If youre ready for a delightful surprise then
youre ready to discover Staffordshire. Stafford, the County
Town, is one of Englands most fascinating and beautiful
towns and does perfect justice to its splendid setting.
Staffordshire is the county just to the north of Birmingham in
the heart of England. Nestling on the edge of Cannock Chase, an
area of outstanding natural beauty, Stafford is a wonderful place
The world-renowned potteries lie to the north, in and around
the city of Stoke-on-Trent, where you will find Wedgwood, Royal
Doulton, and Spode among many others. To the west of Stafford is
Lichfield, with its magnificent Cathedral. Also to the west is
the town of Burton-on-Trent, the home of Brewing.
Stafford is a town brimming with traditional civic pride and a
magnificent array of architectural, cultural and historic
attractions. The Victoria Park is the perfect place for a stroll.
In the heart of the town there is the tranquil Norman church of
St Chads and the beautiful collegiate church of St
Marys. Picturesque Church Lane is a delight with its
timbered buildings. The splendid Shire Hall
Gallery is also in the centre with its constantly changing art
exhibitions and superb balcony café.
One of the best historical buildings in Stafford is the
Ancient High House, one of the finest Tudor buildings in England.
Once dominating the skyline of Stafford, it is the largest
remaining timber-framed town house in England. Built in 1595 and
later the civil war refuge of Charles I, the house retains a
fantastic collection of period furniture and architectural
features. It also houses the Tourist Information Centre.
One of Staffordshires most famous culinary treats is
Staffordshire Oatcakes. These are like pancakes made
from oatmeal and yeast and are nothing like the Scottish
oatcakes, which are more like a biscuit. They are cooked on a hot
griddle. Staffordshire oatcakes are a versatile food, beloved of
many a potter of the Potteries (also known as
Stoke-on-Trent or the Five Towns. They can be eaten
hot or cold, for breakfast with eggs and bacon or spread with
butter and a sweet preserve for tea. They can also be used to
wrap a savoury filling and then placed in the oven to bake.
Documents speak of difficult working and living conditions in
Staffordshire towns such as Longton and Stoke in the
mid-nineteenth century, when the potters and their families
subsisted on such foods as lobby (probably related to Liverpool's
pudding (often a mixture of oats or barley, water, suet and
treacle, eaten hot or cold), pobs (breadcrusts merely soaked in
water or milk and sprinkled with sugar and tea), frumenty (a
special treat made from soaked wheat, fruit and spices) and
Farmers in Staffordshire have never been averse to bagging the
odd rabbit or hare they happened to come across on a weekend's
rough shooting. Often these will end up in a pie or a stew.
Another Staffordshire town, Tamworth, has a famous ancient
breed of pig named after it.
The Tamworth pig is somewhat smaller than many modern British
breeds of pig and is famous for its bright ginger-haired coat.
Pork is popular in Staffordshire and there are many places with
hot pork baps for sale. Baps are soft bread rolls and
these are filled with hot roasted pork.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Mrs. Maria
Rundells best-selling book A New System of Domestic
Cookery was published. It contained a number of regional
recipes including Staffordshire
Beef Steaks. Another recipe from the county is for a
rich fruitcake containing black treacle and brandy called Staffordshire
Brewing is also a major activity in Staffordshire.
Burton-upon-Trent is a town famous for brewing. There are only a
few breweries left nowadays. One of them is Bass which has a
working museum of brewing. IPA (India Pale Ale), found on draught
in pubs everywhere, derives from the pale ales once brewed at
Burton-on-Trent. Burton pale ales were prized for their
brightness and clarity, which came from the natural spring water
used in their production. In the 1820s Burton brewed an even
hoppier ale for export to India; India Pale Ale was so popular
that it has been made ever since. Bottled bitters are usually
called pale or light ales. Other famous brewers in Burton-upon
Trent include Marston's whose 'Pedigree' bitter is one of the
finest available anywhere
So next time you get a chance to visit this lovely part of
Englands Midlands youll find plenty of delicious food
and drink, as well as lots of wonderful historic and natural
sites to visit!