Church Lawton

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Church Lawton
Church Lawton 3.jpg
All Saints Church, Church Lawton
Grid reference: SJ821557
Location: 53°5’55"N, 2°16’3"W
Population: 2,201  (2001)
Post town: Stoke-on-Trent
Postcode: ST7
Dialling code: 01270
Local Government
Council: Cheshire East

Church Lawton is a small village and parish in the Nantwich Hundred of Cheshire, adjacent to the border with Staffordshire. In addition to ribbon development connecting Kidsgrove (in Staffordshire) with Scholar Green (in Odd Rode parish), the parish also contains the hamlets of Lawton Gate, Lawton Heath and Lawton Heath End, and the Lawton Hall estate. According to the 2001 census, the population of the entire parish was 2,201.[1] Church Lawton is an ancient parish, though there is some evidence that it began by being part of the ancient parish of Astbury (now Newbold Astbury.).[2]


There is evidence of human activity within the parish stretching back to the Neolithic period: a polished axe was found in the parish that was possibly made in Cornwall.[3]

The collection of Church Lawton Barrows, also known as the Church Lawton Complex, is a significant Bronze Age site in the parish.[4][5] The Complex consists of three Bronze Age mounds of which only two (Church Lawton II and Church Lawton III) survive. Church Lawton III is the more important of the two, having been excavated in the early 1980s. It seems to have been built in two phases; the first phase consisted of one of the few stone circles found in Cheshire, which was roughly 73 feet 9 inches in diameter, with a turf and daub platform in the centre, on which dead bodies were probably placed as part of an excarnation ritual prior to burial. There were gaps to the north and south of the circle serving as entrances, with two of the stones standing upright, with the remainder deliberately placed on their side. The second phase covered the central part with sandy subsoil and surrounded it with a low turf wall.[6]

Church Lawton II was also built in two phases. In the first, a low mound made from sand and gravel subsoil surrounded by a ditch was constructed. It was about 50 feet in diameter and five feet high. In the centre of the mound was a sand-filled boat-shaped hollow with a wooden lid. It was found to be empty of any bones, possibly because any bones had rotted away in the acidic soil environment. Eighteen pits, most likely cremation pits, were found on the mound, and four outside the surrounding ditch. Most of the contents of these were adults, but a few were children or foetuses.[6] Two food vessels and two "Collared Urns" were also found. In the second phase, the diameter increased to roughly 100 feet, but there were only a number of fire pits and pyres discovered along with one actual cremation.[7] A number of pottery shards were also recovered, though they had been badly damaged by ploughing. Some pottery associated with the Beaker culture was also recovered from what would have been the soil surface at the time of construction, showing that this area had human habitation for an extended period.[7]

Nothing of substance is known about Church Lawton I, as it was partially destroyed by the building of the current A5011[8] Newcastle-under-Lyme to Sandbach road some time before 1881. The remaining part of it was subsequently destroyed by the building of a petrol station, much later.[5][9]

Mediæval history

In 1338 Ralph de Lawton, who held the manor of Bog-lawton (now Church Lawton) surrendered it to Henry de Motlowe and his heirs. Henry, whose family came from Nether Alderley, later became Lord Chief Justice of Ireland.

Notable people

  • Charlie Burgess (1883 in Church Lawton – 1956) a footballer who played over 200 games mainly for Stoke City.
  • Andor Gomme (1930 – 2008 in Church Lawton) a scholar of English literature and architectural history, frequent reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement and an academic at Keele University. He lived in Barleybat Hall from 1960.

Notes and references

  1. Official 2001 Census Figures. Neighbourhood Statistics website. Retrieval Date: 24 August 2007.
  2. Dunn (1987). pages 23, 26.
  3. Morgan and Morgan (2004). page 29.
  4. Morgan and Morgan (2004). pages 91—93.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Church Lawton Barrows. The Megalithic Portal. Retrieval Date: 24 August 2007.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Morgan and Morgan (2004). page 92.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Morgan and Morgan (2004). page 93.
  8. Map showing the Church Lawton Complex, with the A5011 road number marked. Streetmap website. Retrieval Date: 24 August 2007.
  9. Morgan and Morgan (2004). page 91. Note that this reference and the Megalithic Portal website supply an incorrect road number (See note attached to road number, above).


("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Church Lawton)
  • Dunn, F. I. (1987). The Ancient Parishes, Townships, and Chapelries of Cheshire. Chester, United Kingdom: Cheshire Record Office and Chester Diocesan Record Office, Cheshire County Council. ISBN 0-906758-14-9.
  • Morgan, V., and Morgan, P. (2004). Prehistoric Cheshire. Ashbourne, Derbyshire: Landmark Publishing Company. ISBN 1-84306-140-6.
  • Youngs, F. A. (1991). Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England. Volume I: Northern England. London: Royal Historical Society. ISBN 0-86193-127-0.