The Journal of the Audley & District

Family History Society




Number 1, 1995



Copyright Audley & District Family History Society, 1995





The Barons Audley of Heley Castle and Hulton Abbey


Thelma W Lancaster



Audley: a Brief Survey of its Surnames from the Fourteenth to the Seventeenth Century


Edgar Tooth



Nail-making in Audley from circa 1550 to circa 1750


Jm & L Williams



The Turbulent Squire: Richard Edensor Heathcote (1780-1850)


David Dyble



Letter from America: an Emigrant from Audley Writes Home


Pat Spode



A Teaching Career:Mr Alfred Norman (1863-1933), Audley Headmaster


Joan & Barbara Norman



A Young Surveyor at Kent’s Lane and Hilditch Collieries, 1941-4


Doug Johnson



Locating Ancestors in Audley and Surrounding Areas


Stan Brassington & Pat Spode



Audley Customs and Celebrations


Stan Brassington



Book Reviews


Ian Bailey


 Journal of the Audley & District Family History Society, Number 1, 1995.

            The  idea of a society journal came from our regular practice of having guest speakers at almost half of our meetings.  These visitors present interesting and well-researched material on many aspects of the history of Audley and the surrounding district.  It seemed worthwhile to make this and other work available to a wider audience.  It is our intention that this will become an annual publication.

            This journal is intended for all those interested in local history.  Our work has naturally been centred on Audley, but the journal will include items which are of interest in the wider district, in the villages which are detached from the Stoke-Newcastle conurbation, such as Betley, Barthomley, Silverdale, Scot Hay, Leycett, Talke, Butt Lane and Chesterton.  We are hoping that this journal will appeal to a variety of interests through the wide range of periods covered. This first issue contains articles on subjects from medieval times to the 1940s. 

            We are also a family history society, so those of you with connections in the area may well be scouring it for references which might be useful.  For people who have thought of tracing their ancestors, but have done nothing practical so far, we have included an article on the ways in which our society can help.


So I wrote in 1995.  What follows is the text of the journal of that year.  The only changes made are to cut the rest of the introduction, which contains out-of-date details, and, most important, I have noted below that some of our contributors have since died.  We thank both our living contributors and the spouses of those who died for their permission to put the articles on the internet.  Brenda Dyble and Joan Brassington both commented that David and Stan would have been delighted about it. 

Finally, I do not now have the original illustrations on my computer and so cannot include them here.  (There were only four in those primitive days long ago.)

Ian Bailey.  Email:




The Contributors:

Thelma Lancaster [1924-2006] spent three and a half years in the WRNS, worked in a library and spent more than 30 years in clerical work in the NHS.  For many years she has been delving into old records in pursuit of three main interests: her own family history, Hulton Abbey and the early Audleys, Lords and Barons of Heley.

Mr L Williams M.A., M.I.O.S.H  An electrical engineer by training, he retired as Area Director of the Health and Safety Executive in 1986.  He obtained a Certificate in Local History at Keele University in 1990 and a M.A. in Local History in 1993.

Mrs JM Williams  A company secretary and housewife, she has provided direction and support to the work undertaken by Mr L Williams for more than 40 years.  [Mrs Williams has died since the article was written]

Edgar Tooth has been researching Staffordshire surnames for over 20 years and has contributed numerous articles to local newspapers and magazines, including the Evening Sentinel and, currently, the Advertiser.  He is a regular collaborator with Michael Paffard on Radio Stoke, answering listeners’ enquiries.  He has written a History of Staffordshire Surnames, which he hopes will be published in the next 12 months.

David Dyble  Originally from Norfolk, he became fascinated by the area around Apedale over the last 30 years and he continues to delve deeper into its history. [David died in 1999]

Pat Spode  A retired schoolteacher, Pat was born in Alsagers Bank and has lived there most of her life. 

Joan & Barbara Norman are granddaughters of Alfred Norman and, as former schoolteachers, followed in their grandfather’s footsteps.

Doug Johnson  was born in Hartshill in 1926.  He pursued a career in surveying and construction, which took him to the South-West some 35 years ago.  He was for 20 years the Managing Director of a constuction company in Somerset.  He now lives in peaceful retirement with his wife, Mary, in a country cottage in the Mendips and enjoys a variety of interests. 

Stan Brassington  As one of his many interests, Stan is secretary of the society and was formerly Head of History at Stoke St Peters School. [Stan died in 2002]

Ian Bailey  failed his accountancy exams with ease after leaving school, worked as a labourer in a variety of jobs and has now taught sociology at a local college of further education for a number of years.  

Editorial Committee:

Ian Bailey, Stan Brassington, David Dyble, Bernard Tate

Word Processing:

Ian Bailey

Thanks to Patrick Corness for producing originals for printing.


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