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Great Haywood, Past and Present, People and Places-bookcover

By: David Robbie

Great Haywood, Past and Present, People and Places

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Founded by Angles in the sixth century and recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, Great Haywood, with its manor that included the adjacent estate of Shugborough and the ancient Forest of Cank, became an important political, religious and commercial centre in the Middle Ages. It was involved in the tumultuous events surrounding the overthrow of Richard II in the 14th century, the Wars of the Roses of the 15th century, Tudor intrigues in the 16th century, the English Civil War of the 17th century, the Jacobite Rebellion of the 18th century, and the transport revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Great Haywood’s location on four great highways of travel and trade has allowed it to witness the migration of early settlers, the passage of powerful kings and queens, large armies and rich merchants, as well as eminent travellers and writers. Situated on the important River Trent, it also enjoyed the golden age of coaching, was once one of the busiest canal junctions in England and saw the building of two important national railway lines. It has been home to powerful nobles, influential politicians, fine artists and writers, a serial killer, Nazi war criminals and a large tropical reptile. And how many villages can boast of fascinating links with the Faerie Queene, the Holy Grail and The Lord of the Rings? Read on to find out more.

David Robbie was born in Blyth, Northumberland, and was educated at the local grammar school, then at Edinburgh University, where he gained a Master of Arts degree with Honours in History. He studied for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education at Hull University and then enjoyed a career of almost forty years as a teacher, first at the Percy Jackson Grammar School, Adwick le Street, near Doncaster, then at Rugeley Grammar School and its successor, Fair Oak School, in Staffordshire. In retirement, he has pursued his interests in local and family history, on which he gives talks and writes articles. He has lived in Great Haywood for over fifty years.

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