ROCESTER

Grid Ref: SK 112 392
Date: 16 April 2006 and 13 June 2018

 

Today Rocester is best known for the enormous J. C. Bamford factory with its ornamental lakes and wildfowl.  However, Rocester was a Roman settlement and fort on the River Dove.  It was founded about AD 70  to 75 and abandoned about 120 to 150.  Some time after AD 200, another defence was built on the same site, in the vicinity of the current church.  An Augustinian Abbey was founded in 1146, also near the church, but nothing remains above ground. On my first visit, in 2006, footsore at the end of our 12 mile walk, I missed the town's greatest historic treasure, a 700 year old 20 foot high church cross, said to be the finest in the county.  On my second visit I made a point of seeing it but the light was not ideal for my shot. St. Michael's was entirely rebuilt between 1870 and 1872 by Ewan Christian except for the 13th century tower, which was extensively restored.  The East range of Tutbury Mill was built by Richard Arkwright for cotton spinning.  It is four storeys high and 24 bays long. There are larger additions behind. In 2018, I was pleased to see that the old mill has been redeveloped as the JCB Academy to train young engineers.

The church was open when I visited in 2018 and was being prepared for the arrival of a new vicar. The church warden kindly switched the lights on for me so that I could take some indoor shots.

 

Rocester, Staffordshire spacer Rocester, Staffordshire
Arkwright's Mill in 2006   Wall plaque in 2006
JCB Academy   Rocester, Staffordshire
The Mill as the JCB Academy in 2018   View from the south in 2006
Church   church cross
St. Michael's, Rocester, in 2018   Church Cross, 2018
Nave   pulpit
The Nave   The Pulpit
South Aisle   lectern
The south aisle, modified as a meeting room and children's area   The Lectern
Butter Cross   The Prims
The Red Lion and restored Butter Cross   Primitive Methodist Chapel

In the picture above one sees the restored Butter Cross. Uttoxeter was famous for its butter which was transported as far as London. This butter trade was the origin of the Staffordshire pottery industry as the butter was sent in earthenware pots.

Sources:

The Buildings of England, Staffordshire, by Nikolaus Pevsner, Penguin, 1974, ISBN 0 14 071046 9
The King's England, Staffordshire, by Arthur Mee, Hodder and Stoughton, London, first published in 1937.
The Old Parish Churches of Staffordshire, by Mike Salter, Folly Publications, 1996, ISBN 1871731 25 8

 

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