Sensational Statfold – TDCS Visit 16th July 2016


TDCS Statfold 2016 07 16 SB_0205

The Tamworth and District Civic Society’s private V.I.P. tour of Statfold Barn Farm Steam Railway – one of the wonders of Tamworth and District – attracted 126 members and friends of all ages. We toured the workshops, yards and museums, admired the attractive and pristine railway architecture, had joyous steam train journeys, and picnicked surrounded by vintage machinery. A fantastic event. A fabulous place. A huge thank you to the owners for making TDCS so welcome, and many congratulations to them and all their volunteer helpers who have lovingly built and maintained this railway paradise.

TDCS Statfold 2016 07 16 SB_0250

For further information about Statfold Barn Farm and its amazing Steam Railway visit its website at:

TDCS Statfold 2016 07 16 SB_0233


TDCS Statfold 2016 07 16 SB_0267TDCS Statfold 2016 07 16 SB_0183






TDCS Statfold 2016 07 16 SB_0218

Images, in order of appearance:

Alpha steams through the Staffordshire countryside pulling 3 carriages fully laden with TDCS members and friends.  (Photo: S. Biggs).

Quite some hobby! A throng gathers as Graham Lee describes his stunning private collection. (Photo: S. Biggs).

Many guests enjoyed a picnic lunch. (Photo: S. Biggs).

The smiles say it all. One of the most successful and enjoyable TDCS events ever.  (Photo: S. Biggs).

Owner Graham Lee explains technical processes to an attentive audience in one of the workshops. (Photo S. Biggs).

All Aboard! The steam train prepares to depart from the beautiful and immaculate station platform. (Photo: David Peace).

Members of the party explore yards and sheds full of salvaged machines. (Photo: S. Biggs).

Secrets of the Tin Box

An Analysis of Settlement Certificates

Box of Settlemet Cerificates

Committee members Jill Wood and Tina Williams have been carrying out a detailed analysis of information gleaned from Settlement Certificates contained in a metal box, which was re-discovered at St Editha’s Church in 2014. The box contains approximately 280 certificates, dating from 1697 – 1822.

The 1662 Act of Settlement and Removal established the need to prove entitlement to Bundles of certificates1poor relief by the issuing of Settlement Certificates . The certificates state which parish a family belonged to and therefore which parish had the legal responsibility to provide poor relief if needed. These documents were important for a mobile population, who may have needed to travel to procure work or settle elsewhere. They were not issued exclusively to paupers.

Widow Sarah BirstallThe analysis, which is currently being finalised, will include the dates, names, occupations, the parish where the individual or families originated from, plus the names of witnesses, Churchwardens, Sidesmen and Overseers of the Poor and Justices of the Peace.

The research provides an insight into not only the lives of the individuals concerned,  but also the complex legislation governing migration and settlement.

Blog post and images courtesy of Jill Wood and Tina Williams.

Hopwas Church Fete, 2nd July 2016


What a quintessentially English scene!  The annual church fete at St. Chad’s Church, Hopwas on 2nd July 2016.  Stalls, entertainment by a dance troupe and the Tamworth Wind Band.

008This chocolate-box, church, lauded by Pevsner, nestles on Hopwas Hill in the shadow of Hopwas Hayes Wood.  It was designed in 1879 by the celebrated architect John Douglas of Chester, and is a Grade II listed building.  It is a daughter church of the Parish of Tamworth.  The beautiful red brick and half-timbered building, with its distinctive octagonal spire, is a great architectural asset to Tamworth and District.

Inside the welcoming interior may be found two memorial plaques to the dead of 007both world wars.  Exploring the churchyard, one will find various interesting graves, including that of the reforming and philanthropic Vicar of Tamworth, and noted Egyptologist, Reverend William MacGregor, who was one-time Curate at Hopwas and did much to get the new church built, replacing St. John’s in the centre of the village.  His plot lies forward of the village war memorial at the east end of the church.

Also to be seen is the grave of Reverend Ernest Henry Rogers who was Vicar of Tamworth (1922-36), and his wife, with a memorial vase to their son who was killed in action in 1942.

006Our correspondent tells us that an excellent new publication, called “Hopwas Papers” was on sale at the fete, and is a ‘must-have’ item for the area’s local historians.




(Blog Post and Photos: D. Biggs)

Tamworth Charity Proms, 2nd July 2016


Tamworth is ‘Promtastic’!  A true town of hope and glory!

We refer to the charity proms concert hosted by Tamworth’s Parish and Collegiate 018Church of St Editha to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. The singers and orchestra were excellent, The pews were packed and the church was an ocean of Union and England flags. Everyone seemed to have an enjoyable time.

The patriotic event also raised money both for the on-going restoration of the ancient 015edifice, and for the invaluable work of St. Giles’s Hospice at Whittington which helps so many people in our area.

We pay tribute to the Vicar and Churchwardens, and all who assist them, for day in and day out ensuring that our magnificent church is at the heart of our community, as their predecessors have also done for a millennium. On 30th June 2016 at 9.00 p.m. they held a Vigil Service for the eve of the Battle of the Somme centenary. On Friday evening 1st July they provided a Battle of the Somme commemoration service in the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress of Tamworth. On Saturday night the hallowed stones reverberated to the Proms, and on Sunday it was business as usual. All this, and much more, every single day. They are a credit to our town.

We are so lucky to have this impressive and historic building, which we may all 020appreciate and benefit from, whether we are a member of its congregation or not. Its maintenance and restoration is a never-ending labour of love. The Proms concert was a brilliant way to help it, to honour our longest-living and longest-reigning monarch, and to engage with the community. Well done to all involved.

(Blog post and photos: D. Biggs) 

The Tamworth Literary Festival

LitFest Logo2015 July 6 (LitFest own photo)We in The Tamworth and District Civic Society (TDCS) think it is wonderful that Tamworth has its very own Literary Festival, which has been developed by its Committee since late 2014, and continues to grow.

The recent romantic fiction day hosted in the Parish Church and the Central Library, and  the talk in the Town Hall in May by Tamworth resident Dr. Sara Read of Loughborough University about her book exploring early modern women’s lives, were all entertaining and informative.

Dr Sara Read Talk Tamworth LitFestTDCS 2016 05 11 001a

The Tamworth and District Civic Society (TDCS) not only fights to protect and conserve our built and natural heritage, and strives to publicise our local history, we are also here to promote civic pride and encourage engagement by the public in community events.

Tamworth and the surrounding area have an abundance of voluntary community organisations catering day in and day out for all ages, interests, talents and skills.  A vibrant Literary Festival to enhance our cultural life and draw in famous authors and attendant visitors to Tamworth is a very welcome addition to that rich mix.

TDCS especially welcomes the strong  interest demonstrated by LitFest in highlighting local authors past, present and future.  TDCS will work in partnership with the Literary Festival Committee, when we can, to promote and benefit Tamworth.  We hope that other local groups will do likewise.

We wish the Tamworth Literary Festival every success.  Our area must be full of people who like reading, and perhaps putting pen to paper themselves.  So why not make some time to help organise the Literary Festival events?  There are always different tasks to be done that help make an event successful.  We certainly hope that residents take the opportunities when they arise to attend the events provided. Those held to date have been great.  For further information see the LitFest’s website   and Facebook page.

David Biggs

Images in this blog post attributed as follows: Dr Sara Read event May 2016 (David Biggs photo) and Jo McMillan event July 2015 (LitFest photo).