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Tamworth, Staffordshire

TAMWORTH, STAFFORDSHIRE, a market town and municipal borough of England, in the Lichfield parliamentary division of Staffordshire and the Tamworth division of Warwickshire, on the river Tame, a southern tributary of the Trent. Pop. (1901) 7271. It is no m. N.E. from London by the London and North-Western railway, and is also served by the west and north line of the Midland railway (Bristol-Birmingham-Derby). The castle, situated on a height above the Anker near its junction with the Tame, is chiefly of the Jacobean period, but is enclosed by massive ancient walls. Here was a residence of the Mercian kings, and, after being bestowed on the Marmions by William the Conqueror, the castle remained for many years an important fortress. Formerly the town was surrounded by a ditch called the King's Dyke, of which some trace remains. The church of St Editha, originally founded in the 8th century, was rebuilt, after being burned by the Danes, by Edgar, who made it collegiate, but the existing Decorated building, was erected after a fire in 1345. The free grammar school, refounded by Edward IV., was rebuilt in 1677, and again in 1867. The charities include Guy's almshouses, endowed in 1678 by Thomas Guy, founder of Guy's Hospital, London. On the commons or moors burgesses have rights of pasture. Coal, fireclay and blue and red brick clay are dug in the neighbourhood; and there are also market gardens. In the town are a clothing factory, paper-mills, and manufactures of small wares. The town is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors. Area, 285 acres.

Tamworth (Tamwurda, Thamworth, Tomwortti) is situated near the Roman Watling Street. It was burned by the Danes and restored in 913 by Aethelflead, lady of the Mercians, who built the fort which was the origin of the later castle. The town was again destroyed by the Danes in 943. There is no description of Tamworth in Domesday, but its burgesses are incidentally mentioned several times. In Anglo-Saxon and Norman times it possessed a mint, and it is called a borough in the Pipe Rolls of Henry II., but it was not then in a flourishing condition. Tamworth was incorporated by Elizabeth in 1560 by letters patent, which state that it is an " ancient mercate town," and suggest that the charters have been lost or burned. The governing charter in 1835 was that of Charles II., incorporating it under the title of the bailiffs and commonalty of the borough of Tamworth in the counties of Stafford and Warwick. Edward III. granted two fairs, still kept up in 1792, to be held respectively on St George's day and the day of the Translation of St Edward; another ancient fair, in honour of St Swithin, or perhaps originally of St Editha, is still held (July 26). Tamworth sent two members to parliament from 1562 to 1885, when its representation was merged in that of the county.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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