Great Haywood

Great Haywood

Great Haywood (coord|52|48|N|2|00|W|)is a village in central Staffordshire, England, just off the A51 about four miles from Rugeley.

Great Haywood lies on the River Trent, where the Trent is met by its tributary, the River Sow. The village is also the site of a significant junction of the English inland canal network, Haywood Junction, where the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal meets the Trent and Mersey Canal. The waters around the village are widely regarded by guidebooks as some of the most attractive on the network.

There are two churches, each of which has an attached school. St. Stephen's was designed by Thomas Trubshaw, and became the centre of a parish in 1858. St. John the Baptist's Catholic church was originally built in Tixall, about three miles away, as a private chapel to Tixall Hall, which was owned by the Aston family. When the estate was sold to Earl Talbot, the church was dismantled and rebuilt in Great Haywood. [("History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire")] The marks made on the blocks to allow reassembly can still be seen inside the church.

There was originally a mill and a brewery in the village, but both have been closed down and demolished, commemorated by the names of the roads where they once stood (Mill Lane and Brewery Lane). Following a fatal automobile accident in 1905, the mill pond was drained and the road straightened.

The village was home to the newly married Edith Tolkien, wife of famous author J. R. R. Tolkien, from March 1916 to February 1917. [("Great War" 2003, pg 134 & 231)] He stayed with her in her cottage (Cottage 1, Gipsy Green, on the Teddesley Park Estate) near the village during the winter of 1916, while recuperating from trench fever. [("Great War" 2003, pg 207)] The surrounding landscape was said to be an inspiration for his early literary works about Middle-earth. At the cottage he began work on what would become "The Silmarillion". Nearby is a place called Norbury, which may relate to the "Norbury of the Kings" that appears in "The Lord of the Rings".

Great Haywood was served by a railway station which was opened by the North Staffordshire Railway on June 6, 1887.

In August 2002 advertisements were placed in the national press for an "hermit" to take up residence on the Great Haywood Cliffs above the nearby Shugborough estate, ancestral home of Lord Lichfield. Fifty-five people applied, and Ansuman Biswas was chosen as hermit. Shugborough also serves as the headquarters of Staffordshire county's arts management team.

Great Haywood is the site of Essex Bridge, one of the largest surviving packhorse bridges in the country which stands over the river Trent near Shugborough Hall. It borders Cannock Chase, designated an area of outstanding natural beauty since 1958.



*cite book
author = White, William
year = 1851
title = History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire
location = Sheffield

*"Great War": cite book
author = Garth, John
year = 2003
title = Tolkien and the Great War
location = London
publisher = HarperCollins
id = ISBN 0-00-711952-6

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