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Berkswich Parish History


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Is the Parish called BERKSWICH or BASWICH ?


Baswich is the accepted name of the present day, but in earlier times records show that it has been called BERCHESWIC, BESWICK, and in the the old chartularies of the St Thomas' Priory it was written BERCLESWICK. In total there have been eighteen different ways of recording the name since Domesday records. There are of course authorities, who have maintained that the name was derived from a Saxon who owned the parish, but any reference back to Saxon times must certainly focus on St Bertelin, who was a prince, the son of Queen Ethelfleda

The Parish of BERKSWICH is mentioned in the Domesday Book (1068) - there is a reference to " the Priest of Bercheswic", and with the exception of Millford Hall which was the seat of Byrd Levetts, and Brocton Hall, the seat of the Chetwynds and one or two other large houses, the scene of one hundred years ago must have been very similar to the one described in that ancient record, because it was entirely rural. Manor Farm at Walton was built around 1730 and later converted into Congreve House, and towards Stafford there were a few families such as those of Thomas Salt and John Twigg at Weeping Cross. These were the forerunners of many who in later generations moved out from Stafford and other Midland towns to live in what was then seen as one of the beauty spots of Staffordshire.

Before the Reformation of 1534, the Church of Rome, through the Bishops, Canons and Priests controlled the lives of the people of the parishes. The land within the Parish of Berkswich was granted to the Bishop of Lichfield Coventry and Chester before 1066, so in the early days, the Parish was classified as an Ecclesiastical Parish.

From the 16th century until the 19th century, the Parishes were controlled by the partnership of the Church and local Justices. The Church looked after its buildings, spiritual responsibilities, and combined with the Justices in helping the poor through what was known as " The Overseers of the Poor".





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