Monday, 1 September 2008

"Notable" Penkridge Citizens from the past

Tim Cockin produced the Biographical County Map of Staffordshire in 2006 (published by the Malthouse Press). It is based on the Ordnance Survey New Series six inch to one mile maps 1875-86 and it shows, presumably, his chosen, single most notable person associated with each parish.

Of course, I looked eagerly to see who Tim had chosen in Penkridge. No, not the first Lord Hatherton, Edward John Littleton, whom many people would say today was perhaps the most notable person, who had a great influence not only on the Penkridge we know today but also greatly influenced British history at the time. No, he was listed under Teddesley Hay Parish. (The map shows the old Ecclesiastical parishes, whose boundaries and names have changed in some cases since our current Civil Parish Councils were created in 1894.) He chose a churchman, Bishop Richard Hurd (1720-1808), born at Congreve, who became Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry and Bishop of Worcester, but declined the Archbishopric of Canterbury in 1783.

Why do historians, when considering a question like this and having to choose just one person, always look back to centuries ago and never consider people who were living in the 20th century. Is it because they don’t believe any 20th century person is “notable” or is it maybe that historians are programmed to only think back from the 19th century?

Are the happenings of the 20th century not history? Surely there are some notable persons of that century in Staffordshire, many of them still alive of course? Can you name anyone from Penkridge who you consider more "notable" and list his/her achievements? Or does it take over 100 years after someone dies before anyone considers they are notable enough to be remembered?

No comments: