Offices Organisations and Positions - Stoke-on-Trent & Newcastle


Chief Bailiff for Hanley

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Chief Bailiff for Hanley


The gentlemen who have filled the office of Chief Bailiff of Hanley and Shelton, from the passing of the Act to the year 1840 are named below..."


Chief Bailiff


Chief Bailiff


John Yates, Esq.


William Parker, Esq.


Thomas Cox, Esq.


Leonard J. Abington, Esq.


John Ridgway, Esq.


John Askey, Esq.


Thomas Taylor, Esq.


William Dutton, Esq.


Charles Meigh, Esq.


Robert May, Esq.


William Ridgway, Esq.


William Wear, Esq.


Samuel Wright, Esq.


William Yates, Esq.


John Boulton, Esq.


Thomas Fenton, Esq.



   "The honorary title of Mayor carried with it no civil authority, and the want of an efficient police in Hanley and Shelton had been long experienced before any practical remedy was applied. In the years 1808 and 1809 a gang of reckless young men, some of whom were respectably connected, carried on a system of nocturnal outrage, rather from a wanton and mischievous spirit, than for the sake of plunder, which greatly annoyed and terrified the peaceable community. 

They obtained the name of The Rough Fleet, from their daring and buccaneering like exploits; several of them were ultimately prosecuted at the Sessions, and convicted of various misdemeanors, which at length broke up the lawless confederacy. 

It was not till the year 1824 that the inhabitants determined to apply to Parliament for an Act to establish a more efficient police for these Townships; the Act so obtained, and which passed the 20th May, 1825, bears the title of “An
Act for Watching and Lighting the Townships or Vills of
HANLEY and SHELTON, in the Parish of STOKE-UPON-TRENT, in the County of STAFFORD,” and recites that the Townships of Hanley and Shelton, forming an important part of the district called the Staffordshire Potteries, are very populous, and places of considerable trade, and that it would tend materially to the safety, comfort, and convenience of the public, if the streets, &c. were watched and lighted. It then appoints commissioners for putting the act into execution, empowers them to appoint a Chief Bailiff, who is to be sworn as a constable, also a head and deputy constable, and watchmen for the preservation of the peace,-gives powers for lighting the Townships, and to levy rates for those purposes upon houses, shops, manufactories, and other buildings, but exempting Etruria, and such part of Cobridge as is within the Township of Shelton, until the inhabitants of those places consent to put themselves under the operation of the act, and exempting likewise such property belonging to the Glebe of Stoke as is within Shelton.

This Act was found to be defective in its enactments with respect to the property liable to be rated, and having no limitation as to the annual amount of the rate, was the subject of much dissatisfaction, and some litigation, to avoid which an amended Act was obtained in 1828, which defined more particularly the properties subject to the rate, and limited the annual amount to 6d. in the pound in respect of property assessed at £6 a year or under; 9d. in the pound between a rental of £6 and £8 ; and 1s. in the pound on property of more than £8 value. The Commissioners nominated by this last Act are the officiating ministers of the churches or chapels within the district, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Steward of the Manor of Newcastle, and owners of property of the amount of £100 per annum, or occupiers rated at £50 and upwards.

The Chief Bailiff’s duties are declared to be those of convening meetings of the Commissioners, of presiding at those meetings, and at all public meetings of the inhabitants of the Townships, and directing the clerks, constables, and other officers as he may think needful, in the intervals between the meetings of the Commissioners, so that here, as at Burslem, all the machinery and instruments of a well regulated Police, and a stipendiary Magistrate having been appointed ......."

Ward "Borough of Stoke-upon-Trent" 1843