History

Here are some brief notes about the history of Alton. There are other sites that give more details. In particular the Alton Towers Heritage site gives a lot of information about the history not only of the Towers but of the surrounding area.

There is also an excellent Facebook group ALTON, Staffs. A history of the village & its families set up by local born Hazel Mills which acts as a forum for discussion of all things history related to the village. There are lots of interesting old photos, links and conversations between people on local history and families. Please use this Facebook page only to discuss or post history related items.

Alton is a very ancient village. It was first recorded in 716 AD but it is around 1000 AD that the first Alton Castle in mentioned. A stone castle built around 1150 AD replaced the castle constructed of wood. This castle provided the security required enabling the village Alverston or Alverton, as it was then known to thrive and grow.

Many books have been written recounting the history of Alton indicating that it has always been a prosperous area for trade. As in the past there are still many Hostelries evident in the village although they have slowly diminished from the heady days when the High Street alone hosted four Public Houses. It is also evident that because of this there was obviously a need to prevent over-indulgence and for this reason the “Round House” or “Lockup” was built around 1830 AD. This is a significant landmark in the area due to its unique construction.

The Church of St. Peter was built around 1178 by Bertrum de Verdun within the castle walls and it has been partly rebuilt due to damage caused during various attacks on the castle through the early years. It is in the style of a true Norman Church with the Tower and North Aisle being truly original parts.There are mediaeval wall paintings on the North Side of the of the Nave.

The sixteenth Earl of Shrewsbury known as the “good Earl John” cared for the welfare of the poor of the district and it is he who employed the famous architect Augustus Welby Pugin to design and build St John’s Church a hospice, a school and sheltered housing for the poor in the form of a quadrangle in the area known as “Castle Hill”.

The surrounding area of Alton and the Churnet Valley nearby provide some of the best walks to be found in North Staffordshire with the view from Toothill being particularly spectacular. The old railway line which was part of the old “Knotty Railway” linking Alton with Uttoxeter, Stafford and the south is now a footpath which follows the River Churnet down the length of the valley passing the Old Wire Mill and with the view of Alton Castle forming a superb backdrop.

 

It would be great to see a more detailed history of the villages here – if you would like to improve the content of this page please get in touch.