Tutbury - Encyclopedia

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TUTBURY, a town in the Burton parliamentary division of Staffordshire, England, 42 m. N.W. of Burton-upon-Trent, picturesquely situated on the river Dove, a western tributary of the Trent, which forms the county boundary with Derbyshire. Pop. (1901), 1971. The station of the Great Northern and North Staffordshire railways is in Derbyshire. The fine church of St Mary has a nave of rich Norman work with a remarkable western doorway; there are Early English additions, and the apsidal chancel is a modern imitation of that style. There are ruins of a large castle standing high above the valley; these include a gateway of 14th-century work, strengthened in Caroline times, a wall enclosing the broad "Tilt Yard," and portions of dwelling rooms. Glass is the staple manufacture. Alabaster is found in the neighbourhood.

The early history of Tutbury (Toteberie, Stutesbury, Tuttebiri, Tudbury) is very obscure. It is said to have been a seat of the Mercian kings. After the Conquest it was granted to Hugh d'Avranches, who appears to have built the first castle there. At the time of the Domesday Survey the castle was held by Henry de Ferrers, and "in the borough round it were 42 men living by their merchandize alone." Tutbury was the centre of an honour in Norman times, but the town remained small and unimportant, the castle and town continuing in the hands of the Ferrers until 1266, when, owing to Robert de Ferrers's participation in the barons' revolt, they were forfeited to the Crown and granted to Edmund Crouchback, earl of Lancaster. They are still part of the duchy of Lancaster. Tutbury Castle was partially rebuilt by John of Gaunt, whose wife, Constance of Castile, kept her court there. Later it was, for a time, the prison of Mary Queen of Scots. During the Civil War it was held for the king but surrendered to the parliamentary forces (1646), and was reduced to ruins by order of parliament (1647). Richard III. granted to the inhabitants of Tutbury two fairs,.to be held respectively on St Katharine's day and the feast of the Invention of the Cross; the fair on the 15th of August was famous until the end of the 18th century for its bull coursing, said to have been originally introduced by John of Gaunt.

In 1831 a large treasure of English silver coins of the 13th and 14th centuries was discovered in the bed of the river, and a series was placed in the British Museum. This treasure was believed to have been lost by Thomas, the rebellious earl of Lancaster, who was driven from Tutbury Castle by Edward II. in 1322.

See Mosley, History of Castle, Priory and Town of Tutbury (1832); Victoria County History: Stafford.

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