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History book reprint to tell Uttoxeter tales from past

By Uttoxeter Advertiser  |  Posted: August 28, 2014

By Jenny Moody

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A NEW version of a classic book that delves into the history of Uttoxeter is set to hit the shelves.

Staffordshire: The Classic Guide by Arthur Mee is part of a series of books released taking a close look at areas across the country in forensic detail.

The book was originally published in 1937 and, due to its popularity and success, has been chosen for a 'retro reprint' in 2014, with a newly designed front cover.

As well as featuring old-fashioned maps of the town, the book also looks at the historic links in Uttoxeter, including dictionary writer Dr Samuel Johnson, mathematician Thomas Allen and author Mary Howitt.

A passage from the book states that Uttoxeter 'has memories of a strange philosopher, of the surrender of a duke and his beaten army, of a gallant admiral, a famous lady and our greatest talker'.

It tells the tale of when the Duke of Hamilton came to the town in August 1648, with what was left of his army of 20,000.

He had started out from Scotland in order to strike the last blow for Charles.

It also touches on the act of penance carried out by Dr Johnson, which is still repeated each year to this day, after he failed to take over an ailing second-hand book store.

Philosopher Thomas Allen was born in Uttoxeter in 1542 and educated at Oxford.

He went on to become one of the 'foremost mathematicians of the age, friend and correspondent of the greatest spirits of his era'.

Other areas covered in the book include villages such as Abbots Bromley, Croxden, Hoar Cross, Marchington, Denstone, Alton Towers, Leigh and Rocester.

A spokesman for Amberley Publishing, which will be re-releasing the book, said it would be 'essential reading' for anyone interested in the history of Uttoxeter.

The spokesman said: "This classic guide examines in detail the rolling landscape and the varied history of Staffordshire, from brewers to Alton Towers.

"Also included are the original photographs, providing an insight into this industrial yet beautiful county and the lovely market town of Uttoxeter.

"The King's England series was Arthur Mee's richly informative and amazingly comprehensive survey of England, and has set the pattern for books about British heritage ever since.

"He describes the most interesting houses, churches, views and towns in the country, together with the folklore and history behind each one of them.

"Arthur Mee was a well-known British writer, journalist and popular educator. He is best known for several noteworthy publications, including The Children's Encyclopaedia, The Children's Newspaper and The King's England.

"This series was also successful abroad, selling in large numbers in the United States and being translated into Chinese."

Sales in the United States reflect the country's interest in the Uttoxeter area.

It was reported last week that Californians regularly put on their own version of the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance.

An amateur dramatic society, known as the California Revels, will this year be hosting their sixth annual 'Abbots Bromliad'.

Their website invites all 'Abbots Bromley and traditional English, Scottish, Contra, Morris, and other dance enthusiasts to join us in a day of good food, good music, good dancing and the largest celebration ever of the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance'.

The book is now available from all good bookshops and is priced at around £10.

More details on the new book can be found by heading online to www.amberley-books.com

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