Tamworth Timeline

Prehistoric Tamworth

c 100BC- 100AD

Gold torc made possibly for local chieftain. Found near the Coventry Canal in Glascote during the Second World War.

Roman Tamworth

The Roman roads of Watling Street and Ryknield Street pass nearby Tamworth with a site at Wall (Letocetum) comprising bath houses. The course of Watling Street, being a mile south of Tamworth, suggests that there wasn't much of significance in the area during Roman times.

Anglo-Saxon Tamworth

585

Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia established. Creoda is the first King.

669

St. Chad appointed as bishop of Mercia by Wulfhere, the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is around this time that record of a church in the area of Tamworth was first made.

757

Offa succeeds Aethelbald as King of Mercia after Aethelbald was murdered by Beornred at Seckington (three miles north-east of Tamworth).

781

A charter is issued by the King of Mercia, Offa, from his royal palace at 'Tamworthie'. Offa's palace was likely a large, thatched, wooden building and as such it's location is not known, but it might have been north-east of Bolebridge Street following excavations in 1968, although other possible locations include the area of the churchyard north of St. Editha's church or in the Castle Grounds near the castle gatehouse.

29 July 796

King Offa dies and is succeeded by his son, Ecgfrith. Ecgfrith only rules for 141 days before dieing in December.

799

Charter evidence of a permanent enclosure by the River Tame.

c 850

A watermill is built next to the River Anker.

857

The last of a series of 15 royal charters is issued from Tamworth by King Burgred.

874-5

Danish Vikings looted the area around Tamworth. Tamworth was burned to the ground. The following 40 years sees Tamworth lying in no-man's-land between West Saxon England and the area of Danelaw.

911

Aethelred dies, leaving no male heir to the Kingship of Mercia. Aethelflaed, Aethelred's wife succeeds as ruler of Mercia. During the whole Anglo-Saxon period, this is the only example of a female ruler of one of the kingdoms.

913

Aethelflaed leads a military campaign into the area around Tamworth and establishes a burgh there. This is a significant gain by the Mercians owing to the strategic importance of Tamworth as Offa's old capital of Mercia and it's proximity to the still functioning bishopric at Lichfield. The area of the burgh - which covered approximately 50 acres - is roughly bounded by the rivers Tame and Anker in the south, Marmion Street in the east, Albert Road and Hospital Street in the north and Aldergate and Holloway in the west. It is also likely to have been around this time that Tamworth was divided between two adjacent hundreds (Hemlingford Hundred and Offlow Hundred) - the border followed the line of Holloway and Silver Street, Church Street and Gungate. This partitioning was to remain until 1889 with Tamworth straddling the county boundaries of Staffordshire and Warwickshire.

12 June 918

Lady Aetheflaed dies at Tamworth; Aelfwynn succeeds as Lady of Mercia. In December 918, King Edward of Wessex comes to Tamworth and assumes control over Mercia, depriving Aelfwynn of her authority in the kingdom. A statue of Lady Aethelflaed now stands in the Castle Grounds in Tamworth.

924

Following the death of Edward, King of Wessex, a great council is held at Tamworth where Athelstan is named as the 'King of all the English', effectively uniting Mercia and Wessex.

928

King Athelstan establishes a mint in Tamworth which continues until the middle of the twelfth century.

939

King Athelstan dies at Gloucester.

943

The Viking Anlaf, son of King Sihtric of Northumbria, strike hard on the heartland of Mercia and Tamworth is again destroyed. Viking occupation doesn't last long as King Edmund reclaims the lost land.

Norman Tamworth

1070

Under the control of Robert le Despencer, a motte and bailey castle was built in the area of the south-west of the original Saxon burgh. A wooden tower and palisade were originally built

1086

Tamworth is conspicuously missing from the Domesday book. This is likely to have occurred owing to the county boundary splitting the town in two and possibly confusing the Royal Commissioners responsible for compiling the book.

Tamworth Castle
Tamworth Castle
Photo: Jonathan Stott

c 1095

Robert Marmion inherits Tamworth Castle and over the next 200 or so years establishes a sandstone shell-keep and gatehouse. A square tower is integrated inside the shell-keep, the walls of which are some 4.3m thick. Robert Marmion dies in c. 1100 and the Marmion family establish themselves in Tamworth over then next five generations until a different Robert Marmion dies in 1215. This Robert Marmion has three sons, Robert Marmion the elder, Robert Marmion the younger and William Marmion. William Marmion became the first recorded Dean of the College.

1158

King Henry II and Thomas a Becket (who later becomes Archbishop of Canterbury) visit Tamworth Castle.

1204

The Tamworth Bailiffs are summoned before the Staffordshire County Assizes after allegedly charging illegal tolls to visiting traders.

1215

After the Magna Carta, King John threatens to destroy Tamworth Castle, but this never happens. Robert Marmion the younger pays 500 to reclaim tenancy of the castle.

1222

Indicating a depressed economy in the town, the roll of tollage for Staffordshire lists Tamworth as a 'villata' rather than a town or borough. This downturn in trade at a time when the economy of England was booming is likely to have been caused by the establishment of competitive markets nearby in Wolverhampton, Lichfield, Abbots Bromley and Burton-upon-Trent.

1238

King Henry III exchanges the Staffordshire half of Tamworth with land in Cheshire. Henry de Hastings becomes the new Lord of the Manor.

1241

Robert Marmion the elder dies, leaving a son, Philip Marmion. Philip ended up arguing between the local lords Henry de Hastings of Wigginton and Ralph Basset of Drayton.

1257

King Henry III visits Tamworth Castle.

1258-67

During the Barons' Revolt, Hastings and Bassett sided with Simon de Montfort while Philip Marmion sided with King Henry III. de Montfort and Bassett were killed in 1265 at Evesham where Marmion likely fought. Philip Marmion is then granted the Lord of the Manor of Wigginton and both the Staffordshire and Warwickshire sides of Tamworth for life.

1258

Philip Marmion establishes a chapel to St James in Wigginton parish church. This chapel was later to be known as Spital Chapel.

1285

By royal command, the lordship of the Staffordshire half of Tamworth and the manor of Wigginton is returned to the descendents of Henry de Hastings.

1291

Philip Marmion dies and the crown regains ownership of the Warwickshire half of Tamworth. Tenancy of Tamworth Castle passes to Philip's daughters Joan and then Mazera.

1293

A stone cross is recorded at the junction of Colehill, Church Street and Lower Gungate. This is likely to have been the site of the market for the Staffordshire half of the town and stocks and a pillory were also erected nearby.

1294

Tenancy of Tamworth Castle is passed to Mazera Marmion's daughter, Joan, who is married to Alexander de Freville.

1294

First reference to a bridge crossing rather than a ford of the River Tame at the site of the Lady Bridge.

1294

An order forbidding the washing of tripe in the rivers other than by the Lady Bridge is passed. A 12d fine would be levied on anyone found guilty.

Medieval Tamworth

1317

King Edward II grants permission for an extra levy to be charged on goods brought into the town.

1319

King Edward II leases the Warwickshire half of Tamworth to the burgesses for the sum of 5/16/-.

1325

King Edward II visits Tamworth Castle as a guest of Alexander de Freville.

1327

Edward III becomes King of England. Alexander de Freville (tenant at Tamworth Castle) is present at the coronation.

1328

Alexander de Freville dies; tenancy of Tamworth Castle passes through five generations of Frevilles, all called Baldwin.

1337

King Edward III issues a Royal Charter granting the permission for Tamworth to hold two fairs a year in April and October

1337

John le White was fined 2d. "for evacuating his bowels to the abomination of neighbours and passers-by".

23 May 1345

A great fire destroys much of the town centre including the parish church.

1347

Baldwin de Witney takes over as dean and begins rebuilding the parish church after the fire.

1348

The Black Death (bubonic plague) kills around 1/3rd of all people in Tamworth. It is around this time that the chapel of St James in Wigginton becomes known as the Spital Chapel owing to its use as an hospital ('spital' being a contraction of 'hospital').

1357

The price of ale is capped at a penny a gallon. Anyone selling ale for more than a penny a gallon would be liable to a fine of 12d.

1366

Ten people are fined for being unavailable during harvest.

1368

Welsh people are prohibited from selling ale in Gungate (Gumpigate).

1382

A regulation is passed making anyone who is found working outside the town during spring and harvest liable to a fine.

1418

The last of the male line of the Freville family, Sir Baldwin Freville dies. Title passes to his sister, Elizabeth who is married to Thomas Ferrers.

1423

An order by the Tamworth court leet is made making owners of animals roaming the streets after nightfall liable to a fine.

1428

In order to ensure supply of bread, an order is passed such that bakers would be fined 8d if the town ever ran out of bread. Half of the fine went to the bailiffs and the other half went to the common chest. (The common chest was a chest held in St Edithas church access to which was by two keys, one held by a bailiff of the Staffordshire half of Tamworth and the other held by a bailiff of the Warwickshire half of Tamworth. The chest was used to keep money from fines and tolls.)

1437

The Great Hall of Tamworth Castle is rebuilt.

1470

The vicars are given their own lodging place in College Lane by one of the town bailiffs, Henry Jekes.

1468 or 1473

A legendary meeting between King Edward IV and a tanner from Tamworth is supposed to happen. This leads to the rather lengthy Ballad of King Edward IV and the Tanner of Tamworth.

19 August 1485

Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, sets up camp on Staffordshire Moor prior to the Battle of Bosworth Field. This encampment is mentioned in Act 5, Scene 2 of Shakespeare's Richard III: "From Tamworth thither, is but one day's march".

22 August 1485

The Battle of Bosworth Field. The battle takes place 12 miles east of Tamworth near the village of Market Bosworth. Sir Thomas Ferrers of Tamworth Castle fights for King Richard. The Lancastrians eventually win the battle and Henry Tudor is crowned King Henry VII. King Richard III is killed during the battle.

1534

King Henry VIII declares himself Supreme Head of the Church of England.

1546

Tamworth is identified as one of four places in Staffordshire in need of a hospital.

1547-8

Dissolution of the college in Tamworth and disendowment of the school.

1548

The Spital Chapel in Wigginton is closed.

1549

The Book of Common Prayer is published.

1558

Parish registers begun.

1559

The Deanery is destroyed by fire.

1588

The Charter of Incorporation, issued by Queen Elizabeth I provides for a schoolmaster at the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School to be paid for by the revenues of the Crown for Staffordshire.

1647

George Fox is born in Fenny Drayton, eight miles east of Tamworth. He later founds the Quaker movement; a Quaker meeting house existed in Tamworth between around 1750 and 1850 behind 101 Lichfield Street.

1690

First meeting of a group of Unitarians in Tamworth.

1724

First non-conformist church built behind Colehill.

1771

Samuel Watton brings evangelical Methodism to Tamworth by inviting preachers and groups of people to his home.

21-22 September 1809

St Editha's Church holds a music festival to raise funds.

1816

The first Methodist church is built in Bolebridge Street

1855

Spital Chapel becomes part of a mission college.

1869

A mission hall in Bolebridge Street is endowed by Elizabeth Hutton of Dosthill Hall.

Tamworth Co-operative Society
Tamworth Co-operative Society
Photo: Jonathan Stott

1886

William MacGregor forms a co-operative society.

20th Century Tamworth

1914

Spital Chapel is restored.

Modern Tamworth

2003

Britain's first toll motorway opens just south of Tamworth.

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