Grid Ref: SK 048 551. Elevation 950 feet at the church
Date 31 May 2017


St. Luke's, Onecote


Onecote lies in the Hamps Valley in the Staffordshire Moorlands and Peak District National Park. It had 220 inhabitants recorded in the 2011 census. An information board at the Village Hall gives some intereting background about the village. The parish is 7 miles long and two miles broad, rising from 804 feet at the southern tip to 1604 on the Northern Boundary at Merryton Low. There is a bronze age barrow at Merryton Low. The name Onecote first appears in 1199 as Anecote, which means a hut or cottage on its own. The first settlement was at the confluence of the rivers Hamps and Westbrook. Croxden Abbey built a grange at Onecote in 1123. Hulton Abbey built a grange further north at Mixon in 1237. At the dissolution of the monasteries most of the land went into the Manor of Bradnop and from the 17th century to a private individuals. "The Great Waste" was common land but the 18th century enclosures allotted it to the Lord of the Manor. The current village developed at the junction of the Bradnop Road and the Ipstones to Butterton Road. The earliers buildings date from the 17th century. The school, now the village hall, was built in 1870. The village has 12 listed buildings including the early 19th century Mermaid Inn.

When St. Luke's church was built in the 1750s it was a single chamber with a wooden bell tower. A chancel was added in 1837 and a porch. The church was closed when I called but it has Coat of Arms of 1754 (George II) and a War Memorial Board. Pevsner mentions that the church has a pulpit with a tester dating from 1753-5. The Commandment Board is a large panel with the painted figures of Moses, Aaron and Joshua and signed J. Woolf, pinxit - W. Brown sculpsit and dated 1755. The East window is in the Venetian style. The tower has a single bell. The parish registers commence in 1755.

Onecote provides an interesting footnote to a literary classic. Charles Dickens wrote Bleak House which came out in instalments in 1852-53. It features a prolonged law suit in the High Court of Chancery - Jarndyce v Jarndyce which concerns the fate of a large inheritance. G.C. Baugh in the essay mentioned below, tells how Dickens' story was based on a real case, relating to the Cook family of Lane Ends Farm, Onecote. He details extensive research into this family and shows that Thomas Cook of Lane Ends farm made a will in 1816 which led eventually to the case of Cook versus Fynney. Details of this had been written in a pamphlet on the defects of Chancery by William Challinor, a Leek solicitor, in 1849. He sent a copy to Dickens when he had seen the first few chapters of the novel. Dickens acknowledged his obligation for the details in the preface to Bleak House when it appeared in book form. The authors of the Wikipedia article on Bleak House seem to be unaware of this fascinating detail.


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

Information Display at the Village Hall. I did not look to see the source of the information but its style suggests that it is probably from the Victoria County History volumes on Staffordshire

Staffordshire Histories: Essays in Honour of Michael Greenslade, edited by Philip Morgan and A.D.M Phillips published in 1999 by the Staffordshire Record Society and The Centre for Local History at Keele University, ISBN 0 901719 27 4. This work honours Michael Greenslade, a researcher and author, who made a great contribution to the Victoria County History series and who was the editor of the volume on Leek published in 1996. The ninth essasy in this book is by G.C. Baugh and details the case law suit mentioned above.


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