Coordinates: 53°00′39″N 2°13′40″W / 53.0109°N 2.2278°W / 53.0109; -2.2278
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Guildhall, Newcastle-under-Lyme
Newcastle-under-Lyme is located in Staffordshire
Location within Staffordshire
Population75,082 (2021 census)
OS grid referenceSJ848459
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townNEWCASTLE[1]
Postcode districtST5
Dialling code01782
AmbulanceWest Midlands
UK Parliament
List of places
53°00′39″N 2°13′40″W / 53.0109°N 2.2278°W / 53.0109; -2.2278

Newcastle-under-Lyme is a market town and the administrative centre of the Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire, England. It is adjacent to the city of Stoke-on-Trent. In 2021 the population was 75,082.[2]

Newcastle grew up in the twelfth century around the castle which gave the town its name, and received its first charter in 1173. The town's early industries included millinery, silk weaving, and coal mining, but despite its proximity to the Potteries it did not develop a ceramics trade.


The name "Newcastle" is derived from a mid-12th century motte and bailey that was built after King Stephen granted lands in the area to Ranulf de Gernon, Earl of Chester; the land was for his support during the civil war known as The Anarchy.[3][4] "Lyme" might refer to the Lyme Brook or the Forest of Lyme ("lyme" being an old English term for elm trees) that covered an extensive area across the present day counties of Cheshire, Staffordshire and parts of Derbyshire.[4][5]


12th–19th centuries[edit]

Newcastle was not recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book, as it grew up round a 12th-century castle, but it must have gained rapid importance, as a charter, known solely through a reference in another charter to Preston, was given to the town by Henry II in 1173. The new castle superseded an older fortress at Chesterton, about 2 miles (3 km) to the north, whose ruins were visible up to the end of the 16th century.

In 1235 Henry III turned the town into a free borough, granting a guild and other privileges.[4] In 1251 he leased it under a fee farm grant to the burgesses. In 1265 Newcastle was granted by the Crown to Simon de Montfort and later to Edmund Crouchback, through whom it passed to Henry IV. In John Leland's time the castle had disappeared "save one great Toure".

Ironmarket, Newcastle-Under-Lyme

Newcastle did not feature much in the English Civil War, except as a victim of Royalist plundering.[citation needed] However, it was the home town of Major General Thomas Harrison, a Cromwellian army officer and leader of the Fifth Monarchy Men.

An inclosure act in 1816[which?] enclosed the common lands of the borough, and removed their common rights. They were thereafter held in trust for the burgesses of the borough. The Newcastle under Lyme Burgess Lands charity continues to exist, with entitlement to benefits going to those who would have been burgesses before the reforms of 1835: either the son of someone entitled to the trust, who was resident or occupying property within the borough's boundaries.

The Municipal Corporations Act 1835 reformed the borough, creating a new governing charter,[4][6] repealing the previous charters of 1590 and 1664. The unreformed corporation prior to 1835 had been styled the "Mayor, Bailiffs and Burgesses of Newcastle-under-Lyme",[4] but that act changed the style to "Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of Newcastle-under-Lyme".[7]

In 1835, the admission of new burgesses was forbidden by section 13 of the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 under any criteria expect that of being a ratepayer.[8][9] This only affected the creation of borough burgesses, and not the entitlement rules of the Burgess Lands Trust, which continued on the historic burgess criteria.

Newcastle sent two members to Parliament from 1355 to 1885, then lost one of its seats.[10]

Nelson Place and view up King Street, from a postcard, c. 1900

20th century[edit]

When Stoke-on-Trent was formed by the 1910 amalgamation of the "six towns" (Stoke, Hanley, Fenton, Longton, Burslem and Tunstall), Newcastle remained separate.

Despite its close proximity, it was not directly involved in the pottery industry and it strongly opposed attempts to join the merger in 1930,[11] with a postcard poll showing residents opposing the Stoke-on-Trent Extension Bill by a majority of 97.4 per cent. Although passed by the House of Commons, the bill was rejected by the House of Lords.[citation needed]

After the Local Government Act 1972, Newcastle became the principal settlement of the Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme.


Like neighbouring Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle's early economy was based around the hatting trade, silk and cotton mills. Later coal mining, brick manufacture, iron casting and engineering rose to prominence.[4] Fine red earthenware and soft-paste porcelain tableware (the first such production in Staffordshire) was produced in Newcastle at Samuel Bell's factory in Lower Street in 1724–1754, when production ceased. Except for a failed enterprise in 1790–1797, which then switched to brewing, there was no further commercial production of pottery within the town. Production of earthenware tiles, however, continued at several locations in the borough. Manufacture of fine bone china was re-established in the borough in 1963 by Mayfair Pottery at Chesterton.

The manufacture in the borough of clay tobacco-smoking pipes started about 1637 and grew rapidly, until it was second only to hatting as an industry. Nationally, the town ranked with Chester, York and Hull as the four major pipe producers. The industry continued until the mid-19th century, when decline set in rapidly, so that by 1881 it had only one tobacco-pipe maker left.

In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, the town had a flourishing felt hat manufacturing industry,[4] probably at its peak locally in the 1820s, when a third of the town's population were involved in over 20 factories, but by 1892 there was only one still in production.

In 1944, the Rolls-Royce Derwent engine for the Gloster Meteor fighter was made in the borough.

Newcastle's 20th-century industries include: iron-working, construction materials, clothing (especially military, police and transport uniforms), computers, publishing, electric motors and machinery.[citation needed]

Near the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries, the town received major redevelopment to incorporate a new street (Castle Walk) into the town centre, providing Newcastle with a new bus station and bringing in more companies. Various business centres in the town provide offices for companies that operate in the service sector.

The town was classed as a BID (business improvement district) in 2015, reiterated in 2021.[citation needed]


Vera Brittain

The town has been the birthplace of several notable politicians and activists. Fanny Deakin was a campaigner for better nourishment for babies and young children and better maternity care for mothers. The former chairwoman of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Janet Bloomfield (née Hood) is a peace and disarmament campaigner. Vera Brittain. writer, feminist (and mother of Labour Party Minister and later Liberal Democrat Shirley Williams) was born in the town.[12]

There have been two particularly notable Members of Parliament (MPs). Josiah Wedgwood IV was a Liberal, Independent and Labour Party MP, who served as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the cabinet of Ramsay MacDonald, in the first ever Labour government. He was an MP from 1909 to 1942. John Golding was elected a Labour MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme at a by-election in 1969. He served in the governments of Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan, as PPS to Eric Varley as Minister of Technology, a Labour whip in opposition, and Minister for Employment, stepping down in 1986.[13]

The current MP is Aaron Bell.


The town was once served by the North Staffordshire Railway, its station being on a branch from Stoke-on-Trent via Newcastle, Silverdale and Keele, to Market Drayton in Shropshire. Newcastle-under-Lyme railway station opened in September 1852, after numerous construction difficulties involving the two tunnels of 605 yards (553 m) and 96 yards (88 m) at Hartshill. There were also two halts to the west of Newcastle railway station, located at Brampton and Liverpool Road.[14]

The section from Silverdale to Market Drayton closed to passengers in May 1956 and the rest of the line in March 1964. Only small sections remained from Madeley to Silverdale, and from Silverdale to Holditch, for coal traffic from the local collieries. The line from Newcastle Junction to Silverdale has been removed, and the site of Newcastle railway station and the Hartshill tunnels filled in.

Newcastle was on the national canal network, but the Newcastle-under-Lyme Canal running from the Trent and Mersey Canal at Stoke-on-Trent to Sir Nigel Gresley's Canal has been disused since 1935 and mostly filled in.

Today the town relies on buses for public transport. FirstGroup runs a network of services connecting Newcastle to the towns of the Potteries and to Stafford. Arriva buses run to Shrewsbury via Market Drayton


Situated in a valley alongside the Lyme Brook, the town is just west of the city of Stoke-on-Trent, its suburbs running together. Newcastle town centre is less than 4 miles (6 km) from Stoke-on-Trent City Centre, about 17 miles (27 km) north of Stafford and 5 miles (8 km) south of the Cheshire county border and 10 miles (16 km) from the Shropshire county border.

Green belt[edit]

Newcastle and Stoke form the main urban area at the centre of the Stoke-on-Trent Green Belt, which is an environmental and planning area that regulates the rural space in Staffordshire,[15] to prevent urban sprawl and minimise convergence with outlying settlements. First defined in 1967,[15] most of the area extends into the wider borough, but some landscape features and places of interest within that are covered or surrounded. They include the Michelin Sports Facility, Newcastle golf course, Keele University, Apedale Winding Wheel, Watermills Chimney and Bignall Hill. The West Coast Main Line forms the western boundary of the green belt.


Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council undertakes a range of environmental, sustainability and regeneration projects. As part of its Sustainable Environment Strategy, it processes household and business waste through a 'waste to energy' plant and partnered with Advantage West Midlands in the development of Blue Planet Chatterley Valley, a sustainable logistics facility on the site of a former colliery completed in 2008.[16][17] The Council also works with the Environment Agency, Walleys Quarry Ltd. and other relevant bodies to regulate Walleys Quarry landfill site in Silverdale.[18][19]


Comparative Census Information
2001 UK Census Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough[20][21] England
Total population 73,944 122,030 49,138,831
White 97.8% 98% 91%
Asian 0.6% 0.6% 4.6%
Black 0.2% 0.2% 2.3%
Christian 78.2% 78.5% 72%
Muslim 0.7% 0.5% 3.1%
Hindu 0.2% 0.2% 1.1%
No religion 14% 13.1% 15%
Unemployed 2.3% 2% 3.3%

Of the 73,944 residents recorded in the 2001 census, 51.7 per cent (38,210) were female and 48.3 per cent (35,734) male.[22] Of these, 78.2 per cent (57,819) stated that their religion was Christian, and 12.9 per cent (9,570) said they had no religion. Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Sikhism each covered less than 1 per cent of the population. Racially, 97.8 per cent of the population defined themselves as white, with the balance being mixed race – 0.6 per cent), Indian – 0.4 per cent, Pakistani – 0.2 per cent, black – 0.2 per cent, Chinese – 0.2 per cent, and other ethnic groups – 0.4 per cent.[22]

In employment, 62.2 per cent (21,586) of the population work full-time and 19.4 per cent (6,746) part time.[23] The largest employment types are manufacturing with 7,058 (21.5 per cent), wholesale and retail 6,157 (18.7 per cent), health and social work 4,097 (12.5 per cent) and finance, real estate and business activity 3,823 (11.6 per cent).[23]

Jewish residency of the area stretches back into the 19th century.[24] In 1873 the community purchased an old Welsh chapel to be used as a synagogue. In 1923 a new synagogue was built in Hanley. This was closed in 2004 and the congregation moved to a smaller synagogue in Newcastle.[25]


The A34 London Road

Newcastle-under-Lyme is served by the M6 motorway to the south and west of Newcastle and by the A500 road to the north and east. There are access points from the M6 at junctions 15 and 16, to the south and north respectively. The A34 trunk road runs through Newcastle from north to south and was the main road between Birmingham and Manchester until the M6 motorway opened. There is a large bus station in the town centre.

Newcastle-Under-Lyme station site, now Stations Walk.

Newcastle-under-Lyme railway station, which was not within the town but towards Water Street on the Stoke to Market Drayton Line, closed in 1964 under the Beeching cuts. The line from Silverdale to Pipe Gate remained open to serve Silverdale Colliery and a creamery at Pipe Gate until 1998, when the line closed to all stone and mineral traffic. It now forms part of a green way from Silverdale to Newcastle-under-Lyme, with the station site being called "Station Walks". The nearest station to the town is Stoke-on-Trent railway station which is between the town centre of Newcastle and city centre of Stoke-on-Trent and serves the Potteries as a whole. Newcastle is the third-largest town in England (by population) to have no railway station.[26]

Most of the bus network is run by First Potteries Limited and D&G Bus.[citation needed]


The town has a private school: Newcastle-under-Lyme School, which was established in the 17th century, whose alumni includes T. E. Hulme, John Wain and William Watkiss Lloyd. It has a number of primary and secondary schools in the state-funded sector. The latter include Newcastle Community Academy, Clayton Hall Academy, St John Fisher Catholic College, Sir Thomas Boughey Academy and Orme Academy (formerly Wolstanton High School). There is a private Edenhurst Preparatory School, founded in 1961.

The town's largest sixth-form college is Newcastle-under-Lyme College, which was established in 1966.

Keele University main campus is situated 3 miles (5 km) from the centre of the town.

Sites and attractions[edit]

Parks and gardens[edit]

Queen's Gardens

In 2005 it was national winner in the "small city/large town" category (35K–100K).[27] The town features several parks, including the Queen's Gardens at the east end of Ironmarket, which won the Britain in Bloom Judges' Award for Horticultural Excellence in 2003.[28] Queens Gardens contains a statue of Queen Victoria funded by Sir Alfred Seale Haslam and unveiled by Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich of Russia on 5 November 1903. It is the only park within the ring road.

Grosvenor Gardens is in the centre of one of the town's roundabouts, but hidden away below road level. Queen Elizabeth Garden is located outside the town centre and was due for refurbishment using National Lottery Heritage Fund money.[29]

To the north-west of the town centre is Brampton Park, home to a museum and art gallery.[30]

Traditional market[edit]

Dating back to 1173 Newcastle's market, known as the Stones, operates on the High Street.[31] The market was originally held on Sunday; in the reign of John it was changed to Saturday; by the charter of Elizabeth it was fixed on Monday. Grants of fairs were given by Edward I, Edward III and Henry VI.

Today the market is open six days a week and has over 80 stalls. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays have a general market, Tuesdays an antiques market and Thursdays a sale of bric-a-brac. A cattle and livestock market was held on Mondays until the early 1990s; the site of it is now a branch of Morrison's supermarket.

The Guildhall

The Guildhall[edit]

The current Guildhall was built in 1713 and has undergone a number of changes.[32] Originally the ground floor was open and was used for markets, until the Market Hall was built in 1854. In 1860, to provide more space, the ground floor arches were bricked up and a clock tower with four clocks added. The top rooms in the Guildhall were used for meetings by the borough council.[33] It is now a Grade II listed building.[34]

The Barracks[edit]

The Italian-style Militia Barracks were built in 1855 of red brick. They were the headquarters of the 3rd King's Own Staffordshire Rifle Regiment until 1880. In 1882 W. H. Dalton bought the Barracks and settled them in trust for use by the Rifle Volunteers of Newcastle, which became the Territorial Force in 1907. In 2002 the Barracks were let to small businesses.[35]


Newcastle-under-Lyme Museum & Art Gallery

The New Vic Theatre is a theatre in the round.[36] Just outside the town centre, it offers a programme that includes modern and classic plays and concert performances.

The Borough Museum and Art Gallery (Brampton Museum) depicts the civic history of the Borough and an authentic, life-size Victorian street-scene. The art gallery hosts work by local and national artists, and travelling exhibitions.[37][38]

Notable residents who contributed to the arts and entertainment include Philip Astley, founder of the modern circus.[39] Jackie Trent, the singer and songwriter, was born in the town.[40] Arnold Bennett, the novelist, playwright, and essayist, completed his schooling at the Middle School,[41] and called the town Oldcastle in his Clayhanger trilogy of novels. Dinah Maria Mulock, who wrote under her married name of Mrs Craik, lived in the town (in Lower Street and Mount Pleasant) and attended Brampton House Academy.[42]

E. S. Turner, social commentator, was educated in the town.[43] Newcastle was home to Dr Philip Willoughby-Higson (1933–2012), poet, translator, historian, and author of 33 books. He founded and was president (1974–1992) of the Chester Poets, the oldest poetry group in the North-West. He was also President of the Baudelaire Society of France from 1992 to 2012 – the only Englishman ever to hold that position.


Regional local news and television programmes are BBC West Midlands and ITV Central. Television signals are received from either the Fenton or Sutton Coldfield transmitters. [44] [45] BBC North West and ITV Granada can also be received from the Winter Hill TV transmitter. [46]

Local radio stations are BBC Radio Stoke, Signal 1, Greatest Hits Radio Staffordshire & Cheshire, HitMix Radio and 6 Towns Radio, who are the most recent station to serve the area following a successful ofcom application.

The Sentinel is the town's local newspaper. [47]


The sports clubs and associations include Newcastle Town F.C., playing association football in the Northern Premier League Division One South East. Rugby is represented by Newcastle Staffs Rugby Union Club.

Cycle Staffordshire organises local cycling events, as does the Newcastle Track Cycling Association. The town has a velodrome used by the Lyme Racing Club,[48]

Newcastle Golf Club

Newcastle Athletic Club[49] is based at the Ashfield Road track next to Newcastle College. This ash track was constructed in 1964. The club competes in the North Staffs XC League and the Local, National and Heart of England League 3.

The town is home to a volleyball club: Newcastle (Staffs) Volleyball Club. Founded in 1980, it has teams in the National Volleyball League.[citation needed]

Newcastle-under-Lyme College is home to Castle Korfball Club, one of the nation's older such clubs. This club was founded in June 1996 originally based at keele university[50]

The town has a swimming club; Newcastle (Staffs) Swimming Club, which was founded in 1908.[51]

There are golf courses at Kidsgrove, Wolstanton, Keele and Westlands.[52][53][54]

Keele University is home to one of the UK's first quidditch teams, the Keele Squirrels.[55] It hosted the first ever quidditch game in the UK in 2011 against the Leicester Thestrals.


St Giles' Church, Newcastle-under-Lyme

The town was the birthplace of John James Blunt, a divine and Anglican priest. Josiah Wedgwood was a Unitarian and he and his family attended meetings at the Old Meeting House, adjacent to St Giles' Church, which is still in use for the purpose.

The town has a number of Anglican churches, including St Giles, a medieval parish church dating from 1290.[56] There are several Catholic churches, notably Holy Trinity,[57][58] whose style is Gothic in blue engineering bricks, described as "the finest modern specimen of ornamental brickwork in the kingdom" at the time.

Jewish cemetery and Synagogue on the A34

In the 18th century John Wesley made repeated visits to the area, which was becoming industrialised, and recruited many residents to Methodism.[59] This is reflected in a number of Methodist churches.[60] There is a Baptist church in Clayton.[61]

Of interest is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), across from Brampton Park, which serves as the "Stake Centre" for the church in the region and has an on-site Family History Centre, where the public can research their ancestry at little or no charge.

International network[edit]

The town is part of a worldwide network of towns and cities with the name Newcastle.[62] These include well-known Newcastle upon Tyne (also in England), Neuburg an der Donau (Germany), Neuchâtel (Switzerland), Neufchâteau (France), New Castle, Indiana (US), New Castle, Pennsylvania (US), New Castle, Delaware (US), Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) and Shinshiro (Japan).

This small international network of eight towns, formed in 1998, is designed to encourage friendship and cooperation between them. Accordingly, a school in the South African town benefited in 2004 from gifts of computing equipment surplus to Newcastle-under-Lyme's needs. The annual Newcastles of the World Summit was held in Newcastle-under-Lyme for six days from 17 June 2006.[63]

Notable people[edit]

17th and 18th centuries[edit]

19th century[edit]

20th century[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ The county name is no longer required for postcoded mail and the suffix "-under-Lyme" is not part of the official Royal Mail name of the post town, despite the potential for confusion with similarly named places.
  2. ^ "NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME in Staffordshire (West Midlands) Built-up Area Subdivision". City Population. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  3. ^ "Motte and bailey castle 100m and 200m south of St Mary's School". Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "History of Newcastle". Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council. Archived from the original on 21 March 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  5. ^ Ekwall, Eilert (1940). The Concise Dictionary of English Place-names (2nd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 294.
  6. ^ "Relationships/unit history of NEWCASTLE UNDER LYME". A Vision of Britain. University of Portsmouth Department of Geography. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 6 May 2007.
  7. ^ Municipal Corporations Act 1835 s. 6, 14 August 2023, ... shall take and bear the Name of the Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses of such Borough ...
  8. ^ Jenkins, J. G., ed. (1963). "Newcastle-under-Lyme: Economic history and social life". A History of the County of Stafford. Vol. 8. London. pp. 44–54. Retrieved 28 March 2023 – via British History Online.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  9. ^ Municipal Corporations Act 1835 s. 13, 14 August 2023, And it be enacted, That after the passing of this Act no Person shall be enrolled a Burgess of any Borough, for the Purposes of enjoying the Rights conferred for the first Time by this Act, in respect of any Title other than by Occupancy and Payment of Rates within such Borough, according to the Meaning and Provision of this Act.
  10. ^ The History of Parliament Trust, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Borough, from 1386 to 1481 Retrieved 29 May 2019.
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  • Jenkins, J G (1983). A History of Newcastle-under-Lyme. Staffordshire County Library.
  • Briggs, J (1973). Newcastle-under-Lyme, 1173–1973. Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council. ISBN 978-0-9502745-1-5.
  • Morris, Dennis; Priestley, Anthony; Priestley, Joy; Simmons, Roger; Watkin, Edward (1987). The Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme : A Portrait in Old Picture Postcards. Brampton Publications. ASIN B000IBSQAW.
  • Adams, D W (1988). Wartime Newcastle-under-Lyme. Hendon Publishing Co Ltd. ISBN 978-0-86067-113-8.
  • Adams, D W (1986). Newcastle-under-Lyme as it was. Hendon Publishing Co Ltd. ISBN 978-0-86067-106-0.

External links[edit]