recreation of Newcastle-under-lyme charter on display in towns market

850th Anniversary project to recreate town’s charter


A special project to recreate Newcastle-under-Lyme’s charter, originally scribed and signed in 1173, is being launched as part of the town’s 850th anniversary celebrations, thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Local school children, The Brampton Museum, GROW North Staffs, and author/illustrator Glenn Martin James will all work together to recreate the lost charter.

The project has been planned since 2019, and has the support of Councillor Simon White, Deputy Mayor of Newcastle-Under-Lyme, and Cabinet Heritage Champion with responsibility for the 850th Arrangements.

Cllr White said: “These celebrations only come about every 50 years. They are a real opportunity to allow all our 130,000 residents across our Borough to either take part themselves, or simply to enjoy our celebrations, and we are tremendously grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for making the project possible.

“We received our original charter in 1173 from Henry II, and we are one of a few Boroughs in England to have this for so long – we are very proud indeed. I am fully behind and supportive of a bid such as this, for our community to enjoy and take part, and enjoy these unique celebrations.”

Mr James said: “The original charter was the birth certificate of the town. When it was granted by King Henry in 1173, giving us borough status, everything just started from there. It meant that Newcastle was free from the control of the church or local lords, we could hold a market, and our merchants could become Burgesses, and form guilds. After this, Newcastle just marched forward confidently, and really shot up from there.

“The original document from the King would have been quite small, and sadly it was lost centuries ago. What better way to celebrate this fabulous birthday, than to create a representation of the original? And by honouring its place, and safely conserving the later historic charters, granted by Henry’s royal descendants? So we say a very big thank you to the Heritage Lottery Fund.”

Newcastle-under-Lyme town charter recreations on display at the market cross.
Author and illustrator Glenn Martin James, a mock town charter, and Chris Malkin, at Newcastle-under-Lyme’s market cross.

The charter created for the anniversary will be produced by Mr James using authentic period inks and paints, and written with a goose quill, just as documents of the period would have been.

The project will start in April, and the team would like to hear from schools who would like to participate.

The Borough’s children will write and illustrate their own charters, which will accompany an exhibition at The Brampton Museum when the completed document will be officially presented to the town. 

Following the exhibition, it is planned that Newcastle-under-Lyme’s other original historic charters, some granted by Queen Elizabeth I and King James, will be professionally conserved, restored, and put on display.

Jayne Fair from GROW North Staffs said: “We are so pleased to have been awarded this grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and we are very grateful to National Lottery players who make this possible. I remember being at the 800th celebrations back in 1973 as a child and I am very proud to have been able to support this project. It will be very interesting to see what the children produce with the support of Glenn and the rest of the team. This is a very special way to mark the 850th anniversary of the Borough, something that I hope these children will remember.”

To get involved, contact Glenn James at email:

Scroll to Top