About Betley…

Betley is a village and civil parish in the Newcastle district of Staffordshire, England, about halfway between Newcastle-under-Lyme and Nantwich. Its name means the 'clearing in the woods' of Bette (a Saxon woman's name). Betley is an ancient settlement and is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. It was then held by Unwin, the King’s Thane. 100 years later, Betley is recorded as being owned by Henry de Bettley.

Betley appears to have been granted its original Charter to hold a weekly market in 1220 by King Henry III - the Confirmation Charter then being granted in 1227. The church dates from 1247.

During the early reign of Elizabeth I, the village passed into the hands of the Egerton family, who sold nearly all of it to the Tollet family in the early 18th century, including Betley Old Hall. Later, notable visitors to the village included Charles Darwin and Florence Nightingale.

Some background on Betley and Wrinehill from old Trade Directories:

William White’s 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 here on 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; and 4s. 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.

William White’s 1851 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, 7 miles W.N.W. of Newcastle-under-Lyme, and 3 miles S.S.E. of Basford Station, 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 as30lbs.

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 Fras. and T. F. Twemlow,  Esqrs.

The parish contains about 1480 acres of land, and 844 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 there are three fairs for cattle &c. on July 31st, and the last Tuesday in April and October. The Parish wake is on the first Sunday after Oct 6th.  The Church, ( St. Margaret ) was one of the oldest in the country, but in 1841 / 42, it was renovated and enlarged, and the nave rebuilt, at a cost of more than £1200.  It has a tower and five bells.  The chancel was rebuilt in 1610, and the tower in 1713. The nave and aisles were the most ancient parts, and were 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 whole has been rebuilt of stone.  In the chancel are several neat mural monuments of the Egerton and Tollet families.

The Church was anciently in the appropriation of Ranton Abbey, and  is now a perpetual curacy, valued at £150, in the incumbency of the Rev Henry Turton who was appointed in 1810.  George Tollet, Esq., is the patron, and also Impropriator of the tithes. there is a neat Parsonage house;  and 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 Wesleyans 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 poor 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; and 4s. 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 as a National School, and in it is kept a parochial Library.

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.

Post Office Directory 1860

BETLEY, a parish in North Staffordshire, is in the North Pirehill hundred, Newcastle union,  Lichfield diocese, Staffordshire archdeaconry, and Newcastle-on-Stone deanery, and in the  county court district of Newcastle-under-Lyme.  It is 3miles north from the Madeley station  on the London and North Western railway,  142½ from London, 20 from Stafford, 49½ from Birmingham, 39 from Manchester, 33 from Macclesfield, and7½ west by north from  Newcastle-under-Lyme.

The town is remarkably cheerful and pleasant, and consists of one wide street; in the vicinity is Betley Court, the handsome mansion of Francis Twemlow, Esq. and Betley Hall, the seat of Charles Wicksted, Esq.  Near the village is a fine lake, called Betley Mere, belonging to  the Earl of Wilton.  A weekly market was formally held here, which is now obsolete: but fairs for cattle, &c., are held on the last Tuesday in April, July 31st, and the last Thursday in  October.  The Church of St. Margaret is a neat structure. It has a nave, chancel, aisles, and a tower at the west end containing 5 bells.  The chancel was rebuilt in 1610, and the tower in 1713, but the nave and aisles are ancient, and are separated by four plain pointed arches of wood on each side, resting on pillars which were formed out of single trunks of trees.  Affixed to the walls of the chancel are several monuments of the Egerton and Tollet families.

The living is a perpetual curacy, value £150, with residence, in the gift of Charles Wicksted,  Esq., the lord of the manor;  the Rev. Henry Turton M.A., is the incumbent.  Here is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists;  also a National School, principally supported by  voluntary contributions, aided by an endowment of £6.10s.a year.  In 1674 William Palmer  left £75 in the hands of trustees, to be disposed of at their discretion for the use of the poor;  this sum has been laid out in land, now let at £4.4s. a year, which is applied to apprenticing  poor children of Betley.  The poor have likewise several small benefactions, amounting to  £4.14s a year, which is distributed in bread and clothing.  The parish of Betley contains 1,368 acres of land.  Here is some malting.  Ravenshall is half a mile south; Bowsey is 1 mile south-east; Balterley is 1½ miles north.  Wrinehill is a scattered village about a mile south-west from Betley, near the railway.  It is partly in this parish, but mostly in that of  Wybunbury, in Cheshire, and was anciently the seat of the Egerton family.

 Post Office:-  William Place, receiver.  Letters arrive through Newcastle-under-Lyme at  9am; dispatched at 5pm.  

Money orders granted.

 Savings Bank, at Reading-room; open last Tuesday in every month. 

 Inland Revenue Office,  Black Horse Inn, Henry Richard Crouch, officer

PLACES OF WORSHIP:
St. Margaret's Church:

  • Rev. Henry Turton, incumbent

  • Rev Barrington Syer Baines, B.A.  Curate

Wesleyan Chapel.

National School:

  • Mr. Joseph Maurey, Master

  • Mrs. Harriet Maurey, Mistress