Sunday, February 20, 2011
United Kingdom - England - Stafford
Multiviews of Stafford; Stafford Castle, Shugborough, Ancient High House, and Izaak Walton's Cottage.
Sent by BeautifulMess, a Swap-Bot partner from England.
This is from Wikipedia : Stafford is the county town of Staffordshire, in the West Midlands region of England. It lies approximately 16 miles (26 km) north of Wolverhampton and 18 miles (29 km) south of Stoke-on-Trent, adjacent to the M6 motorway Junction 13 to Junction 14. The population of Stafford was given in the 2001 census as 63,681, with that of the wider borough of Stafford as 122,000, making Stafford the fourth largest settlement in the Ceremonial county, after Stoke on Trent, Tamworth and Newcastle under Lyme.
Stafford means 'ford' by a 'staithe' (landing place). The original settlement was on an island in the middle of the marshes of the River Sow, a tributary of the River Trent. There is still a large area of marshland northwest of the town, which has always been subject to flooding, such as in 1947, 2000 and 2007.
It's thought Stafford was founded in about 700 AD by Mercian prince called Bertelin who, according to legend, established a hermitage on a secluded marshy island. The remains of a wooden preaching cross were discovered under the foundations of St Bertelin's Church in the centre of the town.
In the year 913 Stafford was fortified by Ethelfleda, Lady of Mercia and daughter of Alfred the Great, becoming the new capital of Mercia (the previous capital having been in or near Stone). Queen Ethelfleda ruled Mercia from Stafford for five years as Queen of Mercia, after the death of her father and husband. At around this time the county of Staffordshire was formed. Stafford lay within the Pirehill hundred. King Alfred's son Edward, with the crucial aid of Ethelfleda, finally conquered and Christianised the Vikings who had settled in the east of England.
The presence of clay led to the establishment of a local pottery industry, the produce of which became known as Staffordware.
In 1069, a rebellion by Eadric the Wild against the Norman conquest culminated in the Battle of Stafford. Two years later, another rebellion, this time led by Edwin, Earl of Mercia, culminated in Edwin's assassination. This meant his lands were distributed amongst the followers of William the Conqueror. Robert de Tonei was granted the manor of Bradley and one third of the king's rents in Stafford.
Stafford Castle was built by the Normans on a nearby hilltop in 1070, four years after the Norman conquest. It was first made of wood, and later rebuilt of stone. It has been rebuilt twice since, but now only 19th century ruins remain atop the earthworks.
In 1206, King John granted a Royal Charter which created the Borough of Stafford. Stafford became an important market town in the Middle Ages, mainly dealing in cloth and wool. King Richard II was paraded through the town's streets as a prisoner in 1399, by troops loyal to Henry Bolingbroke (the future Henry IV). When James I visited Stafford, when he was said to be so impressed by the town's Shire Hall and other buildings that he called it 'Little London'. Charles I visited Stafford shortly after the out-break of the English Civil War. He stayed for three days at the Ancient High House. The town was later captured by the Parliamentarians, while a small-scale battle was fought at nearby Hopton Heath. Stafford later fell to the Parliamentarians, as did Stafford Castle following a six-week siege. The town's most famous son is Izaak Walton, author of The Compleat Angler. He was a staunch Royalist.
In 1658, Stafford elected John Bradshaw, the man who judged the trial of Charles I, to represent the town in Parliament. During the reign of Charles II, William Howard, 1st Viscount Stafford became implicated in the Popish Plot, the persecution of Roman Catholics, and was beheaded in 1680.
The town was represented in Parliament by the famous playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan in the eighteenth century. During the same era, the town's mechanised shoe industry was founded, the most well-known factory owner being William Horton. The industry gradually died out, with the last factory being redeveloped in 2008. In the Victorian era, the railways came to Stafford, attracting a number of industries by the nineteenth century.
On 31 March 2006 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited the town to join in the 800th anniversary civic celebrations.