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St Leonard's Church, Blithfield
Staffordshire UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Staffordshire
Population230 (2011) [1]
OS grid reference SK044239
Civil parish
  • Blithfield
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Rugeley
Postcode district WS15
Dialling code 01283
Police Staffordshire
Fire Staffordshire
Ambulance West Midlands
UK Parliament
List of places
52°48′46″N1°56′05″W / 52.8129°N 1.9347°W / 52.8129; -1.9347 Coordinates: 52°48′46″N1°56′05″W / 52.8129°N 1.9347°W / 52.8129; -1.9347

Blithfield is a civil parish in the East Staffordshire district of Staffordshire, England. It includes the settlements of Admaston (a small hamlet in Staffordshire), Newton along with Blithfield Hall, home of the Bagot family since 1360. [2] It is situated 7.5 miles (12.1 km) southwest of Uttoxeter and 5.3 miles (8.5 km) north of Rugeley. Blithfield and Admaston comprise 1,414 acres (572 ha) of land, with Newton occupying 1,744 acres (706 ha). [3] The nearest railway stations are Rugeley Trent Valley 4.5 miles (7.2 km) and Rugeley Town 6.0 miles (9.7 km).



A parish like Blithfield is normally formed around a small settlement. Blithfield used to be centered around the Parish Church. At the end of the 1800s Church and State divided and this area is now represented as "a local authority by the Blithfield Parish Council and the Church of England by the Parochial Church Council". [4] The population in Blithfield decreased from 439 people in 1801 to 262 people in 1961. [5] According to the 2001 census it has a population of 225, situated within 96 households. The number of houses has stayed relatively stable since 1830, fluctuating from 81 houses in 1830, dropping to 65 in 1920 and then steadily increasing until 2001. [6] 173 of the 225 people in 2001 were between the ages of 16 and 74. [7] Blithfield Reservoir takes up much of the parish and the area is home to the Bagot goat.


The first part of the name "Blithfield" is simply an alternative spelling of the word "Blythe", which originates from Old English word "blitha" meaning 'gentle'. The second part stems from the Old English "feld", which meant 'open or accessible land'. However, by the time Blithfield became its name, it might "just as well be interpreted in the modern sense of 'field'". [8]

Domesday book

The Domesday Book , commissioned by William the Conqueror, is a land survey, which was completed in 1086. Its purpose was to assess the extent of the land and of resources owned in England, and the amount of the taxes that could be raised at the time. [9]

Blithfield in 1086 [10]
Total population13 households
Total tax assessed1 Geld units (Very small)
Taxable unitsTaxable value- 1 Geld units
ValueValue to Lord in 1086- £1
Households7 villagers, 1 smallholder, 4 slaves, 1 priest.
Lord in 1066Edmund
Lord in 1086Roger of Lacy


St Leonard's Church dates from the 13th century, it is set away from the modern village of Admaston, and lies just west of the modern Blithfield Hall. The church was built between the 13th and 19th centuries. In the late 13th and early 14th centuries, four "bay arcades" were built. The base of the western tower and the windows were constructed in the 14th century, and the "clerestory above the nave" was added in the 15th century. The upper part of the tower, with stained glass in the west window is thought to date back to 1525. The rest of the church dates to the 19th century. The remains of a 13th- or 14th-century cross can still be seen in the churchyard. [11] The church contains tombs of the Bagot family as well as an original helmet, ancient stained glass windows and a floor paved in Minton tiles. [12] Parish registers of the church begin in 1538. The churchyard contains a war grave of a Royal Flying Corps officer of World War I. [13]

Medieval Blithfield

Blithfield Hall, dating between 1740-1822 Blithfield Hall - - 371261.jpg
Blithfield Hall, dating between 1740-1822

The "late-Saxon" settlement of Blithfield, which appears in the "Doomsday" did not last, and the last documented evidence of the village was in 1334. This site of the original village is now defined as a "Deserted Medieval Village (DMV)" with hardly any visible remnants. However, the site is strongly thought to have been located within the grounds of Blithfield Hall. The original mansion of Blithfield Hall, was built with a moat in the 1390s by Sir John Bagot. It is thought, however, that the Lord of Blithfield was unhappy with some of the work done on the hall, so in 1398 the carpenter, Robert Stanlowe, was sued. The present hall is now largely 16th century, with additions of c1740 and of the later 18th century, and is Grade I listed [14] .

Modern Blithfield

Blithfield reservoir

Blithfield Reservoir, opened in 1953 by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. Blithfield Reservoir - - 48091.jpg
Blithfield Reservoir, opened in 1953 by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

Blithfield Reservoir is the most apparent modern construction. It was opened by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in October 1953 after six years of building. The project was proposed by the "South Staffordshire Water PLC" [15] who, during the 1930s and 1940s purchased 2,350 acres (952 ha) of land in the Blythe Valley, to put into action their plan, much of this land (1,585 acres/642 ha) was bought from Lord Bagot, the owner of Blithfield Hall. The reservoir itself covers a smaller area of land, approximately 790 acres (320ha). Ownership of the farmland bordering the reservoir allowed control over farming methods and thus minimised any risk of water pollution. [16] It was originally planned to start building the reservoir in 1939, but this was postponed until 1947, due to the onset of World War II. A bridge, now carrying the B5013 road, separates the water of the reservoir into two unequal parts, the shallower section is used mainly for fishing and the deeper section, close to the dam, is for the sailing boats. [17] Before the Blithfield Reservoir was built, the land consisted mostly of fields with small areas of woodland. The land was predominantly used by farmers for rearing animals and growing crops. [18]

South Staffordshire Water PLC

The South Staffordshire Water plc, have granted a lease to the West Midland Bird Club for the purpose of observing and recording birds. It is one of the most important sites for wetland birds in the Midlands. The site was first opened in the 1970s and this continues, ensuring that the changes in the birdlife of the site are able to be observed and recorded [19]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Blithfield is a civil parish in the district of East Staffordshire, Staffordshire, England. It contains 27 listed buildings that are recorded in the National Heritage List for England. Of these, two are listed at Grade I, the highest of the three grades, three are at Grade II*, the middle grade, and the others are at Grade II, the lowest grade. The most important buildings in the parish are St Leonard's Church and Blithfield Hall, which are both listed at Grade I. Most of the other listed buildings in the parish are associated with these buildings, and include items in the churchyard. and around or in the grounds of the hall. The parish includes the village of Admaston, and is otherwise rural. The other listed buildings are houses, farmhouses and farm buildings, and a former school.


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  2. Blithfield Hall Archived 22 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
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  4. British Towns and Villages Network- Retrieved 14.03.2012
  5. Vision of Britain through time- Historical statistics- Population- Retrieved 24.03.2012
  6. Vision of Britain through time- Historical statistics- Housing-Retrieved 24.03.2012
  7. neighbourhood statistics- Parish profile- Households- Retrieved 12.03.2012
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  9. The Domesday book- Background
  10. Domesday Book,(Powell-Smith,A)
  11. Blithfield history- Saint Leonard's Church Archived 4 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine - Retrieved 15.02.2012
  12. Minton Tiles in the Churches of Staffordshire, A Report by Lynn Pearson for the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society
  13. CWGC Casualty Record.
  14. "Blithfield Hall, Blithfield - 1190006 | Historic England".
  15. Blithfield History- Modern Blithfield- Reservoir Archived 4 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine -Retrieved 16.02.2012
  16. Blithfield reservoir Archived 12 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine -Retrieved 19.02.2012
  17. Blithfield History- Modern Blithfield Archived 4 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine -Retrieved 16.02.2012
  18. Blithfield Reservoir Archived 12 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine -Retrieved 19.02.2012
  19. "Blithfield Reservoir". West Midland Bird Club. Archived from the original on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)