Evolution of Worcestershire county boundaries since 1844
The boundaries of Worcestershire, England have been fluid for over 150 years since the first major changes in 1844. There were many detached parts of Worcestershire in the surrounding counties, conversely there were islands of other counties within Worcestershire; the 1844 Counties Act began the processing of eliminating these, but the process was not completed until 1966, when Dudley was absorbed into Staffordshire. The expansion of Birmingham and the Black Country during and after the Industrial Revolution altered the county map considerably. Local government commissions were set up to recommend changes to the local government structures, as early as 1945 recommendations were made to merge Worcestershire with Herefordshire. In 1974, a form of this recommendation was carried out, most of Worcestershire was combined with Herefordshire to form a new county named Hereford & Worcester, while the northern Black Country towns and villages of Worcestershire, along with adjoining areas of Staffordshire and Warwickshire, formed the new county of West Midlands.
Hereford & Worcester was re-divided into the separate counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire in 1998. Since that time Worcestershire's boundaries have not changed. Redditch opted to join the West Midlands Combined Authority as an associate'non-constituent' member in October 2015, although this will not affect the borough's status within Worcestershire. Worcestershire was established as an administrative and defensive unit in 918, to take into account the estates held by the Bishop of Worcester and the abbeys of Pershore and Evesham. A'proto-shire' was believed to exist prior to the county formation, centred upon a fortified burh; the burhs were defensible walled towns, developed by Alfred the Great, to protect against advancement of the Great Heathen Army. Worcester's strategically dominant position upon the undulating plains of the River Severn, rendered it a logical location to serve as a burh; the fortification of Worcester took place between 872 and 899 by Æthelred of Mercia, with the assent of King Alfred and the Mercian Witan.
The shires and its subdivisions thereof, known as hundreds, formed a framework for administering the resources of each burhs' outlying estates. The first documented loss of territory took place in 1016, following the seizure of Kingswinford and Tardebigge by the Sheriff of Staffordshire, thus absorbing these manors into Staffordshire; the presence of two Staffordshire exclaves at Clent and Tadebigge, started a process where more parishes or manors changed hands with neighbouring counties as'gifts' by the monarchy, church or through conquest. By 1844; these roles included the licensing of alehouses, police and measures, construction/maintenance of highways and bridges, poor law disputes and setting taxes. The county was divided into five hundreds, four separate boroughs for the larger towns, Worcester itself, a county corporate. Worcester was autonomous from Worcestershire and the boroughs had a certain degree of autonomy within the hundreds. Worcestershire's remaining hundreds prior to the reforms were Blakenhurst, Halfshire and Pershore.
The main township part of St. John in Bedwardine parish was incorporated into the City of Worcester in 1837; the fractured layout of the hundreds was at best confusing. Most of the hundreds were split into two or three divisions in differing parts of the county; as the above table and Fig 1 shows, some of these parishes were islands surrounded by other hundreds. Meanwhile, some of Worcestershire's parishes existed in other counties jurisdictions. There were parishes that stretched over the county boundary as part of their contiguous area. Worcestershire had an unusually large number of exclaves, which were cut off from the main county and surrounded by the nearby counties of Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Oxfordshire; this relationship with neighbouring counties mirrored the confusing and fragmented layout of parishes within Worcestershire's own hundreds. The most notable islands were Dudley, Evenlode and the area around Shipston-on-Stour. Herefordshire, Staffordshire and Shropshire had their own exclaves within the main part of Worcestershire at Rochford, Clent and Halesowen respectively.
Tardebigge's history outside the county is more colourful, changing hands from Worcestershire to Staffordshire and Warwickshire, before returning to Worcestershire at differing times over the centuries. The southern boundary of the county was complex, with parish boundaries penetrating deep into Gloucestershire and vice versa; the exclaves and enclaves of Worcestershire † - Warley Wigorn and Warley Salop were amalgamated to form a new parish of Warley. The Counties Act 1844 was an Act of Parliament which abolished many of the exclaves of counties in England and Wales; the precursor to this legislation was the Reform Act 1832 and Parliamentary Boundaries Act 1832, which redefined the boundaries for members of parliament. These acts changed the status of many exclaves and enclaves, starting the process of incorporating these'outliers' into their surrounding county; this Act of Parliament was designed to eradicate the issue of "islands" or "exclaves", but numerous exclaves remained part of Worcestershire until the enactment of
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
West Midlands conurbation
The West Midlands conurbation is the large conurbation that includes the cities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton and the large towns of Sutton Coldfield, Walsall, West Bromwich, Solihull and Halesowen in the English West Midlands. Not to be confused with the region or metropolitan county of the same name, the conurbation does not include parts of the metropolitan county such as Coventry, but does include parts of the surrounding counties of Staffordshire and Worcestershire. According to the 2011 Census the area had a population of 2,440,986, making it the third most populated in the United Kingdom behind the Greater London and Greater Manchester Built Up Areas; however it should be stated that the Conurbation sits within the UK's largest Metropolitan Area outside London. The conurbation has several other unofficial names, such as the controversial Greater Birmingham, the Birmingham conurbation, the Birmingham-Wolverhampton conurbation and the Greater Birmingham-Black Country conurbation with the latter gaining wide traction as an alternative to the unliked official name of the Conurbation.
The conurbation is polycentric - Birmingham and Wolverhampton have separate Eurostat Larger Urban Zones, there are separate Travel to Work areas defined for Birmingham, Dudley & Sandwell and Walsall & Cannock. Although the exact boundaries of any conurbation are open to debate, dependent on what criteria are used to determine where an urban area ceases, the Office for National Statistics defines the West Midlands Built Up Area as including the urban areas of Birmingham, Solihull, West Bromwich and Walsall amongst others; these settlements are not coterminous with the Metropolitan Boroughs of the same name. The area of conurbation between Birmingham and Wolverhampton is known as the Black Country; the Black Country has no single centre, having grown up from a number of historic market towns and industrial villages that coalesced during the 20th century. It remains polycentric with many of the towns and villages remaining recognisable communities. Coventry is separated from the West Midlands conurbation by the Meriden Gap, other urban areas, such as Cannock and Codsall are only narrowly avoided.
The conurbation is seen as being coterminous with the West Midlands Metropolitan county. For administrative purposes, the vast majority of the conurbation falls within the six Metropolitan Boroughs of Birmingham, Sandwell, Solihull and Wolverhampton. Two Local enterprise partnerships cover the majority of the conurbation area: Black Country LEP comprises the local authorities of Dudley, Sandwell and Wolverhampton while the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP includes those two authorities and a number of satellite boroughs, many remote from the conurbation and not traditionally associated with it; the West Midlands Built Up Area consists of the below settlements. Due to the change in methodology between the 2001 and 2011 Census, the amount of change between 2011 Census and previous census data, it is impossible to compare the data directly between 2011 and earlier Censuses. In the 2011 Census and Water Orton are two separate built-up areas with populations of 6,341 and 3,444 respectively. Prior to 2011, they were considered part of the West Midlands Urban Area.
Prior to the 2011 census, the conurbation was known by the ONS as the West Midlands Urban Area, which contained the following Urban Sub-Divisions: Notes: Knowle and Bentley Heath are considered as one settlement in 2001, but are considered separately in 1991 and 1981. Bentley Heath was not considered to be a settlement within the West Midlands Urban Area in 1981. Coleshill and Water Orton were not considered to be part of the West Midlands Urban Area in 1981, but a separate Coleshill/Water Orton Urban Area with a total population of 9,554. Yew Tree is only considered part of the West Midlands Urban Area in the 2001 census. Cheswick Green was not considered to be a settlement within the West Midlands Urban Area in 1981. Shelly Green was not considered to be a settlement within the West Midlands Urban Area in 1981 or 1991. Constituent areas of Birmingham, England List of areas in Dudley list of areas in Sandwell List of areas in Walsall List of areas in Wolverhampton Office for National Statistics, Key Statistics for urban areas in the Midlands, London: TSO Laid before Parliament pursuant to Section 4 Census Act 1920 Census 2001, retrieved April 2013
Worcestershire is a county in the West Midlands of England. Between 1974 and 1998, it was merged with the neighbouring county of Herefordshire as Hereford and Worcester; the cathedral city of Worcester is county town. Other major towns in the county include Bromsgrove, Evesham, Malvern and Stourport-on-Severn; the north-east of Worcestershire includes part of the industrial West Midlands. The county is divided into six administrative districts: Worcester, Wychavon, Malvern Hills, Wyre Forest, Bromsgrove; the county borders Herefordshire to the west, Shropshire to the north-west, Staffordshire only just to the north, West Midlands to the north and north-east, Warwickshire to the east and Gloucestershire to the south. The western border with Herefordshire includes a stretch along the top of the Malvern Hills. At the southern border with Gloucestershire Worcestershire meets the northern edge of the Cotswolds. Two major rivers flow through the county: the Avon; the geographical area now known as Worcestershire was first populated at least 700,000 years ago.
The area became predominantly agricultural in the Bronze Age, leading to population growth and more evidence of settlement. By the Iron Age, hill forts dominated the landscape. Settlement of these swiftly ended with the Roman occupation of Britain; the Roman period saw establishment of the villa system in the Vale of Evesham. Droitwich was the most important settlement in the county in this period, due to its product of salt. There is evidence for Roman settlement and industrial activity around Worcester and King's Norton. Worcestershire was the heartland of the early English kingdom of the Hwicce, it was absorbed by the Kingdom of Mercia during the 7th century and became part of the unified Kingdom of England in 927. It was a separate ealdormanship in the 10th century before forming part of the Earldom of Mercia in the 11th century. In the years leading up to the Norman conquest, the Church, supported by the cathedral, Evesham Abbey, Pershore Abbey, Malvern Priory, other religious houses dominated the county.
During the Middle Ages, much of the county's economy was based on the wool trade. Many areas of its dense forests, such as Feckenham Forest, Horewell Forest and Malvern Chase, were royal hunting grounds subject to forest law; the last known Anglo-Saxon sheriff of the county was Cyneweard of Laughern, the first Norman sheriff was Urse d'Abetot who built the castle of Worcester and seized much church land. On 4 August 1265, Simon de Montfort was killed in the Battle of Evesham in Worcestershire. In 1642, the Battle of Powick Bridge was the first major skirmish of the English Civil War; the county suffered from being on the Royalist front line, as it was subject to heavy taxation and the pressing of men into the Royalist army, which reduced its productive capacity. The northern part of the county, a centre of iron production, was important for military supplies. Parliamentarian raids and Royalist requisitioning both placed a great strain on the county. There were tensions from the participation of prominent Catholic recusants in the military and civilian organisation of the county.
Combined with the opposition to requisitioning from both sides, bands of Clubmen formed to keep the war away from their localities. The Battle of Worcester in 1651 ended the third civil war. There was little enthusiasm or local participation in the Scottish Royalist army, whose defeat was welcomed. Parliamentarian forces ransacked the city of Worcester, causing heavy damage and destruction of property. Around 10,000 Scottish prisoners were sent into forced labour in the New World or fen drainage schemes; the small bands of Scots that fled into Worcestershire's countryside were attacked by local forces and killed. In the 19th century, Worcester was a centre for the manufacture of gloves. Droitwich Spa, situated on large deposits of salt, was a centre of salt production from Roman times, with one of the principal Roman roads running through the town; these old industries have since declined. The county is home to the world's oldest continually published newspaper, the Berrow's Journal, established in 1690.
Malvern was one of the centres of the 19th century rise in English spa towns due to Malvern water being believed to be pure, containing "nothing at all". The 2011 census found the population of Worcestershire to be 566,169, an increase of 4.4% from the 2001 population of 542,107. Though the total number of people in every ethnic group increased between 2001 and 2011, the White British share of Worcestershire's population decreased from 95.5% to 92.4%, as did the share of white ethnic groups as whole, which went from 97.5% to 95.7%. While this change is in line with the nationwide trend of White British people's share of the population shrinking, Worcestershire is still much more ethnically homogeneous than the national average. In 2011 England as a whole was 79.8% White British, much lower than Worcestershire's figure of 92.4%. Local government in Worcestershire has changed several times since the middle of the 19th centiry. Worcestershire had several exclaves, which were areas of land cut off from the main geographical area of Worcestershire and surrounded by the nearby counties of Warwickshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.
The most notable were Dudley, th
Birmingham is the second-most populous city in the United Kingdom, after London, the most populous city in the English Midlands. It is the most populous metropolitan district in the United Kingdom, with an estimated 1,137,123 inhabitants, is considered the social, cultural and commercial centre of the Midlands, it is the main local government of the West Midlands conurbation, the third most populated urban area in the United Kingdom, with a population of 2,897,303 in 2017. The wider Birmingham metropolitan area is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a population of over 4.3 million. It is referred to as the United Kingdom's "second city". A market town in the medieval period, Birmingham grew in the 18th-century Midlands Enlightenment and subsequent Industrial Revolution, which saw advances in science and economic development, producing a series of innovations that laid many of the foundations of modern industrial society. By 1791 it was being hailed as "the first manufacturing town in the world".
Birmingham's distinctive economic profile, with thousands of small workshops practising a wide variety of specialised and skilled trades, encouraged exceptional levels of creativity and innovation and provided an economic base for prosperity, to last into the final quarter of the 20th century. The Watt steam engine was invented in Birmingham; the resulting high level of social mobility fostered a culture of political radicalism which, under leaders from Thomas Attwood to Joseph Chamberlain, was to give it a political influence unparalleled in Britain outside London, a pivotal role in the development of British democracy. From the summer of 1940 to the spring of 1943, Birmingham was bombed by the German Luftwaffe in what is known as the Birmingham Blitz; the damage done to the city's infrastructure, in addition to a deliberate policy of demolition and new building by planners, led to extensive urban regeneration in subsequent decades. Birmingham's economy is now dominated by the service sector.
The city is a major international commercial centre, ranked as a beta- world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Its metropolitan economy is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a GDP of $121.1bn, its six universities make it the largest centre of higher education in the country outside London. Birmingham's major cultural institutions – the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the Library of Birmingham and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts – enjoy international reputations, the city has vibrant and influential grassroots art, music and culinary scenes. Birmingham is the fourth-most. People from Birmingham are called Brummies, a term derived from the city's nickname of "Brum", which originates from the city's old name, which in turn is thought to have derived from "Bromwich-ham"; the Brummie accent and dialect are distinctive. Birmingham's early history is that of a marginal area; the main centres of population and wealth in the pre-industrial English Midlands lay in the fertile and accessible river valleys of the Trent, the Severn and the Avon.
The area of modern Birmingham lay in between, on the upland Birmingham Plateau and within the densely wooded and sparsely populated Forest of Arden. There is evidence of early human activity in the Birmingham area dating back to around 8000 BC, with stone age artefacts suggesting seasonal settlements, overnight hunting parties and woodland activities such as tree felling; the many burnt mounds that can still be seen around the city indicate that modern humans first intensively settled and cultivated the area during the bronze age, when a substantial but short-lived influx of population occurred between 1700 BC and 1000 BC caused by conflict or immigration in the surrounding area. During the 1st-century Roman conquest of Britain, the forested country of the Birmingham Plateau formed a barrier to the advancing Roman legions, who built the large Metchley Fort in the area of modern-day Edgbaston in AD 48, made it the focus of a network of Roman roads. Birmingham as a settlement dates from the Anglo-Saxon era.
The city's name comes from the Old English Beormingahām, meaning the home or settlement of the Beormingas – indicating that Birmingham was established in the 6th or early 7th century as the primary settlement of an Anglian tribal grouping and regio of that name. Despite this early importance, by the time of the Domesday Book of 1086 the manor of Birmingham was one of the poorest and least populated in Warwickshire, valued at only 20 shillings, with the area of the modern city divided between the counties of Warwickshire and Worcestershire; the development of Birmingham into a significant urban and commercial centre began in 1166, when the Lord of the Manor Peter de Bermingham obtained a charter to hold a market at his castle, followed this with the creation of a planned market town and seigneurial borough within his demesne or manorial estate, around the site that became the Bull Ring. This established Birmingham as the primary commercial centre for the Birmingham Plateau at a time when the area's economy was expanding with population growth nationally leading to the clearance and settlement of marginal land.
Within a century of the charter Birmingham had grown into a prosperous urban centre of merchants and craftsmen. By 1327 it was the third-largest town in Warwickshire, a position it would retain for the next 200 years; the principal governing institutions of medieval Birmingham – including the Guild of the Ho
Broome is a village and civil parish in the Wyre Forest District of Worcestershire, England. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 338; the village is situated just south of the border with West Midlands and includes the village of Broome as well as the hamlets of Hackmans Gate and Yieldingtree. In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Broome like this: BROOM, a parish in Kidderminster district, Worcester. Post Town, under Kidderminster. Acres, 716. Real property, £1,726. Pop. 118. Houses, 24; the property is divided among a few. Broom House is a chief residence; the living is a rectory in the diocese of Worcester. Value, £320.* Patron, J. G. Bourne, Esq; the church is a brick structure, with a tower. Media related to Broome, Worcestershire at Wikimedia Commons
Staffordshire is a landlocked county in the West Midlands of England. It borders with Cheshire to the northwest and Leicestershire to the east, Warwickshire to the southeast, West Midlands and Worcestershire to the south, Shropshire to the west; the largest city in Staffordshire is Stoke-on-Trent, administered separately from the rest of the county as an independent unitary authority. Lichfield has city status, although this is a smaller cathedral city. Major towns include Stafford, Burton upon Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Tamworth. Smaller towns include Stone, Uttoxeter, Burntwood/Chasetown, Eccleshall and the large villages of Wombourne, Tutbury, Barton-under-Needwood and Abbots Bromley. Cannock Chase AONB is within the county as well as parts of the National Forest and the Peak District national park. Wolverhampton, West Bromwich and Smethwick are within the historic county boundaries of Staffordshire, but since 1974 have been part of the West Midlands county. Apart from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire is divided into the districts of Cannock Chase, East Staffordshire, Newcastle-under-Lyme, South Staffordshire, Staffordshire Moorlands, Tamworth.
Staffordshire was divided into five hundreds: Cuttlestone, Pirehill and Totmonslow. The historic boundaries of Staffordshire cover much of what is now the metropolitan county of West Midlands. An administrative county of Staffordshire was set up in 1889 under the Local Government Act 1888 covering the county except the county boroughs of Wolverhampton and West Bromwich in the south, Hanley in the north; the Act saw the towns of Tamworth and Burton upon Trent united in Staffordshire. In 1553 Queen Mary made Lichfield a county corporate, meaning it was administered separately from the rest of Staffordshire, it remained so until 1888. Handsworth and Perry Barr became part of the county borough of Birmingham in the early 20th century, thus associated with Warwickshire. Burton, in the east of the county, became a county borough in 1901, was followed by Smethwick, another town in the Black Country in 1907. In 1910 the six towns of the Staffordshire Potteries, including Hanley, became the single county borough of Stoke-on-Trent.
A significant boundary change occurred in 1926 when the east of Sedgley was transferred to Worcestershire to allow the construction of the new Priory Estate on land purchased by Dudley County Borough council. A major reorganisation in the Black Country in 1966, under the recommendation of the Local Government Commission for England led to the creation of an area of contiguous county boroughs; the County Borough of Warley was formed by the merger of the county borough of Smethwick and municipal borough of Rowley Regis with the Worcestershire borough of Oldbury: the resulting county borough was associated with Worcestershire. Meanwhile, the county borough of Dudley a detached part of Worcestershire and became associated with Staffordshire instead; this reorganisation led to the administrative county of Staffordshire having a thin protrusion passing between the county boroughs and Shropshire, to the west, to form a short border with Worcestershire. Under the Local Government Act 1972, on 1 April 1974 the county boroughs of the Black Country and the Aldridge-Brownhills Urban District of Staffordshire became, along with Birmingham and Coventry and other districts, a new metropolitan county of West Midlands.
County boroughs were abolished, with Stoke becoming a non-metropolitan district in Staffordshire, Burton forming an unparished area in the district of East Staffordshire. On 1 April 1997, under a recommendation of the Banham Commission, Stoke-on-Trent became a unitary authority independent of Staffordshire once more. In July 2009 the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold found in Britain was discovered in a field near Lichfield; the artefacts, known as The Staffordshire Hoard have tentatively been dated to the 7th or 8th centuries, placing the origin of the items in the time of the Kingdom of Mercia. This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of the non-metropolitan county of Staffordshire at current basic prices published by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British pounds sterling; some nationally and internationally known companies have their base in Staffordshire. They include the Britannia Building Society, based in Leek. JCB is based in Rocester near Uttoxeter and Bet365, based in Stoke-on-Trent.
The theme park Alton Towers is in the Staffordshire Moorlands and several of the world's largest pottery manufacturers are based in Stoke-on-Trent. Staffordshire has a comprehensive system with eight independent schools. Most secondary schools are from 11–16 or 18, but two in Staffordshire Moorlands and South Staffordshire are from 13–18. Resources are shared. There are two universities in the county, Keele University in Newcastle-under-Lyme and Staffordshire University, which has campuses in Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford and Shrewsbury; the modern county of Staffordshire has three professional football clubs – Stoke City and Port Vale, both from Stoke-on-Trent, Burton Albion, who play in Burton upon Trent. Stoke City, one of the oldest professional football clubs in existence, were founded in 1863 and played at the Victoria Ground for 119 years from 1878 until their relocation to the Britannia Stadium in 1997, they were among the 12 founder members of the Football League in 1888. By the late 1930s, they were establi