|Gnosall from 1851|
|GNOSALL is a large and ancient village, 7 miles W. by S. of Stafford, and 6 miles E. by N. of Newport. It has a station on the Shropshire Union Raliway. It's Parish is very extensive, being about 6 miles in length, and comprising 2424 inhabitants, and about 8,000 acres of land, divided into the four Quarters of Gnosall, Cowley, Knightley and Moreton, which support their poor conjointly, as part of Newport Union, which uses the old parish workhouse here, as one of its establishments for the reception of paupers. [See Old Gnosall Pictures]
They repair their roads separately, and contain several hamlets, bearing different names. The soil is various, but the uplands have generally a strong loam. Here are several valleys with rivulets, and the meadows on their banks are generally productive. The Bishop of Lichfield is appropriator of the tithes and lord of the manor of Gnosall ; but they are held on lease by Captain Tennant, of Needwood. Except three freeholds, the land in this manor (which comprises only one "quarter" of the parish,) is copyhold, subject to small fines and heriots.
The Church is a large edifice, in the form of a cross, with a tower rising from the centre, and containing a clock and six bells. It is dedicated to St. Lawrence, and had anciently a college of secular canons, valued in Tanner's Notitia at £47. 6s. 8d. It was repewed and thoroughly repaired in 1820, and enlarged by the erection of galleries in 1826, partly from the rents of the "parish lands," noticed below.
It has nearly 1,000 sittings, of which 350 are free. With the exception of the west end, which has five lancet windows and perpendicular buttresses, the body of the church appears to be of the latest style of English architecture; but the tower, to the height of the roof, is in the Saxon style.
The Living is a perpetual curacy, valued at £136, in the incumbency of the Rev. John Till, MA., who has a good parsonage house, in the Elizabethan style, erected in 1850, at the cost of £1,100, of which he gave £400, and the rest was raised by subscription.
There is a chapel of ease at Knightley, and a new church at Moreton.
Gnosall has two annual fairs, for cattle &c., on May 7th and Sept. 23rd; and a feast or wake, on the second Sunday in August. The tithes of this large parish have been commuted for £1540 per annum.
The Free School at Gnosall was built by subscription, and endowed, in 1653, by Edward Cartwright, with a house and 10A. 1R. of land at Great Onn, and 6A. 2R. 9P. called Holtflats, in the lordship of Cowley and Coton, for the education of 14 free scholars. This property is now let for about £30 per annum. An annuity of 40s., left by Alice Hudson, in 1660, out of Broomhurst and Wheatcroft Closes, in Apeton, is paid to the mistress of the Preparatory School, which is attended by forty children.
BENEFACTIONS. - In 1665, £50, left to the Poor by Chas. Fyge, was laid out in the purchase of 5A. 3R. of land, called North Moor-Pit, in the Lordship of Cowley and Coton.
In 1692 five closes of land were purchased with charity money belonging to Gnosall and Church Eaton. Out of the rents, £22. 10s. per annum belongs to the Gnosall poor. In 1738, £84, given by James Smart and others, was laid out in the purchase of 7A. 1R. 3P. of land, called the Further-Short-Flat, and now let for £10 a year, part of which is dispensed in a weekly distribution of bread, and the rest in money.
Francis James, at some date unknown, gave a house and 26A. 2R. 4P. of land, now let for £37 per annum, of which 6s. 8d. is paid to the churchwardens, and the remainder is distributed on May 1st and Nov. 1st, in doles of 10s. to the poor.
The overseers pay 30s. 4d. as the rent of a house and garden occupied by paupers, but bequeathed by one Davenhill for a weekly distribution of bread.
The poor parishioners have also two annuities, viz. 17s. 4d. out of Wakely piece, in Billington, left by Thomas Tomkinson; and 5s. out of Phillip's field, left by Joseph Bailey.
The Parish lands, consisting of 13A. 3R. 15P., have been held by feoffees from an early period, in trust, to distribute 6s. 8d. yearly in bread, and to apply the remainder of the rents in repairing the church and relieving the poor.
About the year 1820, no less than £1500 was expended in roofing, repewing, and otherwise repairing the church.
Apeton and Rule are small hamlets 2 and a half miles S.E of Gnosall, partly in Gnosll quarter and partly in Bradley parish. [See Bradley].