1881 Map of Walton
1881 Map of Walton

The History of Walton and Milford


The villages of Walton on the Hill and Milford, which make up the Parish of Berkswich, are situated to the south of Stafford on the A513. The River Sow forms the Parish Boundary on the East with a large stretch of Cannock Chase being within the Parish.


At Milford, on Spring Hill can be found a "saucer" barrow dating to somewhere between 1800-1200 BC, indicating that the Parish has been inhabited for rather a long time. Only 60 such barrows exist in the whole country, most concentrated in Wiltshire & Hampshire, so the presence of one in this area is most unusual.
At the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086 Walton had 4 smallholders and 2 ploughs, suggesting that the settlement was a small but established hamlet based on subsistence agriculture. At that time Walton and Berkswich, which is also recorded, would have been surrounded by dense woodland and marshland. Much of the forest area was part of Cank Wood, from which the royal hunting preserve of Cannock Chase took its name.
In the 17th century the roads were primitive and mainly used by packhorses and mules. Later carts and wagons came more into use. In 1677 there were 6 "post routes" in the county and the post towns were Lichfield, Stafford and Stone. By 1785 a coach service was running through Milford and Walton on its way to Stafford. The village of Walton is exactly half way between London & Holyhead, and the existence of a blacksmith's forge close to the village pump suggests that the horses would be watered in the village after the long haul up Radford Bank out of Stafford or over Cannock Chase. The opening up of communications began to have an impact on the parish, as did the construction of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal after 1766.
The A513 around Walton was constructed about 1820. Until this time the Main Road passed along what we now call "School Lane", through "The Village" and down "The Rise".
The railway, which runs from Stafford through the Parish was opened in 1847. An account of the opening published in the Staffordshire Advertiser on 26th June 1847 states:-

"The train pursued its steady and rapid course through the beautiful valley towards Shugborough. We may observe that the valley of the Penk by St. Thomas', Brancote and Tixall to Shugborough, may not unjustly be considered the garden of Staffordshire".

The station at Milford brought many "trippers" to enjoy a day out on Cannock Chase in the early part of this century, but the station has now been demolished.
A village school was funded by public subscription in 1838 and this school was still in use by the Local Authority until 1988.
Walton Cricket Club played on "The Old Croft" from 1904, but later moved to land adjoining Milford Hall. Now known as Milford Cricket Club it encourages the young and not so young to take an active interest in the game.
Until the 1930's the Parish was a farming community and Walton was still a small village centred around the Church, the Smithy, the Pound and the Village Pump. In the mid-thirties some housing development took place along the A513 and Old Croft Road. 

The 1930's also brought the opening of the Village Hall, again funded by public subscription. 
The Tennis Club opened in 1932 with two grass courts.
During the Second World War, the Women's Institute based at the Village Hall collected, packed and despatched to the Mills 24 tons of salvage, the sale of which provided funds for the purchase of wool for knitting garments for the troops. Some 1,000 knitted articles of clothing were sent from the W.I. Centre at Walton to the European Clothing Appeal and, from 1940-43, 1 ton 6 cwt of fruit was preserved in our Village Hall to help the war effort.

Some early entries in Berkswich School minute book 
29th November 1836
The Earl of Lichfield having kindly given a piece of land convenient for erecting a school for promoting the education of poor children in
the parish it was resolved that a subscription be immediately set on foot for the set purpose and that Thomas Salt Esq. be appointed treasurer and that all subscriptions be paid into his bank.

24th May 1837
Resolved that Mr Tavenors reduced estimate of £250 for building a school and school house be accepted.

12th July 1843
That Mary Anne Humphries be appointed school mistress and that she receive 8/6d (42.5p) per week besides 1d each per week for the children and the use of the school house free of rent.

Proposed syllabus of work for year beginning January 1864
Old Testament - Book of Exodus with occasional
lessons from Kings.

New Testament - Life of Christ taking the facts from the gospels.
Reading.         From the class reading book.
Class I    
To write from dictation any difficult paragraph
Class II    To write from dictation a paragraph from their own reading book 

Class III    To copy from books in manuscript character.

Class IV    To form letters capital and small.
Class I     
To work on through Hunters Arithmetic.

Class II    The first 4 rules   
III   Simple addition and subtraction.                                          

Class IV    To meet the requirements of standard I according to the revised code.
History    - To be learned as home work alternately with Geography.       

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