Some history on Burton-on-Trent in the county of Staffordshire


Pubs of Burton-on-Trent

Although evidence has been found to suggest an earlier settlement on Scalpcliffe Hill, Burton-on-Trent is thought to have been founded in the early part of the 7th century when the Angles drifted into the region along the valley of the River Trent. Conditions were ideal to build a base here so a fort was erected and a small village community lived around it. And so the name of Burton was born - 'burh-tun&,' meaning fort settlement. It did not take long for the church to get involved - a nun called Modwen founded a church on the river island of Andressey.


Photographs of Burton-on-Trent

Burton-on-Trent : Saint Modwen's Church [c.1912]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

The church dedicated to Saint Modwen stands next to the Market Place. It was built on the site of the eastern part of the former Benedictine Abbey Church. The Abbey was dissolved in 1539 but survived as a collegiate church until 1545 when it was acquired, with its lands, by Sir William Paget, whose descendants later became Earls of Uxbridge and Marquis of Anglesey. This eventually fell into ruin although part of the Abbey church remained and was used as the parish church until the present church was built between 1719 and 1726 by William and Richard Smith of Tettenhall. The interior retains many of its 18th century features. The font is the only known relic connected with the previous church and bears the date 1662.

Burton-on-Trent : Saint Modwen's Church [c.1912]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

The old Town Hall building and clock tower, standing in King Edward Place, was originally built as Saint Paul's Parish Institute and Liberal Club. Construction of the building commenced in 1878, the tender of £9,130 by the contractors, Messrs. Lowe and Sons, being accepted by Michael Thomas Bass in May of that year.¹ Designed in the Victorian Gothic style by the local architect, Reginald Churchill, it was estimated that it would take two years to complete. However, it was not until January 1882 that the building was opened.² The highly-praised interior decoration was undertaken by Frederick Stevenson of Wednesbury. Later additions to the structure, undertaken in the mid-1890s, were commissioned by Michael Arthur Bass, Lord Burton. He presented the buildings to the town, together with a new Council Chamber, which was to be used as the Town Hall.

Contemporary Photographs

Burton-on-Trent : Former Magistrates' Court on Horninglow Street [2006]
© Photo taken by author on April 13th, 2006. DO NOT COPY

Located on Horninglow Street and facing Guild Street, the former Magistrates' Court is an imposing domed building designed by Henry Beck, a local architect, and built in 1909-10 in an Edwardian Baroque style. The handsome edifice was opened just before Christmas in 1910, the foundation stone having been laid by the Mayor, Alderman Charles Tresise, on May 24th, 1909. The site was acquired for £3,000, an estimated additional £15,000 being expended on the construction, the project being undertaken by Messrs. R. Kershaw and Sons, contractors of Edward Street. The work was carried out in white Portland stone, with a base of Cornish granite and roofs of green slates.³

Genealogy Connections

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Related Newspaper Articles

"George Harris [49], of Balfour Street, Burton, was treated at Burton Infirmary on Thursday for abrasions to the right arm and leg, which he received when the bicycle he was riding came into collision with a motor-cycle at the Callow Street - Waterloo Street crossing. After treatment he was taken home."
"Burton Cyclist In Collision"
Burton Observer and Chronicle : November 15th 1934 Page 11

1. "St. Paul's Institute" : Burton Chronicle; May 30th, 1878. Page 5.
2. "Opening of St. Paul's Institute & Liberal Club" : Burton & Derby Gazette; January 21st, 1882. Page 4.
3. "Burton's New Police Courts" : Burton Chronicle; December 15th, 1910. Page 5.

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