Grid Ref: SJ 990 605
Date: 14 Jan 2017, 8 July 2018, 30 Oct 2019


Lazy Trout
The Lazy Trout in the middle of the village in Oct 2019

Meerbrook is a small village in North Staffordshire, on the River Churnet at the edge of the Peak District National Park. It is situated four miles north of the town of Leek, in the parish of Leekfrith. To the north are the popular walking and rock climbing areas of The Roaches and Hen Cloud while to the south is Tittesworth Reservoir. The area grew with the expansion of the early medieval wool industry, and the Cistercian Abbey of Dieulacres held three sheep farms in the village. A chapel was built in 1537, later serving as a schoolroom with a paid schoolmaster until around the 1780s. The local Meerbrook coalfield was dug commercially from around the 1600s, until 1878. Part of the village was submerged under the man-made Tittesworth reservoir in the early 1960s. There was a silk manufacturing mill, but this closed in 1970. Meerbrook's village school closed in 1969, and the building is now a youth hostel. There is a village hall just west of the church.

The present church of St. Matthew sits in the centre of the village, and was built 1870-1873 by the architect Norman Shaw. It has a three-bay, nave, one-bay chancel and central tower. The church is not easy to photograph because of the tall dense trees blocking the light. Early morning or late evening in June might provide more illumination than my mid-day shot in October.

church   Old School
Church of St. Matthew in Oct 2019   The Old School in 2019
Cottage   Chapel
Cottages in July 2018   Methodist Chapel in Oct 2019

Tittesworth is a civil parish in the Staffordshire Moorlands. It extends from the edge of the town of Leek in the south-west to Blackshaw Moor in the north-east. In the east is the village of Thorncliffe. To the west is the civil parish of Leekfrith, where the boundary is the River Churnet. To the east is the civil parish of Onecote. Tittesworth Brook runs westwards through the area from Thorncliffe, and flows into the Churnet. The name Tittesworth is Old English: a personal name thought to be Tet, and the word for an enclosed settlement.

Tittesworth Reservoir was created in 1858 by the Staffordshire Potteries Water Works Co., by damming the River Churnet. The area was originally 51 acres (21 ha). Work to increase the area to 189 acres (76 ha) was begun in 1959 and it officially opened in 1962. It is now part of Severn Trent Water. It pumps on average 28 million litres of water per day to households and businesses. Just outside Meerbrook, there is a visitor centre for the reservoir with shop, cafe and children's play area. There is a 4.8 mile walk on a good path around the reservoir.

  Winter Panorama at Tittesworth Reservoir, 2017  

The Buildings of England, Staffordshire
, by Nikolaus Pevsner, Penguin, 1974, ISBN 0 14 071046 9


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