, a parish, market town, municipal and parliamentary borough in the S. division of the hundred of Offlow, county Stafford, and partly in Hemlingford hundred, county Warwick, 23 miles S.E. of Stafford, and 6 from Lichfield. It is a junction station of the Trent Valley and the Derby and Birmingham sections of the Midland railways. The parish, which is very extensive, includes, besides the town of Tamworth, the chapelries of Fazeley, Wigginton, and Wilnecote, with part of Dosthill, now district parishes, the townships of Almington-with-Stone, Delph, Biddescote, Bolehall-with-Glascote, Bonehill, and the liberties of Tyerscote and Tamworth-Castle, besides the extra-parochial liberty of Hopwas Hayes.
It is situated in an undulating and very fertile country, watered by numerous springs, falling into the two rivers Tame and Anker, which here unite at the foot of the old castle, once a residence of the Mercian kings. In the Saxon times it was called Tasnaweorthige, and had a mint, but having been devastated by the Danes, was rebuilt by Ethelfleda, daughter of Alfred the Great, who died here in 920. After the Norman conquest the castle and adjacent territory were granted to Robert de Marmion, Lord of Fontenaye and hereditary champion to the dukes of Normandy, but on the extinction of the male line in the reign of Edward I., the family of Frevile became lords of Tamworth tower and town.
The site of the ancient castle is now occupied by the mansion of the Marquis Townshend, as the representative of the Marmion, and is the residence of Miss Wolferstan, to whom the town is indebted for the new cemetery. The town was a borough by prescription, but having declined, was incorporated anew by Queen Elizabeth, and is still governed under a charter of Charles II., by a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors, with the style of "bailiffs and commonalty of the borough of Tamworth". The municipal revenue is about £400. It has returned two members to parliament since the reign of Elizabeth, but the bounds were enlarged by the Reform Act so as to include the whole parish.
The town consists of several well-built but irregularly laid out streets; in the market-place is a bronze statue of the late Sir R. Peel. It has recently been much improved, especially with regard to the sewage and water supply. It contains a townhall, rebuilt by Guy, founder of the hospital in London, and enlarged by the late Sir Robert Peel, both of whom were members for Tamworth; a small gaol beneath the townhall, a savings-bank, a library, which contains above 5,000 volumes, under the patronage of Sir R. Peel, a lunatic asylum, union poor-house, two commercial branch banks, railway station, gas and water works, and two bridges, one over the Tame and the other over the Anker.
The trade in cotton and lace fras declined, but there are two large paper mills, two manufactories for elastic garters and fancy wares, and brick, tile, and drain-pipe works. In the vicinity are two commons, called the Staffordshire and Warwickshire moors, belonging to the town, also several collieries. At a little distance from the town is Drayton manor, the seat of the late Sir Robert Peel, to which a gallery of valuable paintings has recently been added. Tamworth is the seat of a New County Court, and of a Poor-law Union containing 24 parishes or places, and the head of a superintendent registry district. There is a farmers' club and horticultural society.
The Coventry canal passes near the town. The Derby and Birmingham railway, after passing over the Trent Valley line, is conducted by a viaduct of nineteen arches across the valley to the S.E. of the town. Tamworth gives name to a deanery in the archdeaconry of Stafford and diocese of Lichfield. The living is a vicarage* with the curacies of Almington and Hopwas St. John annexed, in the diocese of Lichfield, value £220.
The church of St. Edith, which was formerly collegiate, is an ancient Gothic structure with Norman traces, but of different periods. It has a massive tower surrounded by four octagonal turrets or spires. In the interior is a tesselated pavement discovered in the old churchyard, a brass of M. Archer, bearing date 1614, and tombs of the Frevilles and Peels. In addition to the parish church are the following district churches, viz:, Frazeley, Wiggington, and Wilnecote, the livings of which are perpetual curacies, varying in value from £220 to £72. The Wesleyans have two chapels, and the Independents, Baptists, and Roman Catholics have each one.
There are National, infant, and Sunday schools, also a free grammar school, founded by Edward VI., with an endowment of £35, and a scholarship and fellowship at Cambridge University; Sir Robert Peel's school for the free education of 60 boys, endowed with the interest of £8,000; Rawlet's trustees' school for 20 boys, and a school of industry for 30 girls, liberally endowed. The parochial charities, including school endowments, amount to about £700 per annum.
The remains of the castle occupy a mound close to the Tame, and have been included in the modern mansion. Market day is on Saturday. The chartered fairs granted by Queen Elizabeth are held on the 4th May, 26th July, and 24th October for cattle, and merchandise, also monthly fairs for cattle, only of modern institution."
"ALMINGTON, (or Amington), a township joined to Stony-Delph, in the parish of Tamworth, Tamworth division of the hundred of Hemlingford, in the county of Warwick, 3 miles to the N.E. of Tamworth. It lies on the river Anker, near the Midland railway, and the Coventry canal. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Worcester, united with Tamworth. Almington Hall was once the seat of the Clintons.
"BOLEHILL, a township united with Glascote, in the parish of Tamworth, and hundred of Hemlingford, in the county of Warwick, close to Tamworth. The Midland West Branch railway runs through it."
"BOX-TREE QUARTER, a district in the parish of Tamworth, hundred of Hemlingford, in the county of Warwick, close to Tamworth."
"CAMBERFORD, a hamlet in the parish of Tamworth, hundred of Hemlingford, in the county of Warwick, 2 miles to the N. of Tamworth. The Midland West Branch railway, on which Tamworth is a station, passes by this place."
"DOSTHILL, a hamlet in the parishes of Tamworth and Kingsbury, in the county of Warwick, 3 miles S. of Tamworth. In this hamlet is a chapel-of-ease to the vicarage of Kingsbury."
"GLASCOTE, a township in the parish of Tamworth, hundred of Hemlingford, county Warwick, 1 mile S.E. of Tamworth. It is united to Bolehall."
"MONKS-PATH, (or Monks-riding), a liberty in the parish of Tamworth, hundred of Kington, county Warwick, 7 miles S.E. of Birmingham. It is situated near a branch of the river Tame, and on the road between Birmingham and Warwick. The principal residence is Monks-path Hall.
"STONY-DELPH WITH ALMINGTON, a township in the parish of Tamworth, county Warwick, 3 miles S.E. of Tamworth."
"TAMWORTH CASTLE, a liberty in the parish of Tamworth, hundred of Hemlingford, county Warwick."
"WILNECOTE, a township and ecclesiastical district in the parish of Tamworth, Hemlingford hundred, county Warwick, 2 miles S.E. of Tamworth. It is a station on the West Midland railway. This place, anciently called Willowencote, is situated near the river Tame, on the ancient Watling Street. There are collieries and lime-kilns. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Worcester, value £100, in the patronage of the Vicar of Tamworth. The church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was rebuilt in 1821."
[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]