‘Rugelie; Kings land. Mill’ [The Domesday Book, England’s Heritage Then and Now]

In 1086 Rugeley was known as 'Rugelie' (woodland clearing on or near a ridge) [The Oxford Names Companion]

Rugeley parish became part of Lichfield Union following the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834.

"Rugeley, the largest and handsomest town in the Cuttlestone Hundred, and the only one which retains its market, is situated at the north-eastern extremity of the Hundred, in a pleasant vale, bounded on the west by the hills of Cannock Chase, and on the north east by the River Trent. It is on the high road between Stafford and Lichfield, and has a station on the Trent Valley branch of the London and North-Western Railway, nine miles ESE of Stafford, and seven miles NW of Lichfield. A brook flows through the town from Cannock Chase, and near it is the railway, and a commodious wharf on the Trent and Mersey Canal. The town has long been noted for the manufacture of hats, and has two large iron foundries, and agricultural machine manufactories, belonging to Mr T Hatfield and Mr J Mellard, a large brass foundry and plumbers brass works manufactory, belonging to Messrs Bladen and Nash, and a large sheet iron and tin plate mill, belonging to Messrs Cheshire and Manners. Each of these establishments employ about 50 hands. Here are also three corn mills, a tan yard and a brewery, and in the parish are extensive collieries belonging to Earl Talbot and the Marquis of Anglesey. Rugeley parish contains 3774 inhabitants, and over 7000 acres of land, of which more than 4500 acres are unenclosed heath in Cannock Chase. It is all in the manor of Cannock & Rugeley, of which the Marquis of Anglesey is lord, except the small manor of Hagley which is the seat and property of the Hon Robert Curzon. The town has been much improved during the last 30 years and has several good streets and many well stocked shops. Many of the houses are elegant, being occupied by wealthy families. Heron Court is a large and handsome mansion, in the Gothic style, erected in 1851 by Joseph R Whitgrove, Esq, for his residence. Dr Wilkes considered the name to be a corruption of Ridgeley, from the ridge of hills which terminate Cannock Chase, on the west side of the town. It was anciently possessed by a family of its own name, one of whom, Simon de Rugeley, was high sheriff of Staffordshire in the reign of Edward III, and at the same time, another of his family was one of the two knights of the shire. Hagley Hall, the extensive and picturesque mansion of the Hon Robert Curzon, stands about a mile W of Rugeley, under the hillls of Cannock Chase. After having passed through various branches of the Weston family, of Weston-under-Lizard, whose paternal estate it was from the time of Edward III, Hagley became the property of the late Viscount Curzon, from whom it passed, in 1820, to its present possessor, who is a member of the ancient family of the Curzons, one of whom is Baron Scarsdale, of Derbyshire, and another Earl Howe and Viscount Curzon, the latter being grandson and heir to the late Viscount." [History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]

Rugeley (St. Augustine), a market town and parish in the union of Lichfield, E. division of the hundred of Cuttlestone, S. division of the county of Stafford, 9 miles (E. S. E.) from Stafford and 127 (N. W. by N.) from London; containing 3774 inhabitants. The parish includes a portion of Cannock Chase, the whole of which, comprises nearly 20000 acres, still unenclosed, was, together with the manor of Rugeley, granted by Henry VIII. To William, first Lord Paget, ancestor of the Marquess of Anglesey, the present lord of the manor. The town is agreeably situated near the south bank of the river Trent, on the road from Stafford to Lichfield; it is lighted with gas; is remarkably clean, and of respectable appearance. There are several good streets; two of them called Albion-street and Church-street, have lately formed, and many of the houses in the later are of superior order. The trade is greatly promoted by the proximity of the Grand Trunk canal which connects the navigation of the rivers Trent and Mersey, and passing northwards of the town, between it and the river, communicates with the Brereton collieries, in the parish, by a tramroad, and not far distant is carried over the river Trent by a fine aqueduct. The Trent-Valley railway, also, completed in 1847, runs near the town. Here an iron-foundry, and mills for rolling sheet-iron, also a small manufactory for sugar of lead and verdigris: hats were made to a considerable extent, but this branch of the trade has much declined. The market is on Thursday. Fairs take place on April 15th; June 1st; a very large horse-fair, which continues till the 6th, on which day is also a large cattle-fair; October 21st, for cattle, sheep and horses; and the second Tuesday in December. The powers of the county debt-court of Rugeley, established in 1847, extend over part of the registration-district of Lichfield. A court leet is held in October. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king’s books at £5.2., and in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield, the appropriators: the great tithes have been commuted for £405; and the vicarial for £315, with a glebe of 8 acres. The present church was erected in 1822, with stone given by the Marquess of Anglesey; it has a tower, and contains 430 free sittings, in consideration of a grant of £800 from the Incorporated Society. Of the old edifice, the tower and the chancel remain entire, and the latter is used as a school room; the arches are in ruins. A district church has been built at Brereton. There is a place of worship for Independents, and one for Wesleyans at Glover’s-Hill. The free grammar school is said to have been founded in the time of Elizabeth, but the date is not known; the endowment consists of land and houses in the parish, and produces about £320. per annum. The school is free to inhabitants of the parish, and the average number of free scholars, for some years past, has been about 50; the master is allowed to take 20 boarders, and may also admit 11 day-scholars from the neighbouring parishes, who pay for their education. Bamford’s school was established by John Bamford, who by will dated February 11th, 1733, gave £400: this benefaction having been augmented, the income is now £35 per annum. A national school for girls was founded by the Hon. Mrs. Curzon, now Lady de la Zouche; and an almshouse, for four women, by Mrs. Hopkins. [Samuel Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England 1859]

Until the middle of the 19th Century Brereton and Rugeley were one parish and then became separate parishes but remaining good neighbours. In more recent years the friendship between the two parishes matured into a number of areas of active co-operation and after 18 months of discussions it was decided that the parishes would be better equipped for service and mission by formally uniting as one. On 1st June 2006 the separate parishes of Rugeley and Brereton became officially the Parish Brereton and Rugeley. The union was marked by a day of celebration on the 19th November of that year.

Rugeley, a town, a parish, and a sub-district, in Lichfield district, Staffordshire. The town stands on the river Trent, on the Grand Trunk canal, and on the Trent Valley railway, at the junction of the railway to Cannock and Walsall, near Cannock Chase, 9½ miles S Eby E of Stafford; is a seat of petty-sessions; comprises several good streets; and has a head post-office, a railway station with telegraph, two banking offices, a hotel, a town hall, a church built in 1822, part of an old church, chapels for Independents, Wesleyans, and Roman Catholics, a mechanics' institute, an endowed grammar-schoolwith £315 a year, an endowed national school, and charities £181. [John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales 1870 - 1872]

Statistics for the Rugeley 2001 Census provided by the Office for National Statistics

The Church of England website for the Church of the Good Shepherd on the Pear Tree Estate

Staffordshire Record Office holds the original Congregational Providence Chapel registers (1821 - 1837)

Have you ancestors from Rugeley with the surnames Gilbert, Smith or Wood? If so, you may find them on this website

Rugeley Inns, Taverns and Public Houses in 1830 described in Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Staffordshire 1830

Everything you need to know about the history of Rugeley

Entries for Rugeley town as detailed in Pigot & Co.'s National Commercial Directory For 1828-29

Do you have an ancestor living in Leacroft in 1834? If so, you may find them in the Parish Directory (Cannock) 1834

The Church of England website for Saint Augustine’s' Church

Staffordshire Record Office holds the original Saint Augustine’s Bishops Transcripts (1659 – 1880) with gaps 1681 to 1684, 1735 to 1738 and 1780 to 1795

Birmingham Diocesan Archives holds the original Saint Joseph and Etheldreda Roman Catholic Church registers, Baptisms (1836 – 1873) Marriages (1853 – 1861) and Death (1845 – 1861)

Did an ancestor or you, attend Rugeley Secondary Modern School in 1952? And was he or you in Class 3A? If so, you will see him or yourself in this photograph

Get to know the sights of Rugeley where your ancestors lived by taking one of many walks in the area

Staffordshire Records Office holds the original Wesleyan Methodist Chapel registers (1821 – 1878)

Paupers in need of assistance from Rugeley would have been examined and assessed, and if they met the criteria, they would have been admitted to Lichfield Workhouse. Learn a little of the history of the Lichfield Workhouse.