Part 2



© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society




Audley parish church is dedicated to St James the Great. A church stood on this site in 1223 when it was first documented but the oldest parts of the present church date from a fourteenth century rebuilding.

The chancel was rebuilt in 1846-47 and major restoration work and alterations carried out until 1856, some work to the design of the architect George Gilbert Scott (see articles in Audley “An out of the way quiet place”, edited by Robert Speake, published in 1972; Audley Historian no. 2, published in 1996 and Audley Parish Millennium edited by Robert Speake, published in 2000). At the time of the rebuilding and restoration work of 1846-56 Minton tiles were laid in the church (see website

The parish registers are amongst the oldest surviving in England, dating from November 1538, but most are now in the safe keeping of Staffordshire Archives (see article in Audley Historian no. 7).

The memorials in the churchyard and inside the church have been surveyed and recorded by members of our society (see Monumental Inscriptions at the Church of St James the Great, Audley, Staffordshire, 3rd edition, published in 2013).



The brass to Sir Thomas Audley who died in 1385



Detail from the east window


(See also the St James’ Church website on



© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society




This 2007 view, taken from Wilbraham’s Walk, shows the war memorial as the only major change from the photo above, other than the trees which hide the view during summer months.



© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society


Fact file: St James’ Church


The Anglican Vicars of Audley


Ralph Maddock, vicar in 1532, died in office, buried Audley 21 March 1541/2


Nicholas Hawar, institution 13 April 1542, resigned (This entry omitted on List of Vicars in Audley Church)


Roger Haughton, institution 7 March 1554/5, resigned (List of Vicars gives Richard in error)


Andrew Beech, institution 23 July 1562


William Kelsall, son-in-law of Andrew Beech, institution 22 July 1590, ejected by Parliamentary Committee on 8 July 1646 for adhering to King Charles I, buried Audley 12 July 1649 (see articles in Audley Historian no.5 & no.18)


Edward Vernon, recorded as vicar in 1619 on List of Vicars but no records found (The founder of Audley Grammar School, but proved in Audley Historian no.18 that he was never a vicar of Audley)


John Smith, granted vicarage on 8 July 1646 by Committee for Plundered Ministers but unable to obtain possession until assisted by Parliamentary Committee for Staffordshire on 23 June 1647


William Overton, vicar during the Interregnum, 1650-1660


John Kelsall, son of William and curate of Audley, ejected with his father in 1646, returned in 1661 and instituted as vicar 18 August 1663, died in office, buried Audley 17 February 1668/9


Ralph Harper, institution 8 July 1669, vicar until 1683, served second term, admission 24 July 1693, resigned


Ralph Saxon, admission 8 September 1683, died in office, buried Audley 1 April 1693 (Omitted on List of Vicars)


Joseph Whishaw, admission 8 February 1703/4, died in office 3 April 1721, buried Audley 5 April 1721


John Salt, appointment 3 May 1721, died in office, buried Audley 31 March 1742


Brian Wharton, institution 22 July 1742, died in office 20 September 1750, buried Audley 24 September 1750


Charles Cradock, institution 24 December 1750, died in office 22 June 1753, buried Audley 25 June 1753


William Wright, institution 10 December 1753, resigned, buried Audley 9 February 1782


James Oates, institution 12 July 1766 (List of Vicars gives John in error)


Joshua Stonehewer, institution 17 June 1784, died in office 12 January 1790, buried Audley 15 January 1790


William Hicken, institution 28 June 1790, died in office, buried Audley 8 January 1833


Thomas Garratt, institution 18 January 1833, died in office 9 December 1841 while in London, buried Audley 18 December 1841 (see article in Audley Historian no.6)


Charles Wodsworth, vicar in 1842, died in London 28 March 1844


Charles Philip Wilbraham, appointment 27 November 1844, resigned 25 January 1873, died 17 December 1879, buried Odd Rode, Cheshire 22 December 1879 (see article in Audley Historian no.5)


John Pauli, vicar from 1874, died in office 12 November 1918, buried Audley 15 November 1918


William Sykes, vicar from 1919, resigned 27 August 1928, died 24 August 1930, buried Southborough, Kent 28 August 1930


James Frederick Alexander Stimpson, institution 18 January 1929, resigned 1930


Harold Young Burnett, institution 22 July 1931, resigned 1934, died 1981 in Derbyshire


Jenkin Lewis Dyfed Lewis, institution 28 August 1935, resigned 1970, died 17 August 1977, buried Audley 27 August 1977


Eustace Kenneth Victor Pearce, institution 19 May 1971, resigned 1981, died 2010


Wallace Parke Benn, institution 29 March 1982, resigned 1987


Peter Timothy William Davies, institution 23 January 1988, retired 2015


Simon Charles Ross Tomkins, institution 3 September 2016



© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society




The building to the right in this 1920s view is Audley vicarage built in 1833 by the Reverend Thomas Garratt at his own expense (see article in Audley Historian no. 6). This replaced an earlier vicarage which had lathe and plaster walls and a thatched roof. Since 1833 there have been considerable alterations to the building, the most recent major changes being in 1936.



© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society




The vicarage closed in 1979 when it was replaced by a new one in Wilbraham’s Walk. The old vicarage was converted into a care home for the elderly, named Wilbraham House, which opened in August 1982. A 2008 view.



© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society




The Old Vicarage in 2007



© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society


Fact file: The Vicarage


The following appeared in the June 1936 edition of the Audley Parish Magazine.


“The work of the Vicarage Restoration is well in hand, and it is now possible to visualize the appearance of the New House. The new kitchen quarters have already been built, all the old windows replaced by modern ones of steel casement type, and a damp course introduced into the walls of the old building. The ground floor will now consist of a Study, Drawing and Dining Rooms, Cloak Room, China Pantry, Kitchen, Larder and Scullery. The upstairs will consist of Five Bedrooms, Dressing Room and Bath Room. The outer walls which now present a rather hideous appearance in their blueish-green colour, will be plastered with White Atlas Cement so that the complete building will present a uniform appearance.

The front of the Vicarage will now face Chester Road and consequently it is not possible to obtain the best view from Church Street. A French Door will lead from the hall on the South side to the garden, and another from the Dining Room on the West side to the lawn. The builders are working well to the schedule, and it is expected that the house will be ready for occupation by the end of August. There still remains the sum of £217 to be raised in the parish towards the restoration, and although we have abandoned the weekly contribution scheme, it is hoped that those who have not yet contributed to the Fund, will do so, and so share with others the responsibility that befalls the parish in this respect. Contributions should be sent to the Vicar, or may be paid directly at the bank to the Audley Vicarage Restoration Fund.”




Vicars of Audley who lived in the 1833 vicarage


Thomas Garratt from 1833

Charles Wodsworth from 1842

Charles Philip Wilbraham from 1844

John Pauli from 1874

William Sykes from 1919

J. F. A. Stimpson from 1929

Harold Young Burnett from 1931

J. L. D. Lewis from 1935

E. K. Victor Pearce from 1971



© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society




This view of the rear of the vicarage was taken from The Croft, which at the time, was church property. The Croft was later sold and built on with the result that this view cannot be seen today.



© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society




A cottage and a farm stood alongside the churchyard. Nearest the church is no. 21 Church Street and the other is no. 23.



© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society


Fact file: No. 21 Church Street

The farm appeared on the Audley Tithe Award in 1837 as a homestead in the occupation of Benjamin Leighton. However, records in the papers of the Boughey family, once Lords of the Manor of Audley, record that Benjamin Leighton had a farm in Audley from 1817. It was in that year that he took over from John Lander, who in turn can be traced back to 1809, but unfortunately none of the records give a name to the farm. Benjamin Leighton left the farm before 1851. By 1901 it was the home of Joseph Cooper, an agricultural worker. On 22 August 1910 the house and farm were purchased by William Crowther, a farmer, for £800. The farm passed to Benjamin Crowther who is recorded from 1928 until 1940. It is only then that the name of Church Farm appears in any records. The Crowther family left the farm, and Audley, to run a boarding house in Blackpool. In 1950 no. 21 was listed as a house again.



© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society


Fact file: No. 23 Church Street

A house stood here in 1837 occupied by James Hayes whose descendents were still here in 1933. From about 1905-1916 it was also used as an office for Sherratt and Nelson, solicitors. By 1950 this property became Church Farm in the occupation of John Barnett, a farmer. The Barnett family remained here until the 1960s when the farm closed.




The farm demolition. The Butcher’s Arms public house stands in the background.


The farm closed in the late 1960s allowing Church Farm and the cottage to be demolished. Audley Health Centre was built on the site and opened in 1976. It was followed by Audley Pensioners’ Hall which opened on 1 December 1979.



Audley Health Centre 1976 version


In 2006 the Health Centre closed and relocated temporarily, while the old building was demolished and a new two storey health centre and single story pharmacy was built on the site. The new Health Centre opened to patients on 26 March 2007.



2007 view


Left to right: Pensioners’ Hall, new Health Centre, Co-operative Pharmacy. The Co-operative Group later sold all of its pharmacies and in August 2015 the pharmacy name was changed to the Well Pharmacy.

(see website:



© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society


Across the road from Church Farm, at the corner of what was then the vicarage garden, stood two small buildings which appeared on the 1837 Tithe Map and which were then a cooper’s shop in one and a hearse house in the other. The cooper’s shop eventually became no. 22 Church Street and saw out its last days as a shoe repairer’s while the old hearse house became a grocer’s.


© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society


Fact file: Former hearse house

This was a lock-up grocer’s shop by the name of Buckley’s (from Talke) which sold cheese and bacon.


© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society


Fact file: no. 22 Church Street

Reginald Hawthorne, who was a boot and shoe repairer, had his business here from at least 1921 until 1953. It was also a lock-up shop.




© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society


Alongside Buckley’s stood another building about which very little is known. It may possibly have been Audley’s first infant school, but later it was definitely Audley’s first scout hut, a scout group having being formed in 1930. These buildings were all demolished by the 1960s.


© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society


Fact file: Scout Hut


The following appeared in the October 1930 edition of Audley Parish Magazine:



The scout hut was described in issue no. 5 of Audley Community News:


“… it is thought to have been an early school. Consisting of a single room with a small porch and door adjacent to the pavement it stood alongside Buckley’s lockup grocery shop and Reg Hawthorne’s cobbler’s shop … The room inside was long and narrow with a fireplace and hearth at each end; three windows overlooked the vicarage garden and the Croft.”



The scout hut, nearest camera in this unidentified parade photo, stood next to the two lock-up shops, which can just be seen between the scout hut and the old Butcher’s Arms public house. The scout hut can also be seen behind the lamp-post in the old photo of the memorial and vicarage. (See also Audley Community News issue no. 4)


© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society




The end of no. 22 Church Street can be seen at the right of the photo next to the Butcher’s Arms public house (no. 24). A public house stood on this site in 1818 under the sign “Shoulder of Mutton”. It was owned and occupied by Thomas Hilditch who was a butcher by trade. He died in 1822. His will, dated 26 April 1822, includes the following: [Courtesy of Richard Burgess]

“… cause to be valued all that my messuage or public house called or known by the sign of the Butchers Arms with the Butchers Shop Garden Hereditaments and premises thereto belonging situate and being in Audley…”



© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society




The building in the previous photo was rebuilt in 1939 and moved back several feet from the road. The pub remained open throughout the rebuilding work and still retains parts of the former building. The wall to the right marks the place where the lock-up shops and scout hut stood. 2007 view.



© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society


Fact file: No. 24 Church Street - The Butcher’s Arms Public House


Licensees of the Butcher’s Arms - dates are those for which records have been found. The intervening years could be covered by those listed or by an unrecorded licensee.

Thomas Hilditch 1822

Samuel Hilditch 1834-1851 (son of Thomas)

John Warham 1860-1862

William Hilditch 1862-1866

John Warham (same as above) 1870-1879

Elizabeth Warham (widow of John) 1880-1884

Frank Warham (son of John) 1888

Alfred Bennett 1891-1901

Charles Warham Bennett (son of Alfred) 1904-1907

Maria Bennett (widow of Charles) 1908-1910

(Owned by Acton Brewery Co., Derby in 1910)

Harry Hancock (married Maria Bennett) 1910-1916

George Riley 1917-1925

George Betts 1928-1932

William Brown 1933-1940

William Keeling 1950-1961

Bernard Latham 1961-1971

Mona Latham 1971-1980

Philip Roberts 1980-1986

Duncan Keith 1987

Ronald Green 1989-1994

Luther Maxfield 1995-1996

Simon & Sarah Roberts

Karl Harrison 2000-2003

Roy Proctor 2004-

Ben Cooper


A sale by auction of the old Butcher’s Arms was recorded in the 7 January 1893 edition of the Staffordshire Advertiser newspaper:



The Butcher’s Arms is the weekly meeting place of the Rotary Club of Audley (see website