Research guide - the lost charter project

Research guide - the lost charter project

Research guide

‘The lost charter project’

Celebrating the 850th anniversary of the lost Newcastle-under-Lyme charter of 1173 - and its rebirth in 2023

Written by Glenn Martin James, Paul Bailey, and Dominique and Rory Cairns

Compiled by Glenn Martin James

With grateful thanks…

Before continuing with this guide, we should all like to express our thanks to the staff and volunteers of the Brampton Museum in Newcastle-under-Lyme, for their assistance, advice, and use of their facilities' in preparing this guide, which we hope will be of help to other students of history, and valiant seekers after truth in future projects. Dominique, Rory, Paul and I have all contributed aspects to this guide, focusing on points of the town's heritage for the anniversary, and related to the charter and the town.

I am grateful myself for having been given access by the museum to view the great surviving historic charters in order to examine them, before they were on public view, they have been very helpful. I remain extremely proud to have been able to create the reborn charter for the town's great 850th anniversary, and these viewings were very influential in my designs for the charter.

My vital thanks also goes to the Parliamentary Archives and to the Stafford Archives, whose recommendation of an authority to consult in recreating the document has been absolutely crucial to completing this project.

The very important role of oral history cannot be discounted or ignored in this project, and I am deeply grateful to Jim Worgan for his time in discussing the contents of the lost charter and the towns history with us, to Jim Dowler of Newcastle-under-Lyme Burgesses for his insight, and to Councillor Andrew Fear for his Latin translation of the reassembled contents of the recreated charter. Their help has been invaluable and is much appreciated.

Throughout the support of his worshipfulness the Mayor of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Councillor Simon White, and the Leader of the Council, Councillor Simon Tagg, has been enormously appreciated, and they were both witnesses and signatories of the reborn charter in June 2023.

Glenn Martin James, November 2023


This research guide has been compiled as part of the Lost Charter Project of 2023, and has been a partnership project between Brampton Museum, author and illustrator Glenn Martin James, and Grow North Staffs. Our gallant team of Dominique and Rory Cairns, and Paul Ballard worked with me on producing this guide, with them focusing on fascinating aspects of the town's history for the anniversary, and myself on my work to recreate the charter. The National Lottery Heritage Fund has funded the project, we are tremendously grateful for their support. Myself, Dominique and Rory Cairns, and Paul Bailey have then created the guide.

Brampton Museums arm of the project has been to conserve the precious surviving historic charters of the Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme, and showcase them all together for the first time in an exhibition at the museum, which was held in June/July 2023. My part of the project has been to research and recreate anew the lost charter for the anniversary, producing a document containing all the original points of a charter of the period, and the grants made to the town of Newcastle and its new Burgesses in 1173. I also worked with the children of St. Mary's Catholic Primary School, whose location exactly on the site of the town's founding castle was wonderfully influential. The children produced 60 charters, one each, in our work together, which were on show in Newcastle Guildhall throughout the summer of 2023, until September that year. I hope that the following will be of help to future researchers and students of history, and I am proud to state that a folio of my research on the charter has been included in the William Salt Library of Stafford Archives, where it is available for consultation.

Glenn Martin James, November 2023