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© Colton History Society
2004 - 2014

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History of the Village

A short history of the village - a whizz through the centuries!

Although Colton now appears to be a fairly insignificant ,small village in the Staffordshire landscape, it has a long history with a lot to offer of interest to visitors from the locality and further a field. 

The earliest evidence of habitation in Colton dates from the Bronze Age. Bronze age Burnt mounds have recently been found within the Parish boundary and researched. It is thought that they are evidence of occupation by one of the tribes known to be in this area of Staffordshire in this period and who built a huge fortification at Castle Ring on Cannock Chase some three miles away. 

The earliest written recording of Colton is in the Domesday Book. Colton is recorded as having been held by four Saxon Thanes. It is also one of only a small number of Staffordshire villages recorded as having a Priest, which suggests that in Saxon times the village was of some significance.

Colton in the pre and post Conquest period must have been one of the largest settlements in the area because it received a Market Charter in 1240 some three years before neighbouring Rugeley Throughout the Middle ages it boasted a church, a market, burgage plots, mills and a glassworks. Evidence of all but the market can still be seen. The remains of the glasswork kilns within the Parish have been found in recent years and have been linked with the local glass working industry known to have been operating around Rugeley and Bagots Park in the middle ages. This local industry is known to have provided glass for such prestigious buildings as York Minster. 

In the early 17th. Century the Lord of the Manor, Walter Aston, acted as Ambassador to Spain for James I and was created Baron Aston of Forfar for his services to the country. He occupied a substantial timber manor house in Colton of which now unfortunately there is no surface evidence but the boundaries of the ancient deer park can still be seen.

The mid 17th. Century saw a local Colton heiress, Constance Boughey; marry Thomas Whitgreave of Moseley Old Hall. He was one of the Catholics who helped Charles II escape from the Battle of Worcester. By this marriage he became a significant landowner in Colton and the Whitgreave family remained so until the 20th. Century.

At the end of the 17th. Century Herbert Aston achieved notoriety by being implicated along with Lord Stafford in the Popish Plot. It was reputed to have been partly plotted at his Manor house in Colton at Bellamour Hall. The Plot although later to be proved fictitious, caused a huge outrage in England and both men along with other suspected plotters were imprisoned in the Tower. Lord Stafford was beheaded but the hoax was revealed before Herbert Aston lost his head and he was released.

The 18th century saw the building of the canal through Colton. The canal was the seen of a brutal murder of a young woman in the 19th. Century and was the inspiration for a story in the popular crime series ‘Morse’ starring the well known actor John Thaw.

The 19th. Century saw the coming of the steam railway not objected to by the then Lord of Colton Manor Mr. James Oldham Oldham even though it came across the edge of his land.

In the 20th century Colton slipped into the quiet obscurity of so many English villages but still remains to this date little changed.

Image: The village pub with locals!

  More Maps
  A Short History of the Village
People and events that have played a part in Colton's long history. (click here)
  Bronze Age Evidence in Colton
Local finds reveal evidence of Bronze Age activity. (click here)
  Saxon and Norman Colton
What the Domesday book had to say about Colton. (click here)
  Medieval Colton
What we know went on in the middle ages in Colton. (click here)
  The Manors of Colton
Who were the lords of the manor? (click here)
  Colton in the 17th. & 18th. centuries
Some interesting incidents involving Colton residents. (click here)
  Colton in the 19th. & 20th. centuries
Victorian times and Colton through two World Wars. (click here)
  Colton Today
Colton now and its hopes for the future. (click here)