The Etymology of the Name Brereton

The old mining village of Brereton together with the hamlets of Etching Hill and Slitting Mill now form the outlying parts of the Urban District of Rugeley. (Gelling & Cole, p.; Mills, p.; Poulton-Smith, p.)

Stone-Age Brereton (c.10,000 - 2,000B.C.)

The only relic of the Stone-Ages recovered from the area of Brereton is a Neolithic flint scraper tool which was found during ploughing in a small field about 350 yards due west of Foley Farm (SK 050152), just outside the northern perimeter of Brereton Hayes Wood. (AHDS)

Bronze-Age to Anglo-Saxon Brereton (c.2,500B.C. - A.D.1066)

Aside from the single worked-stone tool mentioned above there is no archaeological evidence for any human activity in Brereton throughout the metallurgical periods (i.e. the Bronze- and Iron-Ages) and the succeeding Romano-British period, and although place-name etymology suggests an Anglo-Saxon genesis for the village, it was apparently too small to be considered for inclusion in the Domesday Book of A.D.1086.

Medieval Brereton (A.D.1066 - 1540)

... (AHDS)

Md wayside cross (site of) ARMITAGE WITH HANDSACRE, LICHFIELD, STAFFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND 001 54 04 W 52 44 03 N SK 0666 1523 406660 315230 CROSS MEDIEVAL Depositor ID: SK 01 NE 19 NMR_NATINV-304632 "By 1228 the overlordship of BRERETON seems to have been held by the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield. (fn. 138) It descended with the manor of Rugeley until at least 1555. (fn. 139) A mesne lordship of Brereton was held c. 1228 by Sir Henry de Audley (fn. 140) whose son James surrendered part of it, the land at Red Moor, to the bishop in 1250. (fn. 141) James was still mesne lord in 1254, (fn. 142) but nothing further is known of this lordship.
About 1228 Sir Henry de Audley granted his land in Brereton, except for Red Moor, to Adam de Mutton, (fn. 143) who gave 6 acres of this land soon afterwards to William de Mutton, probably his brother. (fn. 144) Sir Adam was dead before 1241, leaving a son Ralph, a minor, to succeed him, and Henry de Audley granted the custody of the lands in Brereton to Adam's widow Isabel. (fn. 145) Ralph himself was dead in 1241, (fn. 146) with an infant daughter Isabel as his heir, (fn. 147) and in 1254 his widow Agnes was claiming ? carucate in Brereton as her dower against Hugh de London who called upon James de Audley to warrant his title. (fn. 148) Ralph's daughter Isabel was married, apparently by 1257, to Philip de Chetwynd, (fn. 149) who was dead by 1284. (fn. 150) By 1290 she was the wife of Roger de Thornton. (fn. 151) Her son Philip de Chetwynd (II) succeeded her in 1291 (fn. 152) and in that year granted a life interest in the manor to Roger, (fn. 153) who was dead in 1297. (fn. 154) Philip made a settlement in 1307 of a messuage, a carucate, 40 acres of wood, and 40s. rent in Brereton, (fn. 155) and was dead by 1308 when his son Philip (III), a minor, had succeeded. (fn. 156) A protracted lawsuit then began concerning the dower of Isabel, widow of Philip (II). (fn. 157) The manor then descended with Reule in Bradley (fn. 158) until at least 1735. (fn. 159)
John Viscount Chetwynd (d. 1767), was lord of Brereton in 1750, (fn. 160) and by 1780 the manor was held by his daughter Catherine, wife of John Talbot, (fn. 161) whose son John Talbot (Chetwynd-Talbot in 1786), created Viscount Ingestre and Earl Talbot in 1784, was lord in 1785. (fn. 162) His son Charles Chetwynd was holding the manor in 1800, (fn. 163) and although his right to the manor was questioned by the Marquess of Anglesey in 1818, (fn. 164) the estate remained in the family until the sale of the collieries in 1923 and of the rest of the property between then and 1951. (fn. 165) From at least 1341 Brereton was within the leet of Cannock and Rugeley and was represented, with Rugeley, by five frankpledges at the twice-yearly view, but by 1463 Brereton presented separately by one frankpledge. (fn. 166) The lord of the manor was holding his own view of frankpledge in 1832 and 1837 along with a court baron. (fn. 167) Surveys of the manor between 1797 and 1837 show it as situated in the parishes of Rugeley, Longdon, and Armitage. (fn. 168) The respective boundaries of the manors of Brereton, Armitage, and Handsacre were in dispute by 1806. (fn. 169)." (VCHS, vol.V, pp.154-5)

Post-Medieval Brereton (A.D.1540 - 1901)

LAND AT COLTON MILL (RUGELEY EASTERN BYPASS) Site code: EBR00A. Two trenches excavated near Colton Mill revealed a length of mill race and associated features. RUGELEY, CANNOCK CHASE, STAFFORDSHIRE, England 001 54 W 52 45 N SK 06 17 406000 317000 Marches Archaeology MILL RACE, WATER CHANNEL, BANK (EARTHWORK) Post Medieval, Post Medieval, Post Medieval Evaluation, 2000 Marches Archaeology [assessment & evaluation reports] Wainwright J/2000/Land at Colton Mill, Rugeley, Staffordshire: a report on an archaeological evaluation/Report No 145. Depositor ID: 1356344 EHNMR-1356344 WINDMILL FARM A post medieval windmill. LONGDON, LICHFIELD, STAFFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND 001 54 02 W 52 43 49 N SK 067 148 406700 314800 WINDMILL 1540 - 1899, POST MEDIEVAL Depositor ID: SK 01 SE 22 NMR_NATINV-499308 RUGELEY TOWN STATION Site of railway station on the Cannock Mineral Railway, opened in 1859 and closed in 1965. RUGELEY, CANNOCK CHASE, STAFFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND 001 56 05 W 52 45 17 N SK 044 175 404400 317500 RAILWAY STATION - MODERN, 1859, 1965, POST MEDIEVAL Depositor ID: SK 01 NW 28 NMR_NATINV-502359 RUGELEY HOSPITAL Built as a cottage hospital in 1871 to designs by W A Bonney, it comprised a main block with wards, dispensary, administration and domestic accommodation. The laundry and mortuary were separate. A new ward wing was added between 1900-21. BRERETON AND RAVENHILL, CANNOCK CHASE, STAFFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND 001 55 43 W 52 45 10 N SK 048 173 404800 317300 COTTAGE HOSPITAL, DISPENSARY, EXTANT BUILDING, HOSPITAL LAUNDRY, MORTUARY, OPERATING THEATRE, WARD BLOCK MODERN, 1871, 1900 - 1921, POST MEDIEVAL Depositor ID: SK 01 NW 23 NMR_NATINV-1068080

The Brereton Collieries

The 1887 Ordnance Survey map of Staffordshire (1:10,560 scale) shows the locations of numerous mineworkings in the area of Chetwynd's Coppice and Brereton Hayes Wood to the west and south-west of Brereton village centre:

  1. There is a difference between these two benchmark readings of 68.4cm or 2' 3" (149m = 488.8392' = 488' 10"; 491' 1" = 491.083' = 149.6840m), caused in part by the changing of the Ordnance Survey datum in 1912 from Victoria Dock in Liverpool to the harbour wall at Newlyn in Cornwall; this, however, would only have caused an error of 1' 4" (the difference between the Liverpool and Newlyn data), the other 11" must be attributed to the difference in the levels of sophistication of the instruments deployed and the quality of education of the men employed in the original survey of the 1840's when compared to those men and machines used in the last full survey of the UK completed in the 1950's.

Tramways and Railways

... (AHDS)

Modern Brereton (A.D.1901 - Present day)

... (AHDS)

HOBS HILL, PARK FARM Evaluation as part of the Rugeley Eastern Bypass A513-A51 Link followed earliergeophysical survey. Linear anomalies identified by the latter were proved to bemodern agricultural features. HOBS HILL, PARK FARM, RUGELEY, CANNOCK CHASE, STAFFORDSHIRE, England 001 55 W 52 44 N SK 05 16 405000 316000 Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit LINEAR FEATURE Modern Evaluation 1996 - 1996 West Midlands archaeology 39/1996 69-70, Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit [archaeological evaluation reports] MOULD C/ 1996/ AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVALUATION OF LAND AT HOBS HILL, PARK FARM, RUGLEY, STAFFORDSHIRE/ Report No 421 AIP Record Number C.41.1002, Depositor ID: 1116033 EHNMR-1116033
Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society


The Brereton Collieries 1791 - 1960 by Ken Edwards (CCMHS, 2005);
Staffordshire Place-Names including The Black Country by Anthony Poulton-Smith (Countryside, Berkshire, 1995);
Dictionary of English Place-Names by A.D. Mills (Oxford, 2nd Ed. 1998);
The Landscape of Place-Names by Margaret Gelling & Ann Cole (Shaun Tyas, Stamford, 2000);

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