.  In 1560, he was condemned to prison as “an irreconcilable Papist”.

He probably would have stayed there much longer than he did but he was released due to his ill-health, and ended his years back home here in Draycott, at Paynsley Hall, on the family estate, dying in 1571.

Does he deserve his reputation as cruel persecutor?  Probably… but, in those unpleasant and heartless days, both sides were at it, in what they all perceived then as a struggle that was even more important than mere life or death.


Curiously, despite his reputation, the Protestant church of St Margaret’s here in Draycott lovingly preserves his memorial.

Anthony Draycott memorial

Anthony Draycot memorial in St Margaret’s Church

If you go into the church, you will find a brass plate attached to the front pew.  It has been polished and polished for so many years that the lettering has almost faded away – but this is his memorial.

However you won’t find his grave marked anywhere.   Maybe that was one step too far for St Margaret’s, which, by the time of his death, was a fully established Church Of England & Protestant church.

See also: A History of Catholicism in Cresswell and Anthony Draycott on DNB

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

NEWS: Paynsley Hall / plan opposition / new clerk / xmas trees / theft

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late November 2014
News of…:  full opposition to housing plan / new parish clerk – but curate leaving / Draycott’s historic registers go online / Paynsley Hall “at risk” / xmas trees & holly for sale / Stuart Avenue attempted theft  …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

– –
Unanimous opposition

The parish council meeting which discussed the proposed new housing estate  for Cresswell saw a unanimous rejection of the plans by the council members.
It seems clear that the idea of building two new roundabouts in this area, one outside Blythe Park and one on Uttoxeter Road by Church Lane, is unacceptable.

Not onlynow does VVSM (the local community group) oppose the plans completely, but now the parish council have given a similar verdict, and Bill Cash, our local MP has also come out strongly against – so it seems like everyone in the district is “singing from the same hymn sheet”.

It’s still not sure that the Moorlands Planning Committee will having their vote on the plans at its meeting on December 18th – but it seems likely.
If you have views, you may want to talk to VVSM or the parish council before that meeting; as, afterwards it may be too late.

– –
Comings … and goings

After almost six months since the post was advertised, a new Draycott Parish Council clerk has been appointed.  Kate Bradshaw, who lives in Uttoxeter Road, and is already well known as the treasurer to St Margaret’s Church, will take up the role at the end of this month.  She’s going to be pretty busy – and we wish her the best of luck.
The parish council has also taken this moment to change its email address, which is now draycottparishcouncil@aol.co.uk.

However, otherwise, it’s bad news for St Margaret’s.  As we reported a fortnight ago, Chrissi Thompson, the youth club worker, is leaving at the end of the year, but now also comes news that the curate John Pretty is also resigning, as he is having to leave the area for family reasons – with effect from December 31st.
John and his wife Angela have been mainstays of the community at large – so they will be missed well beyond the church congregation.

– –
Time for history

Talking of St Margaret’s, history enthusiasts will be celebrating the fact that all Staffordshire’s historic Anglican parish registers (dating from 1538-1900) have just been published on the internet as part of the county ‘digitisation project’.
Records of 600 years of burials, baptisms and marriages in Draycott are now available to you at the flick of a keyboard!  The Draycott-le-Moors burial records cover over a thousand entries by themselves.. If you are trying to trace family history, it is an amazing resource.
However, if you are new to Staffordshire Archives Online, we suggest you go into our local library and get a little advice on trawling it first; as the huge size of the records can be overwhelming.

Paynsley Hall in 1960

Paynsley Hall in 1960, before parts of it were demolished

However, local history buffs may be depressed by the other news this month: the annual report from English Heritage about UK listed buildings has put the Paynsley Hall ruins on the ‘at-risk’ register.
Paynsley Hall is an ancient mansion on farmland in Cresswell. It was substantially demolished in the 1960s, though bits of it remain.  The remains weren’t in very good condition before – but EH says the condition of them now is even worse.
The ruins can only be approached by permission of the land-owner, though you can get a glimpse of them from the nearby public footpath (see the Cresswell-Paynsley Country Walk).

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Welcome the holly & the fir-tree

A little better news is that Christmas trees start to go on sale this weekend at the Draycott Plant Nurseries.  Our one from last year is still happily growing; so we can testify to their quality.
This year Neil is also providing some interesting varieties of holly, including Ilex ‘Golden King’, Ilex ‘Red Tips’ and the Ilex ‘Ferox Argentea’, the silver hedgehog holly. Ferox comes up like a 3-D effect with snowy tips.  Nice decoration…

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Petty crime

Finally, we have got a bit fed up of carrying reports of petty thefts recently, but unfortunately here’s another one.

This time it was an attempted garage burglary by two men in Stuart Avenue last week.  Even though it was before dawn, the attempt was foiled by a vigilant neighbour who frightened the pair off.  They weren’t caught.
As usual, the incident reminds us that sheds and garages are just as attractive to thieves as homes, so good security for them is a must.

If you have any help you can give the police, phone 101.

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

If you find the photos on this webpage too small to see properly, all you have to do is double-click on the photo itself, and it will double in size immediately.

Draycott in the Moors style Xmas present

Thinking about Christmas presents yet?    We were looking for something that had a real feeling of Draycott-in-the-Moors about it, but were running out of ideas – but then we came across the Staffordshire Archives ‘Maps Collection’.

For example, you can buy a really good replica of Emanuel Bowen‘s Map of Staffordshire (1755) for just £3 by walking into one of Staffordshire County Libraries ‘Archives’ Services record centres (the nearest one is at Stafford).

Eman Bowen map of Staffordshire

A detail of Eman Bowen’s map of Staffordshire, with ‘Draycot’ in the centre

(If you find this photo too small to see properly, all you have to do is double-click on the photo itself, and it will double in size immediately. Use the ‘back-button’ to return to this page.)

Eman Bowen’s map is one of many old local maps that can be found at the Archives, but it’s good for people from round here because it shows Draycott so clearly – though it does call the village ‘Draycot in the Moor’ – the current spelling of the village came later.

The Paynsley estate is shown of course, as are Totmonslow and Cresswell (in the old typography – as ‘Crefswell’).  However so are Lees (now Leeses) and Huntley.

Lots of local history stuff is on sale, online as well as going in person, on the County Archives sales page   or enquire on the Archives contact page.
And there are no huge rip-off prices as there are on some commercial websites.
For the specific maps page, click here.

More present ideas?

If you have any other Draycott-ish Christmas present ideas, would you let us know?
We do know that John Clarke produces a delicious jam/chutney (‘Château de Cresswell’!) which is sold to benefit St Margaret’s Church… but we can’t think of anything else.
We’d be interested to know – just leave a comment in the comments box further down this page.

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

Cresswell-Paynsley-Newton circular walk

We were very pleased to receive this article from Raymond Crowe.  Raymond, who was visiting friends in this area, says he is a keen rambler, and designed this walk after checking with neighbours and an Ordnance Survey map.
He says he enjoyed it a great deal – and hopes readers will too!!
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This walk is very suitable for all ages and abilities.  There are no hills and it is track nearly all the way.  There is one stretch of road along a narrow country lane with no pavements where you will need to be aware of traffic.
It is a circular route, about four miles long, and takes in some interesting sights including a former railway line, an historic church, an ancient bridge, and old inn and some farmyards.  The walk stays on public footpaths at all times even though there are hardly any footpath signs.
If you are travelling by car, you can park at the lay-by opposite 24-34 Sandon Road, Cresswell (postcode:  ST11 9RB). You start the walk here.

Cresswell start
Immediately notice the telephone kiosk: it was taken over by the Cresswell Community Group after it was decommissioned by BTelecom, and it is now used by them as an Information Point.
Head up the bank passing Sandon Close and Rookery Crescent. Fifteen yards past Rookery Crescent, turn left down a farm track, which goes along the back of the Crescent’s houses.  You’ll reach a fork in the track after 100 yards – keep right.  You now stay on the track for half-a-mile.
On your left you will see Blythe Business Park, once the site of the world-famous Blythe Colours factory.

Cresswell footpath view 1

You can see the back of the old Blythe Colours works while walking the track

Eventually you arrive at Paynsley Hall Farm.  Walk through the gate into the farm and then left into the farmyard, keeping the smart new farmhouse on your left as you turn. Unfortunately, there are no footpath signs here, but the right of way does go through the farmyard. When I passed through, there was a plastic tape across the yard – but this is not there to deter walkers, only to guide the farm’s cows.
Keep between the farm buildings until the end of the yard, when you will see a metal gate (on your left) which takes you out of the yard and on to a track heading away from the farm. This gate, and another in the yard, was padlocked when I walked through, so it was necessary to climb over it – but it is easy to surmount.

Follow the farm track – which now leads north to the main railway line.  I was told that from this track that, if you look twenty yards to your right back toward the farm, you might just be able to see the ruined brickwork that is all that is left of the historic Paynsley Hall, but I could see nothing.
If the track has cows or bulls on it, especially in calving season, it may be better to use a field-way to the left of the track, which has been kindly marked out with tape – provided by the farmer I presume.
[Just a note about bulls.  Contrary to popular opinion, it is not illegal to keep a bull in a field that contains a right-of-way.   If there is a bull around, simply follow the official advice]

After two hundred yards on this track, you will reach the River Blithe.  This is only small at this point, but some miles on eventually runs into the River Trent and Blithfield Reservoir.  Here also is the official crossing point across the main railway line (which carries trains from Derby to Stoke).  Be VERY CAREFUL crossing the tracks.

Aldbrough House, Cresswell

Aldbrough – the former railway-crossing keeper’s cottage

On the other side of the tracks, you’ll see Aldbrough House cottage, now a private residence, but once the home of the railway crossing keeper.
Follow the track for twenty yards, and fork left at the large poultry unit, part of Lower Newton Farm.

Lower Newton Farm

The walk goes to the left when you come to Lower Newton Farm

Follow the track between the farm buildings, passing a solar panel unit on your left. Keep on in the same direction now for two hundred yards (ignoring the road to the left, which leads into Upper Newton Farm) as the track becomes a road.
Pass through the A50 underpass.
After another 100 yards, the road suddenly bears left, and then you will soon come upon the grassed-over track that is the route of the now-disused branch railway line that led from Cheadle to Cresswell.  Turn left onto this track.
The track is owned nowadays by the Moorland & City Railway Company, who have given permission for walkers to use it.  (In theory you should be able to take this track all the way to Cresswell village, but it is private land at the very end of the track, so you will need to turn off before reaching the track’s end).

Follow this old line for three hundred yards (passing under the A50 again) before coming to a ‘cross roads’ with a farm-drive.  Turn right on to this drive, and walk for 100 yards to reach Cresswell Old Lane.   (The right-of-way from the railway track is really across the field but the access to the field-stile is completely overgrown, so responsible walkers are allowed use the drive to get to the lane instead).

You are now at Cresswell Old Lane. Turn left.  This lane is very narrow and the hedges high, so walkers need to be VERY careful and watch out for traffic.
Walk for three hundred yards until reaching the historic 200 year-old St Mary’s Catholic Church. The church is said to be the oldest of the ‘modern’ Catholic churches in Staffordshire.  It is not usually open, but the graveyard is historic too, and has a large churchyard cross said to be designed by the famous architect Augustus Pugin.

Continuing along Cresswell Old Lane, eventually you come to the junction.  Here you can go right for refreshments at the quaint nineteenth-century Izaak Walton Inn, or, to continue the walk, turn left and cross the railway line.  The stone bridge here across the River Blithe is 200 years old.
You can now see the lay-by and your car.

Raymond Crowe