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Manor of Plardiwick
Manor of Plardiwick
People may not realise that there is still a Lord of the Manor of Plardiwick in the civil parish of Gnosall. The person holding this title is Ronald Smith. He and his late wife Margaret purchased the title at an auction sale of 36 Lordships in London in 1987. It is a 'paper title', which means that the title has no land attached to it, but the title can be used by the person, for example on bank cheques. Some Lordships do have rights attached to them. When they bought the title, the Smiths knew nothing about Plardiwick, but they did a lot of research into its history. For example they discovered that in 1415 the King, Henry V, on closing alien houses, redistributed their lands and gave Plardiwick, among others, to the Carthusian Priory at Shene, Richmond. Ronald Smith was Chairman of the London Green Belt Council for 25 years and at the time of writing is a Vice- President of the Open Spaces Society and therefore has an interest in commons. That is how I came to get to know him and his wife in the 1980s. Ronald registered an interest on the Commons Register in any individual rights he might have had in Doley Common. However, Staffordshire County Council refused the registration on the grounds that the Common no longer forms part of the manor, nor does the manor still exist. Margaret and Ronald found sixteen spellings of the name: There are no doubt others to be found. Mary Booth - 2020
Lord of the Manor of Plardiwick
"I had always wanted to take an apparently insignificant bit of England and see what could be unearthed about it...and nothing could be more inconspicuous than Plardiwick," are the words written by Ronald Smith in explanation of his decision to purchase the Lordship of the Manor in 1986. Documents held by the Stafford Record Office and William Salt Library and referenced by Mr Smith in conjunction with 'The Victoria County History of Staffordshire' and other sources have been used in part to write this brief history. Plardiwick lies approximately half a mile to the west of Gnosall. Numerous spellings of its name have been recorded, the ancient meaning of the former part being 'a place where the right to play games exists', 'a sheep farm' or 'a spear shaft in relation to the direction of flow of a stream' with the latter part of 'wic' meaning a settlement, village or dwelling. Although documentary evidence of Plardiwick before and during medieval times is sparse, what is known is that it was an ancient farmstead with lands which were once part of the Manor of High Onn, near Church Eaton. When the Normans arrived in England after the Battle of Hastings they gave income from land here to their most favoured religious houses in France, one of these being the Benedictine Abbey of St Evroul, (having numerous spellings), in Normandy. Perhaps overwhelmed by this extra responsibility, the task of managing these newly acquired English properties was bestowed upon the Prior of Ware in Hertfordshire. Records show that the remit included 'tenements at Plardiwick'. The first specific record of Plardiwick is dated 2nd October 1199 when Alured de Onne is a defendant in a suit brought against him by Osbert fitz Orm and Alina, his wife concerning half a virgate of land in Plerdewirke. (A virgate was the amount of land tillable by two oxen in a ploughing season, equivalent to a quarter of a hide, so was nominally 30 acres.) Osbert and Alina relinquished all claim to the property for which Alured gave them the sum of two marks, (£1 6s 8d). 'The Brough Family Organization' website informs how William the Conqueror bestowed lands in this area upon Baron Ralph de Limesi from Normandy. His great-grandson Philip fitz Bishop and subsequent family members adopted the surname 'de Burgo' from the geographical area of Burgh, (now known as Brough), near Ranton. A Hamon de Burgo was born at Ranton in 1172 and married in Gnosall in 1192. His sons Bertiline de Burgo, (1193-1252), Hamon de Burgo, (1205 - ? ) who also used the name Hamon de Plerdewicke and Michael de Burgo (1209 - ?) were all born at Plardiwick. Records exist concerning an extraordinary event which definitely merits more detailed research. On 6th October 1268, a case was brought to court against Hamon de Plerdewicke, Bertram de Burgo, Robert de Knytelegh, (Knightley), his brother William, Roger de Brunton, (Brineton near Blymhill) and others including a priest from Gnosall. All were charged with trespassing using force and with violence onto neighbouring property in the Manor of Norbury belonging to Philip de Marmion, 5th Baron Marmion of Tamworth. The rebels demolished his house and mills, cut down his trees, stole his timber, destroyed his fishponds and caused other damage amounting to the extraordinary sum of £200, which would equate to over £145,000 today! The defendants did not appear in court. There are references to the existence of castellated and moated mansion at Plardiwick. The name, 'Plardiwick Hall', which may have referred to the mansion existed as late as 1680. An interesting entry listing Plardiwick Hall as a residence appears in the Census of 1861. In 1393 the Prior of Ware sued John Colet of Gnowsale, (Gnosall), Henry Benaster and others the sum of £40, (which equates to over £26,000 in today's money) for forcibly breaking into his property at Plerdewyk and letting their cattle tread down his corn and grass. In 1414 Henry V decided to suppress alien (or foreign) priories and granted the estates of St Evroal's Priory administered at Ware, which included Plardiwick, to the new Carthusian priory that he had founded at Sheen, near Richmond which became known as the House of Jesus of Bethlehem. The Prior of St Evroul wrote to protest, stating that this action had caused him to lose his chief source of income and continued this appeal for eleven years, carrying the case to Rome, but this was ultimately unsuccessful. On 3rd January 1529, it is noted that Thomas, son and heir of William Garmeston was granted two messuages in Gnosall, (a messuage being a dwelling house with outbuildings and land assigned to its use). After his death in 1532, his son William became his beneficiary. In 1543 it was recorded that William held tenure in Plardewyk from the Prior of Sheen valued at 16 shillings. All changed in the reign of Henry VIII with the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. On 1st May 1540 the Manor of High Onn including messuages, lands and tenements at 'Plardwyke', known as a Lordship and held by a John Blackmare were granted by the Crown to Sir John Giffard of Chillington, (1465 - 1556). Sir John held prominent roles in royal service, including attending the coronation of Henry VIII. He had enjoyed a distinguished military career. On Sir John's death, his property including Plardiwick passed to his son and heir, Sir Thomas Giffard, (1491 - 1560), who only outlived his father by four years. It was then passed through the Giffard family to Edward Giffard who held documents recording the ownership of what is described as 'the Manor of Plardiwick in chief by military service', probably referring to the deeds of Sir John Giffard. Edward settled Plardiwick on his second son, Thomas for a term of ninety-nine years at an annual rent of 20 shillings in his will dated 1606. In 1632 John Giffard, eldest son of Edward who had been responsible for the construction of Boscobel House signed a deed of covenant settling the Manor of 'Plordwicke' on himself for life and then on his eldest daughter Frances and her heirs. In 1633 Frances married John Cotton of Giddings Abbotts in Huntingdonshire. After the death of her father, Frances Cotton held the manors of both Boscobel and Plardiwick. King Charles II is reputed to have hidden in an oak tree at Boscobel House during his escape following the Battle of Worcester in 1651, but there are no records which suggest that Frances was living at Boscobel at the time. Some historians are of the opinion that Plardiwick may have been considered as a suitable hiding place. When the widowed Frances passed away shortly after this notable historical event, her property was acquired by her daughter Jane, who had married Basil Fitzherbert of Swynnerton, whose family were major landowners. Plardiwick then descended through the Fitzherbert line. In 1680, records show that there were six houses at Plardiwick. When in 1682, in the organisation of Poor Law administration, Gnosall was divided into four 'Quarters', Plardiwick was included within the Cowley Quarter with Cowley, Coton and Beffcote. There are references to a mill in connection with Plardiwick. A Richard Ansloe of Plardiwick left a mill to an Ann Beetison in 1718, the reason not being apparent as Richard had family heirs. In 1736 a father and son named Forster sold a mill and adjoining land to a Charles Fitzgerald of Warton for £50. This property was leased to a Mr Calcott in 1751. Land and a mill were leased to a William Yeoman in 1769. Also in this year, a Mr Calcott left the land and mill to his granddaughter Elizabeth of Ecclishall. Dated 1772, when Thomas Fitzherbert was Lord of the Manor, there exists detailed documentation of a 'perambulation of the boundaries, precincts and territories of the Manor of Plairdiwick' which listed field names and notable landmarks. Several fines were subsequently imposed for encroachment and destruction of the game. (see document below). The Fitzherbert family were troubled with considerable debt. An Act of Parliament in 1789 allowed the sale of the Plardiwick estate which then consisted of approximately 320 acres of land and produced rents totalling £160 from 5 tenants. The purchaser was Thomas Unett of Tittensor, who had descended from another notable family. Plardiwick did not remain in the Unett family for very long as in 1804 the Anson family of Shugborough obtained the Plardiwick Estate from the Unett family in return for some land at Hilderstone, plus the sum of £1,250. Thomas William Anson, known as Viscount Anson and later 1st Earl of Lichfield subsequently held the title of Lord of the Manor of Plardiwick. The most significant tenants were Charles Riley and John Machin, inhabiting farmsteads described as 'newly erected' in the sale particulars. In 1823 The Willder family, who were tenants at Plardiwick built an Independent Chapel at Coton. William Willder bequeathed it to the Plymouth Brethren in 1866. It was out of use by 1951 and became a shop in 1953. The Willder family also purchased a steam corn-mill by the Newport Road at Coton.. 1826 saw a route variation of the Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal, built by Thomas Telford, (later known as the Shropshire Union Canal) which crossed the Plardiwick Estate. This redesign was at the insistence of Viscount Anson as it interfered with his pheasant shooting rights, especially just past Plardiwick approaching Norbury at Shelmore Wood. The diversion necessitated problematic high embankments and deep cuttings which proved costly in terms of delay and extra work. Plardiwick Bridge, (36) formerly named Leek Bridge after tenant William Leek and Barns Bridge (37) were contained within the Plardiwick Estate. The waterway was opened in 1835. As a point of interest, Census records show that a Robert L. Johnson occupied Plardiwick Farm in 1881. His family founded the Johnson tile and ceramics works in the Potteries. In 1911, Staffordshire County Council acquired Plardiwick Farm, which consisted of the farmhouse, three cottages and 196 acres of land for £7,800 for conversion into smallholdings. My grandfather Joseph Henry Sumner was the council's first tenant at Plardiwick Farm and my father, Joseph Godwin Sumner, was born there in 1914. My grandfather remained there until Lady Day in 1924. In 1958 my father returned as tenant. Much of the rear part of the farmhouse was demolished in 1964 prior to which it had nineteen rooms and thirty-two windows. 'Joe', as he was known remained there until his retirement in 1981. Other smallholdings on the estate were Pear Tree Farm, Barns Bridge Farm and Coton Wood Farm. The 200-acre Plardiwick Manor Farm was retained by the Lichfield Estate until 1970, latterly tenanted by the Deakin family. It was sold to Staffordshire County Council for £47,500. The council decided to demolish the old farmhouse and build a new house and farm buildings thereby creating a new smallholding to include 80 acres of land on a new site with an access road. The new farmstead was located along the road to Norbury on the opposite side to Barns Bridge Farm. The demolition of the old manor house took place in 1971, the resulting rubble being used to fill Plardiwick Pool which was situated at the end of the drive shared by Plardiwick Farm and Plardiwick Manor Farm. Some local residents have memories of skating on this pool when frozen over during severely cold weather. My father was allocated most of the remaining farm buildings formerly belonging to Plardiwick Manor Farm and further acreage. He was also given the option of taking on the 'Plardiwick Manor Farm' name but elected to stick with Plardiwick Farm as he didn't want the inconvenience of notifying everyone of the change or be burdened with writing the extra word. The new smallholding off the Norbury Road therefore became Plardiwick Manor Farm. Staffordshire County Council is currently in the process of offering the tenants first refusal on the purchase of their smallholdings, beginning a new chapter in the history of the Manor of Plardiwick. Valerie Gough - 2020
Plardiwick  Plardwick    Plardwicke  Plardewick  Plordwecke  Plerdewirke  Plerdewicke  Plerdewike  Plodwick  Plardewyck  Plerdewyck  Plordewycke  Plordswicke  Plardwycke  Plardewyck   Plaidiwick
A History of the Manor of Plardiwick
The perambulation of boundaries of Manor of Plardiwick, 1773
On Monday 19th October 1772, twelve jurors, presumably all local free tenants, met in a Court Baron of Thomas Fitzherbert, at Thomas Stoakes’s house at Plardiwick, along with Ralph Weston who was steward of the manor, John Cluley (affearer, who assessed fines) and Thomas Stoakes himself. The jurors were sworn in and the court adjourned until 9am on Monday 4th January 1773, when they again met at Thomas Stoakes’s house, having perambulated and noted the boundaries of Plardiwick Manor. The reason for organising this perambulation, or who initiated it, isn’t known: there may have been disputes and it’s interesting that some of the jurymen themselves were lightly fined for encroachments, mainly in the Doley direction. There had been also poaching within the manor and geese pastured on Doley Common, and there were much heavier fines for these. (There had been a series of anti-poaching acts through the 18th century, and the Gnosall Association for the Prosecution of Felons was set up in 1795.) Finally any tenants who should have turned up, and hadn’t, were to be fined. (Courts Baron dated back to medieval times and attendance then was compulsory.) Alternatively Fitzherbert may have been thinking of selling and wanted to be clear where the boundaries were. Many of the field shapes on the map, and field names from Mr Smith's documents, match those on the 1837 Tithe Map which made tracing the route a great deal easier! There are two puzzles near the beginning of the perambulation description: it reverses the compass directions of Plardiwick and Cowley - this must be a mistake; and it refers to a stream, Gill Brook. The perambulation route begins by following this brook, which is also the boundary with Cowley. Study of water sources and gradient indicates that the brook referred to arose at the Coton watershed and flowed east into Doley Brook (and indeed still does), but was culverted under the canal 1830 and railway 1840. Gill Brook Lane no longer exists (see Research Notes). Superscript characters within the transcription refer to the map below
Explanation of document
Document Transcript
Plardiwick maps over time
A number of maps and plans have been digitised and can be seen by clicking the brown button on the left hand side. These show outline of the Manor of Plardiwick in 1773, - 1795, - 1813,- 1838, - 1880, - 1910 Any annotation is based on knowledge gratefully received from researchers. If you wish to comment or provide additional material then please email me at the link on the Gnosall History home page.
To wit, the Court Baron of Thomas Fitzherbert Esquire Lord of the Manor aforesaid held at the dwelling house of Thomas Stoakes situated at Plardiwick aforesaid within the same Manor in the Parish of Gnosall in the County of Stafford on Monday the nineteenth day of October in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-two before Ralph Weston Gentlman steward of the said Manor. Jurors:     This Court stands adjourned to Monday the fourth day of January one thousand seven hundred and seventy-three to nine of the Clock in the Morning at the dwelling house of the above named Thomas Stoakes at Plairdiwick aforesaid. The above Jurors upon their Oaths do say that since they were sworn upon this Homage they have perambulated to the best of their knowledge information and belief the Boundaries precincts and territories of the aforesaid Manor of Plairdiwick and that the said Manor is bounded abuts upon adjoins to or is surrounded in manner as is hereinafter mentioned and described that is to say, that they the said Jurors began to perambulate at Gill Brook Lane, joining the Liberty of Cowley, that the said Brook divides the Manor of Plairdiwick and the Manor of Cowley, that the former is on the South West of the said Brook and the latter on the North East That the aforesaid Brook is the boundary of the Manor of Plairdiwick and Cowley until as far as the bottom of a piece of land called the Farm Croft A in the possession of Thomas Stoakes that the said Manor of Plairdiwick runs along a certain piece of Land in the holding of the said Thomas Stoakes called the Cock Yard dry Pit B and so on to a ffield called the fflakefield C and so on to a certain shut called the Place D and then to the Corner of Butlers E piece joining to Coton Woods and so on to Edward Fox’s horsewash And so on to the end of the Rough or Wood called Coton Wood Mill And then on to a certain piece of Land called the Ridding F joining Radmore Lane at which point is the Boundaries of three Parishes to wit, Gnosall Norbury and Forton G then goes on to a place called Habbat’s Place H joining Ryland Copy then it goes on to a Drimble* and to a certain Oak Tree at the Park Gate I in the highway leading from Plairdiwick to Norbury and then on to a place called Hell hole J  joining the Lingsfull north K and so on to Dowley L and then East on to the main River** M joining to Sweet Meadow And so on to the Over End of Dowley joining to the Hollies Common N inclusive And so by the main River side to about the Middle of  Dowley And then by the aforesaid main River to the Corner of Shirleys Meadow O joining to a piece of land called Dunsers so on again by the main River side to the Copy Meadow P Then leaving the main River Eastward runs up to a Corner of Humpage’s Piece Q crossing the footway between Plairdiwick and Gnosall and so up to the corner of the Hall Meadow R joining Gill Brook where the Manor is first described and we the said Jurors say that all the Lands lying within the Boundaries so described and set down as before mentioned are parcel and belong to the said Manor of Plairdiwick  The said Jurors amerce Richard Hanslow for an Incroachment upon the waste in the Sum of two pence the said Jurors also amerce William Salt for an Incroachment on the waste in the Sum of two pence the said Jurors also amerce William Jackson for an Incroachment at Dowley in the Sum of two pence the said Jurors also amerce Mr Eprahim Swan for part of a Barn built on the road between Dowley and Plardiwick in the Sum of two pence the said Jurors present all persons and every Person that shall turn Geese upon Dowley in the Sum of one pound nineteen Shillings apiece and whereas several unqualified Persons have of late destroyed the Game within the Manor the said Jurors do present all persons and every Person who shall for the future destroy the Game within this Manor in the Sum of one pound nineteen Shilling and sixpence apiece And the said Jurors also amerce all Persons who owe Suit and Service at this Court and have not appeared nor been assigned for in the Sum of two Shillings and sixpence apiece. We have affeared the several pains ffines and Amerciaments contained in the Presentment or Verdict and do approve of the same as they now stand marked figured and wrote as witness our hands Then follows the signatures (or the marks of) the Jurors. Notes: * A Drimble is probably a dingle or ravine ** River is the Doley Brook  Felicity Potter - 2020     John Plant Edward Fox William Salt Andrew Norris James Watkin William Jackson John Barnet Thomas Astley Robert Guest Richard Hanslow William Hampslowe John Eccles Thomas Bavan John Cluley Thomas Stoakes
Plardiwick photographs
Click on any image to enlarge
Research notes
Researchers: Valerie Gough, Felicity Potter, Mike Barton, Mary Booth, Bob Johnson The research into the Manor of Plardiwick was helped by resources at Stafford Record Office, Ronald Smith's numerous documents, and old maps for which we acknowledge and are very grateful. Also by extensive on-site investigation. The documenting of the perambulation of the Manor of Plardiwick boundary in 1773 raised a few questions. Near the beginning of the document it mentions Gill Brook and Gill Brook Lane, neither of which are named on current maps. Gill Brook Lane The 1795 map shows a road ‘To Newport’ (see red arrow on map extract). Because this couldn’t be matched to any current roads it was initially thought the cartographer had foreshortened the turning onto the main A518 road through Gnosall towards Newport. However, this same turning is shown on the 1813 map, and is sign posted ‘To Coton End’. In addition the Greenwood 1820 map shows the full extent of a lane. So it appears that the 1795, 1813 and 1820 cartographers were correct, but what happened to the lane? The 1838 Tithe map shows that the building of the Birmingham-Liverpool canal had blocked off the lane except for a small strip of land (plot 1924) in the same location, described as ‘Part of Leeks Meadow (old lane)’. So it had been put back to agricultural use. This is probably ‘Gill Brook Lane’ Then on the 1880 OS. a dotted line to the left of field Nos. 1302 and 1303 suggests some kind of path. Therefore it is concluded that the line in red shown on the maps here is the route of Gill Brook Lane. Gill Brook The perambulation text indicates the closeness of Gill Brook to Gill Brook Lane. Searching for “Gill Brook” on the internet suggested that the origination of the name ‘Gill’ might have been derived from the ‘Guild of Monks’, a farm located to the west of Gnosall close to Humesford Brook which flows westwards into Aqualate Mere; and that particular watercourse was Gill Brook which was later renamed Humesford Brook. Our research shows this not to be the case. However, the building of both the canal and railway and the lowering of the water table by increased water abstraction has almost hidden the original route of a stream rising at point ‘A’’ on this 1813 map and flowing to point ‘B’, a fall of about 6 metres. The stream finally discharges into the Doley Brook outside of the Manor of Plardiwick boundary. Substantial research using old maps and on-site investigations leads the researchers to conclude that this is Gill Brook as mentioned in the perambulation document. As can be seen on the map it did meet up with Gill Brook Lane at point ‘B’. It's worth noting that part of the course of Gill Brook was used as the boundary between the Gnosall and the Cowley 1838 Tithe Maps.
A B 1795 1813 1820 1838 1880
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