History on the town of Rugeley in the county of Staffordshire. Research is augmented with photographs, details of licensees, stories of local folklore, census data, newspaper articles and a genealogy connections section for those studying their family history.



Background Information
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Rugeley - Elizabethan Cottage on Horse Fair [c.1905]

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Rugeley - Drill Hall and Fire Station [c.1937]

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Rugeley - Brereton Road [c.1924]

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Related Newspaper Articles
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List of Pubs
Dog and Partridge
Holly Bush
Glass Works
Globe Hotel
Lord Nelson
Malt Shovel
Mossley Tavern
Prince Of Wales
Queen's Head
Red Lion
Shoulder of Mutton
Shrewsbury Arms
Stag's Leap
Talbot Inn
Talbot and Railway
Vine Inn
White Horse
White Lion
White Swan

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Genealogy Connections
If you have a genealogy story or query regarding the Rugeley area you can contact me and I will post it here in addition to including your message within the website pages for Staffordshire Genealogy.

Henry William Paget - Marquess of Anglesey

Newspaper Articles
"ADJOURNED INQUEST. On Monday morning, at ten o'clock, the Coroner and Jury re-assembled at the Talbot Inn, Rugeley, and resumed the investigation of this melancholy and mysterious affair. The first witness examined, was Robert Collins, the husband of the unfortunate deceased. He stated that he resided at No. 10, Edgware Road, London, and was an ostler. He had examined the boxes and their contents, which had belonged to his wife. About three weeks ago he left Liverpool for London to obtain a situation, and his wife was then employed by Mrs. Grice, of No. 3, Cross Hall Street, Liverpool, as a seamstress. About the 9th June he sent her a sovereign to take her to London. Her name was Christina, and she was thirty-six years of age. He had seen the body, and was certain it was that of his late wife. Mr. Barnett, surgeon, attended, and explained that the newspapers were wrong in attributing to him a positive assertion, that the appearance of the body of the deceased satisfied him that there had been no illicit connection: he stated that, from the appearances, he was of opinion that there had been no recent connection. Robert Walker, the younger, of Shardlow, in the county of Derby, stated, that he was captain of a boat belonging to Messrs. Sowersby About ten o'clock on Sunday night, the 10th instant, he saw a woman on the hauling path near Salt Bridge, a short distance from Sandon Lock spoke to her, but she gave him no answer. He afterwards met one of Pickford's boats, about four hundred yards from the woman. There were three men with the boat; one on the cabin, one steering, and one in the hold. He did not see any one with the horse. One of the men asked if he had met their passenger and he told them she was not far before the boat. The man who spoke to him said they wanted to have intimacy with her: he should know the man who said so, if he saw him; and on being shown the men, he pointed out Owen, the captain, as having uttered the words. George Thomas alias Dobell, one of the prisoners, was again examined, stated that at Colwich Lock he called up the master, as it was his turn to work. The boy left the cabin first and went to the horse. The captain and woman afterwards came out of the cabin, and the captain used abusive language, and charged them with having had intimacy with the woman. Afterwards he and Lambert had some talk about it, and went to sleep. In a short time they were disturbed by hearing words between the captain and the woman, and he [Dobell] heard the woman say, "I'll jump I'll jump;" and he heard the captain reply "You bugger, if you don't jump I'll throw you off." When they got to the stop place, he asked the captain if he was not ashamed to turn the woman out? That was half way between the turn, and the stop place. The captain told him he might get out he liked, and called the lad back to borrow some money to pay him [Dobell] They were wrangling about it till they got close to Rugeley, when he [the captain] said the deceased was lost, she was drowned. The boy was present. The captain and he went back to look for the woman. Lambert was in the cabin and did not go. It was about three o'clock in the morning when they got to Rugeley. At Fradley, he [Dobell] told Robotham there was a passenger missing, and on the way to Fazeley, he [the captain] wanted him and Lambert to swear that the deceased got out at Colwich Lock. William Hatton, alias Moncher, of Manchester, boatman, was next examined. He said he knew Owen. On Monday morning last he met him and Dobell on the towing-path between the watering-place near Rugeley and Brindley's Bank; they asked him if he had seen a woman and he replied he had not; they then turned back and went after their boat. William Brookes, a porter at Stoke Wharf, remembered the boat coming there; the deceased asked him if the boat passed through Birmingham, and complained of the improper treatment she had received from the crew. He heard her say to Dobell, "leave me alone;" and he also heard Dobell use very indecent language to her. William Kirk, an agent to Messrs. Pickford, at Fazeley, stated that, on Monday morning last, he received information from Robotham, that a passenger had been lost from one of their boats in the neighbourhood of Colwich Lock; he thought an enquiry ought to made, and he therefore sent for a constable to await the arrival of the boat, which got to Fazeley about half-past ten o'clock in the morning. Lambert was the first man who came on shore, and he asked him for his papers; he [Kirk] told him to follow him into the office and bring his papers; on which he said, "Damn and bugger the woman, if she has drowned herself I cannot help it." He [Kirk] told him he was drunk, and gave him in charge. He then asked Owen where his passenger was, and he replied he was afraid she was drowned; she had made an attempt, and he had pulled her out; he thought she was out of her mind. When Dobell came into the office, he began to swear, and wished the woman was in hell flames. The captain and the boy said she had been in the cabin most of the way from Preston Brook, and the other men said she would have ridden in the cabin, but they would not let her. Her bonnet was very much crushed; her shoes were dry. Ann, wife of Robert Brookes, of Stoke, ostler, rode with the deceased about a mile in the boat; the woman seemed in trouble, but not at all out of her mind; she was very sensible; she was not tipsy, indeed she did not think she had had anything to drink; she said the men had wished her to go into the cabin, but she had refused, because she did not think it was proper. Joseph Robinson, of Armitage, labourer, knew Owen; on Monday afternoon he saw him in a public house, and he asked him about the woman, and he [Owen] said she got out at Colwich Lock, and never saw her afterwards. He was not sent on a message by Owen to Dobell. Francis Jackson, of Drayton, labourer, stated that Owen was handcuffed to him, and whilst he was in his custody he whispered something to the last witness, and the only part of the conversation that he heard was, that he was to tell Dobell and Lambert, who were in the hole, that they were to say that the woman got out at Colwich Lock; on the following morning he saw the last witness again, and Owen said, "Did you tell the men what told you" and he replied "Yes;" which he [Owen] said, "Tell them again, and be sure." William Ellis, alias Lambert, another of the prisoners, said that Owen asked him and Dobell, at Fazeley pound, to say that the woman got out at Colwich Lock. James Owen, captain of the boat, was further examined. said that about twelve o'clock on Sunday night, when the boat was below Haywood Pound, he was awoke by the noise of the woman. He saw the woman in bed, and Thomas upon her. He [Owen] jawed him about her, and he replied that Lambert had had connection with her at the Hoo Mill Lock. He [Owen] was fast asleep at Hoo Mill Lock, and did not hear any noise. When they came below Colwich Lock, Lambert wanted to take the woman into the cabin, but he [Owen] would not let him. Dobell and he [Owen] kept quarrelling about a mile. At Bellamour Crane he [Owen] told the woman to get on the cabin, and to her compartment, which she did. The last time he saw her alive was in the middle of the boat at Turnover Bridge. He did not get out of the boat till they came to the watering-place near Rugeley, when he missed the woman for the first time. When they got to Fazeley pound, he went to the hold, and saw Lambert and Dobell with one of the passenger's boxes open. He told them he would not go any farther than Fazeley; and they said, "go to hell with you, you are frightened about the woman; tell them she got out at Colwich Lock.' There being several other witnesses to examine, the inquest was further adjourned until the following day. Fourth day: John Barston, Bedworth, in the county of Warwick, boatman, said that he met one of Pickford's boats on Sunday night at Haywood. His evidence went to the effect of denying having said to a person named Thomas Neale, that when he met the boat one of the men told him, in a conversation, that they had tied a handkerchief about the woman's mouth to stop her screams, and that when they untied it again she was dead. John Astley, of Rugeley wharf, porter, stated that Barston had told him on the previous day that he [Barston] had had a conversation with Neale respecting the woman; but he [Barston] said, "you do not think I am such d...d fool as to mention it." John Boston, of Rode, in the county of Chester, boatman, met Owen's boat at the stop between Brindley's Bank and Rugeley, where Owen and Dobell returned to look for the woman. James Owen, the captain, was again examined. After he had prevented Lambert from taking the deceased to bed, he [Owen] took her in his arms and put her on the top of the cabin. Lambert was in bed, and Thomas [Dobell] was sitting on the side bench. The boy was driving, and he [Owen] was steering. About seven or eight minutes after he had put the woman on the cabin, Thomas said to him, "Come in, damn your eyes, and pay me." He went into the cabin to his cupboard to look for money to pay him, and Thomas went to the helm. He found he was six shillings short, and put his head out of the cabin to call the boy. Thomas was then at the helm, but the woman was missing. He heard a noise whilst he was in the cabin, as if woman had jumped on it. It was impossible for any one to jump on the cabin if they were in the boat. The Coroner then went through the whole of the examinations, and made such observations on the case he deemed necessary, after which the jury consulted for a short time, and returned verdict "Wilful Murder" against all the persons accused, who were subsequently committed for trial at the approaching assizes, and the several witnesses bound over to prosecute. Before the Jury left the room, the Foreman [Mr. Turner] handed to the Coroner a paper, of which the following is a copy : Mr. Coroner, Now that this long and painful investigation has closed, we, the undersigned Jurors, who have Attended your inquest on the body of Christina Collins, beg to state that we are not satisfied to separate without first strongly expressing our decided conviction of the gross impropriety of the carrying business, both land and water, being carried on upon the Sunday, the same manner as on other days. The evidence that has been before us has brought under our observation much of what appears to be the usual conversation and demeanour of boatmen, and we conceive that the narration will not only excite the abhorrence of all respectable persons, but that is highly disgraceful to the community at large, so long as that community has not done its utmost to stay the evil. By this violation of the Sabbath not only boatmen, but great numbers of other persons who are engaged in the conveyance of goods, and also employed as clerks and porters, are entirely prevented from paying attention to religious duties on the day expressly set apart for that purpose, and their children are deprived of those instructions which are afforded to other children in their rank life. We beg further to state that we cannot but attribute the great demoralisation that is proved to exist among boatmen principally to these causes, and think more than probable that had the unfortunate men who have been the subjects of this investigation been compelled to "Keep holy the Sabbath-day," so far as human laws can be available to this end, the late deplorable event might not have occurred. With these consideration, Sir, we feel that we should be failing in our duty were we not to remonstrate, as strongly as we can, against the continuance of the present system, and we beg of you, Sir, to make known these our sentiments in the proper quarter.”
"Charge of the Murder of a Female by Boatmen near Rugeley"
Staffordshire Advertiser : June 29th 1839 Page 3.

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Rugeley Chess Club

The Mail Coach by John Frederick Herring
"At each Inn on the road I a welcome could find; At the Fleece I'd my skin full of ale; The Two Jolly Brewers were just to my mind; At the Dolphin I drink like a wheale. Tom Tun at the Hogshead sold pretty good stuff; They'd capital flip at the Boar; And when at the Angel I'd tippled enough, I went to the Devil for more.”
Mail Coach Guard

Not One to Mix with the Riff-Raff in the Bar

1950 Advertisement for Mitchell's & Butler's

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Édouard Manet "The Merry Beer Drinker" [1870's]

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Newspaper Articles
"On Friday morning, whilst a man, named William Evans, was lying asleep on the bank of a burning lime-kiln near Rugeley, two drunken navigators, who had been working in that neighbourhood came up, one of whom placed his foot under the body of the sleeping man, and threw him on the burning lime, and they both immediately ran away. Providentially another man was sleeping on the bank, and being awakened by the cries of the poor fellow, assisted in rescuing him from his perilous situation. He was conveyed to the Stafford General Infirmary, and although dreadfully burnt, hopes are entertained of his recovery. Had the lime been in a calcined state, his death would have been inevitable.”
"Diabolical Attempt"
Hertford Mercury & Reformer : July 16th 1842 P.4.

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