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ECCLESHALL is a town in Staffordshire
Staffordshire
, England
England
. It is located seven miles north west of Stafford
Stafford
, and six miles west of Stone . Eccleshall
Eccleshall
is twinned with Sancerre
Sancerre
in France
France
.

CONTENTS

* 1 History * 2 Community * 3 Media * 4 Transport * 5 Places of interest * 6 Industry * 7 Notable people * 8 Nearby locations * 9 References * 10 External links

HISTORY

According to the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
, Eccleshall
Eccleshall
in 1086 was no more than a small village of about one hundred inhabitants. A few fragments of stone at the base of the tower of the present Parish Church of Holy Trinity suggest that a stone church was in existence about this time and the base of a 10th century cross still stands outside the church. The oldest part of the church, the pillars and arches of the nave, were begun in 1180 while the remainder of the church was completed during the 13th century, with a fine clerestory being added in the 15th century.

Eccleshall
Eccleshall
became important as a market town for the surrounding area. In 1153 it was granted the right to hold a weekly market. Around the beginning of the 13th century the village had become a town with the granting of ‘Borough’ status and by 1259 had obtained a charter to hold an annual fair at Ascensiontide. By the time of the survey of the bishop’s estates in 1298 about five hundred people lived in the village, mainly craftsmen or engaged in agriculture.

To the Bishop of Lichfield , Eccleshall
Eccleshall
was conveniently situated on the main road between the centres of the diocese in Chester
Chester
, Lichfield
Lichfield
and Coventry
Coventry
. Land was reputedly granted to St Chad and in 1200 Bishop Geoffrey de Muschamp was granted by King John a ‘licence to crenellate’ a castle . From then on until the 1860s the site would provide a residence for the Bishops of Lichfield.

However the ruins which exist today are those a later castle built in 1305 by Bishop William Langton , a friend of King Edward I and later Chancellor of England
England
. This was the great era of castle building and he built an imposing fortress with four corner towers and a wide moat. Eccleshall
Eccleshall
castle briefly played a part in the War of the Roses
War of the Roses
, when it was used as a base for the Lancastrian Queen Margaret of Anjou and her troops before and after her defeat at the Battle of Blore Heath in 1459.

In June 1643 the castle was besieged by Sir William Brereton and his Parliamentary forces encamped around the church. Their guns caused considerable damage to the walls but the castle held out. When the Parliamentary forces finally took the castle on 30 August they found that the bishop had died of a heart attack during the siege and most of the defenders were either drunk or had gone into town drinking in the taverns. The castle was sacked but enough of the building remained to be used as a prison for Royalist gentry.

With the development of turnpike trusts in the 18th century as a method of financing road building and improvements, coach travel throughout England
England
had become faster and more reliable. With its position on the main London
London
to Chester
Chester
road Eccleshall
Eccleshall
became an important stopping point for coaches on several different routes and the town prospered, the inns in particular. Until recently the large stables at the Royal Oak Hotel could be seen.

For three centuries leather working and shoemaking had been important domestic industries in Eccleshall, but by the end of the 19th century both had almost ceased, with the growth of the mechanised shoe factories in nearby Stafford
Stafford
.

Bishop William Overton (1580–1609) was probably responsible, in 1580, for bringing two glass making families from Lorraine , Tyzack and Henzey to Bishop's Wood near Eccleshall
Eccleshall
to set up glass production. Manufacturing ceased around 1615, however, the site of one glass furnace has been excavated in recent times and is preserved and can be seen in Bishop's Wood.

The film I Know Where I\'m Going! , Powell and Pressburger's classic romantic comedy made in 1945 highlights Eccleshall
Eccleshall
in the scene where Joan Webster ( Wendy Hiller
Wendy Hiller
) meets up with her father in London, and he informs her that he had travelled all the way from Eccleshall
Eccleshall
to see her that evening.

COMMUNITY

Eccleshall
Eccleshall
Street Market Eccleshall
Eccleshall
High Street

The high street has numerous shops, pubs, restaurants and businesses. A farmers\' market is held every month and the town holds its major festival every two years. The Eccleshall
Eccleshall
Show is held every summer at Sugnall Parks.

Eccleshall
Eccleshall
High Street, with many Georgian and earlier buildings, is a conservation area. The town has been a regular winner in the Britain in Bloom competition and, in summer, the main parts of Eccleshall
Eccleshall
are bedecked with colourful floral baskets, organised by the town's civic group, the 'Ecclian Society'.

Eccleshall F.C.
Eccleshall F.C.
are an English non-league football club. They play in the North West Counties League Division One. The reserves play in the Staffordshire
Staffordshire
County Senior League Premier Division.

HM Prison Drake Hall is a women's closed prison . It is approximately a mile north of the town, near the village of Sturbridge.

Nearby Cold Meece houses a British Army
British Army
training area that used to be a Royal Ordnance Factory , ROF Swynnerton. It is often used by the Air Training Corps and the Army Cadet Force
Army Cadet Force
.

MEDIA

In terms of television, Eccleshall
Eccleshall
is served by BBC Midlands Today and ITV Central
ITV Central
, both of which are based in Birmingham
Birmingham
. These transmit from the Sutton Coldfield transmitting station
Sutton Coldfield transmitting station
, located a couple of miles north of Birmingham, in the suburb of Mere Green . However, some parts of Eccleshall
Eccleshall
can also receive a good signal from The Wrekin transmitting station , near Telford
Telford
.

Local radio is covered by Signal Radio and BBC Radio Stoke , which come from Stoke-on-Trent
Stoke-on-Trent
. The town is also served by Free Radio Shropshire and Black Country from Oldbury , in the West Midlands .

The local newspapers are the Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Newsletter and Express and Star , who have offices in Stafford
Stafford
, and the Stone and Eccleshall Gazette, which comes from Stone .

The Stone and Eccleshall
Eccleshall
Life Magazines are bi-monthly glossy lifestyle magazines produced by Times, Echo and Life Publications and distributed free to over 15,000 homes in Stone, Eccleshall
Eccleshall
and the surrounding area.

TRANSPORT

The A519 road runs through the town. Junction 14 of the M6 motorway is five miles south of Eccleshall
Eccleshall
on the A5013.

The nearest railway station is Norton Bridge , three miles east of Eccleshall. It is still officially regarded as being open, but no services have stopped there since 2004 and it is inaccessible to the public. The nearest operational railway stations are Stafford
Stafford
and Stone .

PLACES OF INTEREST

Main article: Holy Trinity Church, Eccleshall Main article: Eccleshall Castle Holy Trinity Church, Eccleshall

Holy Trinity Church dates from 1195. The tombs of five Bishops of Lichfield
Lichfield
lie in the church, that of William Overton beside the altar being particularly notable.

Eccleshall Castle was the palace of the Bishop of Lichfield . The Domesday Book
Domesday Book
details that the Eccleshall
Eccleshall
estate had been given to the Bishop of Lichfield some time before the Norman conquest , possibly as early as the 7th century. By the time Bishop John Lonsdale died in 1867 the lack of a railway was one of the main reasons that his successor Bishop Selwyn gave for the decision to sell the castle and thus sever the long association of Eccleshall
Eccleshall
with the Bishop of Lichfield
Lichfield
. At the beginning of the last century the castle passed into the hands of the present owners, the Carter family (distant relations of former US President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
). The town itself was a relatively important market town by the time of the Wars of the Roses . In 1459, the castle was briefly a residence for the Queen, Margaret of Anjou , in her preparation for the Battle of Blore Heath
Battle of Blore Heath
, the site of which lies a few miles north of the town near Market Drayton
Market Drayton
. Later, the castle suffered damage during the English Civil War
English Civil War
.

The restored Mill Meece Pumping Station is to the north of Eccleshall.

INDUSTRY

For three centuries leather working and shoemaking had been important domestic industries in Eccleshall, but by the end of the 19th century both had almost ceased, with the growth of the mechanised shoe factories in nearby Stafford. Glass production was important to the town in the 14th and 15th centuries.

Farming remains a major activity in the area.

Eccleshall
Eccleshall
has been the site for an operational biofuel power station since September 2007, fuelled by elephant grass , the majority of which is grown by local farmers within a 30-mile radius. The maximum capacity of 2.6MW makes Eccleshall
Eccleshall
one of the first carbon-neutral towns in the UK, according to the company that runs the plant.

NOTABLE PEOPLE

* Frederick Webster (1885—1938) was an English cricketer who played for Derbyshire in 1906. He was born in Eccleshall. * Anthony David Hobson (born in Eccleshall
Eccleshall
1965) is a former English cricketer. Hobson was a right-handed batsman who bowled right-arm off break * David Jonathan Peter Boden (born in Eccleshall
Eccleshall
1970) is a former English cricketer. Boden was a right-handed batsman who bowled right-arm medium-fast. * David John Hibbert (born Eccleshall
Eccleshall
1986) is an English footballer who plays for National League North side AFC Telford
Telford
United as a striker. He started his professional career with Port Vale F.C.