Audley Knight


Audley Parish is situated in the rolling hills of North Staffordshire and has a long and interesting history, including farming and a period of intensive coal mining.


Since 1986 the Audley and District Family History Society has been working to make records available for Audley and its adjoining parishes.


Our records are based on the ancient ecclesiastical parish of Audley, which comprises of Audley Township, Bignall End, Halmer End, Knowle End, Park End, Eardley End and Talke.

The adjoining area comprises of the ancient parishes of Barthomley and Church Lawton in Cheshire, and Wolstanton, Keele, Madeley and Betley in Staffordshire. (see Records for full details).


Audley District Map


Area covered by the Society.  Click to enlarge map.


We hold Research meetings every month, where we have much material available to look at. Non members are welcome to attend for a small fee (see Research).


Every two months a talk is held at The Audley Methodist Church Hall (see Talks).


If you wish to join the Audley and District Family History Society please go to the Joining Us page. You can now pay to join or renew using on-line payments.


The Society has a number of Publications for sale, including the annual Society Journal called the 'Audley Historian'. You can now buy publications on-line.   sp;                                   

The Members' Area is now active. Old Audley has recently moved to the Members' Area and extracts of some old Audley St. James' parish magazines 1920-69 added.

If your interest is in the surname of Audley please go to


Gwyneth Pearson

It is with great sadness that I have to announce that, after a short illness, Gwyneth Pearson passed away peacefully on Saturday 6 January. Gwyneth was a founding member of Audley and District Family History Society, a long term committee member and, at the time of her death, the society's Membership Secretary. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her. A full tribute will follow.

The society wishes to pass on it's deepest condolences to Gwyneth's family.  

Robert Mayer, Chair of AFHS


In early January 2024, Audley and District Family History Society lost one of its founding members. The society was created
in 1986. Phil Coops recalls:
If I remember correctly Gwyneth was the first chairperson of the Audley group. She took over the treasurer's
position later. She was there from the very foundation of the group.
Gwyneth was a wife, sister, mother and grandmother, but to so many society members, a friend and welcoming, familiar
face at meetings. While family and local history were among Gwyneth's many pastimes, her career was in teaching. Gwyneth
will be sadly missed but fondly remembered by the many children she taught at St Lucy's, Silverdale, Audley and Betley
schools and Orme House.
Gwyneth was a regular visitor to the Brampton Museum during the mid-1990s, taking school groups from Orme House.
From 2000, she worked as a volunteer, cataloguing the museum's photographic archive as well as advising on the education
programme. The museum remembers:
Such was her enthusiasm for the work of the museum, Gwyneth was one of the founding members of the
Friends of the Brampton. Without the support of the Friends, Brampton Museum would not be the vibrant
place it is today. Gwyneth's legacy is that thousands of historical photos of the Borough are now digitised,
many of which are available on Staffordshire Past Track.
For Gwyneth's upbringing and early life, I have used extracts from the tribute given by her older brother, Malcolm Bloor, at
the Service of Thanksgiving at St James' Church, Audley on Monday 22 January 2024:
Gwyneth was the third member of our family of four, being the only girl among three brothers. We had a
very happy childhood in the small village of Alsagers Bank. Gwyneth was outnumbered with regard to girls of
her own age in the village, and she was unofficially adopted by her cousin Barbara Gater, her mother Auntie
Elsie and next-door Muriel Whitmore. Life in the village comprised mainly of two activities, the Wesleyan
Methodist Church and the Cricket Club. The Church and the Sunday School room were used for most social
activities. The Cricket Club had three teams playing in various leagues. Gwyneth helped her mother to
provide teas, which everyone complimented them on. The Club also organised an annual Carnival held on a
Saturday. There was a parade through the village with numerous decorated floats, and side shows were set up
on the cricket field. The Carnival always had a Carnival Queen, and Gwyneth was first in the retinue and
finally the Queen.
My mother, although suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis, was very creative with her hands, particularly with
knitting, sewing, and embroidery. Gwyneth followed on in the same tradition. Gwyneth passed her 11 plus
and attended Clayton Grammar School. She then went on to qualify as a teacher and worked for a private
Gwyneth also had a passion for history, particularly family history, in which she discovered certain events we
were unaware of. With her involvement with a family history group, she followed the great mining disaster of
1918 at the Minnie Pit with interest. It was in this disaster that our maternal Grandfather was killed at the age
of 47, leaving a widow and five children. I was grateful to Gwyneth for providing detailed information on the
disaster since our mother would not talk about it.
Despite many years of poor health, dearest Gwyneth faced life bravely and made the most of her time,
enjoying her family and friends.
Returning to Gwyneth's involvement with Audley and District Family History Society, as we have heard, she was briefly
chair and then the society's first treasurer. Gwyneth was a continual member of the society's committee and, since 2014, was
the Membership Secretary, efficiently managing the membership records of around 150 full members. No mean feat!
Gwyneth's impact as a committee member was far more significant. Gwyneth brought her life experience, common sense
and intelligence to bear on the problematic issues occasionally faced by the society. This, together with her wit and pleasant
disposition, will be greatly missed.
Robert Mayer
Audley and District Family History Society Chair



Audley & District Family History Society Committee

As you have visited this website, it is likely that you are interested in either family or local history or maybe both. Audley and District Family History Society, the organisation that manages this website, is a successful family and local history society based in Audley. The society runs research sessions, arranges talks and publishes books, with most of the content being about Audley and the surrounding areas. In 2023, Audley and District Family History Society has over one hundred and fifty members, and, taking advantage of online communications, they are based all over the world.

Concerning books, you may be aware of recent, very successful publications, including the Butt Lane and Wood Lane books, both of which are now sold out.

The society manages two Facebook pages with large amounts of followers, sends out four newsletters a year to members and publishes the Audley Historian annually.

The society attends local fairs to promote research, membership and book sales. These are usually highly successful and exciting events. As no one individual has the pool of all knowledge, how all this activity is organised is through a committee of members. As long as you are a paid-up Audley and District Family History Society member, you can join this committee. Joining the committee does NOT mean that you are allocated a job. The society is keen to benefit from the broadest possible range of knowledge and experiences. A significant amount of committee business is done through emails, so there is no necessity for members to be, for instance, retired. Physical meetings do occur irregularly, usually preceding particularly important or exciting activities. We are twenty-odd years into a new millennium, and the committee is keen to broaden its knowledge base to embrace the brave new world we all live in.


To find out more, please contact Robert Mayer (Society chairperson) at 


To join our society go to Joining Us page.




Talks and Research Meetings

All meetings and talks are held at

The Methodist Church Hall, Audley


The next research meeting is on wednesday 1st may 2024, 2 - 4pm

The next Talk is on friday 2nd August 2024,


talks page



The Audley Methodist Church Hall, New Road, Bignall End, ST7 8QF.


Go here for map of location and images.


Updated 13 April 2024

Latest News




New Publication



"Kidsgrove: A history up to the year 2000" by Philip Leese , was launched at Kidsgrove Library on 1st and 2nd September. It is now available for sale.



This is the society's most important book to date: The largest text by far. More colour. Both paperback & hardback.It is the first book on Kidsgrove.


Go to Pulications






Old Audley


In the Members' Area.


Updated 5th June 2023

more about the updates in the June 2023 members newsletter


Price Reduction


The price of 3 books has been substatially reduced:


"Called to Arms" now only £1.50 +pp


"Letters of Lieutenant John Lawton 1915-19" now only £1.50 +pp


"Letters of Oswald Tittle 1912-18" now only £1.50 + pp


Go to Publications Page


(No members' discout at these low prices)


New Publications 


New Publication - December 2023



Life and Death in North Staffordshire: Inquest Reports from Audley and Surrounding Villages.

Volume 1, 1830-1879

Edited by

Christine Huxley





Go to pubications


New Publication - November 2023


Audley Historian Vol 29, 2023




Go to pubications




New Publication - September 2023


Kidsgrove: A history up to the year 2000


Philip Leese


see above





New Publication - April 2023


Swettenhams - A North Staffordshire Retail Business



Ian Bailey

Only vaguely aware, from childhood, that there was once a company called Swettenhams and intrigued by the striking survival of its name in a former store in Dalehall, Burslem. Ian Bailey set out to satisfy his curiosity about the nature of the business and its significance. He found many curious and surprising things along the way. 



Go to Publications






New Publication - August 2022

Audley Historian Vol 28, 2022




Now available to purchase from the usual outlets or

go to Publications Page





NEW Publication - October 2021



Go to Publications


Life in the Wood - a history of the village of Wood Lane


Robert Mayer






Recent Publications

Now Available









go to Publications Page






go here.



go here.




by William Cooke


(click to enlarge)

Available from the Publications page.

£7.50 non-members (incl. p&p UK)

£6.50 members (incl. p&p UK)






Victims of the Minnie Pit Disaster 1918


Amendments and corrections to our publication.


Since publication, several errors in the text have been pointed out. They are here.



Members' Newsletter


The latest newsletter, Decemberr 2023, and most previous ones, are in the Members' Area.




Members' Area


Extracts of Audley St. James' Parish Magazine from 1920-69 have been added. More will be added.


Old Audley now in Members' Area. Updated 5 June 2023


Audley Historian 20 added 6th April 2022


Audley Will Index 1701-1750 added 3 October 2022

1751 -1800 added 14 March 2023


A new addition under 14 Documents are scans of bills from Old Hayswood Collieries, Halmerend, 1889-1891


New addition: 15 Staffordshire History Network News