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The postal system


I am researching the history of the Post in Betley.  It is a small village some six miles from Newcastle under Lyme, with a maximum population of  900, and there has never been a lot of mail in or out. The further back one goes, the harder it is to find any letters. 

Before 1860

Betley was served by Newcastle under Lyme and any mail before 1860 carries the 'Newcastle' handstamp or postmark.  It is necessary therefore to look for other indications of a Betley origin:

1) the 'from' address 

2) office clerks often noted a letter sheet's contents on the outside for reference purposes e.g. 'Betley curate re annuity' 

 between 1833 and 1839, a  number "12" Receiver's handstamp was available in Betley so look out for letters with that number stamped upon them. 

3) in 1848, Betley received a name stamp, an open, circular, 'BETLEY' at the top with twin arcs completing the remainder of the circle. A date wasn't shown.

1860 and all that........

This was a significant year in the postal history of the village for two reasons: 

 i) a new datestamp was issued in February incorporating the name and the date. Unusually, the place name was in a straight line, inside the circle, rather than  around it as we are all used to, and as indicated, the date was included for the first time. 

 ii) in September, because of the rapid development of the railway system and proximity to Crewe station, Betley was transferred to Crewe, for postal purposes only. 

The transfer mentioned was not recorded on the postmark until about 1904 when the village received a new, single circle, datestamp with BETLEY at the top and CREWE at the bottom. This is known to have been used to at least 1933 due mainly to the popularity of Picture Postcards, and their rapid delivery for an old halfpenny.  These have been my main source for this information. 

1933 on

I don't know anything about the postmarks after this date except that the modern ones just show 'Crewe.' 


The above is an outline of what I consider a fascinating but maddening subject. Research is difficult because postal material and reliable sources of information are few. I would welcome any new facts and offers of letters etc for photocopying, or better still, for sale!  Please contact me at:

                          Any information