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Stoke-on-Trent Districts: Stoke


next: The church and the Minton family

Stoke, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

The early history of Stoke:

The first centre of Christian preaching and worship in the area was situated neither in the ancient village of Penkhull nor in the town of Newcastle.
From as early as the Seventh Century AD, it stood in the valley at the place where the infant River Trent met the even smaller Fowlea Brook. The name given to this ancient place of meeting and worship was "Stoke-upon-Trent.''

The name "Trent" was originally Celtic and meant "the trespasser" or "the flooding river." "Stoke" comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "stoc," which meant in the first instance "a place," but carried the usual, secondary senses of "a religious place, a holy place, a church," and "a dependent settlement." Either of these secondary meanings could be applied to our "Stoke," since it was originally dependent upon Penkhull, and for centuries consisted of little more than the church and rectory.


Stoke and Domesday (1087)


Of the principle six towns of the city only Burslem and Fenton are in existence at the time. Included in the description of Caverswall is a mention of a church at Stoke but no description of any land or settlement, presumably the church served nearby Penkull.



In CAVERSWALL 1 virgate of land. Arnulf holds from him.
Wulfgeat held it; he was a free man. Land for 4 ploughs.
In lordship 1;
            10 villagers and 2 smallholders with 3 ploughs.
            Meadow, 6 acres; woodland 1 league long and wide;               A half of Stoke(-on-Trent) Church, with 1/3 carucate of land.
Value 30s.


The map below shows Stoke in 1775.

Stoke was then described as a village and consisted of a line of houses on both sides of the turnpike road (now Church Street and Hartshill Road). The houses ran from St. Peter's Church to what is now Shelton Old Road at Cliff Bank.

Extract from William Yates 1775 Map of Staffordshire 
- showing Stoke
- click for larger map -

The river Trent is shown on the map coming from the top right corner, through Stoke and on past Boothen.

The black line crossing the Trent and running up to the left through Etruria is the Trent and Mersey canal, building of which began in 1766 and was completed in 1777.  The Fowlea brook is shown to the left of the Trent & Mersey canal.


Current day map of Stoke with the Yates 1775 roads and tracks marked
Current day map of Stoke with the Yates 1775 roads and tracks marked

In 1775 the main road from Longton to Newcastle (shown in red) went through Stoke as Church Street and then along Hartshill Road (having replaced the detour via North Street and Stoke Old Road).
Two tracks existed (shown in blue) - one up Honeywall bank to the ancient village of Penkhull and one along the what is now Longsdale Street and Campbell Road to Hanford.

next: The church and the Minton family

questions / comments / contributions? email: Steve Birks

December 2007