Old Barlaston Church

The ‘old church’ in Barlaston

© Photograph by courtesy of the Trustees of the Wedgwood Museum, Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

© Photograph by courtesy of the Trustees of the Wedgwood Museum, Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

 
photo: © Geoff Pick May 2003 and licensed for reuse under this  Creative Commons Licence

photo: © Geoff Pick May 2003 and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

 
pen drawing by Neville Malkin - July 1975

pen drawing by Neville Malkin - July 1975

The old Church - St. John's Church is situated close to Barlaston Hall.

The earliest part of the church is the tower, dating from the twelfth century; the remainder of the church was rebuilt in 1888.

Set into the south wall is a sundial, inscribed 'J. Aston, Church Warden'. Inside are memorials to the Wedgwood family.

The building was closed in 1980 after subsidence caused cracks in the masonry.

Neville Malkin 23rd July 1975 wrote:

Just south of the city (Stoke-on-Trent) is the sandstone church of St. John, Barlaston, which, along with its next door neighbour Barlaston Hall, presents one of the most picturesque architectural duos in the area. The church is in well-kept grounds among a profusion of trees.

The only remaining part of an earlier church is the west tower, which probably dates from the 1200s; the main body was completely rebuilt in 1886-8. On the north side of the tower a very good vestry was added in 1969.

There is a beautifully simple and straightforward sundial set into the south wall which, I would imagine, was rescued from some earlier building. It has incised Roman numerals and the inscription, J. Aston, Church Warden.

The earliest reliable mention I could find concerning a church or chapel at Barlaston occurs in a privilege granted by the Pope in 1162 which confirms the status and possessions of Trentham Priory, with the parish church of Trentham and its dependencies heading the priory's possessions; these dependencies included Barlaston, Betley, etc.


Understandably, the canons were careful to protect their major source of income, but, as time went by, many wealthy landowners sought to build new chapels; by the early 13th century, Barlaston, which was part of Trentham parish, had its own chapel in the patronage of the Lord of the Manor.

In 1225 the advowson of this chapel was granted by John Fitz Philip, to the canons on the understanding that they maintained a resident chaplain at Barlaston to celebrate divine service, bury the dead, and baptise the children of parishioners.