Update 28 May 2024


Audley and District Family History Society Publications



Publications are available by post from:

Mark Casewell, 32 Walton Way, Talke, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire,ST7 1UX

Please make cheques payable to Audley and District Family History Society.


Publications may now be purchased online using Paypal below.

No need to have a Paypal Account to use Paypal - credit card or debit card can be used.

Note: when you pay by Paypal you are taken to Paypal's SECURE site


Problems with Paypal ? - contact me at


MEMBERS PAY £0.50 LESS for each publication. (£1 less for the Diglake Disaster). Please state if you are a member or non-member in the drop-down option box.


Most publications are available at Research meetings and at events we attend.

The current Audley Historian only is also available at the following outlets:



Audley Post Office at Audley News , 78 Church Street, Audley

Bignall End Post Office, 30 Ravens Lane, Bignall End 

Halmer End Post Office at William Riley & Sons, 250 High Street, Halmer End

Talke Pits Library


The prices without p&p are:


Aldgedeslegh £4.50

Audley Historian £5.00

The Minnie Pit: Disaster and Controversy £5.00

Talke M.I’s £5.00

Victims of the Minnie Pit Disaster £7.50

Audley M.I’s £5.00

Lawton Letters £1.50

Tittle Letters £1.50

Halmer End by Nofara £5.00 

Called to Arms £1.50

Talke Pits: a former North Staffordshire mining village £7.50

Monumental Inscriptions at Audley Methodist Cemetery Chapel Street, Bignall End, Staffordshire  £4.50

Monumental Inscriptions at the Church of St. John Alsagers Bank, Staffordshire  £4.50

Monumental Inscriptions at the Church of St. Martin Talke O' Th' Hill, Staffordshire  £5.00

The Diglake Disaster £5.00 (£4.00 members)

Life in the Wood - a history of the village of Wood Lane £7.50

Swettenhams - A North Staffordshire Retail Business £5.00

Kidsgrove: A history up to the year 2000 £12.50

Volume 1, 1830-1879. Life and Death in North Staffordshire: Inquest Reports from Audley and Surrounding Villages £8.00



Please note that cheques from outside Britain must be drawn on banks which have a London branch so that they can be paid in UK sterling. Simpler to pay by Paypal. For overseas, please contact me for price incl. postage and packing-



Some of the titles have been reviewed below


The postal rates inreased in April 2023 . Our prices below reflect that increase,




Society Publications - In Print (or download )


UK incl. postage and packing
New Publication - December 2023



Life and Death in North Staffordshire: Inquest Reports from Audley and Surrounding Villages.

Volume 1, 1830-1879

Edited by

Christine Huxley


Member or Non-member
UK incl. postage and packing
New Publication - September 2023


Kidsgrove: A history up to the year 2000



Philip R. Leese




Launch poster



Hardbacks sold out. Reprint in a few weeks.



Member or Non-member







New Publication - April 2023

Swettenhams - A North Staffordshire Retail Business



Ian Bailey






Book Sold Out



Life in the Wood - a history of the village of Wood Lane


Robert Mayer











Member or Non-member




















The Diglake Disaster




William Cooke

Also available as a download


For pdf download, go here



Member or Non-member






















Member or Non-member










Member or Non-member



New November 2019

Book Sold Out . DOWNLOAD only

A link to the file will be sent after payment . Please note that the download is not automatic. There may be a short delay.


Talke Pits: a former North Staffordshire mining village


Paul Dunning




This book covers the history of the village from the mid-19th
century until a great deal of it disappeared during the 1970s.
During the growth of the coal industry it grew rapidly during
what was to be a brutal period for community. Researched over
many years, with over a hundred illustrations it details the social
life, living conditions and hardship endured at times during this
period. Despite arduous working conditions, tragic pit disasters
and industrial strife the community showed resilience and unity

coming together staging annual carnivals and events.


Parts of this book cover subjects over a wider area within the
parish of Audley such as health, public services and utilities. A
chapter is devoted to those commemorated on the Talke memorial
who lost their lives in WW1. It will appeal to family, local and coal
mining historians.

200+ pages with illustrations


(now available as a pdf download only at £7.50 (£7.00 member).




Member or Non-member










but download still avaiable


Victims of the Minnie Pit Disaster 1918


For details and see what readers say, go here


A tribute to the miners who lost their lives in the Minnie Pit disaster in Halmer End, published by the Audley & District Family History Society on the 100th anniversary of the disaster in January 2018. The book contains information on every victim and their immediate families, giving dates of birth, marriage and death, along with details of the occupations of the miners in the pit, recovery of bodies and burials. The information has been extracted from parish registers, census records, electoral registers, birth, marriage and death indexes, newspapers, the Minnie Pit Disaster Official Report and Sentinel Minnie Pit Relief Fund documents. Photographs of more than 90 of the victims are included along with photographs of memorials in local churchyards and cemeteries, and copies of various documents relating to many of the victims.

Book size A4, 187 pages




Since publication several errors in the text have been pointed out.

They are here.


For pdf download, go here













Book Sold Out


The Minnie Pit: Disaster and Controversy




William Cooke


On 12 January 1918 one hundred and fifty-five miners were

killed following an explosion at the Minnie Pit in Halmerend.

It was the worst disaster in the history of coal mining in North

Staffordshire, a tragedy that moved the whole nation and

inspired Wilfred Owen to write his poem ‘Miners’.

It was also a most controversial disaster, with the official

version of events being challenged during and beyond the

inquest that was held in 1919. In this book for the first time

the miners’ own voices are heard, speaking to us directly from

over a century ago.




For pdf download, go here











New January 2019

Shortlisted for the Arnold Bennett Prize 2019




by Roger N Bloor

An epic poem about events relating to the parish of Audley.













Member or Non-member



New Low Price


"Called to Arms 1803-12 in the Staffordshire- Cheshire border region: Volunteer Infantry Corps for home defence under threat of a Napoleonic invasion"  by Paul Anderton



The book makes available to family and local historians information otherwise only found in The National Archives. It contains names of hundreds of men who in 1803-4 joined home defence units in such places as Leek, Nantwich, Newcastle, Audley and Betley, Kidsgrove, Etruria, and Sandbach. They drilled and exercised weekly and went on annual camps, all in the expectation that they might be need to repel French armies headed by Napoleon Buonaparte. The history of each corps is explained and the circumstances in which each was formed are described. 


(also available as a pdf download at £1.50

For pdf download, go here






BOOK SOLD OUT but available as a pdf download

A link to the file will be sent after payment . Please note that the download is not automatic. There may be a short delay.


NEW Nov 2016

"Never to Return" 4


3rd edition, edited by Ian Bailey and Christine Huxley

Over 250 pages.New entries and over 20,000 new words.


(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)


(also available as a pdf download at £6.00 (£6.50 member). Contact me at for payment by Paypal and download link)


Download £6.00


Member or non-member


"Monumental Inscriptions: St James, Audley"


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


Member or Non-member



NEW June 2019

"Monumental Inscriptions at the Church of St Martin, Talke O' Th' Hill, Staffordshire."




2nd edition



(also available as a pdf download at £5.00 (£4.50 member).

For pdf download, go here




Member or Non-member



"Letters of Lieutenant John Lawton 1915-19

(see review below) Some Extracts. cover




Please note: no downloads until Friday 17th May

UK incl. postage


"Letters of Oswald Tittle  1912 – 18"

   (see review below). cover


Download Only


A link to the file will be sent after payment . Please note that the download is not automatic. There may be a short delay.


"Letters of Albert and Edward Riley 1916 - 1918."        32


Book sold out - now available as a pdf download


A link to the file will be sent after payment

Download - £3.00

Member or Non-member

Download Only


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"The Parish Registers of St Bertoline, Barthomley, Cheshire. Baptisms 1562 - 1908, Marriages 1562 - 1910, Burials 1562 - 1910"  . cover


CD sold out - now available as a download.



Download - £6.00

Member or Non-member

Download Only


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"Audley Wills (fully transcribed) 1650-1700"

(see review below). 33

Download - £6.00

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"Halmer End: A Brief Account of Village Life in the 1920s and 1930s" by Nofara.  

New January 2016


Book sold out but available as a pdf download, price £5.00 (£4.50 member)


Download £5.00

Member or Non-member










Download Only

(pdf file)


A link to the file will be sent after payment . Please note that the download is not automatic. There may be a short delay.


Book still in print, and may be purchased above.


"Victims of the Minnie Pit Disaster 1918"


For details and see what readers say, go here







Download £7.50


Member or Non-member

Download Only

(pdf file)


A link to the file will be sent after payment . Please note that the download is not automatic. There may be a short delay.

Book still in print, and may be purchased above.


"The Minnie Pit: Disaster and Controversy"





William Cooke



Download £5.00


Member or Non-member


Download Only

(pdf file)


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"The Diglake Disaster"





William Cooke.



Download £5.00



Member or Non-member

Download Only

(pdf file)


A link to the file will be sent after payment . Please note that the download is not automatic. There may be a short delay.

Book still in print, and may be purchased above.


"Called to Arms 1803-12 in the Staffordshire- Cheshire border region: Volunteer Infantry Corps for home defence under threat of a Napoleonic invasion" 


by Paul Anderton




Download Only

(pdf file)


A link to the file will be sent after payment . Please note that the download is not automatic. There may be a short delay.

Book still in print, and may be purchased above.



"Monumental Inscriptions at the Church of St Martin, Talke O' Th' Hill, Staffordshire."




2nd edition


Member or Non-member





Audley Historian


the journal of Audley and District Family History Society





UK incl. postage

NEW November 2023

Audley Historian Vol 29, 2023





Member or Non-member

Audley Historian Vol 28, 2022





Member or Non-member


UK incl. postage




Audley Historian Vol 27, 2021















Member or Non-member



UK incl. postage


Audley Historian Vol 26, 2020






Member or Non-member
Other Audley Historian Books Still Available


Audley Historian Vols 7 to 18 and 21 (2015) and 24 (2018) are available (others sold )

(Only a couple of copies of Volumes 2, 6 and 13 available )



Volume 22 (2016), volume 23 (2017), volume 25 (2019) sold out but available as a download below.


(This is to order and pay for any of the above AH books in sock. Except for the latest, vol. 26 and vol .27, which are more postage.

email me the volume required.

  (for list of content see below)


Members may download AH6 & AH13 (still 3 copies available) free of charge in the Members Area


Volumes 22,23,24,25 and 26 are avaiable as a pdf download, see below







Member or Non-member


















Download Only


A link to the file will be sent after payment . Please note that the download is not automatic. There may be a short delay.


"Audley Historian Vol 22"


Printed book sold out




Download - £5.00

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Download Only


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"Audley Historian Vol 23"


Printed book sold out




Download -£5.00


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"Audley Historian Vol 24"


Printed book is still available, see above




Download - £5.00
Member or Non-member

Download Only


A link to the file will be sent after payment . Please note that the download is not automatic. There may be a short delay.


"Audley Historian Vol 25"






Download - £5.00
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"Audley Historian Vol 26"






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"Audley Historian Vol 27"






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Society Publications - Out-of-Print (and not available as a download)




'Index to the Mining Deaths in North Staffordshire 1756-1995.

New August 2015

An index of "Mining Deaths in North Staffordshire 1756-1995", compiled by Mark Casewell

The book contains about 4,400 entries of miners who were killed, plus about 250 who were injured. Details include name, age, place and date of the accident, place of burial, occupation and address and an indication of the nature of the accident. This book has enormous value for all those with an interest in mining in the area.

The book was launched at the Apedale Heritage Centre on 9th August, 2015  






Other Audley Publications (not Society)


From Alan Godfrey Maps here


"Alan Godfrey Old Ordnance Survey Map of Audley, 1898" - 15in. to 1 mile series 1

New July 2016


Staffordshire Sheet 11.06 Audley 1898 - published 2016; intro by Malcolm Nixon. ISBN.978-1-84784-992-2 This detailed map covers the village of Audley and extends eastward to Audley Colliery. Features include Audley Colliery, Butters Green, Diglake Junction, Audley station, Boon Hill, Boyles Hall Colliery, Raven's Lane, Boyles Hall, Wereton, Wall Farm, Hougher Wall, St James church, Townhouse etc. A 1912 directory of Audley is included on the reverse.  

Cissie & Bella

A family's story


by Julie Bagnall


Cissie and Bella, two working-class girls from northern England, left a legacy in the form of a collection of post cards.
As workers in the two major fields of female employment – domestic servant and mill girl – they tell of work and time off, of family life, of love and romance and every-day experiences. Their words range from girly chit-chat to heartfelt despair. They show that over time some things change and
others remain the same.
That Cissie and Bella’s post cards survived is one thing. That they have enabled two ‘ordinary’ women to be brought out from under the cloak of invisibility which so often shields previous generations of working-class people, is quite another.


£10.00 plus £2.50 p+p available from Julie at or telephone 01782 710197 



Paul Bemrose

(Newcastle Museum)




in support of the PHILIP ASTLEY PROJECT -

This excellently researched and illustrated book is available online @ £9.99 plus postage from


Once in a while, history produces a personality who rises up to become a legend in his own time. Philip Astley, born in Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1742, proved to be such a person and was fated to become one of the greatest theatrical and circus entertainers of all time. He made his debut not on the stage of some fashionable theatre of the day, but in a simple dirt ring of his own making in a field on the outskirts of an obscure London suburb some two and a half centuries ago. It is for this reason that we are celebrating him this year. In 1768 he formalised that dirt ring into a fixed circle surrounded by seating, performed his own astonishing equestrian acts and brought into that ring a bevy of entertainers – acrobats, jugglers, wire-walkers, clowns – to create the rich mix of entertainment we call Circus. The size of that ring he fixed at 42 feet diameter – the international standard of circus rings to this very day. Astley was a brilliant equestrian performer, one of the many riding masters who were plying their skills up and down the country throughout the second half of the eighteenth century. Often they were barely able to eke out an existence for themselves despite their efforts. Many riders had gained their expertise while serving in the army, as indeed was the case with Astley. What marked Astley out from his contemporaries was his uncanny knack of developing and expanding current forms of equestrian entertainment and moulding them into something new and exciting. It was this innate flair that inspired him to create the circus as we know it today. He shaped his programmes in such a way that fine horsemanship was combined with a blend of fun and laughter. He introduced clowns and performers of every persuasion to titillate his audiences. Over the years. His innovative ideas and concepts were adapted by virtually every proprietor in the business and Astley’s original ideas formed the basis of the later extravaganzas created by many of the nineteenth century impresarios. Even today, his ideas can still be detected in circus scenarios, a tribute indeed to the foresight of Astley. This then is the story of a brilliant man whose career ends with his death in 1814 and a legacy acknowledged in the books of authors such as Charles Dickens and Jane Austen. In a sense, this book acts as a preface to the fascinating history of the circus because, by the time he died, it had already become the most popular form of mass entertainment in the world. Philip Astley, from Newcastle-under-Lyme, is justly regarded as the Father of the Modern Circus. The re-issue of Paul Bemrose’s wonderfully researched and illustrated book ASTLEY - Circus Genius, is sponsored by Ray Johnson and Andrew Van Buren to support the PHILIP ASTLEY PROJECT during this 250th Anniversary year of the birth of Circus.

Ray Johnson

Director Staffordshire Film Archive


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 here.

Current Journal

VOLUME 29 - 2023





VOLUME 28 - 2022



VOLUME 27 - 2021






VOLUME 26 - 2020





VOLUME 25 - 2019






VOLUME 24 - 2018



VOLUME 23 - 2017

A Bush By Any Other Name, Julie Bagnall

The Surprising Background of the Reverend John Pauli (1837-1918), Ian Bailey

Chesterton Memories: Shopping in the 1960s, Kay Washbrook

God’s Little Acre: ‘The Bag’, Chesterton, Graham Griffiths

A Life in Mining, Arthur Dumbill

Geography Field Work: A Panoramic View, Bignall End 1965, Kathleen Brémond

Additions, Corrections and Apologies: The Theatre Groups of Audley; New Springs Farm, Talke; Names Added: Cover Photo, Audley Historian 7, 2007



VOLUME 22 - 2016 (October 2016) (out-of-print, but pdf download is available)


Some Alsager Footpaths, Jim Sutton

Beyond the Prescription Book, Julie Bagnall

William Kent’s War, Christine Montagu

Growing up on an Alsager Farm: The Recollections of Annie Morris (1912-1997)

The Theatre Groups of Audley Village Part 2: From Cinema to Theatre, Clive Millington

Family History, Local History and World History, Stewart Baker

Grandfather Jones: Hero and Villain? John Baddeley

Memories of Potato Picking, The Wood Lane Facebook Group

Additions and Corrections



VOLUME 21 - 2015 (October 2015)

Rev. William Dickin of Audley (1712-66), Sue Page

Beyond the Prescription Book: a Picture of Silverdale 1858-1885, Julie Bagnall

Worlds Apart: Aaron Mayer, the Diglake Disaster, and Miss Flossie Beresford

‘Bobby Allen’, Robert Mayer

The Audley Mineral Water Co: Information

The 1915 Minnie Pit Explosion, Clive Millington and Christine Huxley

Minnie Mysteries Resumed, William Cooke

A Miner’s Story, John Baddeley

Obituary: Ron Burndred  


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


Review below




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

Review below



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

I Could Have Told Them That


Review below


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

Review below


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 

Review below


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.


Review below


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.