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A History of Checkley

This is a brief introduction to the history of Checkley. You will find more details elsewhere on the site in particular about the history of the church and various points of interest around the village.

The medieval hamlet of Checkley grew up in the shallow valley on the north bank of the meandering River Tean and its history goes back to the days of the Anglo Saxons. It was not mentioned in the Doomsday Book (as it did not have its own manor or taxable land) but there are Saxon Crosses in the churchyard which date from the 9th century (see church page). 

It is possible that the area may have been visited even earlier by the Romans – there is evidence of a Roman road about a mile north of the village. There was certainly a Roman fort at Rocester, about 4 miles north of Uttoxeter which was founded in about AD69 and occupied until about AD400. That fort was on the Roman road from Derby to Newcastle-under-Lyme and onwards to Deva (Chester). 

The line of that road can be easily seen from modern day maps which show it running from Rocester, through Hollington and into Tean and then on to Bylthe Bridge.

However Checkley village grew up near to the road between Cheadle and Uttoxeter (now the A522) and it is centred around St Mary’s Church. The church was consecrated in 1196 AD and parts of the present building date from this time although it has been much altered over the years. Most of the village is just to the south of that main road and thus modern through traffic does not pass through the village itself.

Village History 1850s to 1890s

In 1850 the village was just a small collection of cottages near to the church.

By 1880 there were the cottages on Church Lane and the rectory was next to the church (since converted to flats). By this time the Red Lion public house was built opposite the church.

There was a road just to the east of the church which ran from the main Uttoxeter Road (at about the point where the garden of the modern house, The Spinney, abuts the churchyard) and joined Church Lane near where the Memorial Garden now stands.

Close to the River Tean was Rectory Farm. This had originally been the rectory before a replacement was built next to the church. Rectory Farm is interesting in that part of the building is thought to be Norman although most was constructed in the late 17th or early 18th Century. In places the walls are five feet thick and it is believed that the house was once surrounded by a moat with a drawbridge at the bottom of the garden. 

Mr C Holden purchased the farm in 1914 and it was owned by the Holden family until it was sold to Salt family in the 1980s.

In 1880 the Hutchinson Memorial School on Uttoxeter Road had recently opened (1874) having replaced an earlier school which had been located on the lane mentioned above to the east of the church and just behind Glebe Cottage. The school was named after the Rev. William Hutchinson who was the rector of Checkley from 1839 to 1878.

Later in the 1880s it was decided that it was necessary to extend the churchyard and the lane to the east of the church was closed and another road, New Road, was constructed about 50 metres further east. The public house on the main Uttoxeter Road was then called The Cock Inn, but has since been renamed as The New Broom.

1900 to 1950s

By around 1920 Mrs Lucy Hurst had opened a post office in the village in Church Lane near to the church. From the early 1950s her niece, Mrs Joyce Hurst, ran the post office from one of the front rooms of her cottage. She also sold a selection of sweets and stationery.

In the 1990s the post office closed for a short while before reopening at Glebe Cottage for a few years under the guidance of Mrs Kitty Milner. Around 2000 the post office closed again and since then there has been no post office or shop in the village.

1960 to modern times

Over the period from the 1920s until the 1960s there were a few other properties constructed in the village. Then in the 1960s there was expansion of the village with the construction of around 30 houses in Cranberry Avenue (pictured on the left).

Also at that time Barker & Shenton had a garage at New Garage, Uttoxeter Road, selling new and used cars. They described themselves as “Appointed Agents for: Vauxhall, Bedford, Standard, Triumph, Morris, Wolseley, Riley, Jaguar”. Later the site was used as a depot when the new A50 was being constructed and it subsequently became the Badgers Hollow development in the 1990s (pictured on the right).

During the 1970s there was also the building of further houses on land to the east of the village to form St Mary's Close and as well as along Church Lane to the east of New Road. In addition during the 1990s land at the neighbouring hamlet of Deadman’s Green, (half a mile east of the centre of the village) for further housing and formed Green Park. That land had previously been a garage and transport café but with the opening of the new A50 to the south of the village it no longer had passing trade and therefore closed.

Since around the millennium there has been little further development within the village.
In 2011 the estimated population of the village was about 360. The facilities in the village include a first school, a village hall, two pubs and of course the church. There is a bus services to Hanley, Cheadle and Uttoxeter.