Updated10 Aug 2015



Audley and District Family History Society Publications



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Audley Historian Vols 7 to 18 in stock (others sold out)

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Monumental Inscriptions: St James, Audley


This is the 3rd edition of this publication. Released 2013 cover


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Monumental Inscriptions: St John, Alsagers Bank/Central Methodist Cemetery, Bignall  End/Independent Chapel, Halmerend.cover


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Monumental Inscriptions: St Martin, Talke. cover


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Letters of Lieutenant John Lawton 1915-19  (see review below) Some Extracts. cover



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Letters of Oswald Tittle  1912 – 18   (see review below). cover


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Letters of Albert and Edward Riley 1916 - 1918.        


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The parish registers of St Bertoline, Barthomley, Cheshire. Baptisms 1562 - 1908, Marriages 1562 - 1910, Burials 1562 - 1910  . cover


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 Audley Wills (fully transcribed) 1650-1700,  (CD)  (see review below). cover

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Audley Wills (fully transcribed) 1650-1700,  Download  (see review below). cover

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"Never to Return" SOLD OUT (the people on the war memorials of Audley. Talke, Scott Hay & Butt Lane) List of people who died in both World Wars. (in Office xls format)

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Some of the titles have been reviewed below.



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Audley Historian (Society journal)


This journal contains articles on the history of Audley parish and the surrounding villages. To help you decide if a particular volume would be of interest to you, a full list of the articles contained is given below:



VOLUME 20 - 2014 (August 2014) (out-of-print)


Audley Manor Court and the Manorial System, Clive Millington

From Theatre to Cinema: Holloways, Grants and the Audley Connection, Ian Bailey and Clive Millington

Alsager in Time of War, Jim Sutton

The Cover Photograph: Rookery Colliery , Bignall End about 1907

'Those were the Days', Bessie Fryer

A Working Life, Roy Turner

Adventures and Misadventures of a Young Married Couple in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, Joan Tomkinson




VOLUME 19 - 2013 (Out-of-print)


Audley in 1720: a list of Some Inhabitants, Nigel Tringham

Friendly Societies?, Ian Bailey

The Postal Service in Audley Parish, Clive Millington

The Ing Family: Autobiographical Accounts, Bernard Tate

My Hero - My dad, Joan Tomkinson

Memories of Mainwarings - Red and Blue, Philip Mountford

Setting a hare running: Where did the water come from? Philip Rhodes

I worked at Audley Knitwear, Connie Taylor

Online: Index to Staffordshire Advertiser, 1840 - 1920

Additions, Corrections and Obituary  



VOLUME 18 - 2012


The Parson of Welford, Clive Millington

A History of the Woodlands of the Apedale Valley, Robert Mayer

Suicide in Gaol, Christine Huxley

Masters and Men: The Relationship between Coal and Iron Masters and their Men in Nineteenth Century North Staffs., Philip Leese

Living with Disaster: In and Around the Parish of Audley 1840-1939, Ian Bailey

A Contribution to the Minnie Pit Fund from Birchenwood Colliery

The Site of the Minnie Pit Explosion, 1918, Lloyd Boardman

Thomas Bloor's Story, Compiled from Various Documents, Ian Bloor

Mechanisation at the Minnie Pit, John Burston

Miners' Clothing at the Minnie Pit, Joyce Wilson

A Visit to Audley Knitwear, Castle Works, 4 January 1951, Joan Tomkinson

The Mystery of Harry Moss ... Solved 



VOLUME 17 – 2011


Audley's Lost Manor, Robert Mayer

The Lost Buildings of Audley Village, Clive Millington

Audley's Poor in 1838, Ian Bailey

Talke May Festival and Well Dressing, Philip R. Leese

Oswald Tittle: the Ongoing Story, Anne Ward

A Letter from the Diglake Disaster, January 1895 Burndred Brothers, Talk o'th'Hill, Ron Burndred

Twins, Joan Tomkinson

Connections and Reflections of a North Staffordshire Exile, Philip Mountford

Minnie Mysteries Continued

Obituary: Bill Tomkinson



VOLUME 16 – 2010


A Grave Matter - Reprise, Robert Mayer

Ten Questions About Audley Churchyard, Ian Bailey

John Corbett, William Young Craig & the Old Hayswood Connection, Clive Millington

Minnie Mystery No. 2: Harry Moss is Missing.  Who was Harry Moss? An Unexplained Tragedy, Anne James

Coal, Fires and Great Big ‘oles (Part 2): The Glasshouse Collieries, Duncan Hindmarch



VOLUME 15 – 2009


Coal, Fires and Great Big ‘oles (Part 1): Glasshouse and Water Hayes Farms, Duncan Hindmarch

The Old Hayswood Colliery & Estate: Part 4, Clive Millington

Controversy Rages: Halmerend or Halmer End? Time to Talke

Wood Lane’s Lost School, Robert Mayer

Alsagers Bank Cottage Home For Orphans: New Information

William Rigby: Coal Owner (1818-1886), Ron Burndred

Small Disaster at Talk-o’-th’-Hill Colliery, 21st October 1908: Only Two Killed, Kate Box & Ian Bailey

Hunt for a Young Woman: Extraordinary Scene at Alsagers Bank

Harry Matthews (c1891-1980), Joan Tomkinson

Ravens Lane: the 40s and 50s Remembered, Anne James

Our Thanks to Pat: Tributes to Pat Spode




VOLUME 14 – 2008


Charles Rubotham : Cavalryman of Castle Hill Farm, Robert Mayer

The Old Hayswood Colliery & Estate: Part 3,  Clive Millington

Alsagers Bank Cottage Home for Orphans,  Ian Bailey 

Talk o’ th’ Hill Motor & Transport Company Ltd,  Kate Box

One Day a Boy, the Next a Man: Starting Work at the Pit,  Albert Gater

Plane Crashes in Chadwick ’s Field !  More Information Please

Recollections of a 1930s-1940s Childhood: Growing Up in Hill Terrace , Audley,  Joan Tomkinson





VOLUME 13 – 2007



The Caldwell Diary Project: James Caldwell (1759-1838) of Linley Wood, Talke, JJ Heath-Caldwell.

Delving into “Perils in the Mine”, Philip Leese.

The Old Hayswood Colliery & Estate: Part 2, Clive Millington.

Afterword: a “Minnie Mystery: The Naming of the Minnie Pit, Clive Millington.

James Worgan: Manager of Hayswood Colliery, Jim Worgan.

Oswald’s Last Stunt, August 1918, Scott Arthur.

Butt Lane Picture Palace, Ron Burndred.

Trade Name Halmer: the Halmer Tileries Ltd 1935-1939, Gordon Howle.

‘Death in the Afternoon’: The Chesterton Air Raid, Duncan Hindmarch



VOLUME 12 - 2006


The Betley, Audley and Balterley Volunteers, Paul Anderton.
The Old Hayswood Colliery and Estate: Part 1,
Clive Millington.
Bad Behaviour and Election Time

The MacGowans of Talke: Mining Engineers, Kate Box
Butt Lane
Memories, Audrey Fitzpatrick.
Voyage to
New Zealand, 1923: The Diary of Frederick William Taylor

Going like the Clappers: New Bells for Audley Church, 1946
The Webb Family and Farming, Jack Meads. 
Registered Deliveries: Nurse Eardley’s Career,
Robert Mayer.

Audley & District Family History Society: the First Twenty Years 



VOLUME 11 - 2005


A Grave Story, Robert Mayer.
Murder in Butt Lane? Let the Reader Decide,
Ron Burndred.
Audley in the 'Modern Domesday’
, Hayley Mayer.
Obituary of the Late Councillor George Taylor, J.P., 1923.
My Mother’s Superstitions
, Shirley Quinn.
Pavillioned in Splendour,
John Taylor.
Memories of Miles Green Between the Wars, Part 3
Jack Meads
Slowly Changing: The Village of Betley in the 1930s and 1960s, Rhoda Farrington.
The Theatre Groups of Audley Village, Part 1: ‘Marion’s Lot’,
Clive Millington.




VOLUME 10 - 2004


Early References to Coal Mining in Audley Parish, Clive Millington.
The Mormon Connection,
Angela M. Davies

The Howles: An Enterprising Family, Gordon Howle
The Kettle-Kettel Smith at Butt Lane,
Ron Burndred.
Mrs Thompson’s Travails: A Widow and Marriage,
Pat Spode.
Diglake Extra; Audley and the Great War,
Ian Bailey.
Memories of the Home Front: Bignall End During the First World War; Lost in the Great War,
Anne Vinall.
Olive’s Legacy,
Joan Tomkinson.
Memories of Miles Green Between the Wars, Part 2,
Jack Meads.
33, Church Street, Audley: From Type to Teeth,
John Taylor.



VOLUME 9 - 2003


Introducing the Caldwells of Linley Wood, Talke, JJ Heath-Caldwell

George Eardley: Colonial Warrior, Robert Mayer

The Audley Colliery Disaster: Diglake Pit, 14th January, 1895, David Dyble

The Mystery of the Diglake Jug and Other Diglake Items A New Index of Colliery Deaths & the List of Fatalities in the Talke o'th'Hill Disaster, 1866, Mark Casewell

Cricket and Yet More Cricket: the Founding of the Ikin Cricketing Dynasty, Anne James & Michael Ikin

My Mother's Words, Shirley Quinn

Memories of Miles Green Between the Wars, Jack Meads. 



VOLUME 8 - 2002


The North Staffordshire Estates of the Audley Family in the Middle Ages, Robert Mayer

The Moss Family of Red Street: a Dynasty of Potters, Janet Easener

From Betley to Alsager: the Development of Local Cricket 1847-75, Ian Bailey

To The Other Side Of The World: The Journal of Arthur Davenport's Voyage to Australia, 1912, Anne James

A Tribute to Jack Malpass (killed 1943)

Halmer Brickyard and Local Buses: a Response to Items in the Audley Historian, Jack Cross

The Concert Party: Alsagers Bank 1948-53, Joan Tomkinson

Tributes to Stan Brassington 




VOLUME 7 - 2001


Early Audley, Robert Mayer

The Audley Parish Registers 1538-1875, Clive Millington

"You Must Give All Our Loves to Matthew Dean and Wife and to All Inquiring Friends", Angela Davies

Power in Mid-C19 Betley: Insights From the Staffordshire Advertiser, Ian Bailey

The Rowley Family: Travelling Showmen, Lionel Kitchingman

Zeppelin Raids and Oil Prospecting: Traces of Early Twentieth Century Audley

Grandparents Remembered: Domestic Photographs of the Early Twentieth Century, Joan Tomkinson

Pierpoints: "The Long Green Building", Anne James

Home Life in and Around Audley, 1914-1939, Frederick A Taylor 



VOLUME 6 - 2000 (Out-of-print)


The Audleys of Audley End, Robert Speake

The Gresley Canal, Robert Mayer Boyles Hall 1790-1875, Clive Millington

The Poetry of Rev Thomas Garratt MA (1796-1841), Stan Brassington

Audley 1840-61: an Out-of-the-Way, Quiet Place? Ian Bailey

A Letter to the Editor Concerning the Three Audley Murders, Edensor Roy Jones

The Late Mr George Proctor (1842-1922)

An Extract From the Sale of the Apedale Estate, circa 1930

Memories of a Miles Green Man, Jack Cross

The Eardley Gathering: a Personal View, Robert Jack Eardley 




VOLUME 5 -1999 (Out-of-print)


The Dispersal of an Old Audley Name (1530-1750), Robert Mayer

The Kelsall Family of Audley, 1530-1750, Peter Kelsall

A Folly, a Funeral, a Feast ... and a Handsome Flagstone, Pat Spode

Murders in the 1840s: Ordinary Life in Audley Seen Through Extraordinary Events, Ian Bailey

Two Unusual Mining Accidents

Charles Philip Wilbraham 1810-1879: Vicar of Audley, Ann Baker Wilbraham

Mainwaring Brothers: Bus and Coach Operators in Audley, David Stanier

Life in a Mining Village: Market Gardening, Rats, Pits, John F Brown 



The following are now available to view on-line

VOLUME 4 - 1998 (Out-of-print)



A View of Eardley ‘Olde’ Hall, Robert Mayer
An Audley Life: The Autobiography of George Dobson, 1865-1946,
George Dobson
The Audley Railway,
David Dyble
Half-glimpsed Figures: Women in the 1891 Talke Census,
Philip R Leese
Halmer End... And Away,
Gertrude Evans
Princess Tiny: A Celebrity

Joseph Prophett: A Soldier of the Great War, Tony & Beryl Winterton
Letter From Australia: an Emigrant Writes Home on Hearing of the Outbreak of War in 1914
A Grammar School Education Between the Wars,
Jack Meads



VOLUME 3 - 1997 (Out-of-print)



Audley’s Castle, County Down, Ann Sterritt
An Audley Armory,
Randle Knight
Nineteenth Century Methodism in the Audley Area,
David Dyble
‘The late revolting murder and mutilation at Alsagers Bank’,
Ruth Brassington
Mirror of Village Life: Extracts from the Log Book of Alsagers Bank School, 1870-1929,
Pat Spode
Aaron Locket: ‘The Colliers’ Champion’,
John Taylor
A Night to Remember in 1942,
Tom Smith
Between Halmer End and Silverdale: Recollections, 1922-1939,
Sarah Ward
More Audley Street Names,
Stan Brassington
An Investigation into Staffordshire Dialect,
Lorraine Turner



VOLUME 2 - 1996 (Out-of-print)



A Comparison of Audley, Barthomley and Betley: Their Differences and Similarities as Revealed in Three Local Studies,  Robert and Janet Speake

Reading Audley Church,  Wendy Morgan

What’s in a Name?  Rose Wheat

Audley and the Staffordshire Advertiser,   Brian Stokes

The Ancient Order of Foresters in Audley,  John Taylor 

Sir Thomas Comes of Age,  David Dyble

Shocking Discovery at Halmerend: The Times, July 30th, 1881

Work and Marriage: Into and Out of the Audley Area,  Ian Bailey

Miles Green Memories,  Wilf Chadwick

Pits and Footrills,  Roy Chadwick



VOLUME 1 - 1995 (Out-of-print)



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




Publication Reviews


Audley Historian Volume 20 (2014)

This year's journal contains, as usual, a range of items and Clive Millington starts it off with a description of how the manor courts operated, with examples from Audley's court. Then Ian Bailey and Clive Millington try to unravel the mysterious gravestone of 'Henry Holloway, comedian'(died 1902) who is buried in Audley churchyard. The journey is a strange and eventful one.


It is a pleasure to say that we have an article on Alsager this time - a rare event indeed - as Jim Sutton discusses the effect of various wars on that town.


The cover photograph this year is a striking image of Rookery Colliery about 1906, and information on this picture and some others is given in a separate article.


The final three articles are all about life in the parish. One is the transcript of an interview with Roy Turner, born in Wood Lane in 1927, and the other two are autobiographical items by Bessie Fryer and Joan Tomkinson.  



Audley Historian Volume 15 (2009)

Duncan Hindmarch has acquired a fascination with underground fires and this led to an interest in the Glasshouse and Water Hayes farms in Chesterton.  This has brought a two-fold benefit to this year’s Audley Historian: he pursued the history of these two farms back into the seventeenth century, bringing in the glass and coal industries the while; and it also gave us a rare article on Chesterton.  We depend, of course, on people contributing articles to keep this journal going and wish there were more from the parishes surrounding Audley.  They would be very welcome.


Clive Millington concludes his series on the Old Hayswood Colliery and Estate.  Studies in such detail as this of a single and obscure colliery are rare, and Clive’s work here is an important contribution not only to Audley history, but that of North Staffordshire and, because of the unusual period of the ‘Co-operative Colliery’, to the history of the coal industry in Britain. 


We have a couple of shorter articles on our major industry as well: on a leading local coal owner, William Rigby, and also on an accident at Talk-o’-th-Hill Colliery in 1908


Robert Mayer on Wood Lane’s first school is another pioneering effort: it is the first full account of a school we have published, but Robert is keen to place the school in a parish-wide context and so gives a well-illustrated grounding in education.


Anne James has written an account of the shops of her childhood in Ravens Lane in the 1940s and 1950s, which will trigger strong recollections in many of our readers.


Our usual compliment of short articles include the story, written by Joan Tomkinson, of Harry Matthews, Audley’s noted barber, brother to an arguably even more noted North Staffordshire person, Stanley.  Further information has come to light on the Alsagers Bank Cottage Home for Orphans; and our editor has ventured into dangerous territory by wondering about the spelling of Halmer… something-or-other, and Talke.  There is also a newspaper account from 1909 of ‘An Extraordinary Scene in Alsagers Bank’ about which there is some mystery.


Finally, there are tributes to our late and lamented member, Pat Spode.


Reviewed by Ian Bailey




Audley Historian Volume 14 (2008)

Charles Rubotham, born in Audley in 1800, had an eventful life as he joined the army.  Robert Mayer’s entertaining account takes us well beyond Audley’s boundaries (as a number of articles have done in past Historians) – even as far as Nottingham and Canada.


Clive Millington continues his important study, the Old Hayswood Colliery and Estate, which includes among many other details, a list of the 19 workers and their wages in July 1890.


Editing the journal has brought many surprises, especially in the variety of articles that appear.  One of these was a cache of papers which had been uncatalogued on the shelves of the Hanley Archives since the 1960s, the MacGowan collection, and this formed the basis of an article by Kate Box on the MacGowan family in a previous journal.  Now, Kate has written on another aspect of the collection, the Talk o’th’ Hill Motor & Transport Company, and brought to light  long-forgotten information on this post-World War One company.  Similarly, it was a surprise to find some good quality information on another institution, the Alsagers Bank Cottage Home for Orphans of the 1880s, and here you will find its report and accounts for 1887.


There are two short articles to add to the variety of the journal: Albert Gater’s sudden transition from school to the Jamage Pit; and Ron Burndred account of a plane crash in Chadwick’s field.


Finally, Joan Tomkinson has given her recollections of ‘Growing up in Hill Terrace, Audley’ in the 1930s and 40s – with some evocative photographs, one of which forms the front cover to the journal.


Reviewed by Ian Bailey.



Audley Historian Volume 13 (2007)

Thirteen volumes of the history of Audley and surrounding villages and we’re only just scratching the surface!


This year’s articles maintain the standard.  JJ Heath-Caldwell gives an introduction to the important diaries of James Caldwell (1759-1838) of Linley Wood, Talke.  It is hoped that he will come and talk to us about them in due course. 


Audley’s growth was based on mining and the journal has some good articles here.  Philip Leese examines ‘Perils in the Mine: a Colliery Tale in Verse’, a narrative poem by Frances M Wilbraham, sister of the famous vicar, about an accident in 1847.   Clive Millington continues his study of the Old Hayswood Colliery in Halmerend, and this article deals with the ‘Co-operative Colliery’ phase in the 1870s-1880s.  This is a rare examination of a rare phenomenon.  Clive also adds a short item at the end – and one, which will be of interest to many.  He has solved the mystery of the name of the Minnie Pit – a controversial matter for some years.  Another interesting addition to Clive’s work is a short article by Jim Worgan.  Jim recently discovered that his grandfather, who he knew to be a colliery manager, was the first manager of the Co-operative Colliery.


You will have read from time to time in our newsletters of the publication of the letters of Oswald Tittle, an Audley man who emigrated to Australia in 1912, came back to Europe reluctantly to fight in the First World War, and was killed on the Western Front in 1918.  Well, Scott Arthur, an Australian, had been doing family research on a great uncle who was killed serving in the same company as Oswald.  Scott’s research into the events was thorough and impressive and I was delighted when he agreed to write an article on the circumstances surrounding Oswald Tittle’s death.  Scott had located some astounding photographs from the battle, which I only wish I could have included in a larger size to show the detail.


Ron Burndred’s account of Butt Lane Picture Palace gives an insight into a different aspect of life, and an important one at that: leisure.


The brick and tile works of the area don’t have the high profile of the coal industry, or even iron making, but they were very significant in North Staffordshire.  Gordon Howle has embarked on a study of these works, and has extracted the history of one – the Halmer Tileries – founded before the war. 


The most destructive air raid in North Staffordshire during the Second World War was at Chesterton in 1940, when probably 16 people were killed.  Duncan Hindmarch has written the fullest account so far of the events.


The journal is very well illustrated and will be available within a few days of your receiving this newsletter.


You are very welcome to contribute to the journal.  My life as an editor has become much easier in recent years because people have volunteered items: you can gauge the type of thing we look for from the articles in this and previous journals.  (But it is high time that someone wrote about life in Audley after the war – the 50s, 60s and 70s.  Even the 80s.  I wouldn’t say no to the 90s.  That is a blank so far.  And it’s also good to have articles from the villages around Audley, like the Chesterton bombing mentioned above.)


Reviewed by Ian Bailey



Audley Historian Volume 12 (2006)

This year’s journal is now available.  It contains the usual mixture of articles in its 116 pages, from  brief items from the Staffordshire Advertiser to important and well-researched articles on the history of Audley and surrounding villages.


The Betley, Audley and Balterley Volunteers of the Napoleonic wars were investigated by Paul Anderton  as part of his wider research into the subject. 


There are two articles on mining.  Clive Millington has completed the first part of his study of the Old Hayswood Colliery.  It is unusual to have such a detailed history of a colliery and Clive has a collection of original documents.  Hayswood Colliery is highly unusual in another respect… but you’ll have to read the second part next year to find out more about that! 


There is an interesting story behind the second mining article also.  The MacGowans of Talke were an important family of mining engineers who are now largely forgotten in the area.  The last of the family donated a good collection of family and mining documents to Hanley library in 1967 and they have mostly remained on the shelf and unavailable to the public since then.  Kate Box is a member of the North Staffs Mining Group who took on the cataloguing of the collection and it is hoped that it will be accessible soon.  However, Kate developed a great interest in the family and her ‘MacGowans of Talke’ is the product of her familiarity with the archive. 


On to a farming family: the Webbs, who have long-standing connections with the area.  Jack Meads has produced another of his elegant essays based around his memories of the area.  It is also good to report some recollections of Butt Lane by Audrey Fitzpatrick.  The Audley Historian is not just concerned with Audley village!


Another article from the recent past is a brief biography on Nurse Eardley’s Career by Robert Mayer.  Readers of this article may have had the benefit of her services.


Many people have left Audley, strange as that decision may seem.  Frederick William Taylor, a member of another interesting local family, sailed to join others of his family in New Zealand in 1923 and his account of the voyage adds to the knowledge of emigrants we are accumulating.


The cover shows Ravens Lane Farm, demolished in 1985, and a recent view of Church St showing the bricks!


All in all, an interesting contribution to our local history I think.


Reviewed by Ian Bailey



Audley Historian Volume 10


Mining was a mainstay of the local economy for centuries and Clive Millington has extracted the mining references from Audley/Talke wills 1650-1700 as well as those in Parrot’s survey of the parish.  Mining also features in another article, but as a backdrop to a troubled family: the article raises intriguing questions about both the family and a local – and barely-remembered pit.


You may be surprised to know that there was a significant Mormon presence in the district in the mid-C19 and Angela Davies has written about this.  Readers of Volume 9 may remember an important article on the Red Street pottery and the Moss connection.  This year’s journal again features a significant local family – the Howles – who made an impact on the area, in a variety of industries.  It is interesting to see how some families are enterprising and dynamic and play a big part in shaping their area.  A shorter article on another family, the Kettels, brings in some Butt Lane history and it is good to see the journal featuring the history of other villages in our district.


Three articles concentrate on the First World War.  There is a survey of Audley Urban District during the war, and this is the text of a talk given to the society last November.  There is a short but fascinating reminiscence of the Great War, and an account of the loss of one of our local soldiers during the conflict.


We have the second part (of three) of Jack Meads’ history of Miles Green between the wars, and finally there are two 20th century family/local histories, one from Audley and one from Boon Hill, both well illustrated.


There are plenty of interesting photographs throughout, along with odds and ends from the Staffordshire Advertiser filling up any blank spaces, as usual. 


Reviewed by Ian Bailey


Audley Wills

 Available on CD. View full transcripts of 184 sets of will, inventories, administration and tuition bonds for the period of 1650 to 1700. Document, surname and place name indexes are included, plus a glossary of terms. These documents contain a wealth of genealogical information and should not be overlooked.


Books of Letters

Oswald’s Great Adventure: The Letters of Oswald Tittle, 1912-1918: To Audley from Australia and the Western Front.

This is the second in a series of three books of letters that the society is publishing.


Oswald Tittle was an enterprising painter and decorator.  He had a great desire to see the world and make something of his life, and Australia was chosen as the place to provide the opportunity.


Oswald was conscientious about writing home and quick to remind his family to bestir themselves and write to him if they were lax or found little to write about.  Only his side of the correspondence has survived, but through it we get to hear about day-to-day matters in Audley.  He was keen to describe what he found and his progress in a new world.  Any job would be taken and he had a great pride in his abilities as a craftsman, so that he was seldom out of work or spirits. 


In time he set up a business in partnership with another Audley man, Harold Haynes and things looked promising, until the Great War intervened.  We gain a glimpse of the war as seen from Australia.  Eventually, Oswald joined the army and made the journey back to Europe.

The war letters are different.  They show a preoccupation with his health, parcels and letters from home.  They are much less descriptive, though there is mention of his young lady from time to time.   But he was never to see her again, for he was killed on the Western Front in 1918.

This short book will be enjoyed by those with an interest in Audley in the early twentieth century, the experience of migration at that time, Australia and also the First World War.  The style is light and easy.

Review by Robert Mayer




Letters of Oswald Tittle 1912-1918

This 122-page collection of letters was written by a painter and decorator, full of energy and drive, who migrated from Audley to Sydney, Australia.  He settled in a suburb called Kensington.  There he threw himself enthusiastically into life in his new country, worked hard and was seldom out of a job.  Everything in Australia was bigger and better than in Old Audley.  Within a couple of years he had set himself up in business with another Audley man and prospects were good… until the outbreak of the First World War.  Eventually he joined the army and returned to Europe.  There is a marked change in the letters.  From being full of description, his war letters are brief and to the point, though still his character comes strongly through.  Oswald Tittle was killed on the Western Front in 1918.


The society believed that the letters had much to commend them.  They were interesting and add to the slowly-developing picture of migration from Audley and surrounding area. 


 Reviewed by Ian Bailey




Raymond Lawton (Ed): ‘In the Pink’: The Letters of John Lawton 1915-1919.

The following review of one of our books, by Bob Wyatt, appeared in the prestigious journal ‘Stand To!’ published by the Western Front Association in Number 75, January 2006, p.68:


This is an edited selection from an interesting and continuous correspondence relating to a lieutenant who joined the ranks in 1915 as a category ‘C’ man (he had poor eyesight and wore spectacles), was involved in Home defence, before gaining his commission and serving with a Labour battalion on the Western Front.  The letters have been skillfully linked by the editor, although much of the experience is typical and mundane, but Labour battalion memoirs and letters are rare and there is much of interest.  For example: ‘You ought to see the men comprising this Coy.  There is a large percentage of Expeditionary men but the remainder are ghastly.  I can only quote a remark made by the RSM today – “Before I saw ‘em in flesh and blood I never dreamed that such awful … specimens could possibly exist”.  It’s an absolute crime for them to be sent here.  The consist of men sick of the palsy, halt, lame and blind, hunchbacks, men with curvature of the spine from birth, men with St. Vitus’ Dance, men who are stone deaf and absolutely dumb, men who are absolute and utter imbeciles.  I’ve not exaggerated one atom…’  Our letter writer survived intact and lived a long life.  A most interesting series of letters on an unusual aspect of the war in France.