William Whites 1834
Gazetteer & Directory of Staffordshire
BETLEY is one of the smallest and pleasantest market towns in the county, consisting of one wide street, on the Nantwich road, 7½ miles W.N.W. of Newcastle-under-Lyme, near the confines of Cheshire; the boundary line between the two counties extending here through the middle of a fine lake of 80 acres, called Betley Mere, and abounding in pike perch, and other fish, some of which have been caught as heavy as 30lbs.
The appearance of the houses is uncommonly neat, and the town is ornamented by two very handsome seats, which occupy the grounds in the immediate neighbourhood, viz. - Betley Hall and Betley Court, the former of which is the residence and property of George Tollet, Esq., and the latter of Miss Fletcher.
The parish contains about 1200 acres of land, and 870 inhabitants. Mr. Tollet is lord of the manor, and the other principal proprietors are, Sir T. F. F. Boughey, who has a large estate here, and the Earl of Wilton, who owns Betley Mere.
The Market on Friday has long been of such trivial consequence, that it may be said to be obsolete; but a large cattle fair is held hereon July 31st, and another is about to be established, to be held yearly in May.
The Parish wake is on the first Sunday after Oct. 6th. The Church, though inferior to many in the neighbourhood, deserves notice, as affording a specimen of the earliest attempts at Gothic architecture in this kingdom.
The chancel was rebuilt in 1610, and the tower in 1713. The nave and aisles are the most ancient parts, and are separated by four pointed arches on each side, resting on rude pillars, which are "merely single trunks of trees," and the architrave's of the arches plain curved pieces of wood. The breadth of the nave and aisles is only 12 yards, and they are separated by a wooden partition from the chancel, in which are several neat mural monuments of the Egerton and Tollet families.
This Church was anciently in the appropriation of Ranton Abbey, but is now a curacy, in the impropriation of George Tollet, Esq. and incumbency of the Rev Henry Turton. In 1717, the benefice was augmented with 20 acres of common land, given by Lord Powlett and other, and £200, obtained from Queens Anne's Bounty.
The Methodists have a small chapel in the town; and the parishioners have a benefit of an endowed SCHOOL and several small BENEFACTIONS.
A yearly rent charge of £4. 4s. for apprenticing small children of Betley, is paid out of land called Rushy Heys, being purchased for that purpose with £75, left in 1674 by Wm. Palmer. The poor parishioners have the following yearly doles, viz. 10s as the interest of £10, left by Joseph Cope, in 1692; 40s. for bread, 30s. for clothing, and 40s. for schooling, left by Mary Lea; 10s. to the poor, and 10s to the school, left by Marmarduke Jolley; 10s. for bread, left by Richard Gorton; and4s. for bread, left by Wm. Abnet.
The SCHOOL was rebuilt partly by subscription, in 1826, and has four acres of land, let for £4 a-year, which, with the small benefactions of Lea, Steele, and Jolley, forms its whole endowment. It is now conducted on Dr. Bell's system, and in it is kept a parochial Library of 200 volumes. Here is also opened once a month, a branch of the Pirehill Savings' Bank, which has its principal establishment at Stone.
WRINE HILL, 1 mile S. by W. of Betley, is a scattered village, on an eminence, partly in this parish, but mostly in that of Wybunbury, in Cheshire. It was anciently the seat of the Egerton family; and between it and Betley is RAVENSHALL, containing a number of detached houses.