The manor of Newcastle Under Lyme, first mentioned in 1215, developed in close association with the castle situated in the detached part of Penkhull township in the ancient parish of Stoke. The manor no doubt arose out of the need for a castle garrison, and a group of serjeants, called king’s sokemen*, were holding land under the obligation of performing castle-guard. By 1236 the manor included Penkhull, Wolstanton, Shelton, Clayton, and Seabridge and included a virgate* of land in Shelton held by William Muriel by the serjeanty* of guarding the king’s ‘hay’ there.


*virgate an early English measure of land of about 30 acres (12 hectares)

*Serjeanty service which cannot be due or performed from a tenant to any lord but the king

*Sokemen were in Anglo Saxon times, freemen landholders who paid rent for their land and their social and military obligations were to the king.


Edited excerpt from Stoke-upon-Trent: Buildings, manors and estates, in A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 8, ed. J G Jenkins (London, 1963), pp. 173-188


Harts Hill

Originally a Norman deer-hunting hillside park well into the 15th century. Hart was used in medieval times to describe a red deer stag more than five years old, much prized in hunting terms. Some of the park later became a landed estate and farm. The valley side section of the park survived into the 20th century as a large area of woods and grassland – now run as a local nature reserve under the name of Hartshill Park.


The modern residential sections of Hartshill were developed by Herbert Minton (1793 – 1858) to serve as a dormitory suburb of Stoke, and there are numerous fine listed buildings in the area. The southern end of Hartshill Park was home to a Catholic convent.


The famous author and scholar J.R.R Tolkien regularly visited North Staffordshire during his long academic holidays, until his death in 1973. During these holidays he stayed with his son at the Presbytery in Hartshill Road.


Yard and Stables

The site is believed to have formed an 18th century staging post for the King’s messengers and stagecoaches between Manchester and London


Rope Works

For many years, the long buildings that form Kingsyard were works for the manufacture of ropes, which needs long uninterrupted spaces with massive spindles at both ends to weave the various threads together.


The Spitfire

Designed by a local man, Reginald Mitchell, in the mid 1930’s, the Spitfire became the symbol of undaunted armed resistance to the intended invasion by Nazi Germany in the Second World War.