Stone is an old market town
in Staffordshire, England, situated
about seven miles north of Stafford, and around
seven miles south of the city of Stoke-on-Trent.
It is the second town, after Stafford
itself, in the Borough of Stafford
, and has long been of importance
from the point of view of communications. Stone gave its name to
both an urban district council and a rural district council before
becoming part of the borough in 1974. In 2001 it had a population
the capital of early Mercia, a powerful
Anglian kingdom that later expanded over most of what is now the
West Midlands. Christianity arrived via monks from Lindisfarne around the year 650, King
Penda of Mercia having invited them in. The capital was later
moved to Stafford, and then to Tamworth.
's meaning is exactly what
is stated, a "stone, rock
", from the
Old English stān
The local story is that the town was named after the pile of stones
taken from the River Trent
raised on the
graves of the two princes, Ruffin and Wulfad, killed in AD 665 by
their father, King Wulfhere of
, because of their conversion to Christianity
Church, built over these stones in 670 lasted until the 9th century
before being destroyed by invading
It was replaced in 1135 by an Augustinian
Priory which survived until its
reign of Henry VIII
building collapsed in 1749 and the present church of St. Michael's
was built in 1758. All that remains of the original priory is the
undercroft which forms the
foundations beneath Priory House, which is located on Lichfield
Street opposite the Frank Jordan Community Centre.
In 1251, Henry III
Stone a market charter
Stone Urban District
was an urban district
. It was based on the Stone
which equates to the town
of Stone. There were two amendments in parts of the
Stone Rural parish in Stone Rural District were transferred in.
The district was
abolished by the Local
Government Act 1972
The replacement Stone Town Council forms part of Stafford Borough Council
Stone stands in the valley of the River
, and was an important stopping-off point for stagecoaches
on one of the roads turnpiked
in the 18th century. A directory for
1851 says that Stone was a very lively town, and a great
thoroughfare for coaches, carriers and travellers…. No
fewer than 38 stage coaches passed through the town daily
coaching route was the London to Holyhead route, via Watling Street as far as Lichfield and then from Lichfield to Holyhead via the A51.
To support the coaching trade Stone was a principle stopping point
with many coaching inns
to refresh both
horses and travellers. Notable hostelries include the Crown Hotel,
Crown & Anchor, Red Lion and the Black Horse Inn.
there are two trunk roads, the A34 linking Birmingham to Manchester and the A51 linking
Lichfield to Chester.
Stone is by-passed by the M6
The Trent and Mersey Canal
The River Trent, which runs through the town, had been used for
cargo-carrying vessels since Roman
times but further inland smaller boats could only be used.
fluctuations in water depth proved insurmountable, although cargo
could be carried from the sea as far south as Wilden Ferry
(southeast of Derby), where the
River Derwent joins the
Trent and increases the quantity of water, then onwards by
Prior to tarmac
overland by roads were slow and delicate wares were prone to
breakages over the rough terrain.
James Brindley, the canal builder, put
forward the scheme to build what he called the Grand Trunk
Canal to connect the two rivers, Mersey and Trent in
It was backed by Josiah
who saw that it offered an efficient way to bring raw
materials to the potteries and to transport finished wares to his
By 29 September 1772
(Brindley died on 27
), 48 miles of the Grand Trunk Canal (now known as the
Trent and Mersey Canal
Wilden Ferry to Stone was navigable — the length past
Burton-on-Trent being completed in 1770.
On completion of the Star Lock a grand opening was held, during
this opening a cannon was fired in celebration. However disaster
struck and the cannon damaged the new lock, requiring a
Stone became the Headquarters of the canal company with its office
at Westbridge House, sited then below Star Lock on what is now
Westbridge Park. The offices were moved later to
Due to the quality of the local water beneath Stone two brewers
were located here carrying on the tradition of beer making that the
Augustinian monks started. Firstly, the most notable, John Joules
who brewed beer from 1758, although the brewery closed on the 31st
October 1974 having been taken over by Bass of Burton. The canal
played a great part in the export of Beer. Joules once owned a pair
of boats that delivered coal to the brewery and as late as the
1950s had the telephone number ‘Stone 1’. Joules draught beer
stores and bottling plant remains an imposing building on the canal
and can be clearly identified by the red cross logo of John Joules
in the brickwork.
The second brewer was Bents (of Liverpool and Stone)located on what
is now Mount Industrial Estate. This brewery was also taken over by
Bass and closed on the 31st March 1968. Although the brewing
Industry in Stone has declined following aggressive take over from
the nearby Burton upon
Trent Brewers in the 1960s and 1970s a rebirth in the
form of micro brewering has occurred recently under the Joules
name, dropping the 'John' due to trademark reasons.
of Joules can be tasted at the Swan Inn. More recently a second
microbrewery, trading under the name "Lymestone", has begun brewing
in part of the original Bent's brewery.
The Star Public House was fully licensed in 1819 although the
building predates the canal by some 200 years. The building has in
its time been a butcher’s shop and slaughterhouse. Stabling for
boat horses was available up to the 1950s and the business relied
heavily on the canal for trade.
The coming of the railway was to end Stone’s era as a coaching and
canal town. The North Staffordshire Railway
opened its main line from Stoke on Trent through Stone to Norton Bridge on 3 April 1848; the following year a branch line from Stone to
Colwich began operating.
One industry that did flourish under the railway era was the shoe
industry, at its height in 1851 there were 16 shoeworks. The
industry however declined after Australia the main shoe market
imposed an import tax on the industry.
several years during which the town was not serviced by train
services following the West Coast Mainline speed upgrade, an hourly semi-fast direct service
south to London
Euston via Stafford and the Trent Valley line and north to
Crewe via Stoke-on-Trent (8 minutes) restarted in December 2008.
Country trains between Manchester Piccadilly and London and southern
England via Birmingham
New Street pass through the town, but do not
Local bus services are operated by First
Stone parish church, dedicated to St
the Archangel, is at the south end of the town located
on what used to be Stone Priory. It was commenced in 1753, and
finished in 1758. The present clock tower was added later in
Christ Church stands on the north side of the town, where the
population is still increasing. It was erected in 1839.
The canal still dominates the town. Many canal side sites have in
recent times been taken over for modern day use including ‘The
Moorings’ a development of apartments based on the old Stubbs
warehouse and also apartments and housing surround the old Trent
Hospital, once the Workhouse. Housing developments also border the
canal. Commercial traffic has now been replaced by the leisure
craft that pass through Stone each year. The Canal Cruising Company
today operates from the historic site of the canal maintenance and
boat building operations of the Trent and Mersey Canal Company.
This restored docks complex with its workshops, by Yard Lock,
continues to be used for the maintenance of pleasure craft and
historic boats. In 2009, a new marina is due to be developed just
south of the town, below Aston Lock with moorings for pleasure
craft, a farm shop and a cafe.
State Education within Stone is based on the three tier school
system. Starting with a range of first and Primary
Schools, two middle schools (Walton Priory Middle and Christchurch
Middle) and Alleyne's
High School. Independent education is served by the
Catholic St Dominic's Priory School founded with the convent of the same name in the
19th century by Mother Margaret
Hallahan when the school was originally known as "Blessed
Imelda's Enpension School"
Yarnfield Park Training and Conference Centre just outside
the town is a major training centre for the UK telecommunications
It is owned by BT Group
and run by Accenture
is home to two football clubs, namely Stone Old Alleynians F.C. of the
West Midlands Regional League and Stone Dominoes F.C. of the North West Counties League.
teams share a fully enclosed floodlit stadium at Yarnfield, named
- John Jervis, 1st
Earl of St Vincent, colleague of Lord Nelson, Victor in a
battle against the Spanish at Cape St Vincent 1797.
- Peter de Wint Born 1784, Landscape
Painter featured in the National Gallery.
- Stan Collymore, Born in Stone in
- James Brindley, the
Surveyor-General of the Trent
& Mersey Canal.
- L. T.
author of ‘Narrowboat’ which helped to promote the canal network of
today, plus several engineering biographies and other works.
- Cedric Price, architect, was born in Stone in 1934.
- Eva Morris, the oldest person in the world from December
1999 to her death in November 2000, lived in Stone.
- Chris Birchall, a football player who plays for Coventry City F.C. Birchall was born in
1984 and plays international football for Trinidad and
Tobago, as his mother was born there.