County Town of Stafford
Stafford is an old town and the county town of Staffordshire and dates back to Anglo-Saxon times when it had a mint. It is a pleasant town and was the birthplace of Izaak Walton, the English writer best known as the author of The Compleat Angler and various short biographies. The town contains some interesting old houses and the attractive large parish church of St Mary's. The church has a central tower and houses a bust of Izaak Walton who was baptised in the remarkable Norman font. Outside the church lie the foundations St Bertelin's chapel which dates from circa 1000, excavated in 1954, and a replica of the wooden Saxon cross which lies buried beneath. St Chad's, in the main Greengate Street, has another noteworthy font. The Norman chancel-arch is decorated with five orders of moulding. In Greengate Street are a number of fine old buildings, including the half-timbered High House which was built in 1555. King Charles I and Prince Rupert stayed here in 1642. The William Salt Library in Eastgate Street is inside a beautiful 18th century house and has a valuable collection of books relating to the county of Staffordshire.
Stafford Castle is not very old. It was built about 1815 to replace the medieval one destroyed during the Civil War in the 17th century and is now a Grade II listed building. Since the 18th century shoemaking was an important industry in Stafford and the town was later known for the quality of its engineering works.
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