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18th and 19th Century

The Industrial Revolution

References to iron working at Madeley date back to the 15th Century but in 1716, a contract was signed with the then Lord Crewe and the furnace output was 400 tons per annum.

The Offley Arms was an 18th century coaching inn. There was a toll bar opposite. Legend says that the first man to be drunk there was given the title ‘Mayor of Madeley’ by the locals.

In 1801, a 33 year lease was signed by Lord Crewe, Walter Sneyd of Keele, Thomas Breek of Keele and James Breek of Newcastle to mine coal in the Madeley Heath/Leycett area. Subsequent leases followed.

In 1837, The Grand Junction Railway opened a station at Madeley. A private mineral line was then built to bring the coal trucks from Leycett. Madeley station had passenger links with Newcastle and Market Drayton until it’s closure for passengers in 1954. Local people knew when the Royal Train was due through as a policeman suddenly appeared on every bridge! The Royal Train on occasion stayed overnight in sidings at Madeley station.

At Leycett, the two main pits were ‘Fair Lady’ and ‘Bang-up’. In 1879 two disasters occurred at the pits. In the first, 8 men and boys were killed, in the second, 62 men and boys were killed. 31 were buried on the same day at Madeley Church.

With the local availability of good quality coal and clay, brick and tile factories developed at Madeley Heath. There were also Iron Works and several nail manufacturers. Only two industries, timber and brick survive to this day.


The 19th Century & The Daltry Gang

In 1804, Samuel Stretch died. He was born in Shropshire but lived his later years in Madeley. One foggy night he was lost and disorientated near Keele. The ringing of the Church bell at Madeley guided him home and he left a legacy of £3 per annum for a bell ringer to ring the bell at 9.00pm every night. Unfortunately, inflation caught up with the legacy and the tradition ended in the 1960’s. He also endowed a bell which is still called the Stretch Bell.

A Poor House was opened in Madeley in 1832 at a cottage in The Holborn. It was charitably called a House of Correction and had a ‘Lock Up’ for the more undesirable elements. It was closed in 1838 when any ‘inmates’ were transferred to the Union Workhouse at Newcastle-under-Lyme. This building is still in existence as part of the City General Hospital on the A34 opposite the Jewish cemetery.

The Rev John William Daltry (1804-1879) was vicar of Madeley for 46 years from 1833 to his death in 1879. His son, Rev Thomas William Daltry (1833-1904) was assistant curate from 1861 to 1880, when he became vicar until 1904.

Charles Hungerford (1812-1894), Lord Crewe from 1837 to 1894, made a series of improvements: to Sir John Offley Primary School, to the Almshouses, the Church and several estate farms.

Madeley Fete was held on park land at Madeley Manor. A famous attraction was ‘Blondin’ (1824-1897), hailed as ‘The Hero of Niagara’. He walked across a tightrope over Manor Pool, and on one occasion took a local person (hopefully one with a good head for heights) across in a wheelbarrow! He appeared 3 times, in 1887, 1888 and 1889 and was paid £100 for each appearance. In 1887, he was watched by 13,000 people, in 1888 by 22,000 people and in 1889 by 26,000. After this the popularity of the fete trailed off, lost money and was discontinued.


Madeley Parish

shown below in an extract from A History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, written by William White, Sheffield, 1851.ote:-  the former spelling of Onneley.

MADELEY parish extends from 4 miles W. of Newcastle-under-Lyme, to the junction of Cheshire and Shropshire, and comprises a fertile but hilly district of 6010 acres, of which 1235 are arable, 3699 meadows and pastures and 736 woodland and plantations.  It is divided into the two townships of Madeley and Onniley, the former containing 1300, and the latter 192 inhabitants; but they maintain their poor conjointly, and are in the Union of Newcastle-under-Lyme. Madeley Manor. This being the second one. The remains of the original manor can be found along Manor Road close to the hump back bridge.
The principal owners of the soil are the Earl of Wilton and LORD CREWE, the latter of whom is lord of the manor, and derived this estate from the late Hon. Eliz. Emma Cunliffe Offley, sister of the late Lord Crewe, who was a descendent of the knightly family of Offley, who held this manor and Muccleston during several centuries, and intermarried with the Crewe’s. The Earl of Wilton is descended from the Egertons, who long had their principal residence here, and there are many monuments in the church. GREAT MADELEY, the principal village of the parish, is seated in a narrow vale, on the Whitchurch road, 5 miles W. by S. of Newcastle-under-Lyme, and contains several good houses, the most remarkable of which is an old half-timbered dwelling, with the following quaint inscription on its front: – “16 – Walk knave, what look’st at. – 47.”Close to the village I a large pool, which supplies a corn mill with water. The Church, dedicated to All Saints, is an ancient structure, with an embattled tower and six bells. The vicarage, valued in K.B. at £4.16s. 0½ d., and in 1831 at £266, is in the patronage of Lord Crewe, and incumbency of the Rev. J. W. Daltry, M.A., who ahs a neat residence. The tithes were commuted in 1840, for £192.5s. to the vicar, and £334 to the impropriator, lord Crewe. in the village are a small Methodist Chapel, built in 1831; an endowed hospital, and two free schools; and the parish has several benefactions for the poor. – About a mile N.E. is the village of LITTLE MADELEY; to the west of which is the Manor house, a handsome modern mansion, which is now the seat of the Hon. Miss Crewe, (sister of Lord Crewe,) and has four miles of walks through the sylvan pleasure grounds and park. Wrine-hill Hall, formerly the seat of the Egertons, is now a farmhouse, on the west side of the parish, adjoining to Cheshire. At Leycett, 2miles N. of Great Madeley, is a colliery and iron works; and in the parish are three large brick and tile works, and several nail manufacturers. Here are excellent beds of blue, red, and fire clay, of which drain pipes, as well as bricks and tiles, are made. Near the village is a Railway Station, on the London and North Western line, 4¾ miles of which is in this parish. Near the Station is a beautiful Monument of Caen stone, 33 feet high, lately erected by Hon. Miss Crewe, in memory of her late charitable aunt, the above-named Hon. Lady Offley. A fountain of clear water issues from the monument; and as a memento of her aunt’s benevolence, the Hon. Miss Crewe has divided three acres of good land into 20 allotments for the poor.

ONNILEY, or Onneley, is a pleasant hamlet and township, 1 ½ miles S.W. of Great Madeley. It belongs to the Earl of Wilton and several other freeholders. About 1 ½ to the S.E. is Madeley Park, an extensive wood with a neat mansion occupied by a farmer. Madeley wake is on the nearest Sunday to Nov. 6th. or on that date when it falls on a Sunday.


Madeley FREE SCHOOLS, for boys and girls, were built in 1645, pursuant to the will of sir John Offley, who endowed them with two yearly rent charges, viz. £40 for the, master and £20 for the mistress, to be paid out of lands at upper and Nether Thornhills, now belonging to Lord Crewe, who has increased the rent charges to £60 for the master and £40 for the mistress. All the children of the parish of Madeley and of the township of Muccleston, whose parents wish to use it, are educated freely at these schools, which are now conducted on the Madras system.

The ALMSHOUSES, in Madeley, were founded by Sir John Offley, who, by his will, ordered them to be built of stone, for ten poor men and women, whom he endowed with a yearly rent charge of £45, to be paid out of his houses in Leadenhall street, London, now belonging to E. Bliss, Esq., of Brandon, in Suffolk, who pays the annuity, for equal distribution among the ten alms-people.

BENEFACTORS. – Sir John Offley likewise bequeathed to Madeley parish £20 a year, for the officiating clergyman to preach a sermon in the church every Tuesday. This annuity is paid by Lord Crewe, but the sermon is now preached on Sunday afternoons, instead of Tuesday. The Hon. Mary Offley, widow of John Offley, Esq., left the use of £100 “to be dealt in bread,” in the township of Madeley. Five per cent. interest is now paid for this legacy, and it is distributed in doles of bread every other Sunday. The POOR’S LAND, consisting of 26 acres, at Onneley, was purchased with £200, left by Ralph Horton, and several other benefactors. In 1769, it was let on a 99 years’ lease, at the annual rent of £25, on condition, that the lessee should erect upon it a good house and other outbuildings, (now the Wheat Sheaf Inn.) The rent is given away on St. Thomas’s day, in clothing and money. In 1804, Samuel Stretch left the interest of £200 to the organists of Madeley and Market Drayton, and left a large bell, as a guide to travellers who might be lot on the surrounding moors. He also gave a chandelier for the church, and a bell for the free schools.


Points of note:- The major parts of Madeley now are Madeley Heath, Middle Madeley, Little Madeley and Madeley.


Josiah Fernyhough (b. 1864 in Church St, Silverdale)

This section is with the kind permission of Stephen Bishop whose great grandfather was Josiah Fernyhough (b. 1864 in Church St, Silverdale), Josiah lived in Madeley at Spotted Bank at the turn of the century.

Shown here is a photograph, which shows Josiah Fernyhough as a volunteer fireman in Madeley.  (He is the one on the far right of the middle row.)  If anyone can tell us more about the firemen, and if anyone can identify any others on the photograph please let us know. The location of where this photograph was taken would also be helpful.

Josiah as a Fireman
(Photo. © Stephen Bishop)
Josiah and bike web.jpg (27665 bytes) This photo is Josiah Fernyhough with a penny farthing, and below is a copy of a summons (dated 13th August 1898), for the crime of ‘riding a certain bicycle on a certain highway there situate, did unlawfully ride the same furiously, so as to endanger the life or limb of any passenger on the said highway.’  The ‘crime’ took place at Madeley Heath
(Photo. © Stephen Bishop)
summons web.jpg (61068 bytes)
(Photo. © Stephen Bishop)