Rocester, Staffordshire – St Michael

We stopped at Rocester on return from Uttoxeter on Friday 25 November. Yes, I know that’s three weeks ago – “must be your busy time Vicar”. The village has a website with a history page and various suggested walks. We are just over the border into Staffordshire and St Michael’s church is in the Diocese of Lichfield – SK111393. There was a Bronze Age settlement here, There was a Roman fort here – I think the Roman gallery is in the Potteries Museum in Hanley – website – which looks well worth a visit. In Domesday the village was valued at £8 – quite a lot. In 1141 St Mary’s Augustinian Abbey was founded in the village on the site now known as Abbey Fields. It was disbanded in 1538, demolished and a Manor House built on the site. St Michael’s was founded in the C13 for the parish, and therefore survived. The tower is original, but the rest of the church was built in 1873. There is a nice picture inside of the 1840 church.

Now it looks a lively church – I need a soft play area in both my churches (though I would get the apostrophe in the right place!). There is also a lovely chalk board listing this week’s events.

You enter the church through the Lych Gate, built as a War Memorial, dedicated in 1921. Lovely photo inside. They had done a wonderful display for Remembrance Sunday – quite stunning.

A lovely open church, with an amazing Play Area, and what a selection of light switches. A loo and kitchen at the back – firmly locked – and quite a red carpet.

The altar frontal is lovely, nice wooden reredos, and there is some interesting glass. I was surprised that the listing of the church does not mention who the glass artist is. I love the buildings behind Christ, and the lady’s curls.

The building you can see across the Abbey site is the original Richard Arkwright Mill. It was a corn mill on the River Dove which he developed into a textile mill in 1781. When I’ve done the Mill history of the Derwent, I will start on the mills of the Dove. It worked until 1985, and is now the JCB Academy – website. Now the major employer is the JCB works. They started near the station in the 1950s, and now have a huge site on the west of the village. You can book a tour – website. I will do that after Christmas.


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