Parish History

Extracts taken from St Stephen in Brannel Parish Council 1894 – 1994 A Century of Change. To view the full book please click here.

“Prior to 1894 the affairs of the Parish were administered by twelve men and true of the Parish Vestry Meetings. The Vestry Meeting usually consisted of the Vicar, Church Wardens, Parish Overseers, Administrators of the Poor Laws and the Lords of the Manor.

Major changes had taken place in England with the Agrarian Revolution of 1650 – 1750. This bought great benefits to the rural communities with improved husbandry, higher yields of corn and root crops and improvements in the breeding of cattle and sheep.

The Industrial Revolution which took place in Britain between 1750 and 1850 bought great changes to the County. The development of engines and mining equipment and other mechanical aids made great differences to the life of the working man. Machines increasingly replaced the horse and man in the heavy work which had been carried out in the mines and on the farms.

These revolutions created new problems – roads – water – sanitation and health. There came the beginning of a new social consciousness to combat them. Various Government Acts had been passed by Parliament which set out the required improvements in housing and public health. 1832 saw the first of the Education Acts which bought education to the ordinary people. Various Acts followed which saw the setting up of the St Stephen Board for the provision of schools in the parish.

The improvements in standards of health, housing and education together with greater opportunities for employment saw an increase in the population of the Parish. It was the achievement of the 1847 Poor Law Board Act to establish effective machinery for the administration of the Poor Law as laid down in the Act of 1834. 1835 saw the Municipal Corporations Act which was directed to reform local government aimed at the introduction of uniformity, democracy and efficiency. The Act of Parliament of 1888 saw the creation of the County Councils. The Act of 1894 saw the creation of District Councils to replace various Boards i.e. Sanity, Local Boards of Health and Turnpikes etc., and also, more importantly, the creation of Parish Councils. Every area over 300 people was to have a Parish Council. In 1894 there were 7,000 of them. The main functions of the early Parish Councils, often in conjunction with the District Councils, was:

  • Maintenance of Parish Property
  • Administration of Lay Charities
  • Safeguarding Sanitary conditions
  • Maintenance and Repair of Footpaths
  • Protection of Boundaries
  • Rights of Way and Commons
  • Appointment of School Managers
  • Provision of Allotments
  • Tramway Orders
  • Utilisation of Water Resources
  • Representation on the Rating Authority
  • Rating and Valuation Appeals
  • Securing Extra Postal Facilities
  • Street Lighting
  • Burials and Public Improvements
  • War Memorials
  • Recreation Grounds
  • Subsequent Acts have bought additional responsibilities and powers.

The Local Government Act of 1972 was probably the greatest Act to affect the work of Parish Councils and gave them additional powers and responsibilities, the greatest of these, in terms of Parish matters is the right to be consulted on planning applications in the Parish.

As the population of the Parish continued to increase so did the need for burial grounds. The churchyard at St Stephen was almost full and the Burial Board for St Stephen in Brannel Parish was formed. In 1876 it purchased two acres of land at St Stephen Churchtown at a cost of £400 and the Cemetery opened in 1880.

Since that time the Cemetery has continues to be extended. A Cemetery was also purchased and opened in 1880.”

By December 2010 there had been:

  • 4821 interments at St Stephen Churchtown
  • 3238 interments at Nanpean

“The duties of the Burial Board were merged with those of the Parish Council as from 1st April 1974 (Local Government Act 1972)

The Parish had schools controlled by and known as the St Stephen’s Board Schools. In 1894 there were school at:

  • Whitemoor 90 pupils
  • Churchtown 190 pupils
  • Trethosa 60 pupils
  • Nanpean 152 pupils
  • Highstreet (Lanjeth) 80 pupils
  • Coombe 39 pupils

In 1896 at Meledor another school opened with 97 pupils. Foxhole School opened in August 1911, following representation by the Local School Managers for additional places for local children. The debate for a new school at Foxhole was won in favour of additional accommodation at Nanpean.

The population of the Parish continued to rise and saw the development of new villages. Form 1894 St Stephen Churchtown and Napean continued to grow. Foxhole grew from 11 dwellings in 1837 to its present day size.”

In 2010, the major villages are St Stephen Churchtown, Nanpean, Foxhole, Central Treviscoe, Little Treviscoe, Whitemoor, Lanjeth, High Street and Coombe.

“Early in the contrary Coombe was known as the “tinners’ village” and the business centre was at High Street which was the only village to have a rail head. Times have changed and with the extension of the railway and improved motor haulage, transport is no longer the issue of great importance.

With the expansion of the winning and working china clay this has again changed the face of the landscape in the Parish. Unfortunately the Parish has lost the village of Hornick, now under Blackpool Tip. Halviggan, a village of some 57 houses, now in Halviggan Pit (now part of the modern Blackpool Pit complex). Karslake which once comprised of some 24 houses was lost to china clay development and also for burials. Meledor village, complete with school, and the valleys at Virginia and Rosevallen are also lost to china clay development at Melbur. Old Pound, once a busy village with activities such as carnivals, horse shows and wrestling tournaments, is now a mere skeleton of the original village settlement.”