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Tutbury in 1841

Tutbury is in the northern division of Offlow hundred, about 22 miles east of Stafford through Uttoxeter, on the bank of the Dove, which separates Staffordshire from Derbyshire. There is said to have been a fortress here in the Saxon times : at any rate, one was occupied by Henry de Ferieres or Ferrars, to whom the Conqueror had granted large possessions in Staffordshire. The castle is mentioned in Domesday ; and Tutbury, there called Toteberie, is described as a borough with a market. This Henry founded a Benedictine or Cluniac monastery (authorities differ as to which it was), the possessions of which were largely augmented by his successors, and were valued at the dissolution at £244, 16 shillings, 8 pence gross, or £199, 14 shillings, 10 pence clear yearly value. Robert de Ferrars, earl of Derby, one of the descendants of Henry, having joined the earl of Leicester and the other insurgent barons in the war against Henry III, lost his castle of Tutbury, which was taken by Prince Edward ; and, in consequence of his subsequent second rebellion, forfeited to the king, by whom it was bestowed on his son Edmund Crouchback. It was subsequently inherited by John of Gaunt, who rebuilt a great part of it, and lived here in great splendour. It was afterwards united with the duchy of Lancaster to the crown, and was one of the places of confinement of Mary Queen of Scots. In the great civil war it was held by the Royalists, and was not taken till the spring of 1646, soon after which it was in great part demolished. The honour of Tutbury comprehended several lordships, manors, towns, villages, and hamlets.

The village of Tutbury is on the slope of the hill that overhangs the valley of the Dove. The ruins of the castle are on the brow of the hill, and are sufficient to show its former magnitude : some parts are of perpendicular and others of earlier date. The ‘church is the nave of a much larger building; the north arches are walled up, and the south wall of the south aisle is mostly of later date, with perpendicular windows ; the present east end is the arch of the centre tower walled up, and part of the transept pier remains ; the piers and arches are Norman, a simple and bold example. The west door, and the arch of a window over it, are very fine : the door is much enriched with beakhead, zigzag, and other Norman enrichments, and part of the arch is worked in gypsum, the ornaments very delicately cut, and retaining much of their original sharpness. The font is a good one, of perpendicular character, but mutilated. The church is a valuable Norman specimen.’ (Rickman) There is a low tower, chiefly of Norman character, at the south-west angle. There are places of worship for Independents and for different branches of the Methodists. The parish has an area of 4,110 acres, with a population, in 1831, of 1,553. Some cotton-spinning is carried on. The market, formerly on Tuesday, has been given up. There is an endowed school. Tutbury was remarkable for an ancient and barbarous custom called ‘bull-running,’ which consisted of chasing a bull with a soaped tail, turned out anciently by the prior of Tutbury, and subsequently by the grantee of the priory lands. The custom has been abolished for several years. A somewhat similar custom has long existed at Stamford in Lincolnshire. Tutbury was, early in the present century, the scene of a remarkable imposture : a woman of the name of Ann Moore professed to live without taking any nourishment. She was watched, but without being detected, and her profession of entire abstinence gained credit for six years. At length a stricter watch was kept, and at the end of nine days (April or May, 1813) she was obliged to acknowledge the imposition, and that she had occasionally taken food. The case was however remarkable for the small quantity of nourishment which was taken by her.