Alstonfield Gilbert Poor Law Union (later Alstonfield Union), Staffordshire

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History[edit | edit source]

Alstonefield township formed the division of the ancient parish known as the part below Archford bridge, and two of the parish's four churchwardens were for the township. It ran its own poor relief. In 1766 its overseer collaborated with the overseers of several other parishes and townships, including Warslow and Onecote, in Leek, in the establishment of a workhouse at Ipstones. In 1770 Elizabeth Mellor of Wetton conveyed a cottage in Alstonefield township to the churchwardens and overseer for use as a poorhouse. By the 1820s there were several such parish houses, but they belonged to Sir George Crewe, whose agent in 1829 gave the overseer notice to quit. The township was one of several parishes and townships in Staffordshire and Derbyshire included in Alstonefield union formed, evidently in 1817 or 1818, under Gilbert's Act of 1782; no other part of Alstonefield parish was a member. A house in the village, possibly the former Black Lion inn, was leased and converted into a workhouse for the union, in use probably from 1819. At the beginning of June 1823 it had 16 male inmates and 13 female; in the earlier 1830s the inmates were employed mainly in breaking stone and working marble slabs from the quarries at Wetton. In 1821 there were 14 parishes and townships in Alstonefield union; there were 21 by 1823 and 43 by 1837. The union resisted attempts by the poor-law commissioners from 1837 to suppress it, and the workhouse continued in use, with 34 inmates in 1841, 19 in 1851, and 21 in 1861. In 1869 Alstonefield union was dissolved and the township became part of Ashbourne poor-law union. The workhouse was closed and in 1871 was described as three uninhabited buildings. By 1985 the building was occupied as three houses.

From: 'Alstonefield: Alstonefield', A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 7: Leek and the Moorlands (1996), pp. 8-27. URL: Date accessed: 30 March 2011.

In the later 17th and earlier 18th century the poor of Fawfieldhead, Heathylee, Hollinsclough, and Quarnford were maintained jointly. Fawfieldhead relieved its poor separately from 1733. In 1802 a workhouse with an adjoining house for the governor was built on the turnpike road at Reaps Moor. The workhouse remained in use after Fawfieldhead became part of Leek poor-law union in 1837. It was converted in 1842 into a church and school.

From: 'Alstonefield: Fawfieldhead', A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 7: Leek and the Moorlands (1996), pp. 27-31. URL: Date accessed: 30 March 2011.

See also

For more information on the history of the workhouse, see Peter Higginbotham's web site: and

Parishes in the Union[edit | edit source]

Alstonfield, Staffordshire Butterton (near Leek), StaffordshireElkstone, Staffordshire Grindon, Staffordshire Wetton, Staffordshire