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Newport in 1841

Newport is a small market-town and borough on the borders of Staffordshire, and in the Newport division of the hundred of South Bradford. The population of the borough, which is co-extensive with the parish, in 1831, was 2,745. This place formerly belonged to the Audleys, and subsequently to a family of the name of Newport, to whom it gave the title of baron. The abbot and convent of St. Peter and St. Paul, at Shrewsbury, were patrons of the church of Newport, and from them it was purchased in the reign of Henry VI by Thomas Draper, a citizen of London, who made it collegiate, placing in it a custos, who was the parish priest, and four fellows. The establishment falling into the hands of the crown on the dissolution of religious houses, the college property was afterwards granted by queen Elizabeth to private individuals. A portion of the present church appears to be of the fifteenth century, and the interior bears traces of great beauty ; but the side-aisles having been rebuilt with brick, the building presents a most incongruous appearance. Newport sustained great damage in 1665 by a fire which consumed 160 houses.

The only manufacture carried on here appears to be that of stockings.

The existence of the corporation can be traced as far back as the reign of Henry III. There are no courts, criminal or civil. The only gaol consists of a lockup-house, in which prisoners are confined previously to commitment to the county gaol. The income of the corporation is from £30 to £40, arising from land, and is applied to charitable purposes, and to keeping in order cisterns and conduits which supply the town with water, and to improvements in the town. In 1446 the burgesses caused an almshouse to be erected and endowed for the support of four old women The present annual income is about £70. There are six fairs held here annually. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with the rectorial tithes, and is of the net annual value of £275.

There is a free grammar-school, mainly supported by the endowment of William Adams, who, in 1756, conveyed lands to the governors of the school for that purpose, and also for erecting and endowing an almshouse. The annual income of the whole charity is upwards of £1,300. There are 30 boys in the school on the foundation, and the master receives a salary of £175 per annum. A library is attached to the school, which is a handsome brick building. A scholarship at Christ Church, Oxford, of £80 a year, payable for seven years, and four smaller scholarships, unrestricted as to college or university, are attached to this school. There are eleven other day-schools, in all of which, with the exception of one, which is partly supported by endowment, the instruction is at the expense of the parents. There are two Sunday-schools ; one, connected with Independents, has a small lending-library attached.